Archive for the ‘2006’ Category

Factory Girl (2006) DVD Review

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Dropping out of Art College, Edie Sedgwick (Miller) heads to New York to be inspired and in 1965 one man was the main inspiration, Andy Warhol (Pearce). After meeting him at a party, Edie quickly becomes his muse, starring in his artist movies and becoming the centre of his artist circle of friends at his warehouse studio, the Factory. Promising to make her a star, Andy Warhol transforms her from little rich girl into New York ‘It’ girl and the talk of the town but as Edie becomes consumed by the trappings of fame, Andy starts to think she is becoming more famous than him.

The enigma that was Andy Warhol drew many a character to him but none shone as brightly as Edie Sedgwick.
The label of ‘It Girl’ has been given to many a model, actress or socialite since the 1920s. From Clara Bow to Paris Hilton, the It Girl has always been a fascination for the media and then the public alike, as they watch every move they make. There whole lives are lived with the media industry watching, as they attend events, functions, premieres and parties mixing with the most famous and powerful people on the planet, even though they have no real talent themselves.

Rich heiress Edie Sedgwick was one of those ‘It Girls’ that became a fascination in late 60s New York. The art school drop out who came to the Big Apple to be inspired, she was exactly that when she met up and coming artist Andy Warhol. The man famous for his paintings of American products like ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ and his paintings of celebrities Marilyn Monroe, Troy Donahue, and Elizabeth Taylor, transformed the women in his life into ‘Superstars’ and Eddie was one of them. Consumed by the bohemian eccentric lifestyle of parties, drugs and overly artistic and erotic movies, Edie adored the attention and the extravagance but it also led to her been consumed by addiction and spending all her inheritance.

This rise and subsequence fall of one of 60s New York’s best-known It Girls is a story with cinematic aspirations all over it and it was going to be a challenge for any actress to play her. Director George Hickenlooper and his creative team have ironically chosen a modern It Girl to bring Edie Sedgwick to life but Sienna Miller is more than just a paparazzi darling. Mainly known for gracing the pages of every celebrity magazine and for her relationship with Jude Law but Sienna Miller has main a name for herself as an actress after appearing in ‘Layer Cake’, ‘Alfie’ and ‘Casanova’ but it is this role that will finally give her the recognition she deserves. This is a performance that will finally get her taken seriously as an actress and should launch her career as an actress, finally moving her away from her celebrity darling image that has become the obsession of the media.

Equally excellent is the performance of Guy Pearce as Andy Warhol. Known for his total consumption of a role, Pearce becomes the famous artist completely, bringing his mannerisms and eccentricities to life. This proves again that Pearce is an astonishing actor. Hayden Christensen moves away from the Star Wars universe to star as fiction character Billy Quinn, obviously based on Bob Dylan. With questions about his abilities as an actor plaguing his career, this role gives him the chance to show that he can actually act. There are also good performances from Mena Suvari, Shawn Hatosy and comedian Jimmy Fallon, playing it straight for a while.

‘Factory Girl’ is a movie about a bohemian time and a girl pulled in by the trappings of fame and the lure of celebrity. The only problem is that none of the characters are not very likable and Edie herself isn’t the most sympathetic but this is still a fascinating tale and one that takes you back to the sixties.

PICTURE & SOUND

Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.

BONUS FEATURES

Commentary by Director George Hickenlooper
In this informative, single person commentary reveals the difference between this unrated and extended version of the movie and why the director wanted to add more scenes into this version. He talks extensively his actors, talking passionately the contributions of Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and the comedy from Jimmy Fallon. He also talks about filming in Louisiana, creating the era and adding additional scenes shot in New York. This is a good commentary that fans of the film should enjoy listening to.

Deleted Scene (1.21 mins)
Entitled ‘We’re all Lost’, this deleted scene has optional commentary by director George Hickenlooper.

The Real Edie (28.21 mins)
Director George Hickenlooper is joined by friends, family and people who knew Edie Sedgwick to talk about her life and what she was actually like. The group talks about her family, Fuzzy, the ranch where she grew up, the asylums she was sent to, moving to New York and meeting Andy Warhol. This is an informative insight into Edie’s life by the people who knew her.

Guy Pearce’s Video Diary (19.54 mins)
The star of the film takes us behind the scenes of the production of the movie and talks to director George Hickenlooper, Sienna Miller, Jack Huston and many others with Jimmy Fallon providing most of the comedy. This is a fun behind the scenes diary that shows how the ensemble came together to tell Edie Sedgwick’s story.

Making Factory Girl (9.54 mins)
Director George Hickenlooper and stars Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and Jimmy Fallon talk about bringing Edie’s story to life to the silver screen.

Theatrical Trailer (2.12 mins)
Watch the trailer that previewed the film in theatres and on the internet.

Trailers
Previews of ‘Penelope’, ‘Come Early Morning’, ‘Bobby’, ‘Breaking and Entering’ and ‘Miss Potter’

OVERALL

The DVD treatment for ‘Factory Girl’ is very good. With a good commentary track and some excellent featurettes, fans of the film should be very pleased.

Source: Realmovienews.com

Hayden Christensen and Mario Andretti join the Bullrun 2006

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The Hollywood film-actor Hayden Christensen and the racing-driver Mario Andretti confirmed their participation.

Hayden Christensen (yep, the guy from Star Wars) is joining the Bullrun 2006. Christensen already did the Bullrun in 2005 with a Lamborghini Murcielago. Highlight last year, was a race between him and Basketball-player Dennis Rodmann on the Bonneville Salt Flats: Christensen lost. “You have much to learn, young Padawan driver!,” Alex Roy (famous Bullrun and Gumball veteran) told him. “Back to Playstation for you!”

Mario Andretti (Formula 1 world champion 1978) will split his driving duties between two vehicles: a Panoz GTLM-R sporting over 400hp and a 420hp V8 2007 Audi RS4. On the first day of the event, Andretti will provide “hot laps” at a race track.
The Bullrun route is a carefully guarded secret…even participants don’t know where they’re going at the start of each day.

