It Was One of Those Days - Pt XVII


Here - watch THIS!
May 24, 2001
As I pulled away from the Timer shed with the slip in hand, I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw that the track official was still waving and grinning at me, ignoring the fact that Bill was sitting there beside him waiting to get his copy of the same time slip.

The coolness of the night air rustled about the interior of the car. It smelled clean and pure… no smells other than that of early spring, of night, and of victory filled my senses. I didn’t notice the acrid smell of burning rubber, of burnt race gas, or of VHT… the air just felt and smelled new as the GN growled its way back to the other end of the complex…

The lights of the SRT-8 were glowing brightly behind me and I had to wonder about how Bill felt, knowing that he was going to have to turn over his car that probably cost him at least $40k to buy and who knows how much to mod… After all, the SRT-8 is a solid ultra-low 13 second car with some even being reported to be very high 12-second screamers – which is awesome for a 4300 lb car. To have gotten that monster down in the high 10’s had to come at a price. In a few minutes, I would know what exactly he had done.

Honestly, I half expected him to bolt from the track, knowing the shady reputation that the Reynolds family had when it came to racing and cars. But, he just slowly followed me back up the return road to the pre-staging area where a huge crowd was gathered waving and cheering. I could hear the noise of the throng as I approached, even over the noise of the open exhaust of my GN. And right in front were Kelly, Brandon and Stacy – all of them with grins plastered on their faces.

Just as I neared the crowd, a white-shirted track official waved his flashlight at me and motioned for the cars to follow him on through the crowd and back onto the track apron. I stopped for just a moment to let Kelly run over – her kiss and smile said it all. The shadows from the massive pole-mounted track lights were long and contrasting with the brilliant paint jobs of the numerous cars nearby…

“Way to go, honey! I’m proud of you!”

Hearing those words from the woman I love meant more than even winning the race. She just seems to have a knack for saying the things that always touch me deeply and this was no exception. B stood behind her and just kept grinning, giving me a huge thumbs up with Stacy hanging onto his arm and smiling. I pulled on through the horde of people who in turn fell in behind me and began following the GN out into the track.

Yes – it DOES feel good to be king…

I had kept the window down and the noise was non-stop – people were hooting and hollering congratulations like I had just won the lottery. Bill still followed me, although he was staying about 10-15 feet back. I noticed that a few members of the crowd were shaking their fists at him and even a couple were giving him the finger - which I thought was totally uncalled for. But, to Bill’s credit, he just followed me on through the group and in a split second, we were back on the track.

The crowd in the stands was incredible! They were on their feet and cheering, many of them waving and pointing. An announcer was now standing by the tree, watching as some techie was trying to get his big microphone with the “Tri-County” banner plugged into an outlet. The squeal of P/A system feedback didn’t even seem to faze a person – they were all celebrating with me.

It was then I saw the Shelby and the Viper sitting there as well. And – one other car I hadn’t seen earlier but that was parked off to the side a little more.

It was an older Mopar… It also had enormous meats out back – the deep dish of the rear wheels looked that the car had at least twelve inch wide tires, if not bigger. I saw that it also had a huge hood scoop and a squared-off look to the front and the back. The windows looked to be almost plastic-like (maybe Lexan?) because they didn’t have the shiny reflective look that regular glass does in the brilliant track lighting.

The car’s paint was solid black. Actually, it was almost a flat black because the paint really didn’t have any shine at all. The wheels were also black as were the deeply tinted windows. There wasn’t any badging anywhere and with all the excitement of the crowd (and trying to make sure I didn’t run over anyone!), I didn’t really get a good look at it but the lines of the car looked pretty familiar… it was then that what the car was ‘clicked’.

