Day Seven

Today, JP woke up way more hung-over than I did. Despite drinking more than I had in 20 years, somehow, I woke up fresh and ready for the new day. I remember little of the night but JP filled me in. Apparently, I spoke to every girl at the party…a lot. In fact, I even exchanged phone numbers with some girl who claimed to be “girl filler.” According to JP, I broke the ice by telling her that I was girl filler, too (albeit in a different way). I must’ve lost the number or my wife confiscated it when I got home, but my instinct tells me that this young lady probably would’ve preferred it if I didn’t call her anyway.

JP was really hating life and was borderline puking out the window. It was so bad, JP insisted that I drive this morning’s leg (which as it turns out, was to take us to California Speedway about 110 miles away) so that he could enjoy a “smooth” ride in the Audi RS4.

We set out a few minutes prior to the official launch. How did we know where to go? Once again, acting on a rumor, I called Fontana Speedway to see what time they were hosting Bullrun’s arrival. A bit sneaky, I know, but we’d had enough surprises in the last week.

We used the 10 minute head start to fuel up and to get some greasy grub at a McDonald’s (note to Southern California travelers: apparently, San Diego is really close to the Mexican border….so close in fact, that I nearly required a translator at the drive through window and I almost switched my order to 2 tacos). Nevertheless, whomever was working that day made us a great breakfast and either I was really hungry or this was a gourmet McDonald’s.

We soldiered on, belly’s full, with 80’s new-age music on the Sirius satellite radio. We got the feeling that today was going to be a good day.

Along the route, we never passed another Bullrunner, nor were we passed. To our surprise, we arrived first at the Speedway, followed by Chuck Mallett’s Vette, Rob Ferretti’s Ford GT, and the young ladies (Mrs. Rensing and Ms. Jennifer Nicole) in the Audi A8. As the troops gathered, the Bullrun helicopter arrived on scene. Rob Ferretti’s GT had been stopped by the police (this is something like his 5th stop) and smartly, he hid the video tape in his camera. Whatever he said worked, and he got off…bastard.

When enough of us were on site, we caravanned to the Speedway’s infield. After parking the cars inside the NASCAR garage, we headed indoors for a briefing. The weather was actually quite nice for a July afternoon…it wasn’t hot, but it was a bit sticky. This would help make the day’s experience quite enjoyable.

Inside the briefing, we were told we’d have to follow a pace car…damn. No one was happy about this. In fact, we were all ready to screw the track run and head home, as no one wanted to be behind a slow, ugly Monte Carlo (who picks the paint schemes for these pace cars?). That’s exactly what happened, and within a half of a lap, our group of 20 cars was up that Monte’s ass like a suppository. It was an anti climatic experience and not worth the drive to the Speedway,

About this time, “food” was served. It amounted to nothing more than a couple of tacos from a roach coach and was easily the worst food of the tour. Up to now, we’d had a mix of foods, some good, some bad, but they sure did try hard. Next year, I pay less and bring my own food, I’ve decided.

After the “hot” laps were done, the convoy massed for the mad dash to LA. We were all reasonably sure that the Beverly Hilton was our destination, so once again, I called there to confirm. Although we didn’t leave early, we did use this intelligence to plot our route. Working with Team Riecke, we mapped out a couple of routes. The consensus was that the 210 west to the 134 south to either surface streets or back to the 10 west was the way to go. I disagreed.

Ashley Van Dyke hopped in with us on this leg. After having enduring 3,000 miles with her team mate Jasmine Fiore, Ashley realized that Jasmine’s motives differed from her own and it was time to part company. We’d spent the last 60 miles of this run splitting our time between looking for cops and looking up her skirt…which was fine with us.

When the convoy headed out, most teams headed right for the 10 west. If you know anything about LA, you’d know that the 10 west is a miserable excuse for a freeway…traffic is always heavy and it’s among the most heavily patrolled freeways in the area.

I urged JP to take the 210 west (also heavily patrolled, but usually flows better) and as we headed for the on ramp, we found ourselves stuck to Hayden’s F360. As we neared a red light, Hayden’s co-driver first appeared to stop…then ran it, leaving our cheese hanging out in the wind.

Ashley screamed the loudest at this unsportsmanlike move, but I could tell JP was pissed. Within a few minutes, we were back on Hayden’s bumper. The F360 darted across all lanes of traffic at a brisk pace and where safe, we followed.

As we neared the 605, I urged JP to take this route to the 10 (seeing how we could use the Carpool/HOV lanes the whole way) and he complied. The Ruf Porsche, Hayden’s Ferrari and the other Bullrunners continued on the 210 west.

I have to wonder how many people use only a navigation system on these runs. While it’s usually helpful, a paper map gives you a bigger picture. It was looking at the paper map that convinced me that this was a better route. We’d need to be smarter about the route today because knowing LA, I was not comfortable with us doing 140 mph on the freeways or dodging in and out of the carpool lanes (a minimum $271 fine for each occurrence). This is what let us to follow the route we did. The gamble paid off and we arrived at the Beverly Hilton within seconds of the front runners, once again in 7th place…soundly trouncing Hayden’s F360 by about 10 or 15 minutes.

Boyish exuberance followed and many of the Bullrunners could not contain their excitement. Someone should’ve called Krispy Kreme, ‘cause there were doughnuts galore on top of the parking structure. The Ford GT, a couple of the Vettes, a Ferrari 550 and a Porsche got silly and sideways, much to the delight of spectators ( of which there were few).

Admittedly, I expected a much bigger reception at the event’s finale…there was little press and it was by no means a red carpet roll in, but the few people who were there were treated to some up close and personal time with Hayden Christiansen and Carl Lewis, both of whom had been very receptive to fans along the route.

We partied like rock stars that night at a club in Hollywood after a nice sit-down dinner (one of the better meals of the event). The B.S. flowed almost as freely as the liquor but towards the end, it got said as new friends said goodbye. We felt a bond, a camaraderie, with this band of brothers and sisters, a bond that only comes from combat. We battled State Troopers, Highway Patrol, local Sheriffs and apathetic drivers. We turned their technology against them through the use of scanners, CB radios, text messaging and cell phones and broke nearly every major traffic law written. Somehow, no one was injured and despite one accident, 2 arrests and nearly $15,000 in collective traffic fines, we all made it.

It was our pleasure to be a part of it. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to Team Riecke, Team Darkcyde, Christie and her dad (in the little Boxster), Carl Lewis, Hayden Christiansen, Junus and partner (in the Taxi), Chuck Mallett, Emil and Cory, Kerry and Jennifer and the dudes in the GT2. You are all great people, talented drivers and wonderful sportsman…it was a privilege to be a part of this group. Last but not least, thanks to Audi of America, Panoz USA, and the Bullrun Staff.

Until next year…..

Comments are closed.