This year’s event will start at a secret location in Manhattan on Saturday, July 22, 2006, and run to an undisclosed location in the Los Angeles area. The event spans 8 days and 7 nights. There is a party each night for the Rally’s prestigious participants.

The event is designed to attract the world’s greatest drivers and premium vehicles for what amounts to a week long party and cross country road trip.

National Post- July 19th, 2006

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe — and you’d put away your celebrity first-aid kits for a bit — a whole depot’s worth of fancy feet are expected to be wheeling into Toronto on the weekend. And when we say wheel, we mean wheel.

About 100 of them — petro-sexuals, some call ‘em — are expected to get to Toronto around sunset on Saturday. These are those blokes, and a few hot-to-rod ladies, who are taking part in a coast-to-coast, invitation-only luxury-car charity-rally called the Bullrun.Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, Rolls Royce Phantoms. That sort of thing.Or as Bullrun president Andy Duncan summed it up to a reporter last year, “It’s a bit of fun that’s all it is … guys with too much money and too much time on their hands.”

Yes, that sort of thing.The seat-belted scenesters driving in the race this year include former NBA shooter Dennis Rodman (the first Mr. Carmen Electra), our hometown boy Hayden Christensen (watch out for any Shattered Glass!), model Tyson Beckford and race-car Romeo Mario Andretti (probably the biggest name in the world of autosport).

Also along for the ride — I mean, have you ever known her to stay home? — is that singular sensation known as Paris Hilton.

Century Room, on King West, is where they’re set to party on the night that the gang arrive on cars that just scream “second mortgage!”

“They’re driving straight here,” is what a source, in fact, tells me about the stop at the well-known club.
Why waste time, surely? The party will start early — well, early for this crowd — as they’re only staying for one moon’s viewing.

And, then, off again for parts unknown first thing the next day. (Yes, sadly, they’ll probably have to miss Tim Russert’s Meet the Press on Sunday morning.)

The Bullrun, which begins the day before at a secret location in New York, is supposed to go for seven unholy days and nights, eventually veering its away to the City of Angels on the West Coast.
Sounds divine, don’t it? May I, however, just humbly suggest that all your dear city-folk here look out for Dennis Rodman before you cross the street on Saturday. Please!That particular speed demon — a human windshield-wiper, if I’ve ever seen one — got a ticket last year during last year’s event
that led briefly to an arrest warrant.Rodman was charged with speeding and reckless driving after he was stopped in a US$250,000 Lamborghini on a highway near the mountain town of Frisco, about 70 miles west of Denver, according to the Denver Post. Officers allegedly clocked him going 98 mph, and the former basketball star eventually pleaded guilty, paying out US$516.50 in fines and making a US$200 donation to charity.Fast and furious, indeed! This whole Bullrun thing — which would be precisely the sort of thing that Evelyn Waugh would be writing about if he was writing about his Bright Young Things today — reminds me a lot of a party I ended up at in the south of France some years ago. That was for a rally called the Gumball, probably the most famous race in the world. It’s essentially a richie-race rally that starts at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and zips to Madrid, Casablanca, Fez, etc, etc, etc.

The Oscar-winning Adrian Brody, who was racing that year in a Porsche 911 Turbo, explained the thrill of it all to me by saying — and this was his exact, exasperating quote — “I think everybody wants a certain freedom within certain parameters.”

Something else I remember: watching a highly excitable woman exclaiming, not so shyly at all, “Oh my God! There are people with actual head wounds at this party! How chic!”

DVS SHOE COMPANY AND “BIG RED” LEAD THE WAY FOR THE BULLRUN RALLY

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

DVS Shoe Company is proud to announce that the DVS “Big Red” RV will be used as the official starting vehicle of the legendary Bullrun Rally for 2006. The rally is scheduled to begin in New York City on July 22nd and end in Los Angeles on July 28th. Piloting the DVS RV will be Sam Ratto accompanied by co-pilot Matt Staker. Also, friends and media will be boarding the Big Red Bus for any needed hospitality and the experience of a lifetime.

Bullrun is the most glamorous and high profile of the new breed of high-end “luxury lifestyle” automotive rallies. This invite-only epic rolling celebration across the United States brings together business professionals, celebrities, athletes, and a mixed cast of characters for an unforgettable cross-country adventure. The Bullrun route is a carefully guarded secret…even participants don’t know where they’re going until the start of each day. The event is limited to 100 VIP entrants and celebrity participants such as actor Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode III), Mario Andretti, Paris Hilton, and Dennis Rodman.

The event spans eight days and seven nights, and there is a party each night for the Rally’s prestigious participants. DVS invites all of its fans to come meet the Big Red Bus along the way at various checkpoints. The DVS Big Red crew will be giving out special DVS goodies along the way.

Coverage of the Bullrun will appear in several media and print outlets. Spike TV, the official media partner, will air a mini-series on the Bullrun that will air late Fall. Additional television coverage will appear on NBC’s entertainment show Extra, who will be following Hayden Christensen, Discovery channel who will follow Boyd Coddington, and on Import Racers on ESPN2. Print media coverage will include magazines such as Wired, Intersection, Ride, Forbes, Radar and several others.

Log on to follow Big Red on its Bullrun adventure at dvs-bigred.com or www.bullrun.com.

CELEBRITIES, HOT RIDES A RACE ACROSS THE CONTINENT

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Bullrun!

Remember the movie Gumball Rally, in which a secret code word — in this case “gumball” — would be whispered by someone at the end of a phone line?

It meant head to a secret location and get ready to race across America.

Well, this time the code word is “bullrun.”

And when competitors hear it, they know what it means.

It’s rally time. Time to head to their machine. New York to L.A. in your car — and fast.

Toronto is the first stop. Tonight.

Welcome to the 2006 Bullrun.

“Toronto has never seen anything like this,” said founder Andrew Duncan. “It’s a rally road trip for 100 invited Bullrunners — with some special events along the way.”

It’s a Cannonball Run — another movie depicting this kind of fun of driving more than 5,000 km from one end of the continent to the other.

