Johnnie #5 returns to the Heartland along with PCA Club Racing
For those who have seen #5 at the race track since the Wonder Dog owned this magical piece of Porsche machinery, you may have noticed it looking a little worse for wear after 2017. Not that the car didn’t perform well; we took her to the podium in the NASA National Championships, taking 3rd place in a tough field, after suffering a broken shock and the pouring rain conditions. We also were crowned Regional Champion in NASA’s Central Region, taking the PTC class top award and giving it to an almost 30 year old Porsche! To say we had a great year would be an understatement. It was, however, time to do some mechanical repairs, and I made the decision to match the great performance with an updated look as well. I think the best description I heard after the paint was laid was that it is Disco-Fabulous. The paint color is Fire-mist Lime Metallic, and it is green, baby, like 1975 all over again, Bootsy would ride this thing, man! I added black, silver and orange decals and something else new too… PCA Club Racing stickers. That’s right; this was my first ever experience racing in this Porsche only series.
So most everyone knows that I took over as the Regional Director of NASA Central Region in January, so why am I racing with the competition, you ask? The answer to that is easy; we are all friends in racing. I worked with Bob Wayman and Dave Stadtmuller preseason to ensure this year we would not have any conflicting events; that way people could attend both and wouldn’t have to choose between the two. I am a diehard active PCA member and a NASA driver both, and I am proud to be a member of both organizations. Both of our organizations are stronger in the racing community if we work together.
We are really fortunate to have some really great people in the KC area that helped me get ready for PCA; you don’t have to do it alone. I want to thank both Dave Stadtmuller and Bob Wayman for your help in getting my PCA race license. I want to thank Brian Gay for your advice in all things Club Racing as far as classing the car and helping me get a log book.
The real hero here is Karl Wilen at RennsportKC. If you don’t know Karl, make it a point to do so, as he is an expert Porsche mechanic as well as a top flight racer. He supports us at the club level, which is awesome; you can also watch his work on TV as he helps the PF racing team in Pirelli World Challenge. I can’t thank him enough for his continued support to my racing career. As Karl would say “More gas… Less brake!”
To say the return of Club Racing to Heartland Motorsports Park was a success would be an understatement. There was a nice mix of race cars and Drivers Education participants. I saw a lot of beautiful machines doing what they were designed to do; enjoy the track. Personally, I had a great weekend of racing; I pushed old Johnnie #5 to first place all three races in SP3. I set a new personal best lap in the second race, dipping into the 1:58’s and got to spend the weekend with some of my best friends.
Racing to me has a special meaning. As a small business owner, I have lots of stress in my life. I have an almost two year old daughter that I constantly worry about. All of the daily junk that gets to everyone, I can let go of it when I am in the car. Racing brings this incredible focus to my life. When I am in the car, I don’t think about making payroll, or how to grow sales, or how to keep Evie safe from all the dangers in the world. It demands 100% concentration; it makes me feel alive like nothing I can explain, as I can put all my worries in life away for a short time and become in tune with this awesome machine. The noise of the exhaust, the smell of the fuel, the feel of the wheel, the smile I get when I get my heel toe just right, the excitement of running side by side with another car, picking my line just so to maybe go just a breath faster thru a corner; these are some of feelings I feel and the reasons I go racing.
People are always asking my advice; here it is. If you own a Porsche, get it out on the track at least once. Both PCA and NASA have great driver instructors who will help you learn, and you don’t have to be fast to have a great time, although if you pay attention to your instructor you will be faster by the end of the day. Take the time to experience what your machine will do when pushed. All Porsche vehicles are designed to go fast; you might as well go where you know you won’t get a speeding ticket! If anyone has any questions about driving, please feel free to reach out to me. Jbutcher@drivenasa.com or 785-331-8540, I enjoy meeting people and talking about my experiences and helping others to fully enjoy their Porsche.