Daytona opens the national racing season for the new year. IMSA and the ROLEX 24 and the Daytona 500 for NASCAR are big, traditional markers as calendars start to open for racing on tracks across the Country. National series and local short tracks are getting the off season turned on for the new season.

Locally, where I am in Virginia, the MDA Car Show opens the season for so many “car” options around SW Virginia (all over Virginia, but I’m in Roanoke). There are more shows coming up and some even have coffee available! Racing, of course, is on the doorstep. NASCAR is just weeks away at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway. South Boston has the SMART Mods as an opener. Franklin County Speedway has a season opener coming up. Virginia International Raceway has their season on tap. Natural Bridge Speedway also has practices coming up and racing on for April.

My plans are a bit different for early season events than has been the norm for previous years and schedules. I am checking NASA club racing at VIR and the SMART run at SoBo for March. However, NASCAR at Richmond and Martinsville are in a “conflict zone”. It’s covered. A very knowledgeable photographer has my back for keeping Missed Gear in the game.

The wife and I have a major trip on and it was set before the NASCAR schedule was finalized. In short, we’re going to Wales in the UK. Now, as it is that I’m missing two of the signature events I enjoy, I’ve convinced the best half to do something a bit more “carry” once we get there. We are doing a “Grand Tour”, such as it is…

From Heathrow in London, we will proceed in a standard issue rental car to Stonehenge. We will “Oooh and Aaaah” at old rocks and then proceed to the Royal Oak (Swallowcliffe) for the overnight stay and, hopefully, some dinner and a gin & tonic. The next day is travel north to Diddly Squat Farm. I’m not even sure the shop will be open but, if so, we’ll stop and get some provisions. We may stay over in town or drive on but the next stop is west at a car shop known as The Smallest Cog.

Yes… Somehow I’ve convinced the woman who planned the trip to take the first few days to visit the business locations of James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond who, of course, are the famed “Top Gear” and “Grand Tour” trio. Will I meet any of them…? Odds are likely not as there really hasn’t been any advance contact. It would be a fascinating bonus to meet them and compare some notes and stories but, as they say, I’m not holding my breath.

But who knows…?

Here in Virginia, racing is going green. Car shows are gathering. The season is turning and events are there. Support the shows. Support the tracks. It is appreciated. Go driving, Virginia!