“This is a modern-day, millennium version of those movies,” jokes Duncan. “In the movies they would try to do it in 35 or 40 hours. We take seven days.”

Honest. And they are a little more public about it, heading out from New York City’s Times Square at sunrise this morning.

But after the first day’s run to Toronto, the route is a carefully guarded secret. Even the celebrity racers don’t know where they’re going next until the start of each day.

There should also be fewer police chases than in the movies — although you never know.

“There was that one time when Dennis Rodman forgot to pay for his gas in Denver and they issued a warrant for his arrest,” Duncan says, laughing.

That’s probably the least offensive thing Rodman’s actually ever done — although you know our own lovable OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley will be on the lookout for him.

Great story if they can nail him for doing something unusual on the QEW from Buffalo. Woolley, today’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by Jackie Gleason so well in Smokey and the Bandit), must be already writing the script.

They should be able to get some money from the tax coffers from these guys.

And who gets to frisk Paris Hilton should she be going more than 100 km/h? No shortage of volunteers, I am sure.

Duncan insists everybody drives safely — although there was that time Canadian Hayden Christensen rolled his car during one of the rally track events en route. Should make a great reality TV show — which is actually something being shot along the way.

Now for those who haven’t seen any of these movies, with Bullrunners you’ve got people heading out on a coast-to-coast rally on the highways.

“There will be lots of surprises but if we told you what they were, they wouldn’t be surprises,” Duncan says.

One thing for sure: Arriving here tonight will be more than 100 slick cars and even hotter celebrities — all of whom paid the $14,000 entry fee. A massive party is planned on King St. W.’s famous Century Room upon their arrival.

“We will have a masseuse on site at the event for drivers with aching shoulders and backs after their long day driving,” said April Jackson of Elizabeth Grant, one of many sponsors. “We are launching a product for this called the Elizabeth Grant Bullrun Backrub.”

Wonder who gets to do Hilton’s backrub?

Woolley would probably have the stories of all stories to tell should it be him.

Maybe he’ll let our Toronto Police traffic team in on some of the fun.

Toronto coppers are in need of a laugh during this summer of sadness and firearms.

This whole event is a nice diversion and an example of what summer in the city could and should be.

Tonight will be a good night to see some celebrities. Among those on the list with Hilton are Rodman, Christensen and Mario Andretti. For those who want to see some Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches, this is your dream come true.

“I think the Hilton hotel will be the best place,” said Duncan. “There will be at least 100 really amazing cars.”

It’s also accessible for the public. “We are not car snobs,” he said.

In fact, cars and the desire to see North America are what it’s all about it.

Duncan and business partner David Green started the Bullrun “because we were bored.”

They spiced it up a little by getting some people together and heading across country. The thing quickly caught on and the rich and famous couldn’t resist.

“Some people have great cars and nowhere to drive them and no reason too,” he said, adding this gives them a neat reason.

Cannon-Bullrun hits T.O.

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

True to racing form, former Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis was the first celebrity driver across the finish line at the Toronto stop of a cross-continent rally race last night.

But Lewis couldn’t catch non-celebrity rally enthusiasts like Rob Ferretti, 25, and Noah Lehmann-Haupt, 28, who arrived first at 7 p.m. in their $170,000 Ford GT.

Although dozens of other non-celebrity racers in the 100-car Bullrun race also crossed the finish line hours before Lewis did, the retired sprinter fared much better than Star Wars star and local boy Hayden Christensen, whose Ferrari broke down somewhere in New York state. His car was reportedly being towed up to Toronto late last night.

The week-long Bullrun race from New York to Los Angeles is being filmed for British and American television, and will also feature celebrities such as Paris Hilton, who’ll likely join the race later in the week in Las Vegas, and former child stars Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, who lives in Toronto.

Lewis, Feldman, and Haim were among the 200 race participants who stopped in at the Toronto Hilton last night, the first checkpoint in the race, which began yesterday morning in Times Square in New York City.

Lewis, who drove a Dutch-made Spyker C8 Spyder, was asked if he was breaking the speed limit or dodging cops on the highways yesterday.

“Oh come on, I drove … what’s the speed limit here?” Lewis asked, before he was told the limit. “I drove 100 (km/h).”

Lewis said he’s been keeping a low profile lately, but said the Bullrun has given him a chance to dabble in showbiz while indulging his love for cars.

“The thing is, I’ve been way off the scene for a long time, deliberately. (It’s) 2006, I got two movies coming out this year…. I kinda got my mojo back,” Lewis said.

BEAT ANDRETTI

“It’s a way to meet different people with similar interests,” he said of the race. “I could sit here and talk for hours with all of them about cars.”

Ferretti, from New York City, also couldn’t believe he and Lehmann-Haupt finished before racing legend Mario Andretti, also taking part in the rally.

“I’m not even going to compare driving skills with Mario Andretti, but we did beat him to the checkpoint,” Ferretti said.

When Feldman, who starred in Goonies and Stand By Me, arrived in his Lotus, Haim excitedly hugged his friend. The two will drive together on the next leg of the rally, and are currently working on a TV show that will star both of them.

“It’s tough to wake up in the morning and not know where you’re going,” Haim joked, referring to the fact competitors don’t know where they’ll be driving to until the morning start time. “When I wake up I just go where they tell me to go.”

This Ain’t Pamplona: The 2006 Bullrun is Off!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

So the initial hype is over and the action has begun. We just got off the phone with Alex Roy, who isn’t competing in this year’s Bullrun, but showed up in the Team Polizei M5 to escort the drivers up to Pocono and document the happenings. And happenings there were. After the jump, a gang of pics and lotsa anecdotes.

According to Alex and his photog pal JF Musial (who shot all of the photos for the story), somewhere on the high side of 60 to 80 cars showed up for the start of the race rally, and Roy reports that this year’s start contained more high-end, solidly-prepared cars than in years past, including a trio of Audi RS4s, one of which, of course, was driven by Mario Andretti, as well as a couple of Spykers, one of which was piloted by Olympic hero Carl Lewis. The other Spyker, right off the bat, didn’t fare so well. Driven by the company president, it got nailed by the fuzz before it reached the Poconos. In fact, according to the traffic on the Polizei scanner, the po-pos didn’t have enough squad cars to respond to all of the reports of Bullrun activity.