It was a Plymouth Road Runner, perhaps a ’69 or a ’70. Noticing the low hanging header pipes and what appeared to be a high-volume oil pan that I could see was orange in color, I felt pretty sure it had to be a Hemi. I noted that the hood was held down by four hood pins; another indication that this might just be a Hemi car, although I had seen a few other serious mighty-Mopars with similar hood retaining systems, some of them with the nasty 440-six pack set-up… either way, the R/R was a serious player from what I could tell on the surface…

Interesting… but for now, I didn’t have time to ogle the black monster sitting off to the side.

It was time to collect.

I pulled on up to where several of the white-shirted officials were standing and as I shut down the car, I watched them motion Bill to my right and give him the sign to shut his down too. As I opened the door, the crowd gave a thunderous roar and the announcer up in the booth could barely be heard over them. Kelly and the gang were now at my side and track security tried to move the crowd back a bit so that a different track official with the microphone could get near. It was then I saw a track official walking with Bill in my direction and they quickly rounded the rear fender of the GN.


“Folks, the race you just witnessed was better than any episode you’ll ever hope to watch on the Speed Channel! Steve Morton’s V6 Powered Buick Grand National just beat Bill Reynolds’ super-bad SRT-8 Charger in a winner takes all, ‘run what ya brung’, grudge match here at Tri-County! Bill! Do you have the title to the Dodge? I’ve got a notary right here to witness your signing off of the car… do you have any words for us before you do?”

The crowd hushed almost immediately. A lady wearing a jacket waited at the announcer’s side, holding a notary seal in her hand. Even SHE was grinning… You could sense that everyone was leaning forward, straining to hear what Bill was about to say. Would he be angry? Would he be cocky and mouthy? We waited…

The announcer looked at Bill, just as everyone else was doing… what would he say?

He didn’t speak; he had the title to the car in his hand and laid it on the roof of the GN, signed it and handed it to the lady with the seal. She in turn squeezed her Notary stamp in place, signed it off, and handed it to me. It was official now – the SRT-8 was mine.

But Bill’s face was actually impassive, giving away no emotion at all…

“All I’ve got to say tonight is that that Buick there is by far one of the quickest cars I’ve ever seen or ran against. I know that Mira raced him earlier tonight in her Shelby and beat him – but I think he turned up the wick a bit against me. My Charger is far from stock – it’s got a new and very healthy Novi huffer on it with all the other go-fast goodies, some transmission work, a Dana rear, and the car has been lightened a bit – especially in the interior - as well as having been tuned by one of the best modern Hemi tuners this side of the Mississippi. But running that 10.99 was actually a little disappointing because I know the car has a 10.60 in it at least. But – it didn’t tonight… and I guess that is all that matters. I ran my mouth – and I lost my car. Oh well…”

“Bill – how does it feel to sign this car over? Are you gonna miss it?” The announcer knew how to work the crowd, how to ask just the right questions… everyone was hanging on, waiting – maybe hoping – to hear Bill say how sad he was, how mad he was, or maybe even start a shouting match?

“No. It’s a great car and it’s wicked fast. But it’s just a car. And besides, I’ve got another proposal for Steve here. After all, I think I deserve a chance to win my Charger back, don’t I?”

Amazingly, no one in the crowd seemed to agree…

At this point, the crowd was pressing in on top of us. People were pouring out of the stands and down onto the track, trying to get closer to get a glimpse of what might be said and of whom might be saying it… Kelly, B and Stacy were right there with me, waiting to see what was coming next…

“Bill, I’ll get right back to you on that. But first, I want to ask Steve how it feels to win a car like this… Steve? Tell us – what’s going through your mind right now?” He thrust the microphone in front of me, waiting for a response.

“Honestly, how would it feel for anyone to do this?” I asked… “I mean, after all – I just ran a hard race against a very, very fast car and I won. It ALWAYS feels good to win, doesn’t it?”

I grinned as the crowd roared its approval. It DOES feel good to win – I wasn’t going to lie or brag. I had won, fair and square...

The announcer pressed back…

“C’mon, Steve! What are you going to do with the car you just won? I know that you’re not exactly the consummate Mopar fan but man, that IS a nice car! So – what are you gonna do with it?”

