The need for speed as auto racing to ramp up again in Loudon
Surely word has spread in the speedy world that is NASCAR of what transpired at New Hampshire Motor Speedway nine days ago.
There has been a ton of talent zipping around the Speedway in recent weeks, to be sure.
Things really get hopping this week when all those drivers and the rest of the best in stock car racing arrive to prepare for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301 at the track.
That was a special day on the track as well.
It was the day and the weekend the Richard Petty Driving Experience - which caters to wannabe race car drivers among its various clientele - paid its first of three visits to the track this season.
Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush and Tony Stewart and the other big-time owners of NASCAR Sprint Cup teams must have heard about what transpired that day, don't you think?
I'll be honest with you. . . . As I shimmied and wiggled my way out the 15-inch high window - our crew chief Craig Kirby by way of Georgia, he goes by "Big Block" at the track, warned us that would be a difficult part of the day - I wasn't feeling all that thrilled about my performance.
Now I must interject here that I have a couple of pretty good excuses, er reasons, that I wasn't exactly setting the same kind of pace around the one-mile oval that, say, Newman, who set the track's qualifying record last year, will be looking for this weekend.
The back story.
This isn't my first time around the racetrack. I circled it a couple of times a few years ago in my personal car, a Jetta wagon, and a number of years before that I spent the good part of an afternoon driving a stock car on the road course as part of a media event. I've also been around it as a passenger in a Sprint Cup car and in a two-seater Indy Car.
Then came Breckenridge. A few summers ago we were visiting the kids in Colorado and took a ride on a mountain coaster. I was in charge of my own ride, didn't react well to increasing speed and went tumbling off the track and through the gravel. The small scar on my left elbow serves as a reminder.
So I got in the car with Dave Davis, a racer out of Claremont who was my very supportive ride-along coach - with a throttle control device at the ready - for my eight laps on the track.
I only missed one gear shift on my way to fourth and the end of pit road and then it was onto the track.
I survived the Grip of Death to get through my eight laps.
Yeah, it was a white-knuckle ride. Not because I was setting any records.
"Smooth," Davis said. "Now let's get on the gas a little."
Then I had to slip to the left to let one of my classmates fly by. I'd get to the corner and ease off the gas and hope against hope that the tires and car would hold through the corner until I could get on the gas again.
Around and around we went and things got more and more comfortable.
I climbed out of the car and knew I had not been all that quick around the track.
That I did.
As for speed, I'm not going to burden you with numbers.
Suffice to say, it was plenty enough to get stopped and cost a bunch on Interstate 93. And not nearly enough to impress my 20-something sons.
First, there's a renewed appreciation for those who do this for a living.
Second, I did cut my lap time down each and every time around the track.
So I wait. For the call.