I’ve got one week from today to get my 1968 Dodge Charger ready for The One Lap of America and so far things are thankfully on schedule. My Charger is my rock. It’s 18 feet long, weights 4000lbs. and has a big old dirty 440 big block under the hood. When I bought the car way back it was beautiful. The paint didn’t have a nick or a scratch on it and those billet aluminum wheels looked brand spanking new. Today it’s another story and while the paint still looks good, my old sled definitely has its share of war wounds. Our cars speak volumes about who we are, what we do and how we like to be perceived. They tell stories about our personalities and through their lives may even pick up some battle scars. They get us from point A to point B and everywhere in between. They are, in a sense, our teleportation device from the every day.
I was looking at my Charger this morning and began to notice the many battle scars its accumulated over the many years and adventures we’ve had together. I ran my hand over the three deep scratches on the left side of the hood, took a look at the piece of black electrical tape that hides a big chip on the trunk, then noticed the pit marks in the windshield and glass. I looked at the wheels and noticed the shiny polished aluminum that once gleamed was now somewhat faded, and how my once perfect paint now has nicks all over the place. My car has been through a lot with me behind the wheel, and in looking at all it’s imperfections and blemishes, I began to smile, as I knew where every single one of them came from.
The scratches on the hood, for example, came from when the tire on an 18 wheeler came apart in front of me and a piece of it bounced off the hood and up and over the roof. I was on my way down to Florida from NY, and it scared the crap out of me. The chip in the rear deck lid was put there courtesy of a $200k Brabus Mercedes that rear-ended me in 2007 during a 3,000 mile road rally, and the pit marks in the windshield and surrounding glass came from exploding light bulbs that I destroyed while chasing a flaming bus down a runway while filming the Bullrun TV Series (true story).
This car has taken me all over the United States and into two different countries. It’s the car I drove in my wedding and the car that makes my six year old nephew Jack giggle with excitement. It does big smokey burnouts at will and is the only car I’ve ever driven that makes police officers let me do illegal things. To put it simply, my 1968 Dodge Charger is part of who I am.
My old friend is now about to take me on yet another adventure in the form of Tire Rack’s, One Lap of America. The One Lap of America is the hardest open road / race event in the United State’s and something that I’ve had on my bucket list for quite some time.
Here is some verbiage that should give you a pretty good idea of what I’ll be going through for 9 days straight.
Nearly twenty-four hours a day driving with competition taking place as time trials on race tracks throughout the country. The event, as it always has been, is foremost one of endurance and vehicle preparation. No support crews are allowed. The tires that are used on the street are the same ones that are raced on (one set per team). Although scoring is based on performance at the race tracks, the vehicles and their drivers must survive over 5000 miles of driving interspersed with the finest meals available at gas station convenience stores. Personal hygiene takes a holiday and friendships (sometimes marriages) are stretched to the limits as these competitors battle fatigue, weather, traffic and the demands of high-speed competition with both unknown amateurs and seasoned professional drivers like Parnelli Jones, Price Cobb, John Buffum, Elliot Forbes Robinson and Hurley Haywood.
Ridelust.com will be covering the event daily, via print and video blogs to bring you not only updates on our progress, but the entire race as a whole. It should be one hell of a fun ride, so make sure you stay tuned for the updates. Oh and by the way, wait until you see what we did to the Charger and the reason behind it – I think your gonna’ dig it.