My name is Oleg Pudeyev and I spend most of my weekends on race tracks.
I started autocrossing in 2006 not long after I got my driver's license. It was interesting but I wished for more seat time. I had my first track day in 2008 with CART, and liked it a lot. I discovered drifting around 2009, probably from watching Tokyo Drift, and spend some time attending drift events. I gradually transitioned from autocrossing to track days, drifting and drifting on race tracks. While this was going on during summers I spent winters ice racing with A.M.E.C.. And when my regular cars were down for repairs I ran flagpole races at Hudson "International" Speedway.
In 2010 I decided to focus on track days rather than drifting. Track days offered more seat time and were more exciting in my still largely stock Miata. I stopped going to drift events but I believe drifting is an extremely useful discipline as it teaches car control faster, and safer, than road course grip driving does.
In 2010-2012 I have been mostly running a mix of time trials, HPDE events and open track days. I was looking to become faster, to which end I installed a Racepak data acquisition system in my car, and drive closer to the limit. Fellow competitors started to note that I was a fast driver.
Early in 2012 I resolved to become an instructor, and hatched a plan to do so. I did not know if I would be a good instructor, but I tried my best and put effort into preparation. This website started from thoughts, notes and materials I used early in my instructing days.
Becoming an instructor accelerated my learning as a driver. For example, it was during the first instructor clinic I attended with TrackDaze that a fellow instructor suggested I left foot brake. I spent a year working on left foot braking alone. An instructor has better access to other instructors, as all instructors are on the same level. An instructor who is eager to learn thus learns faster.
Around the same time I started doing my own work on my cars. Not only did this save me a lot of money, this also gave me the knowledge to fix the cars at the track should they break. In 2013 I started doing my own alignments which were cheaper and worked better than shop alignments. Being able to make setup changes is a very useful skill to have.
I took 2012 time trial championships with EMRA and NASA NE, as well as ran a partial season with IMG.
In 2013 I was able to instruct most weekends. Due to my background in competitive driving and drifting, as well as me being comfortable with higher aggression levels that routinely occur in either, I often offered coaching to intermediate and advanced drivers. Thanks to Riesentoter PCA I earned National PCA Instructor certification which helped me to instruct at more events in 2013. I continued to run time trials with IMG with an eye toward racing wheel to wheel with them when I had a suitable car. Eventually I found a great deal on a ready to race Civic, bought it, and had my first road course race weekend with IMG.
I was looking forward to running a full race season with IMG in 2014. Unfortunately I switched the order of spark plug wires on my Civic race car, a trivial problem that cost me half a year until it was finally identified by Bill Rudtner. Not long thereafter I lost Civic's engine entirely, seemingly putting an end to my racing season. But in a huge surprise Charlie Greenhaus offered me two half-days of racing in one of his Entropy Sports Racers, and I had a blast! As a result of these races I resolved to procure a Spec Miata to run in a class with many cars of similar performance.
Plans for 2015 include rebuilding the Civic for NASA Honda Challenge H2 class and racing it. After many years of hoping to race on road courses I am closer than ever to running a full race season. I also started researching a Spec Miata acquisition, with an eye toward running with SCCA and NASA in the Spec Miata class in 2016. And, as always, I am expecting to catch up with old friends and make new ones throughout the Northeast!