Category Archives: Racing

E-43

Motor Man and I first met Jim back in the late 1990’s, when a mutual friend introduced us. Jim had been racing hydroplane (race boats) for many years, but had never won a race.  He asked Motor Man to start building his engines.

Motor Man and I began traveling to boat races from southeast Virginia to Maryland to Decatur, Illinois to New Jersey. Jim won many, many races and several championships in his 5-litre boat, E-43, which he named Keen’s Machine. There were a few tense post-race inspections , but no DQ’s (disqualifications). Motor Man does like living on the edge….

And during those years, Jim became more than a customer; he became a friend.  He sat with us at many local short-track (car) races, he came to our shop to work on his engine and/or boat and was there for Open House events we hosted.  He attended PRI (Performance Racing Industry) trade shows with us in Orlando and Indy.

Jim was at our wedding reception in 2002, and following the deaths in recent years of Motor Man’s parents, he visited to pay his respects.

Two weeks ago, Jim suffered a massive stroke and never regained consciousness.

He passed away Saturday morning.

We’re still processing the fact that he’s gone.

And, meanwhile, we’re going through old photos.

At Motor Man’s and my wedding reception. Jim’s crew chief, Joe, on the left, and Jim on the right.

Joe,  Motor Man and me, Jim and his brother, Doug, following a boat race Jim won in Portsmouth, Va.

Jim and Joe at an Open House at our shop. This was 2004, and Jim won a  championship that year.

Relaxing at our shop with a fellow race boat owner.

Dearborn, Michigan for the awards banquet in 2011.

And perhaps my favorite picture of Jim, taken in 2010. He won the high points title  that year.

In our office are several reminders of Jim’s accomplishments in boat racing. He graciously allowed us to display the checkered flag he received for his 2004 World Championship, won in Cambridge, Maryland. (Same flag that’s in the Open House photo above.)

And in 2008, Motor Man had a clock made for Jim to commemorate one of his championships. (We also had one made for us.)

Thanks for all the memories, Jim. We’ll most likely attend more boat races in the future, but they won’t be quite the same.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

Cross Country Kitty

As most of you know, my hubby, Motor Man, builds high performance engines for race cars and race boats. He was tinkering with engines even before he was in his teens.

Thankfully, I became interested in racing when I was in MY teens (several years before the two of us would meet, and probably thirty years before he and I would be together).

So the majority of our friends and acquaintances are folks we’ve met through racing.

And one of the nicest of them all is our friend, Bruce.  Bruce used to race at our local short track many years ago. When he stopped racing, he began helping various teams, many of whom have been our engine customers.

And…. like us, Bruce LOVES kitties. He always pays lots of attention to Gypsy when he’s at our shop.

For several years, Bruce has worked with a very busy race team. They’re based locally, and race not only at our local short track, but also all over the world with another division of their team.   One aspect of Bruce’s job is to drive that huge car hauler.

Last week, Bruce and the team were in Laguna Seca, California.  He posted this picture on Facebook, and wrote:  “Very interesting morning here. Heard a meowing from under my trailer. Had to crawl under and found this poor thing hiding up in the axle area.”

Of course, Bruce has no idea where, when or how the kitty came to be under the hauler…. it could have been at a rest stop?  Or there at the track? How frightening for her if she rode under the hauler for miles.

Within a day or two, this little kitty had been given the name “Axle”, and Bruce posted that she would be going home with him. Of course, I commented how wonderful it is that he rescued her. Just to show you what kinda guy Bruce is, this was his response: ” I believe God put her there for me to save her.”

AND, Rick, the owner of the team posted this: “We did some great things in Laguna Seca, but saving this kitten that hitched a ride under the hauler was the biggest win! Not sure what rest stop the momma probably put her in the axle area but she was a half dead greasy, dirty, fluff ball when Bruce heard her crying and pulled her out after arriving at the track.”

Not that they need it, but purrhaps Axle brought the team some good luck. Rick allowed me to share this picture.

Bruce and Axle are back on the road, and his their Facebook friends are being treated to photo and video updates  each day.

As Bruce wrote: “Life is much better riding in the truck instead of under the trailer.”  Miss Axle has her own little “on the road apartment”.

But,  sometimes, little kitties, like race cars “spin out”:

 

Thanks, Bruce,  for letting me share your pictures, and once again, I think you are a hero for saving this sweet little baby.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

 

 

Break Time!

During the next two-to-three weeks, my blog posts will be sporadic…or maybe just non-existent.

Motor Man and I are coming up on a busy time: preparing for and hosting my family reunion,

a couple of boat races,

and perhaps a little “adventure” or two.

With life being so hectic right now, I think it will be easier to just put the blog on hold for a little while.

So, stay cool, enjoy your summer, and I’ll be back soon with, hopefully, some interesting blog material!

