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Weekend Recap: The (Do)minions

posted Oct 29, 2017, 7:14 PM by Gran Touring Motorsports Club   [ updated Oct 29, 2017, 7:27 PM ]

Article by: Eric M, 10/29/2017

IMG_0915 (1).JPGMember John C (left) with Mike & Mona Arrigo of HookedOnDriving NE. Another year is in the books for our friends at HookedOnDriving NorthEast. 12 GTM members were in attendance for their season finale and inaugural event at Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, VA. We had a few cameo appearances from members we hadn’t seen in awhile (Pat S, Ron S, Dave S, etc), and combined we made up 90% of the coaches working with students this weekend. 
(More pictures from this event and others are available at our Shutterfly Share Site).

There are high and low points to each track season, but ironically this weekend the fates managed to compress the entire season into a 2-day reader’s digest version: We laughed, cried, partied, strategized over a challenging new track, broke down, had every type of student use case imaginable and to make things even more interesting... let’s tack on variable weather conditions just for that extra bit of flair.

Saving you from the boring details about the event itself, I do want to “send out some mad props” and thank members Harry B and Justine B for putting together a great menu for the weekend. It’s not an easy job, but you can tell that Harry is as much, if not more, passionate about cooking as he is driving. Special thanks to Mike C for doing an excellent job as A-group classroom instructor and lead… really awesome work! And another round of applause for the graduating class of 2017 instructors (Sam H, Bruce S and John R) for completing and stellar and albeit stressful season.

So onto the highlights…

First we need to address Dominion (DR)… for many folks it was their first time to this newborn track. DR has only been completed for about 2 years now, and sits immediately off exit 118 on Route 95 South… Make a left at the end of the ramp, and the next immediate left as you cross over 95… BOOM! -- you might have just hit a pothole or random cinder block in the paddock with your tow rig on the way in -- but you’re at DR. I point this out, as many GPS’s still don’t know where the track is.

DR has 4 tracks compressed into a small space: The Oval, The Road Course, the Kart Track and the Drag Strip; it’s an interesting complex and we are all anxious to see how things evolve in the next couple of years. The main building is a very cool spot to be, especially the view from the 3rd floor, where you can see almost all of the road course from above.

The track - Everyone is going to have a different reaction when going to a new track. I personally enjoy the challenge of learning new courses, analyzing the corners and cambers, scrubbing the data, and pushing myself as a driver. Every track is an acquired taste: Some you love immediately, some you loathe, others take time to grow on you.

I can’t speak for others, but I will say this with respect to Dominion … do you remember that time you were out with your friends at a bar and one of your friends walks up to you with a shot glass full of an unidentifiable liquid and says “here, drink this!” … you give it a questioning stare and ask “what’s in it?!?” and that same friend says “don’t ask, just drink” -- not to be entirely impolite you oblige and take the shot. That first shot doesn’t go down so well, burns a little and your breath smells a little like Robitussin… but after about 2 or 3, it’s all good, and you’re asking for a 4th.

Moving on…

It’s been awhile since HOD has hosted a “themed” Saturday night after party. With our original DR date (early March with threat of snow) being moved to Halloween weekend, it only made sense for folks to come dressed up for the occasion. One-zees are definitely in this year, from Minions to Super Heroes and everything in between. Some of my favorites include: Harry B as the Swedish Chef, and Mike B touting his name sake.



But more importantly, the after-after party -- a GTM mainstay -- we began our awards night by thoroughly embarrassing Crew Chief Brad N on his birthday (several times). But most would agree the best moment of this relentless torment was courtesy of the wait staff of a local eatery where Brad was asked to play the part of a chicken and dance while the ladies serenaded him. The moment was captured by Mike B and is available on Facebook, YouTube and your local news station for your (re)viewing pleasure -- #mustseeTV


In keeping with our awards from 2016 (VIR), Brad N had put together what he more affectionately calls “the Montys” for the 2017 season. Each person received an award/trophy and those recipients were (and in the following categories): #steveharvey_missamerica

"Viking Offroad Adventure" Award

Harry B

"Master Recruiter" Award

Sam H

Endurance Award

Ken E

Attendance Award

Rob L

Instructor Candidate of the Year Award

John R

Pit Crew Award

Chrissy C

Sponsor of the Year


Rookie of the Year Award

Erin K

Fellowship Award

Matt Y

DE Champion

Bruce S

A special thanks to ALL of our award winners this year, without you folks, none of this would be possible. Awesome work and Congratulations! We hope to continue this tradition and see more names on the board next year.  

And an extra special thanks to Mike & Mona Arrigo of HOD (our Sponsor of the Year) for being such gracious hosts throughout this season and really allowing GTM to blossom. We look forward to working with HOD more in the future and can’t wait to see what the 2018 season has in store for their team.

We have a couple more events and important announcements coming before the 2017 season is over so stay tuned for more information on:

  • GTM EOY event at VIRginia International Raceway

  • Forza Motorsport 7 (XBOX) Virtual Racing League

  • GTM End of Year Survey & Membership Renewal

  • GTM v HOD Karting Event

Until next time, Merry Motoring, E.