Roadracing in Arizona & New Mexico

October 2004

Part One

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It was a hot day for October. Not so hot that you saw heat waves coming off the pavement but hot enough that you wanted to sit in the shade with a cool drink and watch other people do the work. It was the kind of hot that would sneak up on you if you forgot your hat. Burn the tips of your ears and the back of your neck.

It was just the kind of day that makes you want to get an early start so you can be done by mid-afternoon and then go home, get cleaned up and maybe take your family out to dinner. Go to a nice Mexican food place and relax. Talk about the days events over chips and salsa. Talk about how hot it was, and when it’s going to cool off. About how great it was to have people do all that work that goes into putting on the things you did today.

You know, a perfect day to be at the races.

Part Two

Jeff looked across the infield and saw Rich standing by the grid looking back at him. He raised the rolled green flag over his head and twirled it around in a little circle. Rich waved back and turned to the karters sitting on the grid, “Fire ‘em up!” he said. Buttons were pressed and karts were pushed. The engines were coaxed into life, some smoking, some quietly muttering. Rich held his breath so he wouldn’t breath the acrid smoke and waited for the last of the engines to start. When it finally did, he waved the machines onto the track. The noise engulfed him and he grimaced as they went by. Then it was quite. The noise wouldn’t be back for just over a minute. Rich looked at Jeff as he waved the flag to start the race.

“He’s got to be hot standing there in the sun all day” he thought to himself. “And his feet probably hurt as much as mine do”. He took a drink of water. Warm. He finished the bottle and threw it into the trash. “Better set up the next grid”, he thought to himself. He started down the pits calling out the next race.

Part Three

“What is the matter with this grill?” Karen wondered. It was lit but it was taking forever to cook anything. “They already replaced the tank so the gas was OK” she told the racers that waited. “It just won’t get any hotter”. They were willing to wait. They all knew there was nothing better than a burger cooked at the track while your racing. The soft doughy bun, pre-made patties, ketchup out of little packets. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each bite was like heaven. Some came back for seconds. One stacked his double. But not one complained. Well not at this price! This was one of the reasons they went racing.

Epilog

The racer pulled off the track after the last lap was done. He didn’t jump out of his kart like in the morning. It had been a long day with a lot of laps. The tires were shot, the engine worn, lots of cleaning and maintenance to do. His buddy called over to him “Where were you the whole race?” “Stuck behind some slow guy” he replied. He knew he should have been able to pass but, well… next time. “Next time!” he yelled back.

Next time. Next time. New tires and rebuild the carb. Get a better start and I can get him. When is next time? “When do we run again?” he asked his buddy.

“I think we can run in November on the main track” his buddy replied. “And then back on the east track in December. Have to get tuned up for Fontana in January!”

“Want to help lift my kart?”

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