He’s Going the Distance. He’s Going for Speeeeeeed.

Every year, the New England Region(NER) of Sports Car Club of America(SCCA) hosts a charity event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) called Racing Against Leukemia (RAL). Yeah, there’s lots of acronyms.

Anyway, it’s a two day event on the second to last weekend in August. Saturday there are pledge runs, where $10 buys you a run on the solo (autocross) course, in any car you want. The rule of thumb is, “If it has the keys in it, it’s fair game.” After the pledge runs, there’s a challenge round: everyone gets 3 runs in the car of their choice. The 16 fastest indexed times race bracket style till there’s a winner, and that winner gets the Jeff Gordon Trophy(owned by him at one point or something). There’s dinner, followed by tons of booze and debauchery. You’d think that all of us, including racers old enough to be your parents assuming they’d started young, would be too old for this….we drink and party like we’re back in college. This event is the reason I don’t drink anymore. Sunday, you’re up at 6 am to shower and get ready for the normal race, which counts towards season points.

2957440787_4c65f8dee1The pictures were late in being uploaded (I hear there are still tons more) but here’s a small taste of what goes on at RAL weekend. For you non-car enthusiasts, I apologize. For everyone else, enjoy.

This is my car. OUR car. Whatever. I bought half the chassis and I work on it. It’s mine. It’s a 1995 Nissan 240sx with a GT287IR turbo (on a built DOHC KA), Koni double-adjustable suspension, pretty much custom everything from suspension to engine to setup, and a helical diff. It’s got about 300 HP to the wheels and 350 lbs of torque at 15 lbs of boost, and we usually run it at 18. We run big fat wide tires. 285’s on 18×10, and 315’s on 18×12 in the rear. We’re compensating. We still have a nationally competitive car, in which I’m hoping to win me some goodies next year. More tires, that is. Maybe win something else fun. Medals, jackets, whatever.

At night, like I had mentioned before, it’s a booze fest. I bought lots of alcohol, because aside from beer, it’s2957452993_24f08c7e2f BYOB. Why drink all those calories, when I could get just as drunk from a few (dozen) shots of whisky? We do act like we’re in college though…if you go to bed early, be prepared to suffer the consequences. Should you decide to go to sleep at 8:30 pm, like my adorable boyfriend decided to, you should expect the rest of us Drunky McDrunk Drunks to keep you up till at least 11:30 by invading your tent (you camp out on the infield) and tackling you, cameras in hand. I’m in the white sweatshirt, and I fully encouraged the torture. This was one of several raids….they were not all girl raids either. It was great. There are several pictures where the lady in the blue is being bounced off the air mattress. I was not that drunk yet,  for the record. That came much later, when my bra ended up on someone’s head as “earmuffs.” Don’t ask.

2957447105_d2d6c92510I’m also not quite sure how this happened, but last year, there was our  own little mystery at RAL 2007: The Case of the Stolen Golf Carts. As you can see, this year, we didn’t have the same problem. Nor as anyone that wasn’t an official allowed to have one. (There was also the Case of the Concussed Korean, where I may or may not have somehow found the “Eject” button and smacked my head on the pavement upon my dismount.) We somehow got a golf cart,lost the keys, found them, and ended up driving around NHMS. My co-driver is in the baseball cap. 

The next day, after recovering from my drunken stupor (and it took pretty2958313870_fa5d8b80d6 much all morning), we had Fun Runs after the event, $2 per run. And I had more fun than I have ever had before in a moving vehicle: A go-kart. I think I’m going to get one after next season (pending engagement ring, down payment and mortgage, and new job).  That kart was “a giggle” to drive…so I needed a booster seat and went about 10 seconds slower than the 8 year olds. With a little practice I think I wouldn’t be half bad. And at $1500 for a used one? A steal. Our tire budget for the year is 3 times that. I grin like a Jack O’Lantern whenever I talk about it.

I do hope that this encourages some people to get out and try racing. It’s a lot fun, and I’m really glad I started. I do hope next year will be more fruitful in the winning department, but in the end, it’s all fun and games. And fast cars.

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