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May 20, 2024

NASCAR Dreams 01

By Ed Moyer

"I have got to pit NOW, dayum it." Rob blurted on the two-way radio.

"You don't have a pit partner, you know how hard it is going to be to catch up to the pack if you pit now?" came the immediate retort.

"FINE, you have a choice, let me pit now, or I wreck the [static]n' car and take out the field and piss everyone else off!" Rob almost screamed into the microphone.

"Four tires and two cans of gas. We will take a half wedge of rubber out of the left rear end." Stan's personal nightmare was coming true. This rookie was scared and he had to get him to start believing in himself or this was going to be one of the shortest-lived careers in NASCAR history.

The pit crew team jumped up on the wall, all trained professionals, many from some of the legends of this great sport and most wondering what the hell they did to get stuck on this rookie's team. Some grabbed quick sidelong glances at one another, knowing that this was not the way that this race needed to be run. Here they were a mere seventy-five laps into the new season and their rookie driver was acting like a ten-year-old with a new toy he was too scared to really play with.

"[static] Five, four [static] two, one, dayum son do you know what that pedal in the middle there is actually used for?" Stan knew that the comment wasn't really needed, but he needed to re-establish who was actually in charge here.

"Someone got loose coming outta turn two, better hurry in there — I think the caution is going to be out soon." It was the spotter, Tommy, passing along what information he could to keep the kid in the race. The sounds of sheet metal being bent in an unnatural fashion could be heard in the pits.

"Drop the jack and get the hell out of here NOW!" Stan knew that this could actually be a saving grace.

Rob lit the rear tires up as he felt the heavy car bounce off of the concrete. "I told ya there was something out there that I hit! You have got to have faith in me guys, I ain't just a tenderfoot out here." Rob was immediately trying to plead his case for his earlier actions.

The sound of tires being locked up to avoid the spinning cars could be heard clearly through out the park now. The number thirteen car began moving down pit road, shifted into second gear and pulled out to the outside lane on pit road. The smell of burnt rubber from the sliding tires hung heavy in the air. It mingled with the smell of burnt high-octane fuel.

A car got airborne, spiraling through the air like a football, then rotating several times before the infield grass slammed into the roof. Dirt and chunks of grass exploded into the air from the impact, causing a small crater in the field before allowing it to slide to a stop at the bottom of the infield wall. Another car spun one hundred and eighty degrees and threatened to go airborne before its roof flaps caught air and forced the tires back down to the track surface. All along the backstretch the racetrack had been turned into an impromptu bumper car track. Drivers struggled to maintain control of their cars and to keep from getting into each other, not wanting to damage the delicate aerodynamics of their cars the entire time trying to maintain their very valuable track position.

The front tire changer was pulling over the other pit crewmembers and showing them a huge gash in the tire. "I'll be dayumed," thought Stan, "The kid was right, there is no way he would have been able to hold onto that car any longer at two hundred miles per hour."

"Fifty-five or thirty-two hundred RPMs down pit road, kiddo, don't wanna get busted for speeding." It was Tommy's calm voice reminding the kid that it would be their undoing having to pay a pit road speeding penalty now that they were going to be able to pick up some track position. He had to give the speed in RPMs since the cars didn't have speed dials, only RPM gauges.

Just as he emerged off of Pit Road, the caution flag flew. It seemed to be a godsend that he wasn't caught up in the middle of the wreck, because the very pack he had been running appeared to be the one that started the wreck. Cars finally stopped tumbling down the backstretch, and the only thought that anyone on the number thirteen team could think was 'Welcome to the Daytona 500 everyone!'

To be continued.

Article © Ed Moyer. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-05-30
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