Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Where’s Waldo?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2013 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Well that title is just a stupid way to start a post here, but I’ve been kind of missing. This is my first since September 2012? Wow. It’s been too long.

I must begin by saying I CAN’T BELIEVE I MISSED YOU AT THE HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA back in April! You spent lots of time at the PCA hospitality tent, and oh how I cannot believe I missed the opportunity to ask you all the questions I’d love to ask you in person. And to get you to take me for a spin in my still-stock 1988 911! Even if just around the access road (as much time as you’ve spent at Barber, I’m sure you’ve been as naughty as anyone on that road!). In years past, I would have been working away at the tent where you spent so much time, registering visitors, raffling off door prizes, posting schedule changes…when I wasn’t working the car corral, or running around rounding up supplies and speakers and cables and ice other things when you are “working” the tent for the club. Any other year I’d have been all over it! But this year, the race came too close to my birthday, which hubby and I had already planned to spend on the Fort Morgan beaches west of Gulf Shores, Alabama. I was watching the race from vacation, and when I saw the tweeted and facebooked photos of you at my club’s hospitality tent…well if I’d had my 911, I might just have tried very hard to speed the 4 (3?) hours back up to see you! Alas, I didn’t, and I didn’t.

Beyond that, my motorsports endeavors have been on hold again, thanks to another stupid car accident! My only contribution to this one was being out on the interstate on Christmas Day in a terrible, blinding downpour. Hubby and I were on our way back from Atlanta, and had planned to blow thru Birmingham and go on to Tuscaloosa for our Christmas visit with hubby’s family. We were in our 2004 Honda CR-V, and we were already spinning by the time my brain processed the bang of a car hitting ours, and all we could do was watch with awe as the headlights flew by our windows. Then another impact, more spinning, then flying straight backward, we could see everything as we crossed all four lanes of interstate before the back of the car hit the inside wall and we came to a rest facing the wrong way.

To our utter amazement, we were unhurt. The first thing we did was to kind of hold our hands in front of our eyes and turn them around, looking for blood. We couldn’t believe we were not bleeding, not hurt at all. We were covered in broken glass, the rain was coming in, the engine was still running. We gathered our wits about us quickly, as we were now hanging out into the fast lane at an angle from the wall, with cars speeding toward us around the turn. Not good. We grabbed a cell phone and called 911. Our spectacular accident, just near the airport exit, had already been called in, with injuries reported. I’m sure the caller thought we had to be at least hurt. So did we.

Several cars stopped and came to our aid. The first man told us that he was next to us and saw what happened. A Lincoln Town Car came up fast behind us, and when he went to pass, he lost control and started spinning. When he hit our car, his came to a stop, while ours went spinning first in one direction, where I think we clipped the wall on the other side, then back across all the lanes to where we were. The other car kept on going. Hit and run. Nobody had a good enough description to do anything, though hubby did see a car EXACTLY meeting the description of the one that witnesses said hit us, with damage on the right front end and fender….in front of the police station. An unmarked police car. Who knows.

So that’s the big wreck story. My already-messed-up neck got even more messed up, so my range of motion is a little limited, and it hurts like a mofo most of the time, though it’s getting better. So no helmet until I’ve got a better handle on that. The car was totaled, and we had a new one by the next weekend, a 2005 to replace the 2004.

And now while I have absolutely no fear about being in a race car, even in the rain (love that, actually!), I confess I have become kind of phobic about driving on the interstate in the rain. So I avoid it, or get a ride with somebody else, or whatever. I mean, I don’t get hysterical and pull off the interstate when it starts to rain or anything! But actually, I think I have managed to avoid even being on the interstate in the rain by watching the weather and planning my travel. For whatever this silly drivel is worth.

Meanwhile, as the real live professional sports car racing season started to shape up, I found myself sitting here with a great big “WTF” cloud hanging over my head. What in the world? Just after the end of last season, I think, Porsche Motorsport started making noises about new cars rolling out and changes here and there with teams. Next thing I knew, there was an announcement about no more Porsche factory alliance with Flying Lizard, and the Porsche Works drivers such as yourself and Jorg B were quickly replaced on the Lizard team. In fact, one of the drivers I used to GUSH to about you is now driving the old Lizard #45 (Spencer Pumpelly). I saw another announcement soon after about you going with CORE and R4R, and still, the big WTF cloud hung over my head.

What just happened? I suppose if I were still hanging around the tracks, I would have had some better intel. I’ve not been over to Franz Blam Racing in awhile, so I didn’t really have those brains to pick about it. Your website was quiet other than the announcements. A few hints on Twitter but nothing I could really figure out. I knew you were going to be on the sidelines for some of the season’s first races, and I wondered how hard that might be to do. I saw interviews with you where you talked about it a little, and I don’t know you well, but I think that I can say that I know you are a race car driver, and everything in you was probably aching to be behind the wheel at those first races. I know you are rolling with it and making the best of the changes, but I am just guessing that if you were in charge of the world, things may have gone a little differently around the transition.

