July 2007


Fish boils, miniature golf, big powerboats, crowds of souvenir shoppers–somehow it’s all fun. Diane and I are having a good time spending time in Door County, Wisconsin waiting for the next race (at Brainerd, in Minnesota–a track Peyote raced at back when it was a pup.

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Just like yo’ momma used to make? We looked everywhere for the hos, but all we saw were fat tourists

Man it’s easy to see how people get so fat here. It’s terrifically hard to find something healthy to eat. Diane and I ordered baked chicken yesterday at what was supposed to be a nice restaurant and got what looked like Shake n’ Bake. By the time we scraped all the greasy crap off the chicken we had a pile on our plates that looked like two servings of stuffing. I’ve been trying to minimize the effects but I bet I’ve gained five pounds here, in just a week. Plus there’s enough food on every plate to feed three people. We’ve been eating out a lot–got to quit that. There are a few nice restaurants, the rest are tourist traps and burger joints. One excellent retaurant in Ellison Bay–T. Ashwell’s. Wonderful staff, knowledgeable bartender, excellent food. The wine list is short, but extremely well thought out. Worth a detour if you’re anywhere within a hundred miles, because as near as I can tell it’s the best you’ll get in that radius–and maybe a lot further.

I’ve been doing a bit of paddling and sailing on the Starboard 12′ 6″. If this board surfs well then it’s a real winner. It’s as stable as the Laird, but it turns beautifully, you can climb all over it (except that the nose is really slippery–I can’t find surf wax here in Wisconsin. Heck, in Maui every convenience store has a selection), and it glides like no other board I’ve tried. It never seems to stop moving. It’s also beautiful

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Starboard 12’6″–note the mast base and the nice carry pocket. I wish it had a bunch of tiedown points. I’ll add those when I can.

I took the board for a long paddle the other day, and then did some sailing. There’s a long dagger fin you can put in as a centerboard that let’s you point upwind really well. With the relatively light wind I figured that was a good idea. the wind was gusty at first, making me wish for a harness. I tried running upwind, and it pointed so well that I decided to run downwind to check out some houses that looked interesting along the shore. I ran downwind a couple of miles and then decided to return. Bam, the wind died to a soft breeze.

On a regular windsurfer I would have been well and truly screwed, but with the SUP sailer it was just boring. I stood next to the mast and tacked my way slowly back. Took about half an hour, but I made it back. Good thing, I looked at a map later and discovered the road turns away from the shore for a long way. I would have been tramping through people’s yards. Rich people from what I could see, and I suspect they might not have liked my invasion.

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Diane got some shots of my long, boring tack back. Pretty sail, eh?�

Another great race weekend at the Kohler race. Elkheart Lake is such a spectacular little town. I got out on the Starboard SUP board the furst day we got there.  Freaked out a lot of people. I had people stopping me in the street and at Gessert’s (the soda fountain/candy shop in Elkhart Lake) to ask me about it, and people following in boats to see how I was walking on water.

The festivities surrounding the race are amazing. Diane and I went to Siebkin’s bar on Wednesday night, before many racers were in town and had a blast. There was a funky local group playing (Bernico and Albers) and they were great fun to dance to. We talked to a lot of locals. Diane has a new favorite saying for everything, resulting from asking a local lady who had tee many martoonis (actually, beer) if she lived in Elkhart Lake. “Ahhforshunately” was the reply, pronounced with a dramatic expulsion of air.

I suspect I’m going to be tired of that long before she is.

Friday night we went to the Race Car concours in Elkheart Lake,  had an EXCELLENT meal at Lola’s on the Lake, and watched the race cars roll out of town.

Elheart Lake has at least three excellent restaurants–the Paddock Club, which has a deep and interesting wine list (we had a superb bottle of Far Niente ’05 chardonnay in honor of Gil Nickel–priced reasonably at eighty bucks), and a very good kitchen. The Lake Street Grill, with a wonderful bar (many microbeers on tap), a good wine list and good kitchen. We ate lunch there twice and throughly enjoyed it. I suspect dinner is excellent. And Lola’s, which is part of the Osthof. We generally avoid hotel restaurants, but Lola’s food was excellent and the wine list was impressive and reasonably priced. We tried Bruce’s Supper Club which was decent, but not great.