On a lighter note, Troy Hanson, affiliated with Hayden Christiansen’s “Don’t Fuck With The Sith, Bitch” team, ran out of gas in his Shelby GT500 Safety Car — replete with roof-mounted lights — short of the Jersey-Penna border. A New Jersey State Trooper pulled over to assist, and upon seeing markings on the Mustang indicating that Hanson was an IRL driver, the Indy Racing League-fan peace officer got Hanson topped up and then gave him a 120mph escort to the Pennsylvania state line. Whoever you are, inverse-of-Buford T. Justice, we salute you.

Meanwhile, the non-participant Polizeis were offering an escort to a peleton that included our boy Skiny in an Audi A6 4.2.

The first car out, a Saleen S7 that Alex predicted would break down, failed fifteen minutes after its departure and showed up last to the jambalaya lunch and lap of the track at Pocono.

Speaking of the lap, the Ward/Haller ’54 Studebaker apparently dominated the on-track proceedings, and according to Roy, is the coolest car of the event, hands-down. We’ll be blasting along in the Stude soon enough, wearing a cool shirt (and we don’t mean fashionable — the thing’s essentially a Cup car with a Studebaker body; needless to say, there’s no air conditioning compressor hooked up to the 305-inch, 650hp small block.)

As for the favorites? The two most experienced teams on the rally are the Rawlings and Collins teams, with Rawlings in the 750il that he finished last year’s rally in after his crazy-ass hot rod took a dirt nap, and Collins in a Ferrari 550. The main contender against the veterans is the Ford GT driven by Rob Ferretti and Noah Lehmann-Haupt, who apparently have pretty much duplicated Team Polizei’s law-enforcement-avoidance setup. Worryingly, their car — a vehicle that Noah rents out from his Gotham Dream Cars business, already has bald tires, and the GTs are legendary for blowing clutches during such events. But if they can keep it together, Roy thinks they’ve got a shot. The kids hit Toronto tonight.

As our date with the last few stages draws nearer, we’ll keep you posted on the happenings. [Thanks to Alex and JF for the reportage and photos.]

Car rally draws curious, few stars

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Bullrun 2006 revved into the city Sunday, after a stopover in Toronto. It had the makings of a star-studded event. It’s been described as the most glamorous of the new breed of luxury car rallies. There were Mercedes and BMWs, Vipers and Vets, Porsches and Lamborghinis.

Video cameras were rolling. Interviews were being done. Star-gazers lined the banks of the Detroit River. But where were the stars?

Mario Andretti was supposed to have shown up, but he went home after his Toronto appearance. Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame, was also supposed to be here, but his brother Tove Christensen, a film producer in Los Angeles, pulled up in a Porsche instead. Hayden had car trouble and was planning to rejoin the race at a location down the road.

Hayden Christensen told canada.com on Sunday his Ferrari broke down somewhere in New York State and had to be transported to Toronto by truck. He said the next checkpoint in the race is Chicago.

Passing Through

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Joe Talbot’s customized metallic blue Lotus looked a little out of place parked in the lot of Taco Bell on Toronto Road Monday afternoon.
Web extra: More info on Bullrun 2006

After all, there aren’t many Lotuses in these parts. Same goes for Lamborghinis, Porsches and the multitude of other sports cars cruising down Interstate 55 Monday - a few of which reportedly were going faster than 100 mph, sometimes on the shoulders, and had state troopers scrambling to track them down.

Talbot’s was among the dozens of high-end luxury cars that raced through the Springfield area on Monday’s leg of Bullrun 2006, an invitation-only coast-to-coast rally that attracts the rich, the famous and a cast of “petrosexuals” - people obsessed with cars and motor sports.

Entry fees for the race are $14,000.

Among the celebrities reportedly participating in Bullrun this year are racer Mario Andretti, Olympic athlete Carl Lewis, actors Hayden Christensen, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim and possibly former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman.

Participants left Times Square in New York City on Saturday and expect to arrive in Los Angeles on Saturday. They reportedly stay in five-star hotels, and the event’s parties are “legendary,” according to the event’s Web site at www.bullrun.com.

“Bullrunners” make their way from one checkpoint to the next and don’t know their destinations until they are handed a card each morning when they depart. The card lists an address, a destination city and the number of miles to get there. The rest of the navigation is up to them.

Talbot, a commissioning editor with British television network ITV, stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite, then hit the highway again. Destination: 1 Busch Plaza in St. Louis, also known as the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

“We try and drive responsibly,” said Talbot, who is from London. “Not that many of us know the speed limits. It varies from state to state. Occasionally, as many people do, we get a bit overexcited at times.”

Most of the participating cars were emblazoned with numbers on their sides and adorned with a variety of decals. Among the makes and models represented in this year’s rally are Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Mercedes, Corvette, Lotus, Porsche, Ford Mustang, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Range Rover and BMW. A 1954 Studebaker Commander and a 1980s-model Suzuki SUV are among others in the running.

Tom and Rita Naylor of Stratfordshire, England, were driving car No. 48, a Buick Lucerne - not the sexiest car in the rally but certainly a reliable way to get across the country. Tom, a retired truck driver, won $30 million in a lottery in 2001. His personal cars include three Jaguars, a Bentley and an Astin Martin.

“It’s a great deal of fun. It’s not a race, it’s a rally,” he said, as he and Rita stopped to fuel up at a gas station near Illinois 108 outside Carlinville.

Though he hadn’t been driving as fast as the other participants and was consistently coming in last, he did manage to get a ticket for going 80 mph in a 60 mph zone early in the trip. He’s not worried about the fines, though.

“It’s only money at the end of the day,” he said.

