This being Part IX of a Racer's Final(s) Diary
Aside from two mild heart attacks, one that occurred as a result of a clunking in the front end (turned out the hood wasn't fully latched) and the other resulting from the apparent loss of my only credit card (found between the seats on the floor of the van), the remainder of my trip to Barber is a quiet one, marked only by the humming of the tires on the tarmac.
As usual, the Barber Motorsports Park staff is friendly and helpful, corralling late arrivals such as myself at the entrance to allow those who came earlier to enter in a fair and ordered fashion. This new practice breaks the tradition of the "WERA Stampede", read more about that here: STAMPEDE!
Eventually the expensive motorhomes, toy haulers, trailers and sprinter vans file by me and I am allowed to follow. Standing in line to sign the waiver and purchase the wristband that will allow me access to the track, I hear a voice shouting my name. It's Kurt, my would-be arch nemesis, the man I have to beat in order to win the V5 championship. The friendly banter begins, then our eyes meet and I can tell the game is afoot. I sense him searching for any sort of a finger or toe-hold on the smooth appearing granite face that is my exterior, looking for any crack in the veneer that could bring the whole thing tumbling down.
I decide to give him one and tell all about my mechanical troubles en route to the track. He appears sympathetic and says, "Man, you look tired."
Tired of head games maybe, I think. The truth of the matter is he wants a repeat championship and I have no intention of letting him have it, under any circumstances. Obviously we like and respect each other, you could even say we have become friends over the last year, but that all stops as soon as the tires hit the race surface. I expect him to come at me with everything he's got and I sure as shit won't pull any punches out there either. Short of making physical contact or taking each other out, anything goes, and I am not above a little rub here or there if necessary.
The points chase is about as close as it can be. I have 65 points to Kurt's 69. The Grand National Finals races pay out double points, if I finish ahead of Kurt, we tie. The tie is then decided by finishing order at the Finals, so I win. Tooth and nail, hammer and tongs, it promises to be interesting.
|This is exactly where I need to be on Friday, ahead of Kurt and pulling away. This pic is at Road Atlanta September 2015.|