I finally got to meet Howie Wold. Great guy and fun to talk to. Ahhforshunately I didn’t have much time to talk since I was chasing a weird engine problem. About the fourth lap I’d suddenly loose a cylinder or two. If I got off the gas for about fifteen seconds it would come back, and the problem wouldn’t reappear until about lap four of the next session.

I checked all the usual suspects, nothing obvious, so I started “fixing” everything until it went away. Took the carbs apart, checked the plug wires and shortened #4 (been meaning to do that), changed plugs, adjusted the points, checked fuel pressure. The problem disappeared on Sunday, through devine providence I suspect.

My sister Diane and her husband Ed showed up on saturday to watch the racing. Jack Drews and his neighbor Chris made the four hour drive all the way to RA to deliver much-needed rear brake shoes (thanks again, Jack and Chris!). We went to dinner with Diane and Ed, Jack and Chris, then stopped in Elkheart Lake to look at the sports car concours. Made an early night of it.

Diane and Ed came back on Sunday to watch the races. I think they enjoyed it. Ed did the touring drive at noon in his Pontiac solstice. Both Dianes refused to accompany him, but he had a fine time.

I had some great fun racing with D. Randy Riggs driving one of Sid Silverman’s Listers. He drives it hard and well. We did a lot of lead swapping. Couldn’t stay with him in the straights, but since he has 500 more pounds and Dunlop tires I was able to reel him back in, pass a few times, and even pull out a decent lead once. But he doesn’t quit, and I soon found myself following him again.

We were doing that on Sunday during the feature race with a black Corvette Roadster in front of us. The guy was very fast down the straights but slow and squirelly as hell in the turns and wild in the Kink–off in the dirt on the apex, sliding around at the far edge of the track at the exit. Very unpleasant to be behind–he looked like he was going to toss it away any moment.

Finally he pointed us by in the straight after the kink, but as I passed him tucked in behind the Lister he swerved over as if to block me. I thought that was pretty weird, but even weirder was a complete Banzai move going into the corner after the straight (I think it’s called Canada Corner).  He was all over the place and I had to back off to avoid getting nailed. Of course he bogged as we came up the hill so when we went through what I guess is turn 10 (the one after Canada Corner) I pulled up  on the inside while he wandered out to the edge, then he came roaring across and ran me off the track. I hit the grass, locked up and finally hit the wall going slowly.

I pulled into the black flag station, asked the official to check my tire to make sure it wasn’t rubbing, and finished the race. Even with the delay I was first in class. Nice trophy.

The corvette driver was pitted close to me, so I went over to ask what was going on. First he told me the only car he had pointed by was a black and red Lotus, and I said “nonsense, you pointed the green and yellow Lister by”, so he said “I only pointed him by, not you” like I was supposed to understand his intentions at 120MPH. He gave me some nonsense about his staying on the line, which simply meant that not only did he run me off, but he knew he did it.  Then he launched into a ridiculous diatribe about me going off the track more than he did.  Clearly I’m not as good a driver as he is, which is probably why my little TR3-in-drag with one third of his horsepower is two seconds a lap faster than his best time when it’s not plugged up behind him at a grocery-getter pace in the corners.

I surprised myself and my wife by walking away. My brother Bob is probably reading this and saying “what!!!”  I guess I must finally have mellowed. I never even thought about adjusting his attitude with a 1/2” torque wrench. Well, not for long anyway.

And the truth is, I was behind him when he ran me off, so it’s my fault. I’d never do that to a competitor, and if I accidentally put someone in a tough place I’d be in their pit before their engine stopped, apologizing. I guess really I’m doing pretty well though. All these years of racing vintage cars and I’ve really only met one complete asshole. That says a lot for this sport. And it didn’t spoil the event for me. I had a wonderful time, Peyote ran superbly once the dropped cylinder thing resolved itself. I set a new personal record time for Road America of 2:42:something and got to spend time with a lot of really nice people. I repaired the damage to Peyote in about two hours time, using my tiedown strap to pull the frame out, and a trailer ball and body hammer to pound out the rumples.  You really can’t see the repair unless you know where to look.

