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I'm assuming a good autocross driver is better able to feel out a fast line in a short amount of time.

That is one of the key skills that autocrossers learn, but track day drivers and club racers usually don't learn as quickly or as well. It was a huge advantage when I raced in the '80s and '90s because I did a lot more autox than track driving. During my last go-around, I did way too much club racing and only a couple of autoxes, which was exactly backwards from what I should have done. I expected to have some serious deficits of basic skills after a long gap out of the cockpit, but the ones that I lacked were not what I expected.

When my job/family situation opens up enough that I can go play on the weekends again, I plan to focus on autox exclusively until I really feel ready for the track. I hope to find a good driver coach during that time.

Just to quantify my performance through Riverside: Entry speed was 128 mph, minimum was 110, and max lateral was 1.82g on my best lap. If you fall off the track in those conditions, you are going to go a long way through the dirt with a good chance of going upside down. I would ease the throttle back down as quickly as I felt comfortable with. I did ease up toward the limit during the race, and I found it late in the race. The rear end started sliding, but I caught it with a lift and countersteer. That sort of risk was way more than I was ready to handle given my lack of skills and recent experience.

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