Throw Some Tech at It

Editor's Notebook, August 2000



T.W. Theodore

Auto racing has always been about the synergy between driver and machine. Racing celebrates and honors engineering accomplishment every bit as much as it does the striving towards the ultimate in human potential.


We trust our machines. We love our machines. We are at one with our machines when we are in the groove and we suffer with our machines when either one of us fails.


Some of us prefer a relatively simple machine, one that we can understand, build, diagnose, repair, and feel very much at home with. Some of us prefer exotic machines, ones with components that we can control but must leave to a team of engineers to fully understand.


a simple test...

Here's a simple test for you to take at home. Do you say 'wedge' or 'camber'? Do you 'downshift' or 'select a lower gear'? Is your 'black box' your engine mapping and control unit or where you keep your spare wrenches?


Elsewhere in Distant Thunder you'll find practitioners of both kinds of racing.


Our Driver of the Month for August is Sarah Kavanagh. You may remember that we featured her first in 1997 as she was making her way up through the formula car ranks. Sarah is from Ireland and lives in the high-tech world of European BOSS Formula One cars. Her Jordan 193 is a technical marvel. (It definitely has a 'black box' engine control unit.)


You'll also find a Race Report by April May Gelineau. April May drives an '84 Mustang on a short oval in New Hampshire. Her cars are very much like her family and that feeling comes across in her report. (She probably keeps her wrenches in a 'black box' somewhere in the trailer.)


the best that is in you...

While I love the sound, feel, smell, and sense of power of Formula One or CART cars, I'm more at home with technology I can understand. Often it works to throw some tech at a problem. Frequently it is more satisfying to reach down and find the best that is in yourself, and throw that at the problem.


The Thunder Valley Racing web site is fairly low tech. We don't use frames or dancing graphics. We've farmed our chat room out to someone else to keep technologically sophisticated. We've got a simple message-posting forum that works and makes logical sense.


We've tried to make the site content rich. We've let you all find ways to talk with one another, to share, and to be heard. We've tried to keep technology from getting in the way. We don't usually throw tech at a problem.


We are trying something new this month, however. You'll find a link to my favorite Editor's Notebook Columns in the left-hand navigation section of our home page. You'll also find, on the front page of Distant Thunder, direct links to Lisa Devlin's Racing Diary and to Terri Hundertmark's Race Reports. These links are powered by SpotOn technology.


I'd like you to tell me if you find this interesting or helpful. If you think of other ways this technology can make the web site more useful to you, drop me a line about that as well.


Now, I hope you enjoy getting to know April May Gelineau and Sarah Kavanagh. I also hope you enjoy getting to know one another.


Yours, 'til the green flag drops.

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