And no, I don’t mean the new year. That’s been said enough already!
I mean a new blog for Panic Motorsports! And why a new blog you ask? Because the server ate the old one, and even the tech guys couldn’t get it straightened out. Guess what I was doing half the morning. <sigh>
So, here’s to our new blog and a new series of posts…since the others disappeared. (Sarcasm font! Get on it tech guys!)
I figured we’d start fresh with some fun(ny) racetrack stories. Each of us in Panic came from a different background, but we’re all gearheads which means there’s never a dull (read as “quiet”) moment when we get together. There are always plenty of stories to share, and since I’m doing the typing, I figured I get to start! 🙂
Picture if you will the 1989 SCCA Runoffs at Road Atlanta, pre-Panoz. There were red clay banks, short tire walls, lots of plain-ol’ chain link fence, rumble strips that could shatter your fillings, and acres of kudzu. It looked kind of like this…except in color.
At 8 y/o, my neuromuscular disorder had yet begun to affect me, and as a responsible child, I was allowed to roam the infield where and when I wanted. I followed the streams, played hide-and-seek among the trees with other racetrack brats, rode my bike down the old service roads, and watched some race cars from time to time. 🙂
I vividly remember one instance during a GT race when I was hanging on the inside fence between turns 11 and 12. At that time, there were no pro pits, and you literally stood atop the tire wall. Dad had taught me to watch for the proper racing line as the cars appeared from under the bridge, and I loooved watching them pop into view. I was standing next to a professional photographer who’d set up shop to get that same awesome angle…but as he would soon learn, I knew more than he did. (Insert evil laugh.)
After a few minutes of watching, a Mustang appeared over the rise that had just enough oversteer that the car’s profile appeared not-quite-right. Well, I had seen that one too many times, and I wasn’t hanging around to find out where the Mustang was headed so I took off running after a quickly mumbled, “Uh oh.”
A short distance away, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed that the photographer was giving me one of those stupid kid looks. You know – the kind of look you give a kid who’s been standing next to you for some time but suddenly takes off as if she’s been stung by a bee? Yeah. That look.
As his attention turned back to the track, the Mustang impacted the tire wall just below where the photographer was standing. The car impacted the tire wall…at Road Atlanta…in late Fall…after it had been raining for daaaaaays. So it was full of cold rain water, red mud, detritus, and who-knows-what creatures that had chosen to hole up in there (welcome to the South!). As I watched, a tidal wave of red water and steam exploded around the photographer and rained down in a torent of gross, smelly fallout. For 10 feet on either side of the guy, the fence line was soaked, and did I mention the water smelled bad? Wow. Just wow. It was a visual effect that would have made the producers of “Jaws” weep with envy! The photographer and all of his equipment were covered in an oozing red mess.
Who’s the stupid kid now? I knew where that car was headed! Don’t worry…the driver and photographer were just fine. Our top-notch SCCA marshals responded in no time flat to verify that all was well, but I kept running because I wasn’t the only one who was laughing at the photographer, and well, he didn’t look too happy. 😉
You see, we gearheads get it. “It” being the racing line, the funny moments after the carnage has cleared and all are well, the reason why it’s so cool that you can pick out a car in a pack just by listening for the engine note, the late nights debriefing* with friends in the paddock after a long day, etc.
We’ll gather some more racing stories and post them here, but for the time, think of your own, and if you’d like to share, send them in a message.
Don’t forget, when all else fails…Panic! xo Becca
*Debrief/ing – My favorite F&C word! It directly translates to “BYOB and meet us for bench racing and story swapping at the end of the day…you might even get fed.”
Panic Motorsports, Inc., 1475 Old Dunbar Rd. West Columbia, SC 803.261.7629.