Many of the drivers outfitted their cars with such equipment as police scanners, CB radios and radar detectors and jammers. They made sure they had cash, identification, vehicle registration information and proof of their vehicle’s ownership.

Most of the cars had cameras and video equipment to document the race. Videographers were among the group, and some of their footage is going to air on Spike TV, one of them said.

Talbot said there even is a helicopter with special camera equipment following the race from above.

“It’s an eclectic mix of people - fast cars, old cars, slow cars,” Talbot said. He added: “The best part of the rally is that it’s not about the cars. It’s about the people in the cars. There’s a real camaraderie.”

Most of the drivers had been pulled over at least once during the drive, according to Web sites dedicated to tracking the rally. Talbot said he’d been pulled over several times already but said the police had been very nice.

He added that the Illinois leg of the rally was “really boring,” “very flat” and the “worst part” of the race so far. He gave the leg between New York and Toronto a rave review.

District 9 Illinois State Police began receiving complaints about speeding sports cars with numbers on the side about 1:30 p.m. They received reports of cars going as fast as 140 mph. Most, if not all, of the drivers were slowed dramatically when they reached the construction zone at the Lake Springfield bridges south of the city.

By late afternoon, troopers had stopped two of the Bullrunners and issued them citations. District 6 troopers north of District 9 reportedly pulled over six drivers, and District 18 troopers to the south were made aware of the rally heading their direction. At least one of their troopers worked from an overpass, using a Lidar device to catch speeders.

Capt. Tim Reents of District 18 pulled over car No. 66 for going 78 mph in a 65 mph zone near Illinois 108. The same car was pulled over earlier near Springfield for having no visible registration.

“We can’t allow people to have an open race on the interstate highways,” he said.

Driving Darth Vader

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Hayden Christensen probably wishes he had a space ship to take him from Syracuse to Toronto Saturday night when his Ferrari broke down on North Salina Street.

Instead, the 25-year-old actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the last two “Star Wars” movies, spent eight hours in a flat bed truck with an Oswego County tow truck operator.

Christensen was driving in Bullrun 2006, an invitation-only, cross-country tour from New York to Los Angeles. The week-long tour costs $14,000 to enter and features 100 of the most exclusive cars in the world. Christensen was driving a $125,000, 1999 Ferrari with only 6,000 miles on it. At about 6 p.m. Saturday, his transmission broke down while driving on Interstate 81 in Syracuse. He pulled off the highway onto North Salina Street, near St. Joseph’s Hospital, to call a tow company.

Steve Burdick, who owns AAAA Burdick Discount Towing, was probably the first guy Christensen found in the phone book. Burdick didn’t know Christensen was famous when he pulled up to the scene.

“I just thought he had a rich daddy,” Burdick said. “I asked him what he does for a living and he said he was studying to become an actor, so I didn’t think much of it. I asked him if he knows Tom Cruise and he said he did.”

The pair spent more than an hour trying to figure out how to load the Ferrari onto the truck. It was stuck in second gear, Burdick said, and wouldn’t start. Finally, Burdick ran to a convenience store, bought a bottle of Wesson cooking oil and lubed the tires so they’d slide onto the flat bed.

“I’ve never hooked up a Ferrari before,” he said. “It took some fancy maneuvering to hook it up to the truck.”

The tow to Toronto was going to cost $1,000: $3.95 per mile

plus a $75 hook-up, Burdick said. Christensen agreed and they began the roughly 240-mile journey into Canada. Burdick still didn’t know his companion was the young Darth Vader.

Burdick told Christensen that he was a born again Christian and asked him if he had given his life to the Lord, he said. Hayden told Burdick that he believed “people came from monkeys,” Burdick said. The conversation got a bit deep and heated at times, Burdick said.

Star Wars’ star hitches ride after car breaks down in Syracuse

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The Force was of no use when Darth Vader’s transport broke down in a galaxy far, far away — Syracuse, New York.

Hayden Christensen, who portrays the young Darth Vader in the last two “Star Wars” films, was taking part in a cross-country driving tour when his 1999 Ferrari broke down in Syracuse on Saturday evening.

The 25-year-old actor called for a tow truck. Towing service owner Steve Burdick showed up in his flatbed truck but had no idea he was dealing with a famous actor. Burdick told the Syracuse Post-Standard he thought the guy was just someone who — quote — “had a rich daddy.”

Burdick transported the 125-thousand-dollar car and Christensen to Toronto, where the actor grew up. During the eight-hour trip, Burdick said he talked about being a born again Christian and played a cassette by a Christian motivational speaker.

Burdick says he didn’t find out who Christensen was until they hit the Canadian border, where people asked the actor for his autograph.

Driving Darth Vader: How CNY put a star back in his race

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Hayden Christensen probably wishes he had a space ship to take him from Syracuse to Toronto Saturday night when his Ferrari broke down on North Salina Street.

Instead, the 25-year-old actor who played Anakin Skywalker in the last two “Star Wars” movies, spent eight hours in a flat bed truck with an Oswego County tow truck operator.

Christensen was driving in Bullrun 2006, an invitation-only, cross-country tour from New York to Los Angeles. The week-long tour costs $14,000 to enter and features 100 of the most exclusive cars in the world. Christensen was driving a $125,000, 1999 Ferrari with only 6,000 miles on it. At about 6 p.m. Saturday, his transmission broke down while driving on Interstate 81 in Syracuse. He pulled off the highway onto North Salina Street, near St. Joseph’s Hospital, to call a tow company.

Steve Burdick, who owns AAAA Burdick Discount Towing, was probably the first guy Christensen found in the phone book. Burdick didn’t know Christensen was famous when he pulled up to the scene.

“I just thought he had a rich daddy,” Burdick said. “I asked him what he does for a living and he said he was studying to become an actor, so I didn’t think much of it. I asked him if he knows Tom Cruise and he said he did.”

The pair spent more than an hour trying to figure out how to load the Ferrari onto the truck. It was stuck in second gear, Burdick said, and wouldn’t start. Finally, Burdick ran to a convenience store, bought a bottle of Wesson cooking oil and lubed the tires so they’d slide onto the flat bed.

