Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday - Practice Day - Afternoon Sessions

While the truck was being serviced (fluids, pressures, etc.), the wives went to the grocery to get stuff to make sandwiches, etc. for lunch. While we were gone, the team went through tech. It was pretty early in the game and perhaps the guys should have hung back a little to see how the "game" was played. I have no doubt that our guys would have played it very well had they been clued in to the importance of bribes, lies, and straight-out bullshit!

As it turned out, Chris did the talking for the team. He is the captain; he's a good guy; and he always tells the truth. Always. In return for his honesty with regard to how the shocks and alternator were acquired, the team was penalized 14 laps! That's equivalent to about 1 lap per every $10.00 over budget. We're starting 14 laps down before the green flag drops! Chris should have at least tried to bullshit his way out of it! In any event, the team was approved and given a "More or Less Good Enough" sticker to start the race.

The tech stories were shared over lunch once we got back from the store. I was disappointed because I wanted to get pictures, video, etc. and missed it. The guys said it was rather uneventful and I really didn't miss anything.

We went over to tech and watched a few other people get through. The Judges were dressed in long black robes with white curly wigs and carrying gavels. Some teams stood by and saw their cars get whacked with a sledge hammer or got small penalties of 1-5 laps, while others offered enticing bribes like steak & shrimp, beer, or large bottles of whiskey, and left tech with an approval and no penalties. The teams whose bribes were successful got a "bribed" stencil spray painted on their car. Our 14 lap penalty was not setting right with me. I felt we should appeal! I managed to get one of the Judges to the side and tried to talk our way to a lower penalty by "admitting" that I acquired the parts in exchange for personal miscellaneous services rendered and told the team that I purchased them as was requested. I had one Judge going for it and the other one (who looked like his twin brother) told him he had to quit being nice and that I should talk to Jay (the "Chief Purpetrator") to see if he would change it. Jay was nearby and said he only changed penalties upward. I held up my hands and said that it was time for us to go, thanks for your time, and we had fun playing the game! The Judge I had converted to our cause felt bad and gave me a t-shirt with a graphic of a drive shaft through a skull. Oh well, something is better than nothing!

While all of this was going on, Chris was mulling over the fact that although he did get to practice in the truck first, he had the crappiest set up. The tire pressures were too high and no one had a clue as to whether or not it would handle, much less drive a straight line. So he suited up and jumped in the truck and went out for another handful of laps. That was fun! Mike jumped in next and had the new fastest lap time for the team with a 1:21.4. Phil took the next stint and got a lot more seat time until he felt good about how the truck was handling on the track. They agreed that it was getting much easier to drive and it should be great tomorrow.

When the track went cold, the team picked up around our paddock area and headed down to the condo owned by our friend and fellow racer, Brent Mosing. Brent had invited all 4 of the Louisiana teams and their crew & families to dinner at his condo overlooking the turn at the end of the front straight. They cooked shishkabobs & sausage and served it with potato salad & bread. We brought a pumpkin pie for dessert and it was served with some apple pie by Brent's friends, Donna & Steve. Mike made such a fuss about getting some pie that he got a new nickname. Mike "I Must Have Pie" Poupart.

The team thanked our gracious hosts and his helpers and returned to our pit for cocktails, music and fun. Mark and Angela had a DJ station set up with their music. With liquid encouragement, Chris took over the microphone and began broadcasting from the WLMS Radio Network. "Deejay C.W." entertained us with his music introductions and various announcements to the crowd of a few and Patty danced in the pits moving and grooving with the music.

We were having a lot of fun, but not too much that we neglected to notice what was going on around us. A number of teams were working really hard on their cars. Some were still building their cars. We commented on it, looked back at the truck parked under the canopy, high-fived and fixed another round of drinks!

Soon it was time to call it a night and drive the 20 or so minutes back to our hotel. Tomorrow will come soon enough and we can start the fun all over again!


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