"Even stupid questions have answers." --Linus Van Pelt
Or as someone else (I forget who) said, there are no stupid questions, only
Yep, you can do what you basically need to do if you show up Wednesday early
enough to get through Registration and Tech (I'd recommend no later than noon).
That does not mean it is a good idea, especially for a first-timer.
Besides, the Nationals "experience" is far, far more than just driving the
autocross. Don't cheat yourself out of that. Hundreds of us spend a week for
our six minutes of track time. Obviously there is more to Nationals than that.
Probably most of it can be summed up in one word: Camaraderie. It's a week-long
party/reunion with several hundred of your closest friends.
1. close to the event site and
2. at a reasonable (<100 a night) price
No. Not exactly that anyway (tongue in cheek)
Close is first the Raceway Inn (800-657-7215) which is right there on the
Forbes property, less than a mile from the event itself. And you are talking
more like $50/nite or less depending on whether or not you get the kitchinette
and how many in the room. But it is a spartan joint. no pool, no sauna,
minimal TV (but you do get networks, ESPN, TNN I think .. did you come to
spend the nights watching TV?). No restaurant, but there are happenings every
evening that all come with food. We like the kitchinette to do breakfast.
Next closest is the cluster on south Topeka Blvd. about 6 miles north, but with
the possible exception of the Plaza Inn, they are all dumps that experienced
Nationals types have warned people away from the past few years. Avoid them.
Instead, look up I-470 to the very nice cluster at the Wanamaker Road exit.
There's a Days Inn (we've used it too, very happy with it), Comfort Inn,
Fairfield Inn, some others nearby. Lots of restaurantsz around. And Remingtons
where the Monday party is is right there too.
You are under $100/nite, maybe quite a bit under, at these.
Fancier yet is the AmeriSuites further north on Wanamaker, and of courze the
Capitol Plaza (now designated the HQ hotel of Nationals) with a special SCCA
rate if $79 which includes a comp breakfast, according to the latest
Nationals newsletter. Phone there is 785-431-7200. It is on the grounds of
the Kansas Expocentre where the Wednesday and Friday banquets are held. All
the amenities, of course.
Courses -- Yep, the same ones stay up all week long. You can walk them a
hundred times if you want (when cars aren't running). If you are running CS
on T-F, you may get a good idea from watching AS or BS on T-W.
Wisdom/warnings? Gee, if I had that, I'd be faster! :-)
The paddock is HUGE!. More than 1000 vehicles in it including support vehicles.
So if you don't show up by the Pro Solo weekend, you can forget about finding
a space in the front half, just about. But you will still find ample space
in the back. You might consider bringing a bicycle just to get around, if you
don't want to be hopping in your autocrosser every time you want to visit a
course or a concession stand. If you are in the back of the paddock and want to
see the North Course, that is a loooooooooong walk. If they can find one,
however, there may be a shuttle bus.
Beyond that, don't come with any expectations other than to have fun. You will
meet a caliber of driver that is just astounding. Don't try to drive heroically
(it will just slow you down), but approach that part as it it was just another
fun event back home. (yeah, right). Enjoy just being part of the circus, and
if somehow trophy happens, hey, great. Otherwise, in your driving, try for the
same basic goal most of us strive for back home .. quicker times on this run
than you set the last run, and the heck with what everyone else is doing.
Oh yeah, and be sure to find our DTN, JD Kemp, and say hi.