One year during the 25 Hours Of Thunderhill for us California boys it was cold as hell and keeping my gloves and racing shoes dry was a must. It was only 30 degrees but the wind was terrible, blowing sideways and never letting up as the rain began to turn into sleet and snow. Of course we can’t have any type of heaters but we can have lights and anyone who has used halogen lamps know they get pretty hot.
I’ve really been enjoying all the road trip stories lately but Allan’s Mustang/snow story brought back visions I had hoped to forget long ago.
God knows I love my Mustangs but that snow is for the birds. Back in the 70’s I used to drive my Shelby up to Lake Tahoe even in the winter and one day we realized that because of the way the rear seat opened up into the trunk I could put a toboggan in there. Hell Yeah, Lake Tahoe here we come!
When it comes to getting off a toboggan I am an expert and I have only done it once. If I could find the SOB that first said “Hey that snow looks soft!” I would personally dig his sorry ass up and roll him down the hill I took my first toboggan ride down.
They say the rule of thumb is, the longer the toboggan the faster it will accelerate. Well, as soon as I tucked my feet inside I reached something like 489 miles per hour!!! (I may be exaggerating just a little but it sure felt like it.) No sooner than I felt the acceleration I tried braking in the FRIGING SOFT snow. The ankles are the first thing to go since the normal reaction is to stick your foot in the snow trying to stop. Then the legs, knees, hips and so on all feel as if they are broken. Ã‚Â That is about the time your ankles get shoved up through the spinal cord halfway to the frigin brain. and then the harder than the Rock of Gibraltar $@#%^&^$#@#@@# SNOW knocked me off and the 10 foot toboggan I chose to use and it went one way and I went the other way. If that wasn’t enough I could hear some lady yell, “EVERYBODY LOOK OUT! HERE COMES THEÃ‚Â NUT WITH THE 10 FOOT TOBAGGAN!!!!”
By now I had accelerated to about 10,000 friging miles per hour all in less than 2.3 seconds and there was nothing slowing me down as I plowed right thru the center of all the people who chose to play way down below in the “Children’s Hill.” But did I stay and play on the “Children’s Hill?” Oh NOOOOOOOOO! Of course not. I had to drag that damn 10 foot toboggan all the way to the top of friggin MT Everest or what ever in the hell it was called just before you get to Lake Tahoe. At any rate seeing’s how I was moving at such a rate of speed and my claws… Er I mean bloody nubs which were a result of my attempt to do my impersonation of a cartoon cat trying to stop and the same bloody nubs that left claw marks half way down the side of the mountain in the SOFT snow.
In the few seconds that it took for everyone to safely get out of my path of flames as I warned them with a blood curdling scream all the way down the mountain I still hadn’t slowed down. At this speed I was going fast enough to not only slide past all the kids but in fact I slid right on past the parking lot and then proceeded to skip all the way across highway 50 like a flat rock on water where I slammed into a snow bank which brought me to the stop I thought I would never live to talk about.
Ã‚Â The next time you are driving along the road and thinking to yourself, “My, that snow bank sure looks soft.” Think again. I’ll tell you what you can do with yer friging SOFT snow bank. There isn’t enough gas in the world to soak them all down with in my opinion! Now with what seemed like every bone in my body broken and in pain like you would NOT believe, the first thing I hear after the screeching tire is, “This guy is in trouble.” WELL NOOOOOO $HIT DUDE! Did you just see what in the hell I did? Evil Kenivel would be envious.” The next thing someone said was, “Hey let’s pry him off that snow bank and put him in that toboggan like a stretcher.” Oh that’s just friggin great! Put me back on the friggin thing that had just launched me the speed of SNOW!
The ride in the back of the Suburban to the hospital in Lake Tahoe was the ride to hell since I am positive they hit every single pot hole there was on the way there. After admission to emergency the doctor told me I was lucky but all I wanted to know was, “How do you figure since all I want to do is die.” Then my friends said, “If only you could have seen how close you came to getting hit by a truck when you slid across the highway!” I asked them, “Can you please just take me back and put me back in front of that truck?” Then the meds kicked in and I woke up the next morning on the sofa at the lodge. I swear there wasnt a bone in my boddy that wasn’t spraned, sore or falling off.
So the moral is if you wanna go to the snow…Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Well good for you and have fun and don’t bother sending me a post card. GOD I HATE THE SNOW!.
Without trying to one up Allan De La Plante post made earlier this week regarding tragedy on the highway some are far worse than others for their own sick reasons. But as this video so tragically shows there are some of us for some unknown reason will never be right.
I have seen so many blogs and websites that blatantly brag about street racing and if that isn’t idiotic as it is, trying to tell them how dumb it is is more akin to preaching to the Choir.
