Near and Far

Hey Pat!

Wow what an O’Henry twist in qualifying today! Ford on the pole? Well hellooooo there! Looks like your car qualified around the middle of the GT2 pack, and I need to look and see if you are ahead of Risi? It’s bizarre that I was actually right there at the race, actually standing behind the Flying Lizard pit, when it all busted loose in afternoon qualifying. I could hear the hooting and hollering, but the announcer, not so well. It was something involving the Risi car, I think. And I’m just to my hotel and haven’t read up yet to see what that was all about. Embarrassing but true!

Oooooook – just checked Jen’s blog, and the #62 had a tire puncture and that fried them for qualifying (no tire changes). Sounded like he almost got hit or almost hit somebody, though? More reading up later. I see from the results that it was the Ford, then the two Vettes, then the two BMWs, then you, and Risi six spots behind you, I believe. Well as long as you stay one to either side of the #62, you have the championship, if I am not mistaken. Ten hours is a long time, so you are fine to be able to do that, though I know the variables encountered in a ten hour race can make it anybody’s game. And let me just add that despite the outcome of qualifying, I think that on the grid for tomorrow, Feinberg/Hall should be behind Law/van Overbeek/Neiman – JUST BECAUSE (JOEL I AM LOOKING AT YOU). And also, is that Jag actually going to leave the paddock tomorrow?

I don’t want to get much further without addressing the title of this entry, which refers to the fact that I was about twenty feet away from you for a good while today, but the timing, she was all off. It was the middle of qualifying and it was busy over there to say the least. What an awesome operation you guys have. And boy, was it hot today or what? Dayum. Not as bad as we’ve had it here at Road Atlanta, but you know, once it’s damned hot, it’s just damned hot!

A real high point of the day was that I did get to finally shake Thomas Blam’s hand, which was fantastic. His shop was so good to me awhile back, sight unseen, and I just really was happy to meet him. He and another race engineer or whatever you call them (Mr. Ingraham I believe, I am sorry I can’t really remember your name) did a great presentation to the PCA folks gathered at the Porscheplatz. The publicity for the event included “drivers” so I was hoping to meet some of you guys at the Porsche tent. That was not to be today!

So after my stint working the parade laps registration table was up (and after I drove parade laps, woohooo!), I headed down to the paddock to see if I could see you guys. But again – timing, off. Plus, once I trudged down there, it was just too damned hot (did I mention? it was hot!) to hang around. I actually came up on a golf car flying a Porsche flag, and hitched a ride back up the hill. I saw the end of qualifying live and in person from high on our little hill, and then I beat it out of there to grab my hotel room before they gave it away.

It was a fantastic drive over, with dramatic morning skies resulting from loads of fog lifting off the roads heading east. And I mean very early morning skies – I left at 2:30 and got to the hotel at 7:00 (hour time diff in there) and was at the track by about 7:30. The part of the interstate that was under flood waters two days ago was clear and there was no sign of it havign been flooded – except the stench through there. Yow. When I got to the track, and back to the Porscheplatz, the registration tables were indeed low on personnel, so I hopped right in there and helped out with parade laps registration.

We didn’t register our 100th car until five minutes before we staged to head out there, but we had an impressive array of cars, old and new, racers and garage queens and daily drivers and everything in between. And I hardly took any pictures. I was too busy working, and running around hugging people, and OK, I confess, that was me, standing at the edge of the tent, waving my arms and hollering, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” all NASCAR-style. Yeah, baby! Hey, what the hell. It was authentic and inspired – I really do love the sound of race cars in the morning. And I was so tickled when the GT2 cars were out and I got to see the great gaggle of Porsches come around. I get all excited like a five-year-old, I swear.

It’s good to be five.

Speaking of which, I got a big kick out of parade laps, of course. One of the PCA officers from my home club was here, but without his Porsche, and he asked me if he could ride along with me. I was happy to have the company! Though it took some doing to rearrange all my crap that was still in the car since I didn’t stop at the hotel to totally unload first (just dropped off those tree seedlings). He knows Road Atlanta well, and he had me take the actual line through there and talked to me about each of the corners. I have to say, I find it so disorienting to have the whole place so full of people. I hardly recognize my usual landmarks. Two laps at 40 mph was not really a way to learn this track, but I enjoyed the holy hell out of it. I figure every minute I can spend on the actual track will help me when I eventually get out there for real. I let the cars ahead of me get some distance as I got to the turn 10 complex the second time, and with a little coaching from my passenger, I actually used the opportunity before me to really drive it. Awesome!

And the opportunity to really accelerate provided an opportunity for me to have somebody who knows something feel what my car is doing. It’s hard to describe, but “hiccup” says it best. Like I have water in my gas, or a bad fuel filter, or even a skip or miss in a cylinder. It’s time for a valve adjustment anyway, so once I’m able, I’ll have to get a good look at that. My passenger side window quit working for awhile, but I hoped it was just waterlogged. Once the car had dried out some, it worked, so for a number of reasons, I really need to see about the whole car-taking-on-water thing also.

I was going to title this entry, “Your Stalker Blogger Awaits You.” But that would be a little too stalkery. I really was hoping to get to shake your hand, though. And get some driver autographs on my helmet, dammit. I’ll get there early tomorrow and maybe I’ll luck out then. I buddied up to Paul from Porsche AG today – hee! And while I have your manager’s cell number, I am loathe to use that. Too stalkery! But I know he’s here. In fact, when he emailed me back to say he’d be here with Shane Mahoney, I had to laugh at the Irishness of it all! But it would be great fun to put some faces with all these names. So if you or Thomas or Sean or Jen happens to see this, feel free to call me at two oh five-three one zero-seven zero zero one, and hook me up! Actually I will probably drop Thomas an email. Why not? When else will I be in the same town as you guys? Another year, in all likelihood. I may have actually learned how to drive by then!

Alright, well since I’m finished early today, I am thinking about heading out tonight to take care of that little gardening project I wrote about last time. Then I can have a longer visit with my mum on Sunday. Eat well, sleep well, and drive like I know you can tomorrow, all of you! Really, the very best, luckiest luck to you Lizards!


PS Hey on the topic of luck, do you have any lucky charms you take along when you drive? A four-leafed clover in your pocket, a family photo, a troll doll?


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