Right now I’m sitting trackside at Nelson Ledges Raceway in Ohio surrounded by some of the fastest street legal cars in the United States. For us it’s day 9 and well over 3000 miles and so far we’ve survived. We’ve got one more track session left for today and then it’s another 300 mile run back to the Tire Rack Facility in South Bend, Indiana – we’ll make that in two fuel stops. Once in South Bend we have only one more event to complete, the dry skid pad. We ran the wet skid pad on day one and came in dead last out of the entire field running. Sure it sucked, but in the end it worked for us because when you’re last the only place you can go is up.
Over these last nine days we’ve had the opportunity to run at some of the best racetracks in the country and that has been a privilege. Arriving at Nelson Ledges today though changed that. I’ll be perfectly honest here and say that this track is terrible. It’s old, the facilities are some of the worst I’ve ever seen and the emergency services teams are down right scary in their response times. Earlier today one of the worked Ford Mustangs blew the engine coming down the back straight throwing smoke and oil everywhere. As the car pulled to a halt flames started coming out of the rear tailpipes and the driver jumped out with his fire extinguisher.
The EMS Unit appeared shortly thereafter. They jumped out of the truck and tried to help but had absolutely NO clue what the hell there were doing. Their fire hose on the truck didn’t work, then their extinguishers didn’t work and then, to top it all off there were dressed in jeans and t-shirts! Keep in mind that the EMS Teams are supposed to be the guys that save your life when things go wrong. From what I’ve today though I wouldn’t trust EMS guys at Nelson Ledges to close an umbrella. They were really that bad.
Since Nelson Ledges is the second to last event, guys are getting anxious. Participants (including myself) are saying prays to the Gods of Reliability in the hopes that they’ll make it through the last two days. I’ve just learned though that the 1981 Chevrolet Camaro, a car that has done this event for the last 21 years (that’s not a typo), is out with mechanical problems. So you see, regardless of how close you think you are to the finish, there is always Murphy’s law to come up and bite you in the ass. Keep you’re fingers crossed for us as we’re almost there. I’ll report back tomorrow with the results.