I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it was to place first in class after all the bad luck and poor driving decisions I’ve made the past few months. But it was a whirlwind weekend, let me tell you.
It started off with me not going to sleep at all on Thursday night, and getting on a 6am flight from DC to LAX. It was just easier to not sleep. I was lucky enough to secure a Dodge Charger SRT8 through my RoadflyTV contacts, so I had some wheels while I was out there. Good thing too because I had to hightail it out to CBS to do a quick interview on KCAL 9, and then bust a move for tech up at Barstow.
This was a race I did as a part of Courage Girl Motorsports. The MORE Powder Puff Race for the Cure features all female drivers and co-drivers, with all proceeds going to Cedar Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center. Each year the race raises over $100K through team donations, a raffle, and our entry fees. It’s one of the best races of the season and it was great to be doing it with my Courage Girls Michele, Martee, and Pepper. You can read more about us at www.teamcourageracing.com
While at tech we talked to people, handed out calendar pre-orders (have you ordered yours? you should), took some photos, and did a few interviews for a DVD coming out about the Powder Puff. But really all we wanted to do was go to bed so we could get up and RACE!
The next morning Martee and Michele took off in Grace for the morning race. Grace is emblazoned with over 400 names of breast cancer survivors, fighters, angels, and previvors. Such a sight to see her racing across the Barstow desert. She finished 3rd in class with an average speed of 24.7mph.
My co-dawg Pepper and I got in the car, now named Christine because she sucks you dry and tries to kill you, for the afternoon race around 11:45. It’s always so nerve wracking to be sitting there in staging, waiting to start. All I can think about is how much I have to pee, how my helmet is too heavy, how much I’m already sweating. And then magically…we start and there is nothing but the road ahead and the wheel in my hands.
Pepper was fantastic in the car, calling corners and cautions, encouraging me to throttle down and pass (Trophy Trucks! We passed Trophy Trucks and Class 1 cars!), and telling me patience when Christine’s rear end started kicking out. And the end result? First in class and the car was still running. Holy crap! And I was so close to getting a 40mph average but alas 39.5mph was all that was to be had.
So what is next? I need to take stock of money and schedules and see if we can squeeze in one more race. We are really focusing on raising money for the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a 9 day all female rally in Morocco with no GPS. You can buy a calendar or donate at www.rally.org/teamcouragegazelles
I would like to clear up a possible misunderstanding regarding my attitude in the Powder Puff race report. Yes, it is true I called back over the radio, “I have money. You get to McKenzie’s or KarTek right now and get me a torsion bar!”
However, when I said “I have money” I did not mean, “I am totally loaded and therefore you all should do what I say.”
What I meant was, “I have money from canceling my cable, scrimping on my electricity use, not buying any of the massively cute clothes from the Boden catalog, and even taking on a room mate to help with the mortgage payment, and I would prefer not to give up on this race right now.”
Because really…if I had any money DO YOU HONESTLY THINK I WOULD BE RUNNING A TORSION BAR IN THE FIRST PLACE???
I’m glad we could clear this up.
Well, we had an awesome, albeit unsuccessful, weekend at Powder Puff. No, let me take that back. We raised just over $2000 for Cedars-Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center, so we were successful in that regard. I hate to say it, but car 549 did not even get past race mile 4. Let me elaborate.
It was a bright and breezy Friday afternoon when I arrived at the Hall Ass Racing pits just outside Barstow. Dad had the baja there and she was looking good. The motor had been fixed since our debacle at the Mexican 1000 and she now sports a single carburetor. The transmission was in good working order, shocks were dialed in and looking good. Gail and I went out for a pre-run and were happy to find that there was a new section to the course…a fast section! It took you on a little trail that was flat and curvy, then dumped you out on to the familiar dry lake bed around a fun corner to where you had your choice of lines before it got really rocky and technical again. Even just cruising we did the 30 miles in about 50 minutes, putting our average speed at about 36mph.
But alas, I was never to get past the first road crossing on race day. We lined up behind the car to beat, 5011. Wendy Belk was at the wheel and she is FAST. That car has a lot of money in it so with a good driver behind the wheel, I knew I had my driving cut out for me.
I took off about 20 seconds behind her and we were looking good. Gail, my co-driver, was feelin’ it, I was feelin’ it…we could see Wendy’s dust not too far up. I’m not saying I would have caught her on the ridge, but I might have caught her on the ridge. And oh, how pride goeth before the fall.
We didn’t hit hard. At least, I didn’t think so. We just hit a regular old whoop and suddenly I was having a hard time controlling the car. And it was making a funny noise. And it smelled weird. I got off the course and radioed back, “Car 549 race to base…something’s wrong.” Eric Cox was out there in his truck and he came over to help. Jay and the Russian sped out to us in their chase vehicle, and the diagnosis began.
The rear driver’s side was completely collapsed. Shocks looked good so we knew it had to be the torsion bar. We radioed back to base to see if we had another. The answer came back negative. And this is where I got a wee bit bitchy. I called back, “I have money. You get to McKenzie’s or KarTek right now and get me one!”
So they did. Jay and the Russian towed us back to the pits and they started breaking it down. At this point, we knew we were just going to be racing for fun. You only have 3 hours to do as many miles as you can, and if we couldn’t get it fixed by 10:30 there was no point in even getting out there at all. They did get the torsion bar changed, but were just guessing at the angle index, so 549 just sank back on her haunches.
