It Was One of Those Days - Pt XVI

Raven

Here - watch THIS!
Have you ever had one of those ‘surreal’ kind of moments? The kind that often feels like a deja-vu experience – like you’ve been there before or after the event is over, you could swear you’ve done this exact same thing sometime earlier?

That is exactly how I felt when I watched the SRT-8 pull away and head back to the track’s staging lanes…

*******--------******

Maybe it was a reminder back when I had the GNX and some clown wanted to run me for slips. The only reason I didn’t was that his car (a four-speed ’70 Hemi Roadrunner) was nowhere worth what my GNX was (back in ‘88 – not comparable to today’s insane prices you see at the Barrett-Jackson’s d!ck-swinging contest each January at Westworld), even though he did have a decent car mechanically. The paint was rough and needed some rust spots fixed but still, it WAS a HEMI.

Finally, we ended up agreeing to run for a grand. His car was fairly stock and even though it had the badass 426/425hp motor, the fool could not drive (which I wasn’t sure of when we were wagering). So we go out to a deserted road with several people standing by. My GNX was 100% stock down to the tires and I only had ~700 miles on it at the time. But this guy was just as boastful and arrogant as Bill Reynolds (Ned, too) and I wanted to shut his big, flappin’ mouth.

So… we’re lined up and the big Plymouth’s Hemi is roaring… he’s revving the motor like he’s got Kramer’s Jimmy-legs and to be honest, I began to think I probably didn’t have a chance – but only for the briefest of moments. The guy starting us raised his arms (just like you see Rich do it on “Pinks”) and then dropped them.

I had ‘dusted’ the Gatorbacks after having dropped the pressure a few pounds and since I had only boosted to ~3-4psi, I didn’t risk blowing the hides up in smoke. I sidestepped the brake pedal and turned the V6 loose – I was GONE…

However, he just sat there and spun his tires (L60 Mickey’s) after having done what must have been a five grand Banzai launch. When he finally got traction, I was long gone and he could not reel me in.

The GNX’s tranny shifted hard, actually getting a slight ‘chirp’ on the 1-2 shift but with the boost locked solidly at 15 psi, the car pulled hard. I had owned an intercooled GN that I sold before I bought the X and I thought it was awesome but the X pulled like a freight train even though it was still stock.

I smoked his ignorant ass by 4-5 cars. Of course, the fact that he couldn’t shift either helped too – everyone said he TRIED to power shift but failed at that miserably too.

Now, I knew my GNX could run a solid 13.2 – maybe a tenth or two better at the right track in the right conditions - at the time as long as I got a good launch and didn’t lose traction. I doubt if he ran a 14.0, I beat him that badly.

But – after he sold the car to another guy I knew (probably out of embarrassment from getting his panties pulled down and his ass smacked so badly), the guy he sold it to bolted on headers and slicks, tuned it and ran mid 12’s all day long. So, I think if he could have driven it would have been a good race that night.

He couldn’t – so I won.

We even ran again because he whined about having a bad lane. I switched lanes with him at his wish.

The same thing happened, only worse this time. This time, he missed a shift entirely, most likely from fondling the huge pistol-grip shifter too much.  So… I took the money home and he went home with a very red face… The “X” was 2 for 2 against the Hemi Roadrunner.
******------*****

I gave Kel a quick kiss and opened the door to the GN, got in and buckled up and started up the LC2. That memory I just told you about kept replaying in my mind… I thought about how dark it was that night, about how it felt when the car launched and took off, and especially how GOOD it felt to beat someone who’s got a mouth that writes checks his ass can’t cash.

I wanted this one just as badly.

Sliding the shifter back into “R”, I backed out of the space being careful to not run over anyone (there was a LOT of people gathered round at that point) and out onto the access road. Pausing to shift, B gave me a wave and Stacy held up her hand that she was holding the camcorder in and waved too. Apparently, she wanted to keep this one on tape. I looked in the driver’s side mirror as I pulled away with shouts of encouragement from many along with a lot of waves and thumbs up’s from everyone. Kelly, Brandon and Stacy were leading the throng back to the stands…

In a minute or two I was at the entrance to the pre-staging lanes. There were only a few bikes to run and the red Dodge was already up in lane 1 with a number of people around his car. The hood was up and I noticed that the Viper I had beaten earlier was parked nearby as was the Shelby that had beat me earlier. It was then I saw Mira and Nate standing near Bill, all of them watching Bill tinkering with something under the hood of the Charger. As I pulled up, electing to keep a little space between us, I pulled into lane 4. I could hear the announcer’s voice…

“Race fans – I’ve JUST been handed this. It seems that after we finish with the bikes tonight – did you SEE that ‘Busa’ just run a nice 8 second ET? – we’re gonna have a good ol’ fashioned GRUDGE MATCH!!! And, get this – these two guys are going to be running for PINK SLIPS! How is THAT for racing here at Tri-County! And, who are the two who are going to lay it ALL on the line? I’ll tell you more after we see these next two bikes run… in the near lane is…”

I saw several people who were already exiting the stands, some with bags of popcorn, others with cameras or even holding the hands of their small children, all stop in their tracks and start talking. Nearly all of them quickly turned around and seemed to be nearly running to get back to their seats. You would have thought it was opening day! And then, I noticed to my right that a lot of people who were busy loading their cars or buttoning them up to get them back into street condition were closing hoods or shutting doors and walking back to the track. In no time, I knew the stands had to be back to nearly the size of the crowd that was there when we first arrived.