Next stop is Brainerd, which is not on the schedule. I committed to it this weekend after being invited by Bob Youngdahl (I think that’s his name–my hideous memory continues to cripple me socially).  I understand Brainerd used to be called Donnybrooke, and if memory serves me (right!!) I think Peyote participated in the first race at that track.

I’ll look it up.

I’m going to spend the next week doing standup paddling and perhaps sailing in Door Country Wisconsin.

Jackson Center, Ohio. It looks just about like it sounds. Sleepy. But Airstream is here, and what a company this is. They really take care of their brand–they treat their customers like they are part of the family. Hard to believe in this age where customer service usually means a phone conversation with somebody in Bangaladesh who has absolutely no ability to help you.

We had made our appointment for service before the PVGP, but at the driver’s dinner we met Dutch Mandel from Autoweek, who enjoyed seeing Nero and Peyote. Turns out Dutch knows the president of Airstream, so he sent him a email that we were coming and suggested that he’d probably like to see Nero. He told us the president is a car guy. Very nice of Dutch.

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The great week continues. We towed through the center of Pittsburg to get to Schenley Park, a very pretty park in the Oakland/Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburg. Beautiful homes, quiet streets–hard to believe they can run a race here. We got to the paddock and were directed to an ideal spot, where we could park the trailer on the grass in the shade of some huge trees and paddock Peyote on the street right in front. We set everything up early. We heard the paddock really fills up. Some folks say not to get there early because there’s no security on Thursday night and it’s a “bad” neighborhood. Actually the neighborhood is fine, what they really mean is that there are hordes of gay guys that use the cul-de-sac that becomes the paddock as a spot to get together. Yes, “get together” is a euphemism–there were funny white ballons everywhere on the paths in the woods.

It’s hard to drive well when the little guy in your head won’t stop screaming

Other participants told me the gay guys get pretty testy that we’re in their spot. I figured we could survive that. Diane said “should we be concerned about a drive-by slapping?”

One of our neighbors recommended a local restaurant on Murray street called “Ma Provence”. Turned out to be a spectacular little bistro. We had one of the best meals of the trip. Murray street is interesting–lots of delis and little grocery stores and shops. It’s a jewish neighborhood with a surprising number of orthodox and hasidic jews walking around. Turns out there’s a Yesiva school nearby. I grew up near Brookline, Massachusetts and a lot of my friends were Jewish, but you rarely see an orthodox Jew in Brookline–my friends were about as Jewish as I am, except for ethnicity and moms that cooked wonderful food and were on their case constantly.


Yes, that’s a hydrant next to that rock wall just past the jersey barriers

The PVGP is pretty much a week long deal. We went to a very nice car show on Tuesday on Walnut street, and the black tie thing I already wrote about. Nice people everywhere, but the nicest is a guy named Danny Yanda. Never saw him without a big smile on his face, and he was constantly dropping whatever he was doing to help us out. He walked halfway across the golf course to show me where to get a free beer, shepherded around the car show, showed us places to eat, introduced us to everyone. Just an amazing guy.

Great paddock–and Nero was a huge hit

Friday night there was a wonderful driver’s event at the conservatory, an amazing place on it’s own, but it was full of Dale Chihuly glass that was there for a special garden installation. Absolutely spectacular. At the walnut street event Danny had introduced us to Steve Weber, the media director for the event and got him to give me one of his fine cigars (I had asked where I could buy one). Steve was at the event with Dutch Mandel the editor of Autoweek, and we wound up back at Nero smoking my Pinar cigars, drinking some Professional Small Boy brandy and talking to the wee hours.

