Driver of the Month June 2005

June 2005

Name: Bruce  BellomAge:51City/State: Peekskill /New York

Profession: Law Enforcement

Congrats on your new position within the SCCA as being a part of the SCCA Solo Department New SiteAcquisitionCommittee. Tell us why you wanted to be involved with this, and a brief description of what they plan on doing in the near future, especially here in the Northeast?

I enjoy being part of start up programs, I feel  that  I have an ability to see what  makes a program  work and  then turn that  vision into a  reality.  We all know that  in the Northeast and in parts of the country  good solo sites are long and far between.      I feel  that  this committee will enable the regions to have  the tools  to  be able to acquire solo sites for themselves and  for use  at the national level.

Although the Site Acquisition Committee is in a start up phase, it appears now that site acquisitions will be organized from the initial cold call right through the negotiations  and finally  the contracts  to use those sites.   The committee will help  regions and their designated site acquisition members in all phases of the negotiations.
You are also Northeast Divisional Safety Steward, how long have you
held this position and a brief description of what you do for this?
    I have been the NorthEast Chief of Safety since 2000, I took this position over  from Jerry Bowden and before him Art Trier.  These were big shoes to fill since these men were pioneers in startup organized safety for Solo.  This position requires me to read all accident reports and make recommendations for improvement, in addition I am responsible for training and maintaining Solo Safety Stewards.   I field many problems that involve regions from Maine to Northern VA.   To date  we have increased our Solo Safety Stewards and decreased the number of incidents in this region.

How long have you been an Evolution Instructor? What do enjoy most at teaching at these schools? I have been an Evolution Instructor since 2000.  I truly enjoy working  with new autocrossers, and watching their steady improvements.  It gives me great satisfaction to be able to make someone go faster and make them aware of what they are  doing out on a course. I also enjoy chatting with these students at large events and watching their successes.

If you can tell all Evo students whom have just started autoxing one
thing to help improve thier skills what would it be?
Patience.  AutoX is a patient sport and the adage about “go slow to go fast”   means be patient. 

Sergeant Bellom, how do those cop cars really handle? Have you ever
autoxed one? 
Actually  I am the lead EVOC ( Emergency Vehicle Operation and Control) for the County of Westchester  NY.   The course I use for this training is your basic autox course, it is a 1 minute course.  Well all I can say is  yes  we have auto xed  the Caprice LT1 The Ford Crown Vic and the Chevy Camaro police package.  Although all Police vehicles come with a police package ( heavier springs and sway bars )  they handle well for a 4000 lbs vehicle.
Do you teach any type of schools for the police academy?I am a New York State Certified Police instructor, I have taught courses in Police Pursuit, R.A.D.A.R operation, Breath Testing of intoxicated persons, Police Ethics and Felony CAR Stops.

In your profession, how have things changed since 9/11?9/11 changed the world and the way we ( police officers ) look at situations today. The world is now looked at  under a microscope and in my honest opinion our freedoms have been compromised for the worst.

What year did you first get interested in (or start) autocrossing?  I began Autoxing in 1992.

Where was your first ever autox, and what did you drive/class?
I saw an event at SUNY Purchase that was put on by the Westchester Sports Car Club. The next week I went autoxing  and have never stopped. My  first car was a 1986 Dodge Daytona 4cyl. with 100 horses at 2800 lbs in H Stock.  I was placed in the Novice  class. I won  that  class that  day and  the following  week  I was placed in H Stock with the regulars and  I was humbled placing  7 out of 7.

What kind of car do you compete with, what class do you compete in, and
what are its particular strong suits in your opinion?
I currently drive a 2000 Camaro Z28 which is in FS.   The Camaro is a high Horsepower car with allot of low end torque. Second gear with race tires allow the vehicle to get to approximately 71. MPH this is quite sufficient for the majority of the autoX courses and up until 2004 it allowed the Z28 to be the car of the FS Class

What will be you next AutoX car after the FS Camaro? I am seriously thinking about driving the GS Mini Cooper. The Mini is a fun car to drive.

What tires will you using on your FS Camaro this season, and why?

In 2005 I started using the Kumho 710  265/45/16. This tire surprisingly seems to be very well suited for the Camaro,   It allows good lateral traction and bites coming off of corners.

What is your daily driver? I recently purchased a 2005 GMC Envoy.

How much of the sport do you think is attributed to driver skill vs.
car setup?

Although set up initially is key  to the success of the vehicle, the driver must be able to drive the set up that is dialed into the vehicle.   We see vehicles that have all the bells and whistles that would make it nationally competitive, but the driver is unable to use the benefits that he put into the vehicle.  So I think the split is 25% set up and 75% for the loose nut behind  the wheel.
What is it about autocrossing that keeps you interested?
Well I love the friends I have made in the sport and always look forward to seeing that new driver that makes the sport worth watching.  I enjoy conquering new courses every week especially the one that Perry Aidelbaum designs.

Do you constantly critique yourself during your runs or after the
I usually sit in my car after a run and reflect on the run, I am very hard on myself and always try to work on an aspect of the sport that will make me just a  little more complete.

Do you see yourself looking ahead enough during a run; do you talk out
loud in your car during the run?
Although I do look ahead, I don’t think I look far enough ahead, looking ahead is key in this sport.    It is funny  you ask this question, My friends Mike and Diane Johnson and Pat Salerno  laugh at me because they have an in car video of me at the 2003 Nats and all I am doing is talking to myself out loud during the run.
How do you feel after a fast, clean run?
Well, it is an awesome feeling of personal satisfaction of doing it right, although I have to say that doesnt happen that often.

Would you consider expanding your skills to wheel to wheel racing?Although I have thought about it,  I do not think  I would get as much enjoyment out of wheel to wheel as i have with autox.

What techniques do you use to memorize the course?
I try to look for specific cones on the course and then look for those sections that I consider to be critical.  I usually find  that  most courses have 2-3 critical areas and I focus on those.  In as much as courses are concerned, looking ahead on the course allows the driver to eliminate the need of point to point driving.

What trophies or titles have you won? 

I have many trophies for local events,  and have trophied many times at the nationals, tour events and at Pro Solo events.

What is your primary goal for the 2005 season?

To just drive my Camaro and get ready for the Nationals. I want to hone my concentration level and work on transitioning faster back  into the throttle.

Where is your favorite autocross site?

Well many of you  don’t  remember but  many  do,  The old Drop Zone in Wallkill NY was an awesome site of concrete and grip. In Recent years I think that Orchard Beach was a great site, FedEX field is  really good.
What was your favorite subject in school?

What do you enjoy doing when not racing?

I play scrabble and recently been bowling, I had a 265 game during this past winter, and I do enjoy the competition.

What is your favorite-

food- Spaghetti and Sausage and Meatballs

number- 15  and why?  15 is my Police Badge number and this number has been nothing but good  luck  for me

drink- I enjoy drinking  margaritas with my autox buddiestv show- Really enjoyed 3rd watch

movie-   Days of Thunder and Top Gun

music/band- Oldies

Would you ever enter the talent show at nationals and what would you
I don’t sing or dance  so I think I will Just  watch

Thank You Perry  it is a pleasure and an Honor.

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