Maybe next time you are nearby, I will manage to get out to the track and ask you all these burning questions myself! Until then, I am watching and rooting for you, loud and obnoxious as ever, of course. I think some of your time this season you may be sharing a car with one of my favorite drivers, and one of my only REAL DRIVING COACHES, Mike Skeen! Couple of ginger boys should make for a fiery season, I say!

Wherever you are, whatever (Porsche) you’re driving, GO GIT IT!!!!

x0x0x0x
VroomGrrl

Quick

Posted in Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 by vroomgrrl

Dear Pat,

Just a quick note to follow the last bit of a bomb-drop. I’m still here! And we have some new friends checking in. I’m fairly certain you don’t read this thing, and even more certain that very few people ever read this thing. But now that I know a handful of folks have come clicking over here, I’m all self-conscious about leaving that last note just hanging out there. So here we are!

I’m sat in a dumpy hotel room in west Alabama, getting ready to slip into my gladiator costume for a day of top secrit gubmint work. Most of a year has passed since I penned my last note here, and things are good. Soon after I wrote that, I learned that I would not need any chemotherapy or radiation. That’s a relief! I had said I’d snapped back from surgery like a rubber band, but when I wrote that, I didn’t have the benefit of hindsight that I have now, to tell you that the rubber band lost a bit of its snap for awhile there. I thought some of the physical (inside) changes I experienced early on might last forever. The most bothersome of those are…well, pretty much back to normal. My follow-ups so far are all clear. WHEW! Most of the changes of the past few months have centered more around managing my energy and my time. 

Speaking of which, my writing time is gone for the moment. Time to hop into the fleet car and take on the day. More later, promise! 

x0x0x

VroomGrrl

All Apologies

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

Finally, I’m back. I was watching the races from Road America over the weekend, an I got to feeling awful that I was letting this site languish! Sorry I have not really lived up to my self-proclaimed biggest! fan! ever! hype of years back! And I do not want to give the appearance of being a fair-weather fan, which I am not. I just had no idea how true the title of the last entry would turn out to be, “The Year of Me.” Hee!


So the trip for the first 2 weeks of April was AWE. SOME. I can finally tell you that we went to B3irut, L3banon! That’s where my father was born and raised, not coming to the US until he and my mama were about to have me in 1961. My dad died in 2008, not long before I started this little bloggy project, and this trip is something Daddy and I had always talked about doing together. And something I’d dreamed of all my life. So when I found out all the relatives I was trying to hook up with around Europe were all planning to gather in B3irut, right around my birthday, no less, all Le Mans plans were off, and the trip to B3irut was on!

It was only slightly complicated by the fact that I have a top sekrit gubmint j0b and all. Just some extra paperwork, and a cliffhanger of a wait for the final layer of approval which came the night before departure. And we were off! Oh man, it was completely fantastic. I met all kinds of cousins I’d never met before, stayed in the home of my dear auntie with all her kids and grandkids, went walking thru the C3dars, down by the sea, and everywhere in between. I met some car people! And saw all manner of incredible cars. Those L3banese are some car-lovin fools! My daddy came by it honestly.


We went by the street that bears our family name, saw my parents’ first apartment, met the ancient auntie I’d heard about my whole life, saw the chapel where my parents were married, on the corner of what used to be the old family homestead, back in better days. Now all that’s left is the old family chapel (actually a stunning piece of 1960’s avant garde style) that’s been turned into a little neighborhood church. My grandparents are entombed below in what used to be a basement chapel – now storage! Kind of sad, but still good to “see” them, see this place, see all these places.

Some decent drivers took the wheels of various conveyances, and it’s hard to say which was more exciting, the wild-west inner city driving, or the wild-west-plus-livestock-and-deadly-drops-with-no-guardrails mountains. Obviously, the latter. We saw ruins of ancient palaces; we ate like kings and queens. And we had birthday parties! Several of them, one for each of us, with a different kind of cake for each. Stout Arabic coffee. Mmmm. I came home with my own coffee pot and enough training to do it right for myself here at home.

OK well anyway I could go on for WEEKS. Enough about that.

Then right back home and into a patch of really crazy time at work. I had a HUGE challenging assignment, which I may have referred to in the past. Professionally, it was one of the biggest challenges of my career. All eyes on me. Gladiator suit? CHECK. Oh, I was readier than ready. I was Olympics-ready. I completely kicked ass every step of the way, won every little battle. Kicked the entire thing’s ass every step of the way! But the big decision at the end? Oh man, I lost that bigger than SHIT. I lost. I HATE LOSING.