Never trust a dog to guard your sandwich. Diane no longer signs in as “crew”, now she uses “Personal Chef”

What was I thinking. I woke up at 7:00 feeling pretty frickin’ fragile, and had to go out and drive this spooky circuit. Twenty two turns, innumerable elevation changes, stone walls, curbs, bridges, hydrants, hay bales, slippery stripes, manhole covers, a hugely crowned, variable surface–and that’s the fun part. During the race on Sunday while we were behind the pace car a deer stood in the street and stared at us. At two various times I had chipmunks run in front of me. Nice.

You are aware of the walls and innumerable other hazards every second that you are on the track. They call it a five-tenths race, but it’s not really. You’re driving ten-tenths, but half of your concentration is taken up by the little guy in your head screaming “holy shit!!!”

I never took anything that I considered to be a line around any corner. I was constantly mistaking the fast corners for the slow ones (which, given the large penalty for error here was a lot better than the other way around). I assumed my times would suck out loud, but Peyote came through as usual and I qualified fourth in the sports racer/formula car class. I was certain that there was an error, there was some pretty hot iron there, including a Cooper Formula One car with a very zesty 2.5 litre motor. I turned a 2:25 something, which everyone said was pretty good. The competition ahead was a very, very fast Elva MKIV, the F1 Cooper, and Lotus 19. All were driven by guys with lots of experience at the PVGP track. Behind me was a horde of fast sports racers and open wheel cars, mostly Loti with a smattering of Elvas.

Before the race on Sunday I had long talks with myself: “you have ten events to go, no reason to push it here, it’s too dangerous. You’ll smash up your car and the tour will be over. Don’t even try to hold onto fourth, just cruise. There’s a bunch of people here with fast cars who know this track, no way you’ll hold position”. I also told that to everyone that would listen–setting low expectations I guess. Either that or I was really talking to myself.

Then the green flag dropped and I tried my best to shove my way into first before the hay bale chicane. Almost made it too, but the Formula One car was too quick. My resolve to be rational was pretty much a nagging memory. The Elva got by me and started working on the F1 car. I figured he’d get him eventually since he turned 2:16 in qualifying, which is close to record time I understand. But in the meantime the battle was slowing both of them, so I worked on getting by them while they scrapped. I think the Elva got by the F1 car in the second lap and started pulling away. I was working on the F1 car too, but he was so fast when he was pointed in the right direction that it was difficult. In the meantime I had a Lotus 18 (I think) working on my tail. I finally got past the F1 car at the entrance to the Serpantine, and thought I could stretch a lead down those tight turns, but he came roaring back and blew past in the straight after turn 1. With the F1 in front I couldn’t get away from the Lotus where I was faster, so he started chewing me up and eventually passed me. A lap later the F 1 car retired but my tires were so toasted I couldn’t haul in the Lotus.

With second place out of reach, and no one in my mirrors even in the longest straight, I decided to slack a little and be certain the car would survive. Especially since my tires were like gum. As I passed start/finish they hald out a noose, which is their signal for last lap. So I cruised to a relaxed third.

They had an award ceremony after each race–bottles of Crown Royal for first through third and a really cool looking trophy in each group for a competitor that showed the best vintage spirit. or traveled the longest distance, or something like that. Always a good idea in vintage racing to keep people from racing for trophies. They had a hay bale podium set up, pictures, interviews and all that. Somehow they didn’t wave in the Lotus so they thought I was second. I kept saying “no, I’m third, the Lotus was second” but in the confusion they gave the second place winner’s bottle of Crown Royal to the guy they were giving the special award. The second place guy walked back from the paddock. I don’t know if they ever fixed the snafu.

I was pretty happy with third. I turned a 2.22.227. Pretty interesting time since Peyote’s traditional number is 222. I think the car is trying to tell me something. Like maybe it’s all the car.

Bill to Peyote: I already know that.

What a great week! I got a fin for my standup paddle board and spent some time on Lake Arthur, cruising around. This Starboard 12’6″ is a really great board. It’s a super cruiser. I have no idea what it will be like in waves, but it’s great on a lake. Very stable, but it turns very well. I find I’m standing very far forward on it. One stroke of the paddle accelerates the board and leaves it coasting for an incredible distance. I paddled about two miles, then headed back to the truck for the sail because the wind was picking up. I paddled into a stiff breeze getting back, but had no problem thanks to the cruising ability of the board.

