St. Pete: Winners!

Hey Patrick,

I see congratulations are in order! And also, come on now, this is me…




It was so hard to miss that race! I had no way of keeping up, either. I think I had a few moments just before 1:00 to check out the blog for how your morning went (rough). But our race started at the same time as yours (and also ended at the same time – more on that later) and I was busy all day. Finally as the sun was setting, I was able to get onto the trackside WiFi and catch up. AWESOME! Thank heavens for Jen’s blog, as that was my only source of any type of detail about how the Lizards were doing. It’s hard to believe in this era of immediate access to every kind of information that the real-time coverage of ALMS sucks as it does, but it SUCKS. The Lizards do a far superior job at getting the information out. So thanks for that!

The 24 Hours of LeMons has been a scream! I’m so glad I made the trip. We were full of such excitement as the day started, putting the finishing touches on our raceday plans (and the car). But this was still such a rag-tag event in every way. The driver who did the first stint in our car chose this event for his first wheel-to-wheel race. Moxie! He was all ready to take off for the grid when I noticed his bare hands on the steering wheel. “Do you have your gloves in there?” I asked. Head-shake no. “Where are they, I’ll get them for you.” Head-shake no. “You need me to find some gloves for you?” BIG NOD. Heh! Details! With ten drivers standing around, he had his pick of gloves. He grabbed the first pair to reach the window and took off. He did a fantastic job, making several tidy passes, and getting some good speed on the one long straight.

We had no team communication, so we had a basic sign-on-a-stick and that was it! We got him in with no problems at the pre-determined time, fueled and got driver #2 into the car and off again. This was also a relatively new driver. Who had not brought a closed-face helmet. The LeMons rules didn’t require closed-face until this year, and some of our crew mistakenly assured him he was OK. Alas, the LeMons judges spotted him after a single lap and black flagged him to the “penalty box.” They also took this opportunity to exact an old grudge against our team owner, and the result was our penalty of having to write something silly on the car 100 times. Crew were allowed to help, so we got ten folks to write it ten times and were done in short order. In went driver #3, and off went the car. For about 100 feet. Leaking oil.

After a quick trackside check, the car went back out again, but we had to call him in about 10 minutes later, as he was smoking badly. As he came off the track, we could hear the death rattle. The car, she was dead. Well, kind of. The guys can’t really tell what the problem is without tearing the engine open. They searched for a replacement engine into the afternoon, and finally gave up. And started drinking beer. And after much beer, decided that we should just send the car back out with its death rattle and let it go until she dies for good and certain. I’ll see if that beer-fueled strategy is still in place when I get back to the track this morning! To be honest, I do not drink, and I was the biggest proponent. Why not? The car is toast anyway. Three of our drivers never got behind the wheel! I say send them out until the car dies. We’ll see what happens.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have sold our house! Two people looked at the place during the six months it was on the market. No offers. Then the listing expired, and one of the two lookers turns out to be an investor with an opportunistic mindset. He didn’t know that we had no real urgency about moving. It is definitely what we want to do, as we’re both driving an hour to work now, and would both love to live nearer our jobs. But we had no big deadlines or anything. It made sense to let the listing expire and try again in a year or so when the market improved. That was the plan, but then came the offer, and the back-and-forth, and I got a call while I was at the track today that we had a deal. Now the scramble is on to find a new place, and get moved! It’ll be tough. But we’ll be an hour closer to Barber, which will be 20 minutes from our new home. Life is good.

I originally called this post “Patience, Push,” but now I have no time to write about that! I’ve been thinking a lot about it, though. I’ve written about patience and about push myself, from my very limited beginner’s viewpoint. I am learning so much about it from observing other drivers, and from studying big-time drivers like you. I’ll have plenty of time to think about it some more on my long drive home later today, and I’ll be back another time with more on that.


Back to the track for me to see if the Pink Panther II will live to see another day.



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