No sooner had I posted the LCP blog today when a friend sent me an message that read, “You will NOT believe this.” The number 319 a beautifully prepared E-Type Jag of Team Predator and driven by Mike Harris has had a black cloud over it from the day they got to Mexico. On the morning of qualification day the throttle stuck and tore off over a curb and into a sign pole damaging the front end and hood. The next day it came too close to something solid and scarred the drivers side of the car. Then today it lost control and went over a cement ditch and crashed into a mountain. It’s on a trailer now and it’s doubtful it will race any more.
The way things are going they better hope their trailer doesn’t fall off while their headed down the road. Don’t laugh.. it already happened to two other teams so far and they still have hundreds of miles to go.
Typically when you watch a major league baseball game or an NFL football game you have a pretty good idea who stands a good chance to come out on top. The same can be said when you are watching The Olympics and it’s also understandable for world class racing as well wether it’s NASCAR, 24 Hours of Le Mans or the WRC. Like the old saying says, “The cream will rise to the top.”
But this years La Carrera Panamericana has proven to be anything except a typical year. Over 120 cars stared out and by day 2 less than 75 cars crossed the finish arch. From there things got worse. Most (not all) of the teams who where expected to finish high in the daily standings have not. Some of the best prepared and well equipped cars have suffered blown engines, transmissions or crashed into the side of mountains. There attrition rate has been high not to mention expensive. Several of the top class cars with first cabin Winston Cup engines blew in the first two days. Some very beautiful vintage cars have body’s that look like they now belong in wrecking yards. One of the cars was a high end Maserati that spun and was collected by a mountain.
Sadly teams were not allowed to race at the famous Mexico City Autodromo Hnos Rodriguez which was supposed to be the opener for Sunday’s Nascar race because it was raining so bad the whole night before. The damp weather has caused numerous electrical problems that teams were not prepared for and many have broken down during race and transit stages. On the flip side of that coin is the fact that a Volvo has slipped into second overall running against cars that can easily do over 200mph!
At this stage of the long grueling race teams are tired, frustrated, cold and many of them feel as if they have beat up and left for dead. Many team and crew members are feeling sick after being exposed to so much bad weather in Mexico City complete with lots of acid rain.
The good news…. There is no good news. This morning teams left Quertaro and will end up later today on the very narrow, twisty roads in the mountains near San Luis Potosi and last report was they are soaking wet with the possibility of rain.
If there is one thing that can never be said about La Carrera Panamericana it’s that there are some dull moments. Long considered the most grueling and dangerous race in the world La Carrera Panamericana is nothing but full throttle excitement. If your adrenaline glands aren’t worn out by the time you return home it must be because they buried you some place in Mexico.
Yesterday was qualifying and while it’s not mandatory it’s a good time to shake out the car and leave some of the pesky cars behind so one can get on with business.
77 cars completed the qualifying run out of 102 cars total. There were 5 accidents and 2 people in the hospital and this is just qualifying! Now things will begin to get serious.
I don’t speak much Spanish but you don’t need to because Ford did such an awesome job making selling the car. But even more interesting to me is how once again Ford used the allure of a “race” version leaving what I believe to be a hook line and sinker in the corner of many young potential buyers. Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday.
Giant gallery after the break
And hey, I’m talking really high… 14,110 feet to be exact. As a matter of fact I have already begun training for it. Last week when Gary was here visiting Aaron and I took him for a quick spin around San Francisco. It was while I was stopped so Gary could snap off some photos in the middle of the very steep Lombard Street better known as the crookedest street in the world that I began thinking, “Hmmm, I haven’t done Pikes Peak yet.”
The world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb had not run vintage race cars in many years until last year and even though I was invited sadly I was unable to attend. This year that is not the case. It was simple… There is Pikes Peak, the ultimate hill climb that I have spent a lifetime of watching drivers race up to the clouds. Some of my fondest memories of my father include him and myself glued to a TV set watching as some of the biggest names in racing gave it their all.
Racing in the La Carrera Panamericana is one of the toughest races in the world for a driver but even harder for an engine builder and engine when you consider the amount of horsepower lost at the altitudes found there. But when it comes to altitude La Carrera Panamericana simply has to be considered child’s play when compared to Pikes Peak considering it starts out at 9,390 feet and then rises up to 14,110 feet. The good news is, the course is only 12.42 miles long. The bad news is it has 156 hairpin turns, 6 miles of which are paved and the restÃ‚Â are gravel. Last years event was blessed by beautiful summer weather but it is not at all unheard of to start out in 85 degree temps and on the way up to run into rain, fog or snow. To make it just a little more interesting the grade of the road is 10.5 percent.