I rigged  my new Superfreak 8.0 sail and was blown away how great the setup looks together. My sail is red, white and black with a Tsunami wave in the upper panel in white and black. The board is red, black, white and light wood, with a white deck pad. You’d think I picked all the colors very carefully to coordinate, but it was completely accidental. Looks absolutely amazing.

I put the centerboard fin in because the wind was flukey, and the board points amazingly well. I had completely forgotten what it’s like sailing a windsurfer with a centerboard. It pointed so close I’d swear I could go directly upwind.

With the stability of the board, tacking and jibing was totally simple. I stayed dry the enter afternoon. I sailed from the finger I put in on to the main lake and well up the shore–probably four of five miles. Then the wind got flukey so I made a beeline back so I wouldn’t have to walk.

Sure was nice to be back on a board.

Next–the Pittsburgh  Vintage Grand Prix.

As Steve McQueen said in the movie Le Mans: “For those who do it well, racing is life. Everything else is just waiting. ” I don’t know about the “do it well” part, but we’re sure waiting for the Pittsburg Vintage grand Prix.

We’re still at the Lake Arthur Family Campground. Pretty much the only people here. There’s lots of “seasonal” trailers (I suspect people leave them here for years–cheaper than a vacation home). We see one other couple on occassion and sometimes a flock of kids suddenly appears on bikes, but it’s otherwise completely silent except for birds.

We’re finding it oddly enjoyable, once I stopped being so frantic.

Sam thinks this place is Disneyland. He gets to run like a wild dog and chase rabbits. The big field behind the trailer has bunnies and groundhogs. Diane thought I was being cruel to the rabbits at first, but I know those are professional rabbits, and Sam is an amatuer dog. He’s more likely to start quoting Shakespeare than he is to catch a bunny. He’s hysterically funny to watch–he dashes at them, they cut through the hedge and out the other side. He loses track of them and wanders around trying to pick up scent while the rabbits watch, bemused, from fifty feet away. Occasionally he’ll randomly catch sight of them and tear off in their direction, only to be outmanuvered effortlessly once again.

Nero is turning out to be simply a great rig. We thoroughly enjoy our time in it. Last night we had cocktails outside with Boz Skags playing, I made a greek salad and  pasta with pesto, some extra fresh basil chopped in, and had a nice Australian Chardonnay. Chilled fruit salad and iced cherries for dessert.

After dinner I had a nice Pinar Cigar, some PSB brandy, and we watched an episode of Nero Wolfe projected against the side of the trailer. Pretty damned idyllic.

Everything fits into the trailer nicely. The kitchen is wonderfully efficient. The couch is firm enough to sit comfortably on, but when we turn it into a bed the inch of tempurpedic foam on top of the standard seat foam makes the bed supremely comfortable. The foam guy who made the cushion foam for us in Portland sure knew what he was doing.  I haven’t had a backache since we started sleeping on it. In contrast, when we stayed at the William Penn Hotel and the Chateau Frontnac in their nice soft beds I was crippled every morning.

I’ve made an appointment to get Nero repaired and a few things upgraded at the Airstream factory on the Monday after the PVGP. Jackson Center, Ohio looks to be about four hours away and it’s more or less on the way to Road America. The big repair is the drain tanks–they were struck by a chunk of tire carcass on the way to VIR. The greywater tank is leaking and the handles of both cutoff valves were knocked off. I can still operate the valves, but I need to use pliers to do it.

The same chunk of tire also ripped off one of the electric brake wires on the left front wheel. It tore the wire right out of the coil, so it needs replacement, not repair. Of course the trailer has five more wheels with operable brakes, but I want it fixed. I’ll have them check all the other wheels and replace the shocks at the same time. I’m also going to have them replace the air conditioner, unless they can just supply a new control cover. I made a replacement cover from aluminum because the original cover was badly yelloed and looked awful. My aluminum cover doesn’t direct the airflow as well as the stock one did and it makes the unit inefficient. I should have just painted the plastic. Might be nice to have a more modern one anyway–this one draws a lot of juice.

