|When we took to the track for Sunday's first Rubber practice
session, I had high hopes that my new distributor cap and rotor would
somehow magically convert the car into a rocket. Sadly that was not
I think that while the old distributor was smashing itself to pieces it must have knocked the ignition timing out of whack. But we had neither the time nor equipment to rectify that, so I was stuck with the car as is.
|Hey, at least it runs! I'm still racing, I'm not dead last,
and I have a convenient excuse to explain away my poor
Things could be much worse. You need only look at last year's stories to see how much worse things could get...
|Nonetheless, I will admit to finding it quite frustrating always running at the back of the pack. The competition between the better drivers up front can be fierce at times, but it's usually clean and predictable. In stark contrast, here at the back of the grid there is much more of a sense of desperation. People are easily provoked into doing bizarre and unpredictable things.|
|For example, this is Car #3 driven by Colin Lolacher. Last
year was Colin's rookie season and he seemed quite content to just
trundle around at the very back of the pack, apparently more concerned
with bringing dad's car home undamaged than with gaining any ground
in the races.
We teased him mercilessly, suggesting he should try taking it out of first gear occasionally.
|Oh ya? So this year all of sudden he's become a racer.
He's even managed to score several podium finishes, and he's already
talking about moving up to the studded class next year!
Understandably, he's feeling quite pleased with himself. In fact, he's positively gloating. And to get me back for teasing him last year, he's taken to giving me a cheeky wave and tooting his horn every time he passes me on the straightaways!!!
|Well I fixed him.
While driving through the paddock area, I spotted the little twerp square in my sights.
|It was all too easy.
I just hit the throttle, ran right over him, and squashed him flat.
Ha. Bet that got his attention.
|I don't know what came over me. It must have been the
frustration of constantly duking it out with the backmarkers, combined
with a total lack of sleep, which made me snap like that.
But evidently, I really do hate to lose!
|I messed up with the video camera again too. All during the
practice session the camera was set on full zoom, so I got lots of
really strange telephoto views of the straightaways then nauseating
blurs on all the corners.
But I did get this neat closeup shot of Colin's #3 Chevette. The zoom lens makes it look as though I was much closer to him, when in reality he was at least half the length of the straight ahead of me.
|I saw him waving at me, and thought maybe he was indicating which
side he wanted me to pass him on. But I could never get close
enough to even attempt a pass.
Studying the video tape later, I now realise he was indicating something else entirely...
|As a racer it's very important to always keep a firm grip on your
emotions, or better yet maintain a good sense of humour. Racing is
definitely not the place for Road Rage. Losing your cool almost
always leads to further mistakes which may be expensive or, God forbid,
may even hurt someone. This is supposed to be fun!
Colin is a cool kid. He took his time last year, learning what it's all about without getting in over his head, and without destroying the car like (ahem) some people did. With the confidence gained from surviving his first year unscathed, he's become a formidable racer.