We're back ...

We arrived home safely Saturday shortly after 9:00 PM (CDT). We had a blast in Jamaica and were glad to be able to entice the friends and family we had to join us. As is usually the case the time flew by and the trip came to an end all to early.

We brought back with us 7 bottles of Jamaican Rum in various flavors and quality. To be honest, I think we'll put them away for awhile as I don't need another drop of Rum in this body for at least a month, if you know what I mean.

Jen, Jon and, my parents were all impressed with the level of service provided by the resort. Jen and Jon had been to an all-inclusive resort before but commented on just how on top of everything the staff were.

We were going to our room after check-in and lunch and the bell hop (Rockey the one from Jamaica, not Philadelphia) stopped to point out all the points of interest along the way. The restrooms, beach grill, pools, jacuzzis etc. My dad made the comment that he was really working for a tip. I reminded him that there was a no tipping policy and they are very service oriented. I'm sure there is a bonus program in there somewhere but, the employees don't let on about it.

Pictures to come as soon as I can get this POS Sony VAIO laptop to quit crashing.... That's so cute, it's rebooting again... *sigh*


No Racing, Off to Jamaica

I learned late Friday morning that the water pump was out on the Acura. I wasn't going to fix it and then decided 5pm would be a good time to start taking the old one off. We got a call from my brother John, he blew up Tina's car in hot laps.

Well at 8:00 Bob and John pulled out of the driveway with the Acura in tow and a brand new water pump installed. Tina is driving that this week and likely next week too.

We're off to Jamaica, leaving home at 11:15 PM tonight. Fly out at 8 AM tomorrow from O'Hare Int'l. Al will be home most of the week and we have a small army to care for the dogs.

We'll see you on the other side.


Fourth image down from the top.

I should have posted more info about this picture. Matt asks "Did you get hit?" Yes, I got hit in the passenger door to start my spin, I backed into the wall, and I got hit in the driver's door by the son of the guy who built my roll cage. As I mentioned I didn't race the next week as I didn't have a chance to fix the car. The doors and unibody were pushed in on both sides and the bumper had been removed.

I thought it was just a racing deal. Then I heard the husband of one of the drivers state that she had come down intentionally to take out the guy above me.

That sucks.


The Wisconsin Challenge Series made a stop at Columbus 151 Speedway this weekend. The touring series features Super Late Models and is joined by support divisions dictated by the host track.

I had spent most of the day Saturday getting the Acura bent back into racing shape. I borrowed a porta-power (pictured below). Basically, a porta-power is a hydraulic jack with a number of different attachments and extensions. It was the first time I had used one and it worked pretty slick.

With the Bandit back in shape I went out and turned a 16.5 second lap. About average for the year so far. Tina wasn't as lucky as John forgot to change the right rear back to the right front. He had swapped them to get the car on the trailer. She turned a 17.184 the first lap. I was watching her time in and thought, the next lap will be better, 17.185. That put me at 6th in time and Tina in 9th.

I placed third in the heat race. Troy Yohn (#X) leaned on my left rear quarter and I gave him too much room surrendering the second position.

In the feature I started inside row five. On lap two Linda Carignan (#5) and Ryan Oetzel (#78) got together. I was able to duck through the in-field and came away clean. Dan "Big Tiny" Gosda (#21) took that opportunity to jump in front of me during the caution laps. Given the Columbus officials penchant for not putting us back in the correct running order I made sure to get around him and take my spot back.

When the race resumed I was running fourth. Tina, Nick Nolden (#67), and I freight-trained around Travis Schneeburg (#x75)on the outside. Tina and Nick got away from me. As we came up on lapped traffic Dan Birkett (#36) tried to pin me behind Carignan and Oetzel. He went into turn three pretty hot and slid up. I quickly grabbed the second groove but, left too much room between myself and the unpredictable lapped traffic and Birkett slid through the middle of us. Bryan Johnson (#44) made it three wide in his Ford Probe to take away fourth.

At the line it was Tina picking up her first feature and I took fifth.

This coming Friday will be a long day as I'll be racing at Columbus and then we'll be racing down to O'hare Airport in Chicago to make our flight to Jamaica. Should be fun.


8/13 Columbus Results - Unwinding?