In the meantime, we’re hangin’ in Nero, enjoying the downtime. FedEx is supposed to bring a fin (actually two) for my new Stand Up Paddle board today. If it gets here I’ll go paddle and sail on the lake. The new board is excellent–it’s a Starboard 12’6″ woody that’s extraordinarily light, fairly stable, and glides beautifully even without a fin. I took it out yesterday and amazed the bass fisherman “Whut th’ heck is that?”

Lake Arthur is big. I understand it’s reclaimed strip mines. Doesn’t seem to be any private homes on it, just a big church. Seems strange that it doesn’t get a lot more use, being only fifty miles from sweltering Pittsburg.  I suspect they limit the size of the outboard motors–even the big pontoon boats have little ten HP kickers.

I’ve been neglecting the blog, mostly because I was spending time in Massachusetts with family. We had a great time seeing everyone. My Mom is healthy and pretty spry for an old broad (she’s probably reading this so there’s a kick to the shins in my future).  I got to see my brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, and a great hoard of kids at the family reunion in Falmouth. I simulated stand-up surfing by standing in a canoe and acting as a gondoleer for Diane (my board didn’t arrive due to a communications SNAFU). Took Mom into downtown Beantown and pushed her around in a wheelchair to maked it easy on her knees. Good excercise for me, and entertaining for Mom.

Then off to BeaverRun. We stayed one night at a KOA that demonstrates the K stands for Kwality. Yikes! Most of the trailers there had been there a long, long time.  Big families living in small trailers. The manager directed us to a spot near the edge of a slope that approached cliff steepness. Down below was a beaten up fifth wheel trailer with most of the busted barbeques in Pennsylvania arrayed around it. Very scenic.

When we arrived there was howling that sounded vaguely like country western music blaring through a very low-fi PA speaker by the pool–with not a single lead-licking soul around to enjoy the ambiance. I asked the manager if they were going to be shutting that off anytime soon. He looked a little put out, but shut it off. I would have done it for him–I have wire cutters. Next door was a family of twenty or so living in a camper and some tents. That’s what I like about Kamping, ‘murrican style.  About the population density of a public housing project.

We got to BeaveRun the next morning and asked if we could set up the trailer. We weren’t sure about the paddock arrangements, but since there was really only one place to connect to electricity our choice was pretty simple. We set up at the outer edge of our heavy-duty extension cable range to decrease the likelihood of needing to move. My first thought was to not set up much in case they wanted me to move, but I decided that was just asking for eviction, so I set up everything. Then we bailed to Pittsburg to stay at the William Penn hotel, where we had stayed on our first pass through Pittsburg. They probably forgot me, but they remembered my truck and Sam, the Gay Dog. Sam makes friends everywhere. He’s thinking of starting his own blog.

Walked around downtown, had some mediocre meals, and watched a GREAT fireworks display right from our hotel room. Of course Sam spent most of that evening huddled in the closet. Not brave.

We’ve found out subsequently that the really interesting parts of Pittsburgh are NOT downtown. It’s Shadyside and the general area above the bluff that separates  downtown from the rest of the city. Really a neat place, and some fine restaurants and traditional bars of outstandingly greasy character.

On to BeaveRun. Neat track, short, but interesting. About 1.5 miles and a good lap for a sports racer or a FF is 1:02 or thereabouts. I got down to 1:08 and didn’t think I had a lot more left. Maybe two seconds if I had a week and some new tires. I have eleven events on my Hoosier Speedsters, that’s probably 50 heat cycles. At this point they will never wear out but they definately don’t stick wonderfully. I’ll need to get some new tires before the Kohler at Road America. No time to get some before the PVGP.