~These Days Of Mine~

When You Can’t Go Back To Sleep

Saturday night, Motor Man and I went to our local race track. (Yes, my two days’ post-op husband. And he made out just fine.) It was just after 11 pm when we got home. But race nights usually include several phone calls to and from our engine customers and/or other engine builders once we get home, so it was nearly midnight when all was said and done.

Then I had a difficult time falling asleep, so add another 30 minutes or so to that. At 4:30 yesterday morning, I was awake and unable to go back to sleep. So, finally around 5:45, I just got up and began my day.

As I opened the living room curtains, I realized waking up (and getting up) early isn’t so bad.

I was actually glad I hadn’t gone back to sleep.

After being greeted by a scene like this,

I certainly wasn’t going to complain.

Sometimes sleep is a little over-rated anyway.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

Daytona Brings To Mind

The first Nascar race of the 2019 season, the Daytona 500, took place yesterday. Motor Man and I went to that race a couple of times several years ago.

I shared this post in 2013, and since yesterday’s race, once again, brought to mind that fateful week in 2001, I thought I’d share it again (with just a few changes) today.

Motor Man and I were in Daytona for the entire week leading up to the 2001 Daytona 500.  A friend of ours with “connections” had given us passes to several media events being held that week.

One of those was the IROC (International Race Of Champions) luncheon on Wednesday. A brief background: the IROC race featured identical (except for the color) Chevy Camaros. Drivers from several racing divisions were selected to drive in the IROC race, and a luncheon was held to determine the color car each would drive, as well as his starting position. These were determined by the spin of a wheel.

Motor Man and I were seated at the table with Nascar driver, Jeff Burton, which was fitting, since he’s also a native Virginian.  The IROC race that year was sponsored by True Value, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation was also involved.  After lunch and all the wheel-spinning was complete, the emcee announced that there was a young man there (through Make-A-Wish) whose wish was to meet Dale Earnhardt, Sr.  He then asked Earnhardt to please come forward to meet and have his photo taken with this little boy; I think his name was Travis, although I can’t remember for sure.  But I’ll refer to him in this post as Travis.

Instead of just posing by himself with Travis for those from the media to take photos, Earnhardt asked all the drivers at the luncheon to come forward. He wanted Travis to meet and have his picture taken with all of them. Motor Man and I were impressed that Dale didn’t “hog” that spotlight for himself. I was blinking back tears to the point that Jeff Burton leaned over to us and asked if Travis were our child.

I wasn’t sure if we’d be allowed to take photos at the luncheon, so I only had a little disposable cameras in my purse. This isn’t a good picture, but I wanted to share it because it reminds me of the compassion “The Intimidator” showed when meeting that little boy. (That’s Dale in the yellow shirt.)

earnhardt-and-make-a-wish-bmp

I’ve blurred out Travis’s face, since, obviously, I don’t have permission to post his picture.  But I’ve always remembered what he said while the photos were being taken: “I’ve always wanted to meet Dale Earnardt, and now I have.”

Motor Man and I were in the stands that next Sunday for the Daytona 500. Since our seats weren’t very good, we left early. We decided that we could enjoy the race more by listening to it on the car radio as we started our trip back to Virginia.

We were in Savannah when Dale Earnhardt’s death was announced: 18 years ago today.

One of our first thoughts was of Travis and how his wish had come true.

~These Days Of Mine~

Make Your Voice Heard

Now, doesn’t that sound official?

As I mentioned recently,  it seems that writing my blog sometimes seems like homework “these days”.  I’m contemplating perhaps going to no schedule and just posting at will.

So I thought I’d conduct a little poll, my first ever, I believe. If you would, please select what subject you like to see MOST here on the blog.

 

Hopefully this will give me the little push I need, so that blogging will be more fun than “work”. Writing is easy: it’s the subject matter that’s tough.

Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion.

~These Days Of Mine~

 

 

Back “Home”

As most of you know, Motor Man builds race engines for round-track cars as well as hydroplanes (race boats).

Our local short track, Langley Speedway, has been around for 66 years. Last year, because of negotiations between the owners and the current leasee, the track didn’t open. Life went on, of course, and many of Langley’s regulars traveled to other tracks to race.

But this season, Langley is back. The first race was last Saturday, but prior to that, of course, there were practice sessions.

Motor Man with Danny, one of our engine customers

Motor Man went to both practice days, but I was just at one. It was a cold, windy day, so the inside of the car hauler was a good shelter. Mark is also a racer and, while not one of our engine customers, he is a long time friend.

photo by our friend, Ashly

It was still cool Saturday for racing, but no chance of rain, which is always good. And the parking lot was full, with cars all along the street and nearby areas.

And the stands were packed.

Mark finished 3rd; Danny had shock issues and finished 7th.

It’s good be back “home”.

~These Days Of Mine~