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Racing the Tinyvette

What's it like to race the Tinyvette? Well, besides the pride you feel being at the wheel of such a famous car, it's work. It's a hell of a lot of damned hard work. You are out there for two hours and you don't get a second of rest. You are driving as fast as you can without wrecking and at the same time trying to stay clear of 180 cars trying to do the same. In a crowded Lemons field you are either preparing to pass someone or you are being passed, and both are work. And to make matters worse, while some of the other drivers are pros, some are, well, not. You have to figure out which is which really fast.

There are "incidents" nearly every lap and you have to keep an eye out for the yellow flags to have any hope of avoiding getting black flagged.

And it is hot! Sure, it's 106°F in the shade and pavement temperatures are pushing 150°F, but so what? The car itself is trying to cook you. The floor is hot, the seat is hot, there's little air in the car and the transmission tunnel is trying to melt your shoes. And you are wearing a quilted double-layer Nomex suit over head-to-toe fireproof undewear, in the summer. Hot! Oh, and don't forget the full-face helmet, balaclava, and thick gloves. Hot!!!

You are sweating into your eyes and going blind. You flip open your visor to wipe them but your rough Nomex gloves just claw at your skin. The late afternoon sun is in your eyes and you go blind again. Holding your hand up to make a visor doesn't help but looking through a gap between your fingers does. Driving while looking to the side works even better.

And there were five cars on your tail a second ago, but now there are just four. Where did it go? Can I turn in? Am I clear? There's never enough mirrors! Get me more mirrors!

Geoff comes on the radio to report an incident two turns ahead. Great, that's like a year out as far as you are concerned. "Tell me where that car went!" Geoff radios you that it has gone off and plowed a furrow all the way up to the tire wall.

Turn 4, you're mine this time! You set up, you turn in, muscling the wheel for the 200th time this stint. Apex, apex, please, please, damn! Missed it. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! Your two off is announced to all by a huge inglorious cloud of desert dust. Geoff comes on the radio. "Are you all right?" Right back at him, you blame the car. Everyone understands.

Is the car healthy! Please be healthy. You know you really should be checking those gauges more often. Yea, in your spare time, when not pinned against the door, going blind, being cooked, dodging traffic, missing apexes, and, and, and crap, now a half dozen E-30s are buzzing past you.

Does that answer your question? Heck yea it is fun! The sound of that motor gulping air and screaming at you to give it more gas, the cornering G's that if not for the bucket seat and 5-point harness would slam you up against the door, the rock solid brakes and the sweet, sweet squeal of those happy Falken tires under you. You give a friendly wave to the Ford blue PettyCash Racing Cherokee as it passes you. You wonder if Matt is at the wheel. What a great bunch of guys, and so what if you just got passed by a Jeep.

Geoff calls you in. Your stint is over. It's time for a driver change. Already? The first ten minutes had been an eternity in hell while the next 110 minutes just flew by. How did that happen?

You come in and the team is on the car immediately. Someone unhooks your radio and helps you get out. You stumble a few steps, far enough to get out of their way as the team tends to the car and prepares the next driver. Someone hands you a drink but your helmet is still on. You try to take it off but your tired arms won't go that high. Someone helps you with your helmet and you finally take a drink. How was your stint? Better than sex.

You did it. You drove a good, clean, fast stint and brought the car back for the next driver. Now rest up. You are up again in two hours.


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Cannonballing the Tinyvette