I was chasing overheating problems all weekend, with a deepening dread that the problem was in the guts, not some adjustment.  Actually as it turned out the problem was my dipshit mechanic. At Watkins Glen I had a radiator leak develop next to one of the plastic rods that hold on my electric fan. I did a JB weld repair which is holding very nicely, then mounted the fan to the nose of the car so it could blow some air at the rad when I’m sitting on the grid. I finally realized while staring at the car on Saturday afternoon just prior to pulling the head that I was blocking off half of the intake area. I pulled the fan and immediately the temperature dropped to a normal 220 for the hot day and hard laps. Of course Mr. Moron left the high point vent plug loose for the second time on this trip, so I blew out coolant during the morning warmup on Sunday, but the temperature stayed low so I knew the problem was solved.

Saturday I needed to leave the track early to get ready for a charity ball at a local country club. When we signed up for this thing I thought it was a driver’s event. Not. But we had fun and met swome nice people. Great band too, but this was the first charity event I’ve ever been to where the booze wasn’t free. If you’re doing an auction you want people sitting loosely on their wallet. Everything went cheap. Someone should probably tell the organizers that the five hundred bucks they saved on hootch cost them ten grand in bids. But it’s not my rodeo.

Anyway, on Saturday I begged my way into group two (ground pounders) instead of group six (formula cars and later sports racers) so I could squeeze into my tux (no, the weight loss thing isn’t going that well, thanks). I had a blast playing with the big guys even though I didn’t finish the Saturday race (didn’t fix the overheating until after the first race). So I begged my way into staying with group two.

Sunday I started from the back of the pounder pack. Twently lap race, so plenty of time to work on that. A bunch of Shelby GT350’s, Camaros, a Devin-like special with a V8, a 914-6, a Cobra and some other interesting big iron. I started moving up fairly quickly, though these guys block unintentionally all the time just by being so twitchy under braking. I finally found several places to safely outbrake them and started moving up one or two cars per lap. It was really fun. When one of them would repass me in the straight I’d use a sleazy technique to  insure a good lead on the next lap. As soon as they got on their brakes (way early–they need lots of room) I’d slide in front of them and touch my brake pedal just hard enough to flash the brake light. I could hear the tires squeal even over Peyote’s ample noisemaking as they locked up, trying to avoid turning me back to beer cans.  Of course I didn’t really brake for another 200 yards, but I’d have ten car lengths at the exit of the turn, and a lot more exit speed. Lovely, and fun.

I finished fifth. We did a couple of laps behind the pace car near the end of the race, but I couldn’t improve my position.  A couple of 1:08’s would have been good for third, but I didn’t have it in me.  I’m blaming the tires, but I wasn’t driving all that well at the very end. Not bad for starting at the back of a bunch of behemouths. People were very pleased with the show. I had dozens of people drop by the pits to say how much fun it was to watch. Most of them had no idea Peyote is a TR3 in drag. What a car this little bastard is.

We moved to a nice little campground near Lake Arthur (Lake Arthur Family Campground). Simple but uncrowded and pretty. I want to paddle my new Stand Up Board (a Starboard 12’6″) which finally arrived, but it didn’t come with a FIN!! There’s not a lot of surf shops in Pittsburgh, so I’ve got to figure out a way to get one.

Last night (Monday) we went to the car show on Walnut Street in Shadyside.  Diane and I had a really great time. The cars were just so-so, though maybe I’m spoiled by the Hart collection, the Jon Shirley collection and all the great cars in the Northwest and California. There was a Jag XKE race car that I’d give a kidney for (though who would want mine) and a nice gullwing. There was also a Spitfire that looked like it was painted with rattle cans and some stuff that looked like basic grocery getters. But the people are great. Fun to talk to, wonderfully friendly and unaffected. Diane wants to adopt the extended family that we sat with at the Saturday Gala and then ran into again at the race on Sunday and the Walnut street show. I don’t know exactly how that would work, but they sure are great people.

Next weekend is the PVGP. Shenley Park is a thoroughly intimidating track. 22 turns, constant elevation changes, trees, hydrants, stone curbs, bridges, a huge crown on the road and sewer covers everywhere. Looks like fun. More later.