How We Became a NASCAR DadWe are now officially a NASCAR Dad. Sure, we're not fond of His Squandership, but that doesn't make any difference. We became a NASCAR Dad the hard way - by driving a race car. All you rednecks just sit back and take notes, maybe you'll learn something.
Mrs. Poobah and Her Daughtership treated the old Poobah to a wonderful and omnipotent 50th B-Day gift - 20 laps in a race car of our choice. We chose a Pro Truck for a variety of reasons, including our general lack of experience with driving anything that gets only six gallons per mile and the fact that we thought it looked the most inanely
macho of all the choices. We figure if we're going for a testosterone-fueled adventure, we might as well look the part. We were going to chew tobacco and spit it out the window during the race, but it kept blowing back on us as we tooled along at 100 mph - and we all know what blowback at high speed is like.
The adventure began after a walk around the half-mile course while a racing instructor flung any manner of scary stories in our general direction. "Too high on this turn and you run right into that concrete wall. Too low and you
fall off the edge into certain death and oblivion," he said casually. He was also quick to point out that lots of students get sick and vomit, something he apparently has a strange prohibition against. He also pointed out that since all of us had testicles hidden way up inside our body - except for the women in the class who had none at all - we weren't allowed to do anything unless specifically instructed to do so, especially not vomiting. Not following
our instructor's advice would surely result in a fiery crash that would kill us, the driver, and probably our loved ones located far back from the track. Since the man possessed a hand with only had one finger and a thumb, we figured he must know of which he spoke.
Post walk-around, we waited our turns and watched other students in the hope they would do something stupid enough to take everyone's mind off the stupid things we were likely to do. As it turns out, there were no fiery crashes, no vomiting, and only one case of a driver begging off. "I was out late last night and I wouldn't want to jeopardize anyone's safety," he said demurely as a large stain appeared on the front of his pants.
When our turn came, we dressed in the nattiest and largest fire-retardant racing suit in stock and topped it all off with a jaunty red helmet. Fully prepared, we wiggled and squeezed through the door of the truck and waited patiently as the pit crew swarmed over us like an astronaut, connecting straps, shoving our legs into the cramped quarters under the dashboard, and putting the steering wheel back in place. The crewman told us not to worry that our Buddha-like belly rubbed the wheel. "That happens with lots of folks," he said with a grin.
After a short talk with an instructor who repeated all the dire warnings from the morning walk-around, we moved to the track and waited our turn to enter the track. After our first lap, the instructor released us to go "hog wild". That was the signal to bump our speed up from a heady 60 mph to 65 mph. However, by the third lap we were making a steady 100 mph or so on the straightaways and managing a respectable 60 mph or so on the curves. Not too much fishtailing, very little skidding, and we managed to follow the "lines" of the race pretty well. We also managed to keep the truck off the wall, out of the grandstands, and on the track instead of the debris-filled in field. Best of all, no fiery crash - a definite plus in our book.
As we drove the truck we couldn't help thinking, "You know, this is just like driving the freeway at rush hour xcept it's lots louder, way hotter, and much safer." Our advice to NASCAR - put an air conditioner in those things. They're wickedly hot.
Soon enough we got the checkered flag, entered the pits, and rolled to a quiet and somewhat anti-climactic stop. The engine ticked quietly, the pit crew opened the door net, and we made the long squeeze and wiggle out of the driver's seat. There were no beauty queens waiting with big trophies (the brass ones we mean) or champagne sprays. Mrs. Poobah did offer to throw some spring water at us, but after our childhood experience at a Baptist
tent-revival, we declined. Water hasn't been the same for us since.
Afterward, we thought about what we could say about our experience, but as King George says, "It's HARD work." In the end, we figured it was a nice day out. And these days, that's not such a bad thing at all.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, August 29, 2005