Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, September 2, 2013

High on Speed...

Sounds like we're into some illegal and illicit stuff, doesn't it?  Not so...

Alberta's guy, Ernie, builds engines.  He's a specialist and his shop has some really high-tech machinery.  There is one room that tests motors using a dyno (meter).  Ernie does a lot of work for the gas and oil companies, but he also builds components for racing cars.

I'm not even going to pretend I know or understand any of this...  speed has never been something I care about and noise to me is downright .... well.... noisy.

But Ernie was given some tickets to go to the Aztec Speedway, which had races Saturday evening.  This is about 10 miles from Farmington.  Ernie invited us for a night at the races and around 7pm, Alberta, Ernie, Bill and I were on our way.
 Bill & I were both equipped with our hearing protection as we knew this was going to be loud.  We found seats in the bleachers and got settled in for the races.

The main events hadn't started yet, and there were several of these cars zipping around the track.
 They sounded like angry bumblebees to me...  kind of like a motorcycle about to blow up.  I believe they do have motorcycle engines....  I expected to smell that distinctive "2 cycle oil" smell, but either they weren't that kind, or we were too far away.

Not too long after we arrived, the races began...
 These are "late model" cars.
You couldn't prove it by me...  they really didn't look like any kind of car that you'd see on the city streets.  They had all been modified to decrease wind resistance...  to provide safety for the driver...  and, of course, to perform as racing cars.

There were usually 8 cars in a race.  The races lasted 10 laps.  The pole position car wasn't always the favorite...  and if a well-liked driver was behind and moved up through the pack, he... or she.... was cheered on by the crowd.  I say he/she because several of the drivers were female.  One woman driver was only 20 years old and if I heard correctly, she'd been driving for 8 years.  Guess they start young!

All these cars have sponsors.  Businesses who help financially and then get advertising plastered on the car.  Many of the cars had multiple sponsors and were well "decorated".
 One of the driver's has a son with Multiple Sclerosis.  There have been several charity events to help his needs as well as to generate funds for the national cause.  "Witten's Warriors" tee-shirts were worn by several of the spectators....   supporters for the local MS group.

I mentioned that the cars roaring around the track are quite noisy.  We all took ear protection for ourselves.  I was glad to see that this young mother had made sure her young daughter was protected.
 No sense in ruining her hearing at this young age...  she can at least wait until she's a teen-ager and listen to loud music.

There were no accidents...  a few bumps and spin-outs...  there were a couple of exciting races where the guy in the rear managed to pass everyone and win...
It did get dusty before the evening ended.  There are cars in the infield that are barely visible here.  

I think we saw 8 or 10 races.  We stayed until the intermission, then decided to head home...
We never pass up the opportunity to do something different, and though this is about as different way to spend a Saturday evening as I can think of, we had a good time.

Yeah, there's a lot I don't understand about it all, but that's okay.  It was fun just to watch.

That's All For Today!


  1. You guys sure to enjoy a variety of entertainment! LOL

  2. I love racing, but my favorite is NHRA top fuel drag racing. They shortened the track from a quarter mile to only 1000 feet because the speeds were getting too high. But they still hit over 300 mph in less than 4 seconds. You don't need a long attention span to watch a race (grin). Everytime they come to my area, I go see and feel them. They produce over 10,000 hp. They are an engineering marvel. If you ever get the chance to see them in person, do so. Today they are in Indianapolis and on ESPN starting at noon today. This must be a special broadcast becuase it is usually three hours or less but today it will be six hours long.

    1. They are going to be in the Dallas area 9-19 through 9-22. The 22nd is eliminations. If you can get tickets, go and watch. If you go, take a walk through the pit area and watch them work on the cars. They rebuild or change engines after every run.

  3. Watching cars go around in a circle has never held much interest for me. I wouldn't have thought to bring ear plugs. Good thinking!

  4. I've only been to road course types of events (Mosport for the American Lemans series) and a couple drag tracks. Grand Bend and Cayuga.
    Never been too interested in watching cars go around in a circle, but I should probably try it at least once.
    Since my wife was the Divisional Controller here in Canada, (this was before our European stay) my buddies and I could get VIP tickets. Her company sponsored a "Pro Mod". I like to be track side, but that was way too noisy for her. So the guy she sponsored made sure we got into the building where the track announcer sits. Not sure what you call it. She didn't go with me too often. Like I said, too noisy for her.
    But, because we had these "VIP" passes, we parked our RV right next to the car they sponsored in the pits. It was awesome.

  5. Never been to a car race. I'm too afraid they'll crash. just going around and around in circles as fast as they can and live. I dunno. not my thing. BUT you and Bill always find neat and different stuff to enjoy and that's very cool. I think so.

  6. Looks like fun. I'm always game to try new things too. And, as a California Children's Services director with Kaiser for years, I particularly love the photo of the mom and baby with hearing protection. Good job young mom!

  7. I went to a car race once years ago at the State Fair. The lead car was several laps ahead of the pack right up until the end. I was deafened by the noise amplified by the speakers and wound up with a bad sunburn. That is not my idea of entertainment!

  8. I'm not much into it either, the noise and watching cars go in circles, think I'd be bored quickly, but I know a lot of people who love it. To each his or her own!

  9. butterbean carpenterSeptember 2, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Howdy Sharon & Bill,
    Back in the 'olden' days I built the body for a 'dirt-track' race car; a friend built the engine and we had another friend named 'IRON-HEAD' ENGLAND, who drove it for us... It was a MONEY-PIT situation and the $$$$ we won went right back into the car!!! We worked every evening, after working 8-10 hours on our regular jobs, until the wee hours on the car ALL WEEK, THEN AFTER WORK, on Friday, we would tow the car, up to 150 miles to race it... IF it was raceable for Saturday's races, we would then tow it sometimes another 100-150 miles to another race-track, for another race... After Saturday's races, IF IT WOULD STILL RUN, we went to another race track to race it... Sometimes we raced in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas in one week-end!!! At one track a 'smart-a-s' started a fight with Ironhead and looked to me like he was stabbing him with a knife, so, I did a fast run, hit him under the jaw, flipping him end over end; it was only a flashlight !!! He was a friend of one of the 'bigshots' who sanctioned the racing circuit and I was 'kicked-out' of the association... By that time that year I had won enough money to 'break-even', so that ended my association with auto racing...
    Next to rodeoing it was the most fun I ever had, in sports...
    None of us ever wore 'hearing-protection and is why we're all deaf today !!!!

    Sure do hope y'all have a HAPPY WONDERFUL DAY !!!!

  10. I think I was probably a teenager the last time I went to a race like that. Good idea to have the ear protection, but the smells get to me, too.