Welcome to the July edition of Speed News. Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, and I hope you are enjoying your summer on and off the track. In my family, summertime was when we hit the road for parts mostly unknown to enjoy some down time away from home and the usual routines of jobs, school, soccer practice and homework. Some of my best memories come from those summer trips as they were now long enough ago that the boredom of endless hours in the car, the sweltering heat, and the attacks of the man-eating insects have been long forgotten.
When I was a kid, my dad competed in Western horseshows so we nearly always ended up camped out beside some fragrant rodeo arena in the middle of nowhere. This probably does not sound too appealing to most people, but I still had a grand time chattering away on the CB radio while we pulled the trailer down the highway, and I made sure to eat all the horrible treats I could handle from the snack bars at the shows. Good times for sure.
In this issue of Speed News, we cover some of the “crossover” events happening in the Midwest, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountain, Central regions where drivers from two different NASA regions come together at one track. This of course gives the locals the home field advantage and the guests have to come up to speed quickly as they shake down a completely new set of curves, which can either be fun or tough work depending on how you look at it.
I always enjoyed these events and even had my car shipped back to the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course from Southern California one summer so that I could experience a legendary track halfway across the nation with a fresh group of folks to race against. The trip was a bit of a bust because my closest competitor blew up during the first qualifying session but I had great fun wheeling my old Sentra around the course and spending time bench racing with some new friends in the paddock during the weekend.
I also have some great memories of traveling to the Northern California region with my old pal and co-driver Tim Nichols one season when we were trying to take home the AIX Western Championship crown. Yes, we had to endure countless hours bouncing around in the truck enjoying the gourmet roadside cuisine found along I-5, and nearly exploded our kidneys trying to find a place to pull over for a “pit stop” on the way home from Reno-Fernley on I-395. However, we had a ridiculous amount of fun and almost stacked up the tow rig on more than one occasion when we were laughing so hard that we could barely keep the truck on the road.
In the spirit of the grand American tradition of the summer road trip, I encourage you to try and hit a crossover event this summer or even just pick a weekend in a region neighboring yours to give something new a try. Check with the local guys to get some tips and load up the trailer for a new experience that will surely be one to remember. Heck, bring the family or a buddy and you may be able to hit some tourist spots along the way to turn it into something really memorable rather than just another trip to Wally World.
Wherever you end up, have a great summer and don’t forget to lay on a thick coat of bug spray and sunblock.