Yeah, I know, you do too!

I have been keeping at least a corner of an eye on you and the Flying Lizards over the year, and man, it’s been rough. Did I jinx you by rooting against you? Remember, Pat, the blog has your name in it, but it’s all about… (say it with me)….ME! Yes. So. Really crazy year out there in GT! We saw it coming over the end of last year, all the other marques finally got their $hit together and they have mounted a serious challenge to Porsche this year. When it’s not random stupid luck or crazy conditions, it’s mechanical crap, something you guys have not had to deal with as much in previous years.

Well I was going to try and come here and write a quick note, but I am constitutionally incapable of writing you a quick note, it seems. So I’ll just have to end abruptly and come back with photos and further catching up and commiseration on the whole concept of feeling good about all the work that went into fucking NOT WINNING.

Have you seen “Senna,” the just-released long-awaited documentary about Ayrton Senna? It’s rolling out all over the world, the past week or two in the US. It won Sundance for documentaries. I get to see it this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it!

Bye for now
x0x0
VroomGrrl

“The Lost Spyder” – a Mystery Novel by Sean Michael

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hiya Pat,

Wonder where this weekend will find you? Hmm. I could go check! Well anyway now that you are driving in the WC series, I need to go check their schedule. Is there a WC race in conjunction with the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, mayhaps? Ooh I will hate it if you are right here and I don’t get to see you! Alas, I will be away for that weekend.

So in my last note, I alluded to this post, in which I want to tell you about my friend Sean Michael’s first mystery novel called The Lost Spyder.

So there I was, walking across the parking lot of the Cantina restaurant from where I’d just parked my 1988 911. It was the night of our monthly club social with my local PCA. As I approached the restaurant, I saw a couple of men and a woman standing at the open trunk of a speed yellow Boxster. One of the men was getting out a box, and taking something out of the box, and handing it to the other man. I overheard as I passed, “Yeah, it’s my first novel….” So me being me, I walked up on the conversation.

You see, we needed a speaker for our next club meeting. And his book, a mystery involving a search for a long lost Porsche 550 Spyder, sounded like a great feature. I listened to him talk about the book, and he’s just a great guy. His wife Kristy was equally engaging. So that’s how I learned of Sean’s book. We hatched a plan to have him be the guest speaker at our next meeting.

IMAG0463Then the club gang decided we needed a special venue, since Sean was willing to actually bring his 550 replica which is just gorgeous (and sounds great!). So we chose Ted’s Garage in downtown Birmingham, which we learned had just been taken over by a team including John Copeland of TRG fame. John is a fantastic supporter of our local club and I was so happy to get to see him and get a little caught up with him. Awesome guy. We got the details worked out. I was standing in the venue chatting away when I heard the 550 motor fire in the distance. My head whipped around in the direction it came from, and I saw it coming across the street from where they’d off-loaded it. What a beautiful piece of work, a really nice replica. Yes, I know you’ve driven the real thing!

IMAG0469The evening was almost magical in feeling. The space just has this great feeling with fantastic cars stacked floor to ceiling, historic endurance race posters everywhere, along with other memorabilia. It was one of the first great warm spring-ish evenings, and they threw the actual garage door wide open, giving us this huge indoor/outdoor space to mix and mingle. Sean had prepared a presentation with some history of the 550 Spyder, and some backstory on the writing of the book.

IMAG0470He’s a great speaker, and it made for a wonderful night. He brought a box of books and stuck around to sign them for folks. He sold the whole box and could have sold two! All good things must come to an end – and I managed to capture a little snippet of him driving the car back out of the venue to load up for the ride home

Our friend Dede has posted her review, and links to some of Sean’s short videos about the book. I need to figure out how to put a copy into your hands. If you enjoy a good, quick mystery, you’ll love it. I loved that part of it was set in Birmingham, and got a kick out of recognizing touches of several local characters and places.

Here you go, please click thru to Dede’s write-up, and have a look at Sean and his book. Watch your mail, I’ll find a way to get one off to you before…um, before, well. I will tell you about that next time!

Porsche 550 CLICK HERE for more on “The Lost Spyder” – a Mystery Novel by Sean Michael.

x0x0x0
VroomGrrl

Ernie and the Telephone Call

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat,

IMAG0072OK look that was really weird! I thought Ernie Becker was kidding when he handed me the phone and said, “Here. It’s Pat Long. Yes, really! Talk!” I could not believe he just pulled you away from whatever you were doing to talk to your #1 Fangrrl. The first thing I said was that I was sorry we’d interrupted you and you said, “NO APOLOGIES!” and so I just made the best possible use of my brief chat with you and told you I was looking for you to take the whole thing tomorrow and good luck!

