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Sweet & Sour Memories of Racing

Most threw candy to the kids. I quizzed them and offered free shirts!

FACT: I am no longer a part of the racing community.

I will try and convey to you the emotions I feel and all the weirdness that runs through me because of that simple fact.

I was hired as management consultant but became a mechanic, a logistics’ coordinator, a designer, a webmaster… And I wanted to do more. I always wanted more. Yet I wanted less.

I always knew I had one of the coolest jobs on earth. I always knew it wouldn’t last. I wanted it to end, but I wanted it to go on forever… I loved living on the road. I loved living on the road with Leo. I discovered the true meaning to the term “love is where the heart is”. Daily, or I should say nightly when we unlocked the door to our new hotel room he would yell out “We’re home!”

Imagine a life where you never need to remind your spouse to rinse the dishes, to take the trash out, to wash the toilet or to clean out the lint filter in the dryer. Imagine a life that is never dragged down, watered down, diluted and washed out by the endless and repeated domestic chores. Killer right?

We always knew. Each and every one of us – we knew we lived a privileged life.

Wait for it…

Yet, the time we wasted sitting and waiting. The waiting. I kept saying I was going to tally it up. How much we spent – wasted – dwindled as we waited. Waited for the track to be ready, waited for the rain to pass, waited to sign in, waited for decisions to be made, waited in our room during the 2-5 days of in-between racing.

About those in-between days… They were mostly spent in some Super 8 somewhere near a highway with truck parking. Hotels with truck parking aren’t beachside locations with cool coffee shops. Most times the best restaurant in the vicinity was a Denny’s. Best restaurant! We had an 18-wheeler to haul our shit around. In it was:

  1. 3 race cars;
  2. a mule (a hyped up golf cart holding all our tools and spare parts galore);
  3. a scooter; and
  4. a 4-wheeler.

Nothing really street legal but a collection all in all of over 60 wheels. Yet, we weren’t mobile. In certain cities we rented cars. In most areas we walked. But in all honesty, we waited and sat in our rooms watching TV, playing video games, drinking and talking about last night’s race.

The last race, no matter when it occurred was last night’s race. Time became a blur. The season started in Australia in January and followed non-stop until the final November race of the year in Charlotte. We were summer chasers. At any given time, if asked the date we’d stop and wonder June? April? August? Our only occasional clue was our city. Chico CA happened mainly in September. Daytona was February. Arizona – March.

Our team was but four people. If you counted the driver. I know it sounds odd. But generally the driver didn’t travel with the team. So really, it was a team of 3 crew members doing everything possible to give the driver a really fast and safe car to drive. There were always an average of 18-20 teams doing the circuit. Our competitors. We competed against one another on the track yet we were family. We stayed in the same hotels, made sure our check-in/check-out dates coincided and often hooked up randomly on the road.

Wasted time…

We talked about racing. Only about the racing. Who cheated, who would never win, who mainly always won, who was but a waste of money, who slept with who, and how the race officials drove us nuts with their lame decisions. We talked racing 24-7. It drove me bonkers! I was not a race fan. Never would I become a race fan. Yet my life was all about the racing. Working on a car, driving to the next track, booking rooms for the races, and waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I love the lifestyle, but hated the main part of it. I was torn. So were my nails. My poor trashed and destroyed nails…  And now? I am regularly being asked if I would do it again.

Damed if you do, damned if you don’t.

18 thoughts on “Sweet & Sour Memories of Racing”

  1. At least you never have to say, “What it?” You’ve done it and you know what it entails. You’ve done it and you know that right now, you just don’t want to do it anymore. You’ve done it and now can move on. If that means trying something else and going back to that eventually, so be it. But at least you don’t wonder, “What if?” Change is hard and uncomfortable, but it’s the only way to grow (more than just your nails.) ;)

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    1. Nope. Not very many what if’s in my life… Actually I could do with a few what if’s less than I actually have (now I’m totally confusing myself, what I meant to say is there are a few things people really don’t need to do, and I did them, and… blah!)

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  2. Oh wow — I would have never guessed that you didn’t love the racing or come to love it. What an astounding realization for you. If you do it again, pack four more wheels in that trailer. You and Leo need bikes in these cities!! And then add your skates, so that’s … more wheels too.

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    1. I so fucking hated it. When friends invited me to watch other races I always said “Why? I hate racing!” Actually, I even blurted that out to Tony Stewart when he asked me to go watch him race some benefit thing he did… He was shocked I didn’t jump on the opportunity! Hahaha…

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  3. It seems like it’s one of those things you love the memories and the experience of more than actually doing it. Like high school. Or that raucous night of debaucherous sex with that guy you didn’t have enough experience to know was really, really awful in bed, so you thought he was really, really great. Shit. I just have mad respect for anyone who knows the difference between a transmission and a catalytic converter. Those are car parts, right?

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    1. I totally want to write a piece about the great memories of racing. And I think the funny thing of it is how very little of the greatest things will have nothing to do with the racing! But I have NO idea what the difference is between a transmission and a catalytic converter! None. Our cars didn’t have those things. I can change shocks and disassemble a rear end and the entire drive line though! And stay pretty much clean too!

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  4. and I remember, the dust, the ear plugs, the stolen moments with family and friends, the cheers, the hopes, the disappointments, but always the smiles and camaraderie with other teams and cherished shared moments in Wisonsin, and once in Quebec.

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  5. i think it is pretty cool…everything has its perks…i worked a job once where i traveled and saw much of the states…but downside was i was always on the road…which can be brutal…cool to get that inside look though…

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  6. at least in the end you can say you did as oppose to saying What If..you are a true inspiration for going after what you want and knowing what you don’t

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    1. I only did it because I met Leo. If I hadn’t met him, I never would have done it, thought of it or ultimately wondered what if… I’d be thinking other what if’s. I think.

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  7. This was a fantastic portrayal of what your life was like on the road. I could never do it. I’m such a home body. I love traveling but then I love being home. I can do about a week and then I need to get back to my dogs, horse, cat, house, etc. And, the waiting would drive me crazy too. I guess it might make for a good time to write.

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    1. Yeah. Good time to write. But there wasn’t much to say really other than talk about a race, which is a race that’s like another race. Or the fans. Oy the race fans! Very few were eloquent and well read (and those ones are still friends to this day) but other than that, I don’t know. The waiting was a huge killer.

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  8. I guess there are ups & downs to every path in life. At least you’ve lived that life. So many of us stat in that safe pocket we’ve carved for ourselves. A life of adventure is a cool place to visit, but not to live, I guess.

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