Once around NHMS
- Published: 23 February 2009 23 February 2009
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As you are exiting the bowl, be thinking ahead and look beyond Turn 7 up the hill to gauge your line. The track sweeps slightly left and then right over the crest of hill, however you want to drive this section between 7 and 9 in as straight a line as possible. Note the flag station on your right, a tower called the “tree house”.
Place your left front wheel at the apex rumble strip of Turn 7. Point the car slightly right and straight over the hill, which will place your right front wheel on the rumble strip at the track-out cone two-thirds of the way up the hill on the right. The track out cone for turn 7 is also the turn in cone for Turn 8. Continue straight over the hill, drifting slightly to the right, steering for the right edge of the track at the crest of the hill.
The apex for Turn 8 is located just before and below the tree house flagging station. Newly paved in 1999, the correct marker point for the apex of Turn 8 is the junction of the new pavement and the pre-existing white line along the edge of the track, configured in an angled “V”. This “turn” will not seem much of a turn, more a very shallow curve to the right.
A fast and somewhat blind section of track, the car will have a tendency to feel very light over the top of the hill and it is important to keep some positive power to the rear wheels here. Make sure you let the car settle before beginning to brake for Turn 9. See the apex cone for Turn 9 ahead (on the left side of the track) and drive in a straight line down to it, moving from the right to the left side of the track.
Brake hard and in a straight line as you approach this left-hand downhill corner. Slightly off-camber, this corner does not reward over-aggressiveness. (Downshifting may be needed, dependent on your car, and can take place in the braking zone before Turn 9, or just before the turn in to Turn 10.) Turn 9 is actually a double apex turn. The first apex is along the grass edge and short berm on the left, the second at the beginning of the concrete wall on the downhill side of the turn.
As you reach the first apex, keep looking left around the corner, but be patient with the turn in, which is properly made well past the apex cone, and mid-pavement on the track. Turn left smoothly and decisively, at steady throttle, and straighten the wheel to end up parallel to the concrete wall on the left of this downhill.
Brake along the wall in a straight line and then angle right toward the apex cone. The apex is right at the end edge of the tire barrier. Past the apex, track all the way out to the left edge of the track under acceleration. Smoothly move back over to the center of the pavement, looking ahead and left to Turn 11. (This is a very short passing zone for the upper run groups.)