Thursday, September 10, 2009

The 2nd and Final Day of Racing

OMD!!! What an exciting day yesterday!!! It was pretty tough to get it all photographed, because well, of that whole lack of opposable thumbs thing. But I did the best I could.

The day before yesterday, Mom and Dad and Uncle Charlie were concerned that The Grenade the Miata needed some repairs that couldn’t be done before racing today because of time and parts availability issues. So, they were debating whether to even race or not (because you don’t want to take a race car and drive it if you think it might break – it’s always better to fix something BEFORE it breaks, rather than AFTER). But Uncle Charlie waved his magic wand and shook some beads, and got the car so that it wouldn’t break. And Dad and Uncle Charlie got ready to race. To explain, there are 5 “heats” of different “classes” – all cars in one class race in the same “heat” so you all get the same conditions. Sort of. Dad and Uncle Charlie were in Heat 2.

So they got the car out and got all ready to run. And when their heat came, there were some clouds building, but it didn’t look horrific. And Dad got ready to take his first run. And it started to rain.

And Rain = BAD. See, our car (and everyone else’s in this class) runs on ‘slicks’ – rubber tires that don’t have any tread, but when they warm up get sticky and hold really well. Especially on this rough concrete. When it is warm. When it is raining? It’s like wearing tennis shoes on an ice skating rink. Not Pretty.

Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, the car Doesn’t Have A Roof. Remember the picture from the first day where Mom is holding an umbrella to keep the sun off her? Yeah, well, that no roof thing is also not so much fun when it is raining.

And by the time Uncle Charlie ran, it was still raining, and the course was getting wet.

So Uncle Charlie tells Mom to take the rental car (poor rental car!) back to the trailer (because where the races were was Really Far Away from where the House With Wheels and trailer were) and get the “rain tires” (which are special tires with special tread for, you guessed it, racing in the rain). Now, I don’t know how well you know Mom, but, uh, changing tires is Not Something Mom Does. She says she knows how to do it (in theory at least), but I’ve never seen her change a tire. Not even once. But she’s got a whole list of things that she’s got to run back and get. By herself. Personally, I think Uncle Charlie was taking a Really Big Risk in entrusting this job to Mom, but he and Dad were supposed to be racing, and there is a certain amount of time between runs… So, Mom comes dashing back, and has to get help from the neighbors to get the jack out, and then she gets the tires and all the tire-putting-on stuff, and races back.

And so there is a mid-race tire change.

Luckily, Mom brought all the right stuff over, and this was like a NASCAR pit crew!!! Super fast tire change!!!

But racing in the rain is still pretty tough.

But all you could do is laugh. At least that’s what Dad did!

And when it was all said and done, the rain made some people go Really Slow. Because Dad got to run when it was only sort of slippery, he ended up in 8th, while Uncle Charlie (who started the day in 6th) ended up 13th! And the guy who was leading on the first day? 10th. But, as Mom and Dad say, it’s an outdoor sport, and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t!

Dad and Uncle Charlie decided that running the car in the rain when it Wasn’t Right put enough stress on the car for one day, and told Mom to see if the offer from her co-competitor was still open to drive her car.

Now just to make this clear: there were two people in Mom’s class – Mom and this other woman named Kim. Kim has been the National Champion in the class for years straight. And yet out of the blue, she offers to let Mom drive her car. The only other time she has seen Mom is last year at the Nationals. It’s not like these two know each other or anything. So she is essentially letting a total stranger drive her car. At the National Championships!!! If you ask me, I think that is the ultimate in good sportsmanship. I think it was Really Cool of Kim to let Mom drive her car. Especially not knowing Mom.

So Mom drove a mid-engine MR-2. She had never been in this car before. And heehee discovered that she liked it So Much More that our car. Mostly, I think, because it had a ‘normal’ clutch and not a race clutch like ours, and the seat was more adjustable, and the gas pedal responded to more subtle inputs than our car does – in our car you jump on the gas, in the other car, you squeeze the gas pedal. Since that is what you do in the Big Yellow Corvette, Mom found it a bit more to her liking.

See? Mom’s numbers on a totally different car! It looks sort of funny, but Mom apparently had a Really Good Time!

Note from Fi’s Mom: Yes. I was completely blown away that someone who didn’t know me would offer to let me drive her car. At the National Championships. And if it weren’t for her, I am not sure whether I would have run or not on the second day. I am actually still pretty speechless at how COOL it was for her to offer to let me drive her car. And WOW. Oh. Wow. That car was FUN. Really fun. Easier (for me) to drive than our car, it handled great, and frankly could go a lot faster than I could! (FYI, Kim won the women’s class while her husband won the men’s class in the same car.) But I had a ball driving the car. It was So. Much. Fun!!!

And, Kim and her husband and father were REALLY nice about letting me drive the car, and actually didn’t even charge me (most people would ask, or at least would accept an offer for some money to cover the cost of wear and tear on tires – not them, despite me offering several times). I was super impressed.
And extremely grateful. And giddy. Boy, oh boy did I have fun!!!! And that is what this sport is all about: FUN!!!

Fi back. Mom drove very well on the second day, in a strange car, and while she was second (or last, depending on how you look at it), she was closer to Kim than she was last year, and was Quite Pleased with being able to get in a strange car and do well. She was only a couple of seconds off Dad, and BEAT Uncle Charlie. (Of course, they had to deal with the rain, but still!!!)

So now we are just waiting for Uncle Charlie to drop off the rental car so we can hook up the trailer and head home. *yawn* Nebraska *yawn*. And then Wyoming. *major yawn*.

Wake me up when we get to Park City, okay?

Kissey face.


hero said...

Wow... your mommy did great on the track... in a stranger's car too. The rain was a real bummer though.

It's a looooong way home huh!

Licks, hero

Miley said...

Wow, you have a famous family, how cool is that!!! My dad loves racing, well watching racing, BOL!!! We just designed a racing shirt on my new online dog shop, check it out if you want at
Have a safe ride home, you must be wiped out!!!

lotsa licks,

BRUTUS said...

That must be really exhilerating for your mom to zoom around like that. We noticed lots of cones knocked down in the background of the pictures - that wasn't her doing was it?? If my mom drove around like that they'd need to buy new cones i think!
Have a safe trip home in the wheelie house!!

Brutus the Frenchie

Brownie said...

WOW! what generosity! We're so glad your mommy got a chance to drive the National champ's super car... do i feel a new set of wheelies? ;)

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Tank woo fur sharing your pawesome time in Nebraska!

It was khwite khool to see all the difFURent kind of khars and see the experiences woo all got to pawticipate in!

Sleepy and Safe Travels!


Martha Basset said...

We are very impressed by your mom's drive!
What a pity your had rain.
Enjoy your wheelie house travels!!
Martha & Bailey xxxx

Dory and the Mama said...

How F-U-N!!!! Sounds like a fun trip Fiona congrats to Mom, Dad and Uncle Charlie for jobs well done!!!


1000 Goldens said...

Maybe you girls can get own little yellow car and leave the Grenade to the boys?

bermudabluez said...

We are thinking maybe your mom will be looking at a new set of wheels??? Hey....we just came from South Dakota tonight...and Minnesota tomorrow! We don't like travel days too much as they are kinda boring...yawn...but hope you get to smell some cool stuff on the rest stops! Glad your mom got to race in the cool car! Hugs from Chloe and LadyBug, the NY BichonFrises