“I’ve never hooked up a Ferrari before,” he said. “It took some fancy maneuvering to hook it up to the truck.”

The tow to Toronto was going to cost $1,000: $3.95 per mile

plus a $75 hook-up, Burdick said. Christensen agreed and they began the roughly 240-mile journey into Canada. Burdick still didn’t know his companion was the young Darth Vader.

Burdick told Christensen that he was a born again Christian and asked him if he had given his life to the Lord, he said. Hayden told Burdick that he believed “people came from monkeys,” Burdick said. The conversation got a bit deep and heated at times, Burdick said.

They listened to cassettes called, “A View from the Top” by born-again Christian motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. They stopped for gas in Rochester and Christensen bought Burdick a Burger King Whopper, he said.

It wasn’t until about 10 p.m., when they were about to cross the Canadian border in Niagara Falls, that Burdick finally realized his passenger wasn’t just the son of some rich guy.

Christensen joked nervously that Burdick should pray for him that there would be no paperwork issues to delay them at Customs as they crossed the border. The Ferrari dealership employees were waiting for them in Toronto, he said. But there were no paperwork delays whatsoever.

“The girls at the border knew him,” Burdick said. “Two of them got his autograph. . . . That’s when he told me about “Star Wars.’ ”

Burdick immediately called his children, who own the “Star Wars” DVDs. They took turns talking on the phone with Christensen. “He was a real normal joe,” Burdick said.

By 1 a.m., they pulled into the Hilton Hotel in Toronto, Burdick said. The Ferrari people and Christensen’s parents were waiting for him in the parking lot. So were a crowd of fans.

“Everyone wanted his picture and autograph,” Burdick said.

As Burdick said his good-byes to Christensen, the actor’s father insisted on paying for his son’s tow from Syracuse to Toronto. Burdick said he hopes to stay in touch with the young celebrity and plans on sending him a gift: a Zig Ziglar disc set.

Burdick drove back to Syracuse and spent the next day watching his kids’ “Star Wars” DVDs.

“He seemed like such a nice fellow,” Burdick said. “So down to earth. . . . When I shook hands with him, I could feel the warmth.”

Cross-Country Bullrun Brings Celebs To Town

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

There was quite the assortment of major car enthusiasts in town the past couple of days — hanging out downtown at the House of Blues and at Rick Mancuso’s Lake Forest Sportscars in Lake Bluff. It was all part of this week’s coast-to-coast Bullrun 2006 road rally, with an eclectic crew of celebs (Paris Hilton, Dennis Rodman, Mario Andretti, Patrick Dempsey, Helena Christensen, Corey Feldman and Corey Haim) competing against drivers who really are experienced participants in this unique motor sport event.

The best-known folks to swing through Chicago were former Olympic champion Carl Lewis — a fast man in a fast car — and “Star Wars” star Hayden Christensen, participating in his second Bullrun.

Lewis, whose dad, William, is a Chicago native, appreciated the irony that his strategy on the track runs counter to that for road rallying. “You can’t be the hare. You have to be a fast tortoise,” quipped Lewis as he gave this column a look at his Dutch-made Spyker C8 Spyder sports car. “They start at $275,000 … they only make 100 models each year.”

*Christensen, who will next be seen in “Factory Girl” with Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and Jimmy Fallon; “Awake” with Lena Olin and Jessica Alba, and “Guilty Pleasures” with Mischa Barton and Tim Roth, says, “I’ve got the bug now. I’m totally hooked” on road rallying. “Last year was fun, but we didn’t get the chance to go coast to coast. … This is so much better” — despite a series of mishaps along the way. Along with a few mechanical glitches, the former Anakin Skywalker did pick up a couple of speeding tickets (the bane of the road ralliers’ existence), but “that’s all part of the learning curve.”

Best way to describe the whole Bullrun experience? “A week of fun. A lot of freedom and adventure — it’s boys playing with their toys,” Christensen said.

Bullrun: Darth Vader and speeding tickets

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

British actor Will Mellor said he received three speeding tickets in a half hour on Tuesday, and had a short stint in handcuffs in Kansas. He was going 110 mph in his Audi Quattro before he was sent to jail.

“It set me back an hour and a half,” he said. “I came in 11th, still.”

For many drivers in Bullrun, a coast-to-coast “rally” with a competitive edge, speeding tickets are part of the game.

A friend posted bond after Mellor realized he was short on cash.

“Don’t ever run with less than 50 grand on you,” fellow driver Richard Rawlings, a tattooed Texan, advised Mellor as they gathered at Crossroads in Vail after the leg was over Tuesday.

Speed, evasion, money and celebrity intersect for the rally, which is modeled after the original Cannonball Run coast-to-coast race and the 1981 Burt Reynolds flick that depicted it.

One-hundred cars left Times Square in New York on Saturday for the week-long race which finishes in Los Angeles on Friday. Competitors roll in cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes.

“It’s a rally, not a race,” said Andy Duncan, the organizer. “The guys make their own decisions about driving. It depends if they get overzealous or not. But you put a 25-year-old in a Ferrari and what do you expect?”

From employing sophisticated jamming equipment to managing fuel use, the drivers go to great lengths to ensure good placement at the finish line.

Drivers started arriving at Checkpoint Charlie in Vail at 4:30 after leaving Kansas City, Mo., in the morning. A lunch stop was included at a drag strip in Great Bend, Kan. The drivers don’t know where they’re going until they are about to begin the leg.

Dennis Collins, who owns a Jeep dealership in Dallas, opened the door of his Ferrari 550 Maranello - which he bought for $239,000 - and showed two radar detectors, a radar jammer, a laser jammer, a police scanner, and a CB radio. Plus, he had a real-time GPS setup that tells him about any traffic jams or construction detours.

But a new speed-detection device employed by a police officer in Michigan caught him this year.

“It’s cat and mouse,” Collins said.

Collins’ custom-made 46-gallon gas tank allows him to do the whole leg without stopping for gas.

