And So It Begins

By Erik Dolson

Cowboy was already at the garage when I got there. Mule was finishing up his car, I call her “Ruby” because of the fantastic paint job, she’s a jewel.

“Hey, do you know anybody who works on transmissions?” I asked Cowboy. The automatic in the Ford I use to tow Yellowjacket to races had been acting up, making a spinning noise with maybe a metal on metal screech.

“Call Gitterdone,” he said. “He’s having the transmission done on his Dodge. He researched all of them, and says the shop he found is the best.”

That’s the thing about gear head Big Bore Bad Boys, and probably all the others too, in different cars, Porsches and BMWs and Lotuses and such. They’ll all be in Seattle over Fourth of July weekend, running in what may be still the premier vintage road race in the Pacific Northwest. We race against each other out on the track, but help each other get there, too.

“It’s the people, as much or even more than the racing,” Cowboy said to me once. He’s right, but then, he usually is.

But it’s the racing that has had me researching brake compounds for three weeks, trying to find a brake package that will stop a 3,000 pound car doing 160 miles an hour in time to make a 90 degree right turn, followed by a 130 degree hairpin left.

Oh, you can always stop, if you put the brakes on soon enough. But a good portion of racing, or at least winning, is in putting the brakes on as late as you possibly can, just at the moment when you know it’s too late and are about to spin the car into the fence or into another car or just bust through the turn and sit there waiting for a chance to get back on the track and finish behind those you wanted to beat.

We’ve all done it. Cowboy more than most, but that’s just a matter of style. “The crowd loves it,” he says. It’s also because he has crammed more motor under the hood than the tires can stand, but that’s another story.

It’s the racing that has had many building new engines over the winter, new transmissions, finding something lighter to replace something heavier. Because we want to beat those other racers. But we want to beat them out on the track. If somebody breaks something they don’t have a spare for in the trailer, someone else is likely to give them what they need for the weekend.

It’s the racing that has me trying to find brakes that don’t fade away at the end of a race when I need them the most. I call others to see what they’re using. This time, the answers are not so easy to come by. This has to do with being out there on the track, and we all have our secrets. We all want to win.

It’s weird, in a way. The guys who are toughest to beat are the ones I trust the most. Let’s face it, it takes trust to drive through a kink in the track at 160 mph, concrete dividers on either side, with another car so close you could open his door if you dared take your hand off the wheel. I trust who they are, trust their ability.

For sure, I won’t do that with every driver out there, and not even with every front runner, because for some, how they win isn’t as important as winning. But I will with most, because I trust them.

That’s one of the things I love most about this sport. That contradiction right there. That we’ll do what we can to beat everyone out there who wants to beat us just as bad, but we’ll do what we can so that  they can be out there, too.

It’s why at this time of year my heart beats a little faster, my priorities change, why I spend more time thinking about how to spend money on chunks of screaming steel than I do on how to make that money in the first place.

It’s not about prize money, there isn’t any. It’s not about bragging rights, those fade too fast. I suppose it might be about proving ourselves, but only to ourselves, because we don’t care that much about what others think.

We do it because it’s not just what we do, it’s part of who we are. It’s all of it. Finding the parts, making hard decisions, being with friends, spending the money, competing to be the best. It’s stupid fast speeds in cars 50 years old that were never designed for this level of performance, painting them glorious colors, making them more than they ever were.

And, we’ll do it long past the time when we probably should have stopped.

Because it’s never enough.

Put him up against the wall!!!

By Erik Dolson

Cory Booker and Bill De Blasio have shown us their outrage. As if, somehow, that qualifies either to be president. It worked for Trump, so perhaps it would work for them.

But using outrage as a weapon is like using a grenade in hand-to-hand combat. (I suggest this song to Donald Trump, Cory Booker and Bill DeBlasio).

You see, last week Joe Biden said he used to work with segregationist senators in the Senate, and he named two. Here is the actual quote:

“You go down the list of all these guys. Well guess what? At least there was some civility. We got things done. We didn’t agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished,” he said. “But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore.”

DeBlasio and Booker, who are running against Biden in the Democratic primary for President, sensed an opening. Booker, who is black and DeBlasio, whose wife is black, misused Biden’s comments in a display of outrage.

Taking a page right out of Donald Trump’s playbook.

DeBlasio even used the word n*gger in his response, I guess to prove his bonafides. Mr. DeBlasio, how many Democrats do you think really want four more years of a chronically outraged guy from New York as president? You’re done. Go home. And to quote a favorite ad, don’t use your family like that. It’s shameful.

Mr. Booker, Biden later said you knew better, and that outraged you, too (and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who asked what does that even mean?) It means Booker took Biden’s words out of context, making them into something they weren’t. Which is another form of the lying that we are all so tired of in America, Mr. Booker. Biden was saying you knew better than to lie, and hopefully you do. You’ll have another chance. But now you’re done. Go home.

Joe Biden is not my preferred candidate. I think Democrats can do better. I don’t mind a tough debate. But Booker and DeBlasio proved Biden’s point in their too-eager effort to capitalize on what they saw as a mistake by the front-runner.

“But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy. Not the opposition, the enemy. We don’t talk to each other anymore,” Biden said. He was saying that it was still possible to do the work, even when working with people with whom you didn’t agree on “much of anything.” He used the segregationists as an example of the worst.

And that brought out the worst in two who think they should be president.