By now, Kel, B, and Stacy were at my car.

“Any changes, Steve?” asked B…

I reached down and pulled the hood release lever.

“As a matter of fact Brandon, I think I’m going to add about just a little more boost. I might just need it…”

Getting out of the car and grabbing the heavy gloves and small crescent wrench from the floor behind my seat, I went to the front of the car where Brandon had already raised the hood. I knew I had plenty of fuel pressure for the added boost. The Walbro pump had never let me down and the Autometer gauge in the A-pillar pod I knew was dead on having tested it against a mechanical gauge at the fuel rail before.

Reaching into the engine bay, I could feel the warmth from the motor. Looking down at the big intercooler, I always appreciated how big the piping was to and from it. I guess it’s just a guy thing – we can easily appreciate all things mechanical, can’t we?

I popped off the alligator clip, loosed the jam nut on the adjustable boost rod and rotated it a half turn. I then tightened the jam nut back up against the stop, pulled hard on the rod to get it back into the actuator arm (that dang spring is TOUGH at that kind of boost level) and then replaced the clip. This run should net out at least 25psi, maybe even 26 or so. I could only hope the head gaskets would take it.

I closed the big black hood. It slammed with a solid, Made-in-America-when-steel-was-steel sound. The crowd around me was pressed tight up against the front of the car, watching me make the adjustment and when the hood shut, I could hear Brandon explaining to some newly acquired Turbo Buick fans what I had just done.

One guy even asked if I had “NAWS”. I happened to glance at B when I heard it and you would have thought the guy asked him if I was running a Toyota motor in the Buick! I can’t actually write down his reply but suffice it to say he made clear that laughing gas was for pussies. In the background, I could hear that pair after pair of powerful two wheelers ripping up the tarmac just inside the entry-way.

It wouldn’t be long now…

“Ok folks… here are the details on this upcoming grudge race. It will be none other than Bill Reynolds in one lane driving that ’06 Dodge Charger SRT-8– I don’t know which lane he’ll be in – and Steve Morton in his wicked-fast 1987 Buick Grand National. We’ve only got another pair or two of bikes to finish up so get to your seat NOW! Because – this race is not just about who is faster – the winner is going to get to keep the loser’s car!!! Can you believe it, race fans? This is just like that popular TV show – ‘Lose the race; lose your ride’! How many of YOU would be willing to put your car up just to prove yours is faster? Not ME! So hang onto your hats people – it’s just minutes away! As soon as the last bike runs, we’re gonna give the track another shot of traction spray and we’ll let ‘em RIP!”

By this time, I was back in the car. The crowd around Bill’s Charger as well as the throng around mine had already headed for the stands. Only B and Kel were still at the window.

“Good luck, hon… I know you’ll get him…” Kelly’s smile gave me a shot of confidence that even a dyno sheet showing 700rwhp couldn’t do. Brandon just gave me a thumbs up and one bit of advice…

“Kick his ass but GOOD, ok?” With that, they both headed to the stands…
I rolled up the windows and the noise outside quieted… a track official was now coming back out to the pre-stage lanes and began motioning for us to move into the track area…

I started the car and the LC2 jumped to life. The sound of the open exhaust roared mightily and jumped down a note as I pulled the tranny into “D”.

Bill got ahead of me and decided to get over in the right lane. It didn’t matter to me – both lanes were good and I could see the flat black finish of the VHT on the track ahead as I pulled into the water box…. I could hear the announcer…

“Race fans – don’t go anywhere because THIS is IT! This is the REAL DEAL! After this race, we’re going to have the contestants pull back onto the track and we’re going to have them trade titles right here in front of God and everybody! You are going to witness somebody – will it be Steve or Bill? – lose his car right here. This isn’t TV. This isn’t one of those phony bench racing stories. No-sirree-Bob… this is an honest-to-god race for all the marbles… it’s a big Hemi against a V6 with a HUGE turbo… David versus Goliath, here tonight at Tri-County! So… let’s watch…”

We did our burnouts but to be honest, I had already zoned out… I couldn’t tell you what Bill did, whether it was a big smoky one or not… I just knew I warmed the Nitto’s but GOOD and then pulled on ahead with a brief screech as the tires bit after releasing the line-lock… the smell of burnt rubber and exhaust hung heavily in the air…

I had already reset the Scanmaster… I had done all the pre-launch items I needed to do…

I rolled into the beams, not even paying attention to the other bulbs that much other than with my peripheral vision… I was on auto-pilot…

I watched both sets of “Pre-Stage” bulbs light… I could hear the exhaust of the big Hemi to my right…

I allowed the GN to roll gently on in to trip the “Staged” bulb. Immediately, I locked the transbrake, put the shifter in low, and began to roll into the throttle… this launch was going to be a full-boogie one, at a boost I had yet to launch this car at…

Bill had rolled into the other beam and now we were both staged. When I saw his “Staged” lamp come on, I rolled more aggressively into the throttle…

3psi…

5psi…

9psi…

11psi… the engine was running on up against the torque converter… the first amber was lit…

13psi… I had NEVER launched at this high of a boost. I hoped to God the tires would take it… that 16 psi in the rears would bite…

15PSI as I watched the second amber come on… and then go off…

Time had slowed to a crawl… sounds were not even registering, they seemed so low…

Then, BLINK! The third amber was ON!