Drinking a beer in the Crossroads parking lot while wearing racing boots and pink-striped shorts, Collins said he considered the trip his vacation.

“You get to meet great guys,” he said. “I made some of my new best friends.”

The rally, in its fourth year, costs $14,000 for participants and includes stays in some of the finest hotels in the country. The drivers were staying in the Sonnenalp Resort Tuesday night.

Entry is competitive, with many applying but a select few getting places.

“They’re just guys from all over the world who have money or time, or both,” Duncan said.

A former investment banker, Duncan said the event is documented for ITV1, a British TV network, and will also appear on the Discovery Channel and ESPN2. Duncan said he was also casting for a Bullrun reality show that will be on MTV next year.

Several celebrities take part in the race each year. Actor Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker in last year’s “Star Wars: Episode III,” arrived in Vail around 6 in his Ferrari 360 Modena.

“It’s some of the most fun you can have if you like fast cars,” Christensen said.

Some mechanical problems have set Christensen back this year, including a breakdown in New York that required a long tow-truck ride. This is Christensen’s second year in the rally. He admitted to “a few” speeding tickets this year.

“I’m naturally competitive so I want to place well,” he said. “I came here wanting to finish first.”

Rumors swirled that Paris Hilton would be arriving for the rally. But by 6:45, Duncan said Hilton would most likely be a no-show. Olympian Carl Lewis arrived later, while other celebs like Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Dennis Rodman and Mario Andretti had competed in other legs of this year’s race but weren’t in Vail.

Over a hundred spectators watched the cars come in and chatted with drivers.

Mark Sweeny of Vail said he was enjoying the event.

“You don’t want to see the same thing every day,” he said. “It’s different. I haven’t owned a car in 20 years but it’s fun looking at them.”

High-Speed Road Rally Rolls Into San Diego

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The high-performance vehicles that arrived in San Diego in the afternoon and early evening were allegedly involved in Bullrun. The event apparently involves a group of sports cars racing cross-country, according to the CHP.
Late in the afternoon, a group of sports cars including an Audi and Lamborghinis with racing-car type decals began to assemble in a parking lot in the Santa Fe Depot in San Diego. Many more vehicles also arrived afterward at The W Hotel at India and B streets in downtown San Diego.

CHP officials said they had issued some citations but did not say if any arrests had been made.

Thursday’s leg of the race began in Las Vegas on Thursday morning. According to Bullrun’s Web site, the event began in New York on July 21 and is scheduled to end in Los Angeles.

“Bullrun is the most glamorous and high profile of the new breed of high-end ‘luxury lifestyle’ automotive rallies,” according to Bullrun.com. “Each year, a hundred of the world’s premier super-cars embark on the beginning of an invite-only epic eight-day rolling party across the USA, bringing together a celebrity strewn cast of characters and ’petrosexuals’ for an unforgettable adventure, where, the only obligatory goals are to party, drive and enjoy.”

There are several celebrities connected to the race in some way, including Dennis Rodman and “Star Wars” actor Hayden Christensen, according to Bullrun’s Web site.

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Christensen. was participating in a cross-country driving tour. His 1999 Ferrari reportedly broke down Saturday evening in Syracuse, N.Y.

The 25-year-old actor who played the young Darth Vader in the last two “Star Wars” films called for a tow truck.

Towing service owner Steve Burdick showed up in his flatbed truck but had no idea he was dealing with a famous actor.

Burdick took Christensen and his $125,000 car to Toronto, where the actor grew up. During the eight-hour trip, Burdick said he talked about being a born-again Christian and played a cassette by a Christian motivational speaker.

Burdick said he didn’t find out who Christensen was until they hit the Canadian border, where people asked for his autograph.

2006 Bullrun: Christensen and Michels Win Coast-to-Coast Exotics Rally

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

As far as raw hedonism goes, this finish line wasn’t all that much.
Sure, there was a cigarette, a couple of bottles of Korbel champagne sprayed about and a couple dozen or so open cans of light beer.

After the rally’s final leg, the earliest teams to arrive in Beverly Hills posed, en masse.

And, yeah, there were two guys in matching yellow emu, or maybe it was ostrich, costumes, flitting about — members of the rally team Los Hermanos Cubanos. And, indeed, there was a beautiful woman wearing a short plaid skirt, fluttering the fabric with her hands, trying to stay cool.

But mostly, with the exception of screeching, smoking, post-rally donuts done by the arriving exotic supercars, the mood last Friday afternoon at the finish line of Bullrun 2006 — the coast-to-coast rally that began on July 22 in Times Square in Manhattan and motored for seven days through checkpoints in Toronto, Chicago, Kansas City, Vail and Las Vegas — was a subdued and fraternal one. Perhaps this was the calm before the storm of parties due to occur later that weekend.

On Friday at 4:27 p.m., five cars arrived at a hastily arranged end-point — the second uncovered level of a parking structure adjacent to a Robinsons-May department store and the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and the like soon rolled in, one after the next.

This was but one single, albeit the final, Bullrun rally stage. Later that evening, the overall award winners were announced. Tove Christensen and Peter Michels, who co-piloted a 2002 Porsche 996 Turbo, won first place in the “Always First” category. This is egalitarian Bullrun’s closest equivalent to declaring a 2006 champion.

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Christensen and Michels were among the initial group of racers to arrive in Beverly Hills. Christensen said he received a speeding ticket 14.5 miles from the finish line from a police officer on a motorcycle.

“He was like a ninja cop or something,” Christensen said. “Like David Copperfield, he magically appeared there.”

Christensen said his brother, Hayden, of Team Star Wars, who drove a Ferrari 360 Modena, received five tickets in one day. Other participants told their own stories of three-digit mile-per-hour motoring, along with subsequent friendly, and occasionally less so, run-ins with law enforcement officials.

Tickets and even arrests were an anticipated nuisance for the rally participants, some of whom employed for the event radar detectors, laser jammers, CB radios, helicopter spotters, sweet talking and, if all else failed, bail money.

