Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Day at the Races - Saturday 8/23/2008

I've been reading about how California's Central Valley produces something like 75% of most types of fruits and veggies grown commercially in the U.S. Click on that link for a picture of this amazing approximately 450 mile feature.

As we arrived at the Auto Club Famoso Raceway outside of Bakersfield I saw this mound. Can it be?

Does the Central Valley also provide the world's supply of Cheetos coating!?

As we waited behind our friend Racer's rig to check into the ANRA Cool August Nights nostalgia drag races we discovered that the air conditioning in our idling Echo was no match for the 100 degree temperatures.

We're here as part of the crew!

There's lots to watch while you wait your turn!

See those fruit trees behind him? Part of the bounty of the valley. We drove through miles of these on the way up here.

Hydra helps unload the Phantom Bantam!

Racer built this car from the ground up. Those metal flames are removed before start up, of course. For more info, including videos, click here.

His talented daughter did the graphics, including the saucy rooster.

The yellow band means you've paid your entrance fee to the races. The orange band means you're part of the crew.

I had one too!

It started to cool off as the sun went down. There was plenty of time for talking, although a lot of punch lines were lost in the roar of the engines. Some of the cars are so loud, when they started up I literally jumped!

Thank goodness Racer's daughter brought us earplugs!

Racer's daughter and future son-in-law and I drove to a space at the end of the track and walked back to try and get a shot of DP (the driver) opening the shoot as they crossed the finish line during the qualifying round. We were turned back by a staffer who pointed out the places where cars had come through the concrete barriers.

Oh, yeah. That shattered glass we walked around...

I'm not sure I'd have been so confident walking down there if I'd sat in the stands beforehand. Some of the cars get up to 190 miles per hour on that short track!

This shot is of a couple of cars burning rubber and heating up their tires so they expand, right before their runs.

Racer, DP and Hydra right before the first elimination race for the class. It was interesting to watch his face as the time came near.

These drag races are more about the skill of the drivers than about just having the fastest car. You have to get as close to a time of say, 7.60 seconds as you can without completing the run any faster.

It was interesting to watch DP's face as the time grew nearer. Concentration, adrenaline...

The car was towed almost to the starting line.

Unfortunately, when he revved it up for the race, something went terribly wrong. Possibly as bad as a thrown rod.

I remember Dad uttering those words over the engine of my beloved Renault 10. Sigh.

So we packed up. The others drove back to the San Fernando Valley and to Big Bear. Ooph. We were so glad that we'd decided to make a mini-vacation of it and stay in Bakersfield for the night.

Really fascinating, fun and interesting night!

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