I paused for a moment; the crowd again seemed suspended and waiting for an answer. I could hear a baby crying out in the crowd somewhere… in the distance, a whistle from a passing freight train sounded, the drone of the locomotive reassuring in the night… the noise of a few cars starting up out in the parking lots and leaving was filtering out and onto the track - but there were very few cars doing that…

“I guess I’m going to just keep it and enjoy it for a while. But I will say this – I AM interested in hearing what Bill’s proposal is regarding an opportunity for him to win the car back…”

It was like watching the crowd at a Wimbledon tennis match… everyone now turned their gaze to Bill as the announcer shoved the burly microphone back into his face… I felt Kelly shiver in the damp air, knowing she was just like every other woman on the face of the earth when it gets dark – she was cold…

“Ok, Bill – what’s your idea? You know that Steve here doesn’t have to agree to anything – he won the car fair and square and he can keep it and walk away. What is your proposal and why do you think he might be interested in even giving you a second chance?”

The silence of the crowd was deafening… everyone waited…

Bill had an odd, Alfred Hitchcock sort of grin on his face… maybe Kel wasn’t shivering from the cold after all…. His look was actually kind of creepy…

“Steve? Are you a gambling man?” His stare was now icy cold and all of his ‘gracious loser’ aplomb had disappeared. I suddenly had the odd feeling that perhaps his losing the SRT-8 to me wasn’t necessarily what it appeared on the surface…

“Well, Bill… it depends…”

“On what?” His face was now stone cold…

“It depends upon what I have a chance to win if I gamble. I’ve already gambled tonight – and I won your car….”

The crowd roared… both with applause and with laughter. But – it didn’t seem that Bill even heard it… he stepped a bit closer to me, the announcer following him with the microphone, its cord dragging and getting snagged on someone’s feet as he pressed to capture every word of the new challenge that was about to be laid down…

“I’ll tell you what, Steve… here’s my proposal…”

Silence again reigned supreme… even the baby had stopped crying and the train had by now passed on by…. I just stared back as Kelly pulled in closer to my side and I felt Brandon and Stacy step in next to her…

“Here’s what I suggest… let’s come back here next month. April 1st is another Saturday night. If the Track Owners will agree, let’s have another race – but this time, it will be three races… I know you have a couple of cars PLUS the SRT-8 I just signed off to you – how would you like to gamble on the opportunity to win three more?”

The crowd gasped and even the announcer’s eyes bulged…. I just folded my arms.

“What cars are you offering up this time, Bill? I’ve already won yours – who’s are you gonna race with this time?”

He just grinned…. But his eyes weren’t smiling at all…

“The first race will be your GN against Mira’s Shelby. You win – you get the Shelby too. You can keep the Mustang and the SRT-8 and go home – that is, IF you win. But – if SHE wins, you give me the SRT back PLUS your GN… interested?”

“Maybe… what else?”

The second race – IF you win the first – will be your GN against the Viper over there…”

“I’ve already beaten the Viper, Bill. Why should I run it again?”

“Look closer, Steve. That is not the Viper you raced tonight…”

I glanced over at the low-slung coupe and it was then I noticed that while the color was very close to that of the new one I had beaten earlier, the car had different tires/wheels on it, a different hood, and huge side exhaust pipes. A “Venom 800” sticker was on the front fender… I had heard about this car; an 800hp Hennessey-tweaked twin-turbo asp that had a reputation about as nasty as John Hennessey’s. Supposedly, it was a low 10 second street car although no one had actually got one to run quite that fast from what I had read or heard… Bill continued…

“IF you beat this Viper – and I don’t think you will – you can have it, too. That would give you the SRT-8, the GT500, and the Viper. However – IF the Viper beats you, I get the SRT-8 back AND your car too. But – if you DO beat the Venom, you have to agree to run my last car…. You might have already seen it – it’s parked over there beside the Summit Racing sign…”

The crowd didn’t know whether to keep listening or to look away…

“IF you beat THAT car – and you can bring any car you own to the race against it you want – you can keep all of them. BUT – if you LOSE to the Road Runner, I get my SRT-8 back, Mira’s Shelby back, the Viper back, AND your GN along with the Stage motor I know you’ve got sitting in your garage.”

