They say when one door opens, another one closes. Well, in this case, said previous door may have been left slightly ajar. At least for the moment.
Two good ol' Corvette racing boys from the hills of Kentucky made a deal several years ago. Go out to Nevada, enter the Silver State Classic, get straight up to 150 Class, and throw everything at it until they score a win. The deal was, then, and only then, would a driver/navigator seat swap take place. You know, Father and Son, racing toward a dream. What could be better?
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the podium. We lost. Many, many times. So many times, in fact, that we sometimes wondered if we were just not cut out for Open Road Racing.
At one point in our seven year drought, when we realized our hard-fought 150 times would have often been good enough to win something in most other classes (running 9th with a .20 or 4th with a .15 can get to anyone after awhile), we even contemplated dropping down a class or two to try and win something. Anything.
Then, Dad got cancer, and my world nearly stopped turning. In those horrible, very private months, he only asked me for one thing. He said, "Son, when I beat this, and I fully intend to, I want a 150 Class win on 318, and I want you to help me get it." I promised we'd never give up on achieving that goal, no matter what.
With things in a clearer perspective, Dad got better, and we were back chasing that 150 Class title sooner than anyone thought possible. With a new lease on life, Dad went to Texas with Ken Rees (an ORR stopwatch master), and they managed to win back to back BBORR trophies in 130 & 135. Meanwhile, I was still zero for way too many attempts as navigator at NORC/SSCC with Dad. But, at this point, any thought of dropping down classes was long forgotten. It was 150, or nothing.
After several years, an empty, dusty trophy case openly mocks you. Especially as Dad's was beginning to fill up in Texas, my home state, without my help. When you're the one holding the stopwatch, you feel the weight. All the weight. Trust me. Then, in May 2015, it all changed in less than two inches.
Winning 150 in the NORC with a .0027 time variance was a rush! It was unreal! You may liken it to being beamed up by Scotty, and finding out that warp speed is, indeed, worth every drop of blood, sweat and adrenaline it takes to get there! When Mr. Zulu says he's giving it all it's got, trust me, Captain Kirk knows he ain't no chump! It takes all you've got, and then some, and then a lot more to get a 150 win. There's a reason everyone applauds loudest for a 150 win. Those few who've held that trophy know what I mean. It's our LeMans.
Problem is, once you get a taste of victory, you suddenly crave the whole pie. When September came, we stayed in the same seats and took another shot at 150. Hot diggity! 2 in a row! The chances of pulling that off are about as good as scoring VIP line jump passes to Saint Peter's Velvet Rope Club!
Of course, being as competitive as we are, we came back and tried to make history this past May, going for that all elusive three 150 wins in a row. Yeah ... this time around, we got another solid reminder of how that humble pie tastes. Yuck!
So, what does this all lead to? Why this rambling post? Because, there are lessons in here for everyone. 1) Set a goal and never give up! 2) Open Road Racing isn't for the faint of heart. You will lose far more races than you will win, but you'll win every time in the friendships and family you'll make in our sport. Last, but not least, everyone not already in 150 should take heed - 3) Don't jump up to 150 too quickly. The classes between 110 & 145 build skills, confidence, and character, albeit with a taste that many may find a bit easier to swallow.
Speaking of other classes, I'm glad to announce that my Dad is, indeed, a man of his word. A deal is a deal. Yep, it means Ricky Bobby finally gets to GO FAST in the driver's seat in an ORR event! I may even chew Big Red while doing so!
After nine years of studying every bump, turn, pebble, and millimeter between each mile marker on good ol' 318, look out for the newest "rookie" in Open Road Racing entering the 110 Class this fall. Sure, I now get to figure out how to use my magic stopwatch while also shifting and steering with the same two hands, but if Pop can do it, I believe I'll figure it out. As another Kentuckian racer, ol' DW would say, at least I've got some 'sperience! Boogity, indeed!
All I know is that after getting a good taste, I'm hungry for some more podium pie, and I want to add that 2016 SSCC 110 Champion stitching on my jacket sleeve right below that 2015 SSCC 150 Champion badge, badly!
So rookies and repeat 110 veterans take note - I know it's not easy, but I'm still coming for you, and I'm all jacked up on Snickers and Mountain Dew!
No matter how the pie crumbles, I hope all my friends have those silly cans ready, because guys and gals, come this September, the Queen of 318 is about to add another driver to the fold. Anyone got good aim? Bring it on!
Can't wait to see y'all in Ely next month!
Team #Motorama LIVE
2015 NORC 150 Champ
2015 SSCC 150 Champ
2016 BBORR 145 Champ