But here’s the thing: that’s racing. It’s not the first time I’ve DNF-ed and it certainly won’t be the last. We had a good time, our pals at Tut Tech Racing did really well, I met some great people, and shot the shit with some old friends. Half the fun of racing is the social aspect, and I’m glad I got to pal around a bit. Am I disappointed? Sure. But I had a few good races with Desert Dingo and I have Gazelles to look forward to.
And….I won the logo contest! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted for me. Considering I got over 1000 votes, I’m pretty sure I don’t know most of the people who voted, so THANK YOU for supporting a small time off roader like me. There was a bit of a kerfluffle with the server at Studio Rhoad and in the interest of fairness, they are designing logos for ALL of us, which you have to admit is a classy thing to do. I’ll post it up here for sure when it’s finished!
Finally, we are looking for a new car. 2 seater 1600 or class 10 or 12. Chassis and suspension only is okay. I hate to move away from my beloved air cooled, but if we go class 10 or 12, we’re thinking ecotec.
Here is video of the most exciting four miles you will ever see in racing:
PS: After the race Pepper and I went out for a joy ride in her car, Kitt. We got a flat tire. At race mile 4. I swear I can’t make this stuff up.
Unfortunately, I will not be there. I know, I know…its very sad. But you can meet Michele and her crew and get to know them like you’ve gotten to know me. You’ll love her. I promise.
Some great video has surfaced from VORRA’s 24 hour endurance race on Labor Day weekend, where I helped Desert Dingo’s 1107 take first in class. You can read my race report in a previous post, but let’s just say it was a rockin’ good time. At any rate, here is your video fix.
We are getting ready for the Powder Puff on October 8th just outside Barstow, CA. All female drivers and co-drivers, racing for the cure. Dad has made his way back to his summer digs in Colorado to pick up the car and get packed for his winter move to Mexico (I know, rough life, right?). He’ll trailer 549 out to California and work with Jimmy of Shook Hawk Performance Engines to make sure the carburation is right. If you recall, that’s what did us in at the Mexican 1000 in May.
I’ll arrive in CA on Thursday night, then run out to see Dave Bonner at Kartek to get a new helmet. I’ve been wearing a hand me down and really need to get something that fits better. Plus I want it orange. The most obnoxious orange you have ever seen. I want my helmet to look like the neon sweatshirt I had in 1986 (when I was 4, natch), but multiplied by 100 in brightness.
Friday will be a pre-run day and we’ll take the car through tech late in the afternoon. This is always a fun time as a lot of the guys are in some kind of drag and people have decorated their cars with pink feathers, ribbons…there is even one car that shows up every year with a huge bra on the front end. Hilarious.
All proceeds from the Powder Puff will go to Cedars-Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center. It’s our team goal to raise $5000, and we still have a long way to go. You can help us out, even with $10 (but we’ll take your $Hunnies too!) by going to my fund raising page.
It looks like we’ll be pitting with Team Courage Racing and Tut Tech Racing, and whoever THEY decide to bring out. I imagine about a half a mile of pits where we all know each other and help each other out. Should make for a raucous party on Saturday after the race!
There are a few more surprises I am working on for the Powder Puff. I’m not sure if it’s all going to pan out, so I’m keeping quiet for now. Can’t guarantee how long THAT will last! In the meantime, check out the cool video from Powder Puff 2009. You might see a bit of little ol’ me in there somewhere.
It seems I’ve hit the ground running since I got back from Santa Cruz. I’ve moved into a new office at work, formed a team to take on the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles (more on that later), and have made plans to drive again for Desert Dingo in the next event, a 24 hour endurance race.
But what I want to talk about right now is boobs. Do you have boobs? Do you like people that have boobs? Then help us save boobs! Every year Hall Ass Racing campaigns our class 5-unlimited baja in the Powder Puff race in Barstow, CA. The event raises over $100,000 for Cedar Sinai Breast Cancer Research Center and we are so proud to be a part of it.
But take it from me, this ain’t your mom’s race for the cure. We are in it to win it. The race routinely draws over 175 cars and 25,000 people descend on Barstow to watch us get dirty. Competitors run the gamut from noobs who have only watched their husbands or boyfriends to professional lady racers with many podium finishes in SCORE, SNORE, and BITD.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, after skin cancer. Today, approximately 1 in almost every 8 women (13.4%) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer — and is the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, approximately 192,370 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and approximately 40,610 will die. Although these numbers may sound frightening, research reveals that the mortality rate could decrease by 30% if all women age 50 and older who need a mammogram had one.
Only 5% to 10% of breast cancers occur in women with a clearly defined genetic predisposition for the disease. The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic,” meaning there is no direct family history of the disease. The risk for developing breast cancer increases as a woman ages. (WebMD)
There is a link to my IndieGoGo fundraising page to the left of this blog. If you’ve got a few bucks, I hope you’ll consider donating. There are even a few perks available, like Hall Ass Racing t-shirts and magnets, even an opportunity for a ride in the co-driver’s seat! Sorry guys…females only.
In 2009 we came in 4th in class, 2010 saw us earn 2nd (even after a last minute engine swap, no power steering, and the loss of second gear)…I’m thinking 2011 is our year to win!