The entire crowd swiveled to look at the black car I had seen earlier. The Road Runner looked as if it actually had no soul and just as everyone looked its way, the driver fired its engine…

The sound coming from the open exhaust was deafening, almost sounding like that of the Super Stockers we’ve all seen run at the NHRA events; events like the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indy. There was no doubt that the car had a Hemi in it… it sat and rumbled and spat and hissed, the exhaust note sounded like barely subdued dynamite explosions as each enormous piston fired… I had seen cars just like this one run very low 9’s and even a few 8 second slips… this was a purpose built race car if there ever was one and it was worth a lot of money… But – I was also pretty sure that my GN did not have a chance against it as it was tuned right now. And with April first being just a couple of weeks away, I didn’t have time to even TRY and get the Stage Motor back in it along with the necessary mods to even be compatible…

The driver shut it off and the night fell silent once more as the crowd turned to look at me to see how I would respond.

“So, Steve… what do you say to Bill’s challenge?”

Bill reached over and pulled the microphone towards his face…

“Yeah, Buick Boy… feeling lucky? I’m offering you a chance to do what no one has ever done – win three cars in one night… what do you say? Are you feeling like a little friendly wager?”

Kelly squeezed my arm. B hissed in my ear – “Go ahead Steve – you can beat him… take every one of his fancy rides…”

My mind raced. First, I would have to beat the Shelby that had already beaten me once. Then, I would have to beat a Viper that had more horsepower than the one I beat earlier – and I didn’t really beat it by all that much. The Venom was a race prepped bad-boy that I knew I would have my hands full against.

But the Hemi Road Runner? It was an unknown quantity. I needed more information…

“Let me look at the Plymouth and I’ll decide. You’ve got to let me see what I’m racing…”

“Sure… sure, go ahead. Go take a look at it – on the track, all you’ll see is its ass-end, so get a good look now…”

I walked on over to the Hemi car and noticed that for some odd reason, the air felt even colder as I neared it. I was sure it had to be my imagination but it was so surreal… the driver had opened the door and stepped out, his face nearly indistinguishable due to his having the hooded sweatshirt and a ball cap down and around his face, almost as if he purposely didn’t want anyone to see who he was. He stepped back and away from the car as I got near it.

Two people appeared at the hood, popped the hold-down pins and lifted the hood up and onto the roof of the car. Enormously wide black valve covers overwhelmed the engine bay with what had to be at least 10mm if not bigger spark plug wires disappearing into the cavernous plug holes in the center of them.

No doubt – this was a Hemi Road Runner. Two huge four-barrel carbs sat atop the wide manifold… fuel lines the size of my thumb appeared to feed the thirsty monster… headers with piping that had to be at least 2 inches in diameter if not bigger… walking on around the car, I noted no rear seat, no heater, no radio, fiberglass front fenders to match the hood… battery in the trunk… tubbed… If this wasn’t a factory original Hemi R/R, it was a good clone… plus, it had the performance mods to boot… This was at least a low 10 second car IF it ran as strong as it looked… No Fast and Furious crap about this car, no bogus blower out the hood – just a very, very serious killing machine…

“So? What do you think, Steve? Are you gonna take up Bill’s challenge?” The crowd hung on every word of the announcer… people leaned in again…

I thought for a moment and timed seemed to stand still for a moment… a lot of thoughts raced through my head… I tried to weigh the odds and to be honest, I didn’t like what I was figuring… but then – a light went on…

“I’ll tell you what, Bill. I’ll accept your challenge on a couple of conditions…”

His grin was gone.

“What’s that?”