I released the transbrake immediately – at almost 16psi of boost – and the car pulled the front wheels skyward!

I looked straight ahead and tried to hold on… the tires held miraculously… the roar of the open exhaust dump tube was not even really noticeable… I simply wanted to get to the end of the track FIRST…

In a flash, the front end set back down but it wasn’t hard – the car was pulling like a 6 locomotive freight train… I didn’t look right, I only watched the gauges… the 1-2 shift felt like it would break my neck… my head snapped hard as second gear came on and the pull was even harder…

If the car held together, I had no doubt this would be a record run for it… I just hoped I could keep it…

I sensed that the SRT-8 was right at my side because the whine of it’s supercharger pierced the roar of the GN’s V6… but I knew he wasn’t ahead of me and that was all that mattered…

On down the track we went, hundreds of horsepower trying to tear the drivetrain of each car out from under it… incredible torque numbers were being applied and multiplied… fences and faces and poles and stripes and time boxes all flew by in blurs… only the finish line loomed ahead…

The 2-3 shift was just as hard… I did not look right… I only wanted to win…

In a flash, I was upon the finish. Only then did I look right… and I saw…


….


….


….


….



That the Charger was at least a half car behind.

Immediately, I was on the brakes hard. Slowing to turn I noticed that Bill held back just a bit but I knew he had to be nearly matting the big Brembos to get the big Mopar slowed…

I couldn’t hear the roar of the crowd but Kel and B both told me later that it was clear who was the favorite… seemed like everyone was rooting for the little V6 they said later… well, other than some guy driving a Viper and some gal with a Shelby… Even some guy in a Camaro was cheering wildly they said…

Pulling up to the shed to get the slip, the track official was out the door waving a big thumbs up to me… he handed me my slip and to be honest, I don’t remember what he was saying but I knew the air felt and smelled good… he was slapping my arm and yelling something about “Way to GO!” but I was engrossed in the numbers on the paper I now held in my hand…

“Left lane… ET… 10.52
“Right Lane… ET… 10.99

I now owned a Mopar.

The first one in my life… and at that point, I felt a huge wave of emotion flood over me… relief… vindication… wishing I had launched that hard against the Shelby… happiness… wonder about what was next…

I thanked the official for his support and watched the lights of Bill’s Charger come up behind me… I didn’t care what might come next…

I just knew that at least in THIS race…

David solidly kicked Goliath’s ass…

It felt good to be King… if only for a moment. It did.

It just... felt... good…

To be continued…
 
More More and oh yeah MORE!!!! Love it!! I was actually CHEERING as I read the story!!! But the line "that it felt good to be king....if only for a moment"-has me wondering.
 
omg..this is getting way to intense I couldnt even make it through the story I had ants in my pants to scroll down to just see the out come but I had to make myself wait,
I think this story has been better then any christmas ive had yet, till I get a GN that is hehe :D
 
steve, i can't take it! i am sure i am not the only one who feels like i have been riding shotgun or standing next to you, kelly,and b this whole story.
one heck of a writer! thanks for the cardio work-out @ the computer:D

lee
 
Man the suspense is killin me on this story, all I ever do is come here and check for a new chapter... Im glad RAVEN dont charge for this or Id be broke. Thanks for the story so far.
 
I found a couple chapters on another forum, so i came here to read more. All i have to say is wow! I cant wait to read more, its just gettin good. keep it up!
 
You guys are great! Thanks for all of the nice comments!

More - much more, actually - is coming. And if you think it's been good so far, I think you're going to be REALLY surprised... ;)
 
Raven This stuff is great I always can't wait for the next chapter.

Just a quick question how many more chapters? Are you going to be published soon, or have you thought about self publishing, Theres a site that allows authors to self publish. I heard about it on a Technology Podcast it's called Lulu.com - Self Publishing - Free. Haven't used it but it sounded cool.
 
You guys are great! Thanks for all of the nice comments!

More - much more, actually - is coming. And if you think it's been good so far, I think you're going to be REALLY surprised... ;)

I haven't been teased this hard for a LONG time.....but I'm enjoying all the same!!:cool: Waiting is a biotch.
 
I didn't get in town till 8 pm I stayed at the TA exit 111 not to far from you.. After that I went to Toledo Oh, down to Pendergrass, Ga, Now i'm in downtown baltimore. First online pit stop is here for a update, this chapter here shows this story is now able to go on for another 10 chapters.

You should push to get this one published once complete, then maybe you can quit your day job.
 
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