I didn't get a chance to fix the bandit this week. I decided Thursday night that I wouldn't rush to try to get the car ready for Friday. That gave me a week off from racing right? Guess again ...

We (Jen and I) went out to dinner at Carlos O'Kelly's Mexican Restaurant. As usual the food was fine but, it's no Pedro's. We did some odds and ends shopping in preparation for our trip to Jamaica the week of August 21-28th.

At 8:00 when we returned home I decided that I would go drive Rick Verdon's back-up car. He's in Athens developing pictures for a little event they are having called the Olympics. He works for Kodak and every olympic season jaunts off to develop film from the media covering the event.

It was nice not having to worry about running any race except the last one. I got to see most of the nights races.

I drove Rick's car around the pits to get a feel for it and adjust the seat belts. I started in the back because Rick had won his last race. The green flag dropped and most of the field took off well ahead of me. I just lazily drove my own race, I was more in it to have an extra car out there. I passed a few cars and next thing I know I am running in second place. Not too shabby for putzin' around.

We race again on Sunday. I hope to have the bandit fixed by then...


8/6 Results - Columbus 151

After last weeks feature I noticed we had a tire that needed to be replaced. We bought a new Goodyear Regatta 2 and didn't get a chance to break it in before qualifying. So on a sticker tire I turned a slow 16.8, one of my slower times of the season.

That still put me inside row two for the fast heat. A few laps in, while racing for second, I got tagged by Dan "Big Tiny" Gosda who was racing hard for his position in points. I half spun and recovered but not before sliding to the rear. I chased down Tiny and ran out of time. Sixth out of six. Blech.

I started inside row three for the feature. A favorable spot as I have won the race from further back than that before. The guy ahead of me was an inexperienced driver in a fast car. Both of the cars in the front row slid up the track in the first corner. Mike Winters ducked underneath them and I followed. Apparently, Ryan Oetzel and Linda Carignan got hooked together and then came down on me. They drove hard into my right front and the rear of my car slid out. I backed into the wall and turned my head to see the rest of the field driving into my door. My helmet hit the rollbar and I saw a big flash of light.

I was able to get the car restarted and drive off despite the saftey crew member telling me that I needed a tow. That was an interesting exchange that went something like this:

Safety Crew Member: "You need a tow ..."
Me: "I do?"
SCM: "Yea, you need a tow ..."
Me: "I need a tow?"
SCM: "Yup, you need a tow ..."

At that point I started the car, it rolled so I put it into first and pulled away.

There was a complete restart as the first lap had not been completed. On the restart the car was loose, not sure why. I ran about eight laps and then spun on my own. The car overheated so I pulled off. 17th out of 18. Blech.

Tina turned in her best time of the season at a 16.3, finished second in her heat and 7th in the feature.

Now, the feature winner from this week Mike Winters knocked me out of 10th spot in points. I know I have one more night that I am guaranteed to miss for the trip to Jamaica. I am hoping for a top ten in points. There are two drivers above me who will not be coming back for the rest of the season. It's doable.


*Scam Alert* Wal-Mart Madison East

My brother Rick had some last minute shopping to do before our July-August birthdays celebration at my parents house. We hopped in my car and we went to Wal-Mart. On our way to the check-out he realized he didn't have enough cash on him. "No problem" I said, and proceeded to charge the purchase on my debit card. After ringing me up the cashier places a receipt on the signature pedestal with a piece of scrap cardboard underneath it.

Now at this point the four ``people`` from Herman's Head start getting excited in my head. Just before I started signing I realized what was going on. When I was signing the receipt the imprint would go through the paper and be recorded on the piece of cardboard. I signed ever so lightly and then handed the receipt to the cashier "Rachel". Then I grabbed the piece of cardboard and started to walk out.

I was explaining what happened to my brother and realized there were four other signatures on the same piece of cardboard. Once that new twist came to light, I decided to go back in and talk to a manager. The person I spoke with took the cardboard and asked which cashier had checked me out. As I was leaving he ripped the cardboard in two. That seemed like a good thing, that way the signatures are lost or at least unusable. In retrospect I should have held onto the cardboard. The plan is to call DATCP tomorrow and see if this is a known scam in the area.

I'm not even safe in my own Wal-Mart.