Wow that was pretty cool. But also a little embarrassing. Come on. I’m just shy of fifty years old. Squee does not look good on me! Well, what can I say. Squeeee! Haha! Thank you for being so gracious. You have some fantastically wacky friends! All that aside, I am really looking forward to seeing you and Jorg pilot the DP car tomorrow to a great big-ass win!

Ernie and I met at dinner this evening at Daytona Ale House. Some of us who frequent the 911 forums at http://www.pelicanparts.com had a little Daytona meet & greet. These are boys, I’m usually the only girl, and as often happens it fell on me to see to the details. Which was fine! We had a great space reserved on the patio and a super server. And name-tags! And a sign! And a really, really good time. Ernie was there with the rest of his RedLine Services gang, who kindly shared him with us for awhile. It was great to see everybody, and meet some new folks. Some of them are drivers, some crew, some vendors, some Porsche-owning race fans. Great bunch of guys, and a really nice time.

The drive down here today couldn’t have been better. It was a beautiful day, and my car was flawless. And fun, fun, fun! There’s always this little nagging doubt when I take my car on a long drive. It’s 23 years old, anything could happen. But ten hours and 600 miles and she was ready for more. I swear, I have never had a car that was so, so solid. LOVE my car! IMAG0064

Ok well I’ve got some homework to do here. Some of my friends are out, others placed really well. Two people told me a Ferrari bit it today, and I just hope Mike Skeen and the #86 Bennett Racing Ferrari are in good shape for tomorrow. Of all the drivers out there, I want to see Skeen take GT.

GO PAT! GO MIKE!

I’m going to go check the stats for today then hit the sack. Early start and long day and I cannot wait!

GO GET IT!!!!!!!
X0X0X0
VroomGrrl

Daytona, Here I Come!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hi Pat!

Wow what a day for you guys. DP TRACK RECORD AT DAYTONA! POLE POSITION FOR THE RACE! Sorry I’m shouting. But that is just so great and I am so proud of you guys and over-the-moon happy for the whole team. I cannot WAIT to get there and see the whole thing in action.

And I’m SO excited! I got my favorite worker assignment – worker shuttle driver on the midnight shift Saturday night. That means I am scooting all around between the corner stations, often with unparalleled views of the action from perspectives few get to see. I AM STOKED!

So as I knew it would be, the week was a bear, since I am taking tomorrow off to make the trip down. I met all my goals at work and got all that behind me, then had a whole shitload of errands and appointments and other personal things. But I managed to get my hair done! I swore after looking at photos from last year that I would not be caught looking like a dead rat ever again! I don’t know what I’ll be looking like after my overnight work stint, but by God, I am stepping it up a little bit this year.

And I am tickled to be driving my 1988 911! I had my shop give it a pre-road trip once-over, and I got their blessing. There are never any guarantees, of course, but I have done all I can to be sure everything is in tip top shape for the trip. So!!

TRG is doing 24 hour trackside commentary, hosted by the awesome Liz Moses. I am really looking forward to seeing her again, and the whole crew. Lots of catching up to do with everybody. Speaking of which, I still have a million things to do before I can get out of here, not the least of which is to get some sleep ahead of the 10 hour drive in the morning. Up at 4, out the door at 5.

SEE YOU IN DAYTONA!!!

Moving Target

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2011 by vroomgrrl

Hiya Pat,

I was all ready to post a little note here about how the excitement is building as I get closer to Thursday, my departure day for Daytona. I’m sure you are already there, or soon on the way! Anyway there I was minding my own business, reading some stuff on the internet, and I came across something that bugged me. I think it might bug you, and if my suspicions prove true, this is going to bug Porsche Cars of North America most of all.

Apparently, when the City of Austin, Texas is trying to conjure up an image of the biggest asshole drivers on the road that they can think of, they think, “PORSCHE.” Check this out:

Can you even believe that? On the one hand, I find it hard to imagine a city creating and hanging something like that without getting the proper permissions. I suppose it’s entirely possible that they are legally licensed to use the Porsche image on their poster.

On the other hand, though, would Porsche do that? I know they like to partner with local law enforcement in different ways. But this is such a negative portrayal. I would be hard-pressed to come up with anything more negative, actually.

They don’t use this image on any of the print materials in their online e-toolkit for this initiative. There, it shows a truck with a little red convertible sportscar in front of it, no Porsche. Maybe this banner is old news and Austin is posting last year’s stuff. Still! If Porsche went along with this, I’d be surprised. Now I’m curious as hell.

So ask around up there in the stratosphere at Porsche and let me know, wouldja? Because in the meantime, all the Austin, Texas area Porsche owners are worried that they have a target on their backs.

Thanks!

Now – back to DAYTONA! Nothing new there for me right now except I will be really crunched at work this week to get all my work done before I leave. Which I think will have to be between 2 and 4AM on Friday. Stay tuned!

x0x0x0x
VroomGrrl