Culled from my daily diary...

The rain: The rain: I went to Edmonton last Sunday to race. I went up on Saturday, spent $70 for a room to stay overnight, and went to the track the next day. There, I spent $50 to get in, so I could sit in my truck and watch it rain! Seven hours later, at 3 PM, the event is considered a rain-out, but none of us get our money back! We were given a credit which I hope I can use; after all, it's not like we race in Edmonton every week. I drive back to Calgary, in the rain which really dirties my car, truck and trailer, and drop them off at the farm where I store them. When all the bookkeeping is done my weekend cost 2 days of my life and about $200, not including car/truck/trailer wash. My alternative to going up the day before was to leave at 5 o'clock in the morning. Yeah, going up the day before was better; at least I don't fall asleep between rounds.

The heat: Another day, it was about 27 deg at the track and parts of my car were falling off, because it was a new, untested, just-built car. Okay, that's to be expected, but why do these things happen when the guy you're pitting beside is sitting under an umbrella drinking frosty beer? My exhaust pipes fell out of their collector-inserts, and since I didn't want to pole-vault over the pipes at 120 miles per hour I had to get under the car and secure them. Well, hot pipes ain't no match for my tender, young, sensitive skin... The same day, my shifter went wonky and needed a little fiddling with. Again, the headers that run about a hand-thickness-worth from the tranny are no match for my hands. I should have a 6 year old kid under there with me to handle those chores; their hands are much smaller. Sounds like a great cottage industry to me.

Breaking parts: Last year I grenaded an engine. That was not fun. I appreciated everyone's pity, but what I really wanted was cash hand-outs, which I did not get. Maybe I should send a little monkey out with a tin cup begging for donations. And no my friends, "grenading an engine" is NOT the same as building an engine in Grenada.

Working in Hell: Being a member of the CDRA requires that we all do our part, so when the call came to scrape the track, I thought it would be a good experience. It was a good experience: after seeing what it was like to live in HELL, I turned my life around and decided to be a good guy. (I'll eat fruit and vegetables from now on, no more furry animals. And I'll drink ice tea instead of beer). The Devil who was directing us in this venture, Lynn Church, wasn't too demanding (no forks up the arse or anything although she did yell at me for dropping burning rubber on a clean part of the track), so that part was okay. So was the beer and pizza. I can now say I drank beer on the starting line of a drag strip. How many others can say that? We should have drank beer as the Tree counted down, just to see if it could be done before the green light went on. "Okay everybody, stage your lips! It would have to be a Sportsman Tree of course.

Support Vehicles: "Excuse me, is there a washroom in the pits where I can wash my hands?" The answer is "no, you idiot", and the door handles and steering wheel are proof of this. On the subject of sanitation, how was your hamburger and tranny-fluid sandwich? Mine was pretty good. No worry about E-coli in the burgers; the tranny fluid, brake fluid, and engine oil are pretty good disinfectants. I hardly notice it anyway because, invariably, when I get my burger, the announcer calls my class and I have to run like hell to get to the car. Maybe if I pitted closer to the food place instead of the far reaches of the pit area, I'd be able to get a burger done in more that 3 bites. I feel like a wolf with a lamb in his mouth, being chased by a farmer with a shot-gun! So, I race all day if it doesn't rain, or if I don't break something, or if I don't get poisoned by car fluids. Then I get dropped in eliminations for some stupid, mundane reason: red light, went to fast, went to slow, didn't went, saw a cute chick in the stands. I go home without getting anything, except the ire of my spouse I dragged to the event. Oh, and don't forget the headache from the noise, the pressure to perform, the heat, the nagging from the spouse I dragged...yada yada yada. I get home and I'm still are under pressure to perform. (I'm talking about cutting the grass...get your mind out of the gutter.) I guess there's no rest for the wicked.

Timing: If you get it wrong you could damage an engine. But that's not the "timing" I speak of. I mean timing of race events and other life events. Hard-core racers can race one weekend in Calgary and the next in Edmonton all summer. Unfortunately, unless you're single and all you want to do in life is drag-race (you would have to be mentally-challenged to adopt such a view), there are concessions to be made. However, if you're a CDRA member and racing for points, you MUST be ready to race every second weekend. My significant other is flying to Scotland for 6 weeks the day of the 3rd CDRA points meet. Guess where I'll be? I have to do the right thing, so I will be at the CDRA meet! She can take a taxi. By the time she returns I'm sure I'll have been forgiven! Gee I wonder if there's a race the day she returns...

The Funny Cars: I saw the funny cars at the Funny Car Father's Day Classic. The stunt bikes too. Too bad it was only whenever I went to the can! Racers in the pits don't get to see races from the stands. There is always work to do, autographs to sign, numbers to write on your car, people to shoo away from the pin-up calendar. We get to listen to the commentary on the radio: "Ladies and Gentlemen, wasn't that the most fantastic stunt you've ever seen! You'll never see that again, ever! Wow!" Drag strips should be like Drive-In Theatres; each spot in the pit should have a little video display so we can watch the action on the track from the comfort of our race car. I'll have to mention this great idea to Lynn.

Goin' Home: This should be the anti-climax of the day, but it is no less traumatic than being at the track all day. Lately the only way to get my car on the trailer was by getting it pushed on, or worse, using a Come-Along and chunks of chain to winch it onto the trailer. Pant, pant, pant. Whew! Packing up involves close scrutiny of the surrounding area to make sure nothing has been left behind. At dusk, my face is so close to the ground I can see items as small as the ants crawling up my nose. At one time it took me 1/2 hour just to chain the car down. I've since modified that operation by getting proper straps and proper length chains. I took them off my bed. I left the hand-cuffs. I'm all dirty and get into the truck, forgetting to put the plastic seat cover on the seat. My hands are filthy with dirt and grease, but I grab the molded door handle anyway. I turn the radio to Race City's broadcast on 98.7 FM to listen to the rest of the race, hearing about the guys that I could have beat, had I not broke. Curses! Of course I haven't had dinner yet and it's 7 PM. On the way home some guy gives me the finger for going to slow, pulling my trailer. Or did I swing into his lane? "Go ahead, beat me up", I say to myself, "I'm too tired to fight and just want to die". At home I take the important stuff out of the truck: the camera I didn't use, the water I didn't drink, and the pin-up calendar I never looked at. I get into the house and drop on the living room rug for a quick nap. Ten minutes later when my significant other steps on me on her way upstairs, I get up and take a shower. There's so much dirt (well, okay, maybe it's rubber) going down the drain I wonder if it will plug up. After the shower I write about the days events in my diary, then fall asleep reading a magazine on how to drag-race. Another week-end gone down the tubes.

One week later...

Man, what a day I had! I finally dipped in the mid 10's at over 125 miles per hour! The car is just running great! Had a grudge match against my buddy with the 502 BBC in a heads-up race and whipped his butt! I didn't break out in the bracket eliminations either but in my excitement of getting to the last round I red-lit. The best I've ever done! Some friends and my sponsor were there to congratulate me on my efforts. Geez, this drag-racing is a blast! I can't wait until next week!