“You’re bringing three different cars. I’m going to bring two, maybe three as well. If I lose any race, you can keep the car I run in that race… I get to choose which car I’m going to run and to be honest, I might race the same car each race – I just haven’t decided… but I get to make that decision. Also – none of this “I win; I HAVE to race another race. If I win, it will be MY choice if I race the next car, got it?”

He nodded affirmatively…

“You can look at any of them prior to the race and if you want to back out – which I think you will – I’ll let you. But if you back out, I’m keeping the car I won tonight and everyone will hear about it… so what do YOU say, Bill? Feeling lucky?”

Bill grinned again…

“Ok… I’ve got one more condition for YOU, Steve. You can bring any car or cars you want – BUT – they have to be Buicks and they have to have Buick motors in them. I don’t think you will agree to this but hey, that’s the only thing I ask if you’re going to bring more than the GN… every car that you bring must be a Buick. So - the ball’s in your court now… what do YOU say?”

The crowd swung back towards me, the announcer’s microphone was back in my face. I felt Brandon bumping me from behind; he obviously knew what I was going to say next…

“Bill – bringing a Buick or two is precisely what I was planning to do. You see - I never take a knife to a gunfight…”

I saw his face lose a little of its color with the last remark… I continued…

“So - we’ll see you in two weeks… make sure you’re ready… ok?”

It was MY turn to grin with a sinister look in MY eyes. And it was Bill’s turn to look like maybe – just maybe - HE might have just been led someplace he would wish later he hadn’t gone…

To be continued…
Patrick rubs his hands together with a Dr. Evil laugh... MWWAAHHAAHAAHAAA!!!

This has got to be the best story I've ever read.
Buick vs Mopar???
And the legacy continues....

Holy cow batman err Raven!!!:eek:
Been following all your stories since you've been posting 'em. This has got to have the best suspense thus far. Awsome....
Awesome job once again Raven. Keep up the good work and I'm(as well as everybody else on this board and others) waiting for the next chapter!!!:eek:
once again steve, awesome story! i am not going to have any finger nails left :eek:

Thanks again for all the great comments and support!

I'm glad you are all enjoying it because I sure enjoy writing it. :cool:
I look for the next chapter every night!!!!!!!! Its killing me waiting on it! Thanks for the time you are putting into this story and it ROCKS! Keep it up ! Daniel Ray
Another great chapter!!!!
Now if this isn't just a great "story"- Happen to have any more pics?
I have to say I'm glad I found this site when you were already at chapter 15 :biggrin: this waitng is killing me and I'm sure alot of us.

I think I'm going to print these out and "make " my wife read these. She gets worked up with great car stories as well, (she won't hear me till she is done reading) BUT that isn't to bad, time for an ok for new toys;) :D

Thanks Again
Another great chapter!!!!
Now if this isn't just a great "story"- Happen to have any more pics?
I have to say I'm glad I found this site when you were already at chapter 15 :biggrin: this waitng is killing me and I'm sure alot of us.

I think I'm going to print these out and "make " my wife read these. She gets worked up with great car stories as well, (she won't hear me till she is done reading) BUT that isn't to bad, time for an ok for new toys;) :D

Thanks Again

Right now by using the copy&Paste into a word document, It's over 100pages
I didnt even see it posted last night! O well it just makes the next one come faster. Great story!!!

Another great chapter!!!!
Now if this isn't just a great "story"- Happen to have any more pics?
I have to say I'm glad I found this site when you were already at chapter 15 :biggrin: this waitng is killing me and I'm sure alot of us.

I think I'm going to print these out and "make " my wife read these. She gets worked up with great car stories as well, (she won't hear me till she is done reading) BUT that isn't to bad, time for an ok for new toys;) :D

Thanks Again

Well she just finished reading on line!!!! Her 1st question- 'Would you take that second race? I know he doesn't really like that SRT but to lose both cars or all at any one race just along the line just isn't right!!!'

Boy I know why I love her!:biggrin: :biggrin: