Sunday, November 5, 2017 –
It was six years ago today, Patty bought me a most thrilling ride. I mean better than an “E” Ticket at Disneyland! She had rented me a race car for my birthday that year. I didn’t get to use it until November of that year.
She had purchased the ride through Rusty Wallace Racing. The day started with an hour of driving instructions. We the drivers were equipped with a two-way communication device. If you came upon a car in front of you, you had to wait for the OK to pass, and only pass on the outside. These cars were former Nascar racers with 500 horsepower engines. A few of our friends were there for support, and a few were missing from this shot below.
The race was held at Stockton 99 Speedway. It’s a quarter-mile paved and banked track with quite a history, and a number of accomplished drivers have raced there. I wasn’t one of them. I’d never done anything like this before.
We didn’t get our race in until later in the day. It was showering some, and I was concerned it could be canceled if we didn’t get on the track soon. Since it would be awhile before our race came off, the crew had a tailgate party in the parking lot.
The race package Patty bought for me would be a fifteen lap shootout. We would race against four cars. The cars were assigned to each of us from a pool. I got a Chevy with lucky number 7 on the door.
The car had good suspension, power, and was balanced well. We’ve watched races there in the past, and I spent months beforehand driving the track over and over in my mind. I got a ride with the pace car before our race. I was told the line to drive that worked the best also. Low in Turn one, and two, on the throttle halfway through two, drifting to the outside wall and down the straight going high in three and four.
It was time to race, and my crew was there for me.
Entering the track we only had three cars. Because we raced later in the day they couldn’t field enough cars due to earlier wrecks reducing the pool.
There would be four warmup laps before going green. I was checking out the inside of the car and not watching the starting lights. When they turned green the other cars passed me right away.
We got going and were running about 70MPH on the straights and maybe 50MPH in the curves. It was the most exhilarating experience I’d ever had! I knew I was in my element at that moment. Had I done this earlier in life I might have continued driving.
Soon enough, I came upon the first car in front of me in turn one. I was listening on the headset for them to tell the driver in front of me to turn down, and then tell me it was alright to pass on the right as we were instructed earlier. My headset failed, and I couldn’t hear anything and they couldn’t hear me.
I wasn’t going to sit behind him any longer, and I passed. Eventually, I came upon the next guy and passed him. Then I passed the first car for the second time and won that race.
It was a good thing as Patty had made everyone in our group hand-held checkered flags with my name on it, saying 1st Place. Nice touch but she did put a little pressure on me that day with her flag design before the results were in.
The late Dale Earnhart once said, “second place means you were the first loser.”
Afterward, we left for a Victory Party at Al and Jackie’s home. It was held in Al’s shop in Elk Grove where they lived at that time. What a way to top off a fantastic experience!
I’ll never forget the thrill of that particular day and the wonderful friends that were there to share it with me. Thank you once again my life’s loving partner, Patty.
Friends; Al & Ron
I asked Patty if we could forego turning our clocks back to whatever time they call it today? I said we could just turn everybody else back an hour, and our body clock would remain undisturbed. I lost.
This afternoon, Patty’s out delivering a couple of gifts she’s made for some lady friends. I didn’t feel very well yesterday. I wined about it and I feel better today, as I partake of an Old Vine Zin with French Fries, and listing to the Blues on Pandora.
See ya in Fairfield….