Driver of the Month August 2019 – Danny Kao

Name: Danny Kao

Age: I saw Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, live on a RCA console TV.
City/State: North Potomac, MD
Daily Profession: Computer guy
Daily Driver: 10th Gen Civic Si
Current AutoX Car/Class: Nissan GTR/SM
Family: Wife and two grown smart daughters
What was you first car? 1976 VW Fuel Injected Bug
What was your favorite subject in school? Sadly… Chemistry.
Did you get any tickets as a teenager? Amazingly, no.
What was your first exposure to motorsports and at what age? Motorcycle Racing in my early 30s. Not counting wanted to buy a Porsche 935 when I was 7.
How did you get started in Autox? In 2006, I bought a 92 Miata with hardtop for $1100 with the intention of running on the track. After failed tech at the last available Summit Point track-day, someone suggested to give autocross a try. I found an event 2 hours north of me at Hershey (Susq-SCCA) the following week and learned that Jason Burns is the God of autocross. I have been autocrossing ever since.
What did you drive during your first AutoX season? 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution 9 SE.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started? Don’t try to drive like Sam Strano, it’s not possible for me to master.
What made you choose your current autox car? Eric Hyman gave me a ride in 2014 Dixie Tour in his “Godzilla”. Ever since then I dreamed about owning one.
Who is your biggest influence in the sport? Haha… ME! I am a bad influence.
Funniest autox story, if any?
  • James Newman and I used to travel together to autocross events. We had plenty of bickering back and forth. One day on the way to Spring Nationals, he and I had a bet on “Who is faster at Spring Nats in Super Stock ladies? Donna Marx or Shelly Monfort”. The loser has to eat whatever the winner decides. Newman was the big loser, and I made him ate a 2 lbs hamburger with nothing but mayo from “King Kong” next to Fletcher street right before we headed home. Newman proceeded to get into a food coma, slept for 13 hours straight from 7pm to 8am and farted the entire way while I struggle to keep my eyes open driving back to Maryland from Lincoln the entire night. I guess no one won the bet there.
  • Dover Tour. I took a new to me 93 BMW 325is (I paid $995 for it) and let Mike Kline and Pat Griffith drive it in STX. The car suck so bad it broken down several times. After Day 1, while onsite, I was told a lighter battery will help the car a lot. While I was out getting a battery, several people gutted the car for me to be “STX legal”. See Youtube video here: Toilet Duck Chronicles
Scariest moment as a driver? My 2nd autox event. My first run in my new Evo, I spun at the first corner and got disoriented. Instead of going the right direction, I found the next set of cones and drove right to it and almost had a head-on with JR Fisher.
In the past year or so, what have you learned to help improve yourself as a driver and your car setup? Fried Oreos
Do you left-foot brake? In your opinion how has this helped you? I don’t left foot brake. I used to. I am not coordinated enough to LFB.
Do you use a data logger/Video, if so how has it helped you? I used data a little less frequently now. I still record all my runs. It helps me to remember I had fun that day autocrossing, but that’s about it. I do not review videos to see my mistakes.
Worst autox advice you ever received? I “have to” shuffle steer. That confused the heck out of me.
Best autox advice you ever received? “You know how to drive, you just don’t know how to autocross – Dave Newman”.
How do you critique yourself after a run? Did I put 100% effort into my run? If I did, then I don’t care what the result is and I am happy.
What is your primary goal for the upcoming season? Participate in as many events as possible, but I still want to travel, and maybe play some golf.
The most fun autocross car you’ve ever driven? My F125 shifter.
Least fun car you’ve autocrossed? Focus ST.
If you could pick anyone’s AutoX car to run at Nationals? Jeff Kiesel’s Sprite.
What would be your ultimate car build for AutoX? My own Godzilla, or my own Sprite.
What trophies or titles have you achieved? It’s enough to define autocrossing as one of the biggest hobby in my life.
Websites/Forums/Podcast you check daily? Facebook.
Food? Fettuccine Bolognese
Drink (alcoholic)? Diet Coke
Vacation Spot? Wherever my wife wants to go
AutoX Site? Pocono, Wilmington