These are the WERA Grand National Finals, open to anyone who has raced a particular class that season. This is a winner take all event for my classes and I plan to be one of those winners, in at least one division. I am eligible (and have entered) to race the following classes: V6 Lightweight, V5, D-Superbike Novice and Clubman Novice. This will probably be my last chance to race as a Novice and I intend to make the most of it before I get bumped to Expert, thrown in with the wolves so to speak.
Nearly a decade has passed since I raced at Barber, and that was only once. I have vague memories of an enjoyable, challenging track with plenty of rights, lefts and elevation changes built on clean, well-manicured grounds with friendly staff, a dream of a racetrack. But I have to get there first. I leave at 4:30 am.
Midway into the trip I realize I have forgotten the saline solution for my contact lenses, not a big deal, I will pick some up at the next gas stop. Of course the gas station I fill up at does not have any, so I drive around some sketchy neighborhood and find a lonely CVS in an otherwise abandoned and boarded up strip mall. One of the good things about driving a creepy white van with tinted windows is the criminal element usually leaves you alone, assuming you are also of the criminal element.
Tiny bottle of travel saline in hand I decide it is time to put my contact lenses in, which I do in the parking lot using the side mirror of the van. Closing the passenger door I head to the driver's side door, which is locked. I reach for my keys only to find they are not there. I run back to the passenger side, which is also locked. I look in the window and can see my keys on the seat, locked inside. Son of a bitch.
Not to worry, I had a contingency plan for just this occasion. After locking the keys in the van several times and becoming very adept with a clothes hanger, I purchased a magnetic Hide-A-Key and hid it on the vehicle. Apparently I did a wonderful job of hiding the key, because do you think I can find the goddamn thing? At this point I am scurrying around under the dirty van like a racoon on amphetamine, cursing and talking to myself while the dregs of society shopping at this derelict CVS give me a wide berth because I am surely insane.
By the time I locate the blasted key twenty minutes later, I am covered in grease, road dirt, rust and my head is bleeding from whacking it on the frame during my frenzied search. At least I have the key. I clean myself up and hit the road, slightly aggravated at the loss of time, but impressed at my forward thinking. So impressed that I fail to notice two small items left on top of the tire as I wheel away back to the interstate.....