The Northeast Region enjoyed spectacular weather for our end-of-season three-day event at Palmer Motorsports Park. We saw record attendance at this event with 170 cars (!!!) and over 180 drivers! That is absolutely incredible by any standard of measurement. And lest you think all those cars might cause congestion out on track – the organizers were right on top of it, making us all practice our “exercises” (point by to the left…point by over the roof to the right…repeat…) before hitting the track on Saturday morning.
Speaking of teaching and practicing, we were lucky to once again have Lee Carpentier, pro driver and coach, to instruct many of the run groups during the course of the weekend. Lee’s sessions, with content tailored for each run group he addresses, helps us all improve in his very cheerful and humorous style. Lee also spent a lot of right-seat time with our instructors, helping to make sure we are all at our best.
As yet another special educational experience, Dr. Andy Kaufman, a PCA member from Syracuse (but a Boston guy to us since he went to MIT), a forensic psychiatrist, and coach to many performance athletes and business leaders, gave memorable and fascinating sessions about how to prime one’s brain for high performance driving by focusing on the mental side of performance using cognitive science. He focused on the two main stumbling blocks many of us face while high-performance-driving: focus and confidence. His qualifications and teaching experience (SUNY Syracuse) allow for a much deeper dive into the workings of the mind than might be typically covered by most coaches. Dr. Kaufman is mentored by Dr. Jacques Dallaire, author of some fascinating books about mental performance and coach to folks like Helio Castroneves and Patrick Dempsey from his office at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Dr. Kaufman led a session for the White run group on Friday and one for our advanced drivers and instructors on Saturday. He taught them “the three R’s” for maintaining focus and reducing possible anxiety. What are those three R’s? Luckily we’ll all be able to learn more about them next season as our head of DE, John Dunkle, has asked Dr. Kaufman to team up with Lee Carpentier next year to begin to develop some NER-specific programming. We’re blazing a trail in this area and yext year is going to be even better. Our DE team is really putting the “E” (education) back in “DE”. And the kicker – Andy lost third gear in his GT4 during the first session on Friday but stayed with us and did a great job. We hope his car is back out there soon.
If all that weren’t enough already, we had a live auction on Saturday after the track went cold and raised over $1,000 for Homes for our Troops by auctioning Porsche swag donated by Norbert Martel. The one item John Dunkle, auctioneer, wanted for himself – a 1/18 scale 2.7 RS – went for some serious money. We had a lot of laughs that evening.
Many thanks to all the people who came out for the event and huge thanks to the team that pulled it together and to South Shore Autoworks, the event sponsor. It really was a grand finale!