14 AUGUST 2017 scca.com
MY SCCA LIFE
turn my head left to load the dimensions of the
next two turns and right to scan the pavement
ahead. I can see the ghost of where I want my car,
which became part of me when I stepped into it in
grid. I’m going into autopilot, right, left, right, left.
I register the course worker in his red hat and
orange vest running away as I throttle out hard,
scaring but trusting myself. The rev limiter
strokes me. I hit my marks then play with the
throttle on the showcase arc, a dance only I can
feel – there’s no place in the world like the edge.
It’s like I’m in a vacuum; there’s nothing but me
and my car, and time stands still.
Throughout my life, I’ve always craved
challenges – baseball, tennis, row team, timed
Sudoku, Scrabble tournaments – and SCCA
provides a unique intersection of sport, puzzle,
and competition. While I’ve always had a love of
driving, it remained un-channeled until
coworkers invited me to an autocross. After run
one, the instructor insisted that I must have
done this before. “What, drive my car?”
I replied, I didn’t understand.
I remember learning to drive in my mom’s
little stick shift, stalling, bucking, and pleading
for her patience. Soon, my dad would take my
brother and me out in snowstorms to slide
around, exploring car control. When I first joined
the SCCA, I drove my E36 325is and M3
exclusively until a local friend forced me to drive
his Miata and, soon after, the S2000. It was the
same unyielding encouragement that got me
into other cars and eventually to the Tire Rack
Solo National Championships in 2014. I am all-in
now, fueling my methodical quest for
improvement in STR.
Back on course, wiggling
through the offsets, I focus my
attention between the lights and
try to eke out every thousandth.
I hold my breath with the final
slide and the timer flashes red.
Euphoric, I ease into grid, seeing
the faces of my fellow competitors,
thinking about the support from
my talented mentors, the bright-eyed
newcomers, and the profound friendships I have
made. There is no other place where I am more
myself, and I know this is where I belong.”
MAIN IMAGE Courtesy Heidi Ellison
NORTHERN NE W JERSE Y REGION
MEMBER SINCE 2013
For Heidi Ellison,
autocross is a
sport, puzzle, and