few corners before, following another
passing car right through the apex,
making it clean, but with more than a
little help from the guy getting passed,
who saw her coming. So now he’s a
little worked up, and he’s also a rookie.
Back down the front straight, he
hangs inside and too far back, clearly
threatening a dive bomb (another
phrase for “late move”). Rookie Sara,
in her first practice starts ever, doesn’t
realize the danger, and drives the
racing line, late-braking (she’s really
good at that) and cranking the wheel
into the turn with a little trail brake.
The new guy goes straight for the apex
from well behind, and arrives there
the same time as Sara, banging her
door with the nose of his car. Bonk!
Later, he exclaims, “She turned
in on me!” Have you heard that
before, SCCA’ers? Of course, she
did. Before you stuck your nose in.
She’s every bit as fast as you, and
she was at the normal entry point
to the corner, and from there on in,
she could not see your late move.
That’s what makes it a “late move.”
That’s the danger of the Vortex
of Danger. The lead car’s driver
cannot see your late move once she
“ The lead driver is looking
toward the apex at this point,
and must do so, in fact”
why there are giant Xs on the back
of her car, and the very reason these
practice starts are happening.
On the second passer’s video, we
see Sara suddenly returning to the
line, and boom – at least it was the
already dented door. Whew! Drivers,
can we be just a little more cautious
when racing with someone we know
is new to this wonderful sport?
All three of these passes came
from the inside rear, from behind,
out of sight, in the corner. The kindly
stewards of this non-SCCA event
played the video and explained how
Sara should have known the passing
car was back there, making a late
move. Pros develop an instinct. Rookies
don’t have it yet, and its purpose
is only to avoid the Danger Ranger
making the late move anyway!
To make a clean pass, get into
a driver’s field of vision while
braking, before they turn for
the corner. No late moves.
A LITTLE RESPECT
skill, and trust are all
traits that competitors
must possess during
close racing action.
or he has turned. The lead driver
is looking toward the apex at this
point, and must do so, in fact, and
cannot look over their shoulder at
your attack from the blind spot.
Incidents 2 and 3: Next practice
start. Almost exactly the same thing.
Late move number two comes in,
straight for the apex, after the turn-in.
This time it’s a moment sooner, and
I’m again watching the in-car video
of the passer, with her car in full
view. Sara suddenly sees the dive
bomber in her peripheral vision at
the last possible instant, at the apex,
mid-corner, and swerves in surprise
deftly left, avoiding contact with the
passer she could not see coming.
Leading us to Incident 3: The video
car sees the hole punched by the
dive bomber and goes for it. Again,
from Sara’s blind spot, while she’s
pushed wide and vulnerable. She
recalls her coach Randy saying it’s
always best to follow a car through
the apex on the normal line. Well,
I meant when they get through clean
in the braking zone; while she’s a
strong driver, she’s still a rookie racer
and has not yet had the experience
to understand such a nuance. That’s