Racers said that serious calamities were few and far between. A sole one-vehicle accident was reported involving a Cadillac Escalade — hardly a high-performance, active-safety vehicle.

“Nothing dramatic happened,” said Bullrun director David Green. “Some people had to hide under blankets as we came back into America from Canada because they’d lost their passports after a bit of a night out in Toronto. Some people-smuggling — but apart from that, I think we’re good.”

Richard Rawlings, a Bullrun and Gumball 3000 rally veteran revered by fellow participants, said he spent much of the week relaxing, running blocker for his friends. “I took my [BMW 745i] touring car,” Rawlings said. “I wanted to kind of kick back a little more and take it easy.”

“You gotta party, you gotta haul ass,” he said. “I mean it’s kick-ass. The most fun anyone can have, period, far as I’m concerned.”

Carl Lewis, Former U.S. Olympic Team Member
+ click to enlarge | view slideshow >
Bullrun entries are by invitation only and cost $14,000. The rally is scheduled to air as an unscripted series next spring on Spike TV.

Olympic track-and-field legend Carl Lewis was another first-time Bullrun participant. Lewis joined Spyker executive Carsten Preisz in a silver C8 Spyder.

“There is no one thing that this whole thing is about,” Lewis said of the rally. “It’s about the lifestyle. And to me, like I’ve been saying all the time, it’s amazing because there are people from all walks of life; all ethnicities; different countries. And one thing brought them together: their love of cars.”

Beverly Hills

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

BEVERLY HILLS — As far as raw hedonism goes, this finish line wasn’t
all that much.

Sure, there was a cigarette, a couple of bottles of Korbel champagne
sprayed about and a couple dozen or so open cans of light beer.

And, yeah, there were two guys in matching yellow emu, or maybe it
was ostrich, costumes, flitting about — members of the rally team
Los Hermanos Cubanos. And, indeed, there was a beautiful woman
wearing a short plaid skirt, fluttering the fabric with her hands,
trying to stay cool.

But mostly, with the exception of screeching, smoking, post-rally
donuts done by the arriving exotic supercars, the mood last Friday
afternoon at the finish line of Bullrun 2006 — the coast-to-coast
rally that began on July 22 in Times Square in Manhattan and motored
for seven days through checkpoints in Toronto, Chicago, Kansas City,
Vail and Las Vegas — was a subdued and fraternal one. Perhaps this
was the calm before the storm of parties due to occur later that
weekend.

Check out more Bullrun coverage:
Rallying Cars and Racing Stars — Bullrun Introduction
Mario Andretti Joins Automotive Rally

On Friday at 4:27 p.m., five cars arrived at a hastily arranged end-
point — the second uncovered level of a parking structure adjacent
to a Robinsons-May department store and the Beverly Hilton Hotel in
Beverly Hills, Calif. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and the like
soon rolled in, one after the next.

This was but one single, albeit the final, Bullrun rally stage. Later
that evening, the overall award winners were announced. Tove
Christensen and Peter Michels, who co-piloted a 2002 Porsche 996
Turbo, won first place in the “Always First” category. This is
egalitarian Bullrun’s closest equivalent to declaring a 2006 champion.

Christensen and Michels were among the initial group of racers to
arrive in Beverly Hills. Christensen said he received a speeding
ticket 14.5 miles from the finish line from a police officer on a
motorcycle.

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“He was like a ninja cop or something,” Christensen said. “Like David
Copperfield, he magically appeared there.”

Christensen said his brother, Hayden, of Team Star Wars, who drove a
Ferrari 360 Modena, received five tickets in one day. Other
participants told their own stories of three-digit mile-per-hour
motoring, along with subsequent friendly, and occasionally less so,
run-ins with law enforcement officials.

Tickets and even arrests were an anticipated nuisance for the rally
participants, some of whom employed for the event radar detectors,
laser jammers, CB radios, helicopter spotters, sweet talking and, if
all else failed, bail money.

Racers said that serious calamities were few and far between. A sole
one-vehicle accident was reported involving a Cadillac Escalade -
hardly a high-performance, active-safety vehicle.

“Nothing dramatic happened,” said Bullrun director David Green. “Some
people had to hide under blankets as we came back into America from
Canada because they’d lost their passports after a bit of a night out
in Toronto. Some people-smuggling — but apart from that, I think
we’re good.”

Richard Rawlings, a Bullrun and Gumball 3000 rally veteran revered by
fellow participants, said he spent much of the week relaxing, running
blocker for his friends. “I took my [BMW 745i] touring car,” Rawlings
said. “I wanted to kind of kick back a little more and take it easy.”

“You gotta party, you gotta haul ass,” he said. “I mean it’s kick-
ass. The most fun anyone can have, period, far as I’m concerned.”

Bullrun entries are by invitation only and cost $14,000. The rally is
scheduled to air as an unscripted series next spring on Spike TV.

Olympic track-and-field legend Carl Lewis was another first-time
Bullrun participant. Lewis joined Spyker executive Carsten Preisz in
a silver C8 Spyder.

“There is no one thing that this whole thing is about,” Lewis said of
the rally. “It’s about the lifestyle. And to me, like I’ve been
saying all the time, it’s amazing because there are people from all
walks of life; all ethnicities; different countries. And one thing
brought them together: their love of cars.”

Day 6: Las Vegas to San Diego

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

The Audi made hot laps with the Ruf Porsche, Hayden’s F360, the Motegi G35 and a handful of others. With Tanner Foust at the wheel of the G35, the drifting demonstration that unfolded was nothing short of spectacular. That dude has talent, no doubt.

Hayden tossed the keys of his F360 to the competent David Green (Bullrun promoter) who quickly set fast lap at 1:40. The RS4, complete with my four portly nephews on board, took second quickest time, even with the traction control on. JP took it easy on the car (and my nephews) but that did not deter us from having fun with the car. After about a dozen laps, the Audi’s brakes smoked a bit, but there was no fade whatsoever and the car had impressed nearly everyone on site.

Day 4-Kansas City to Vail

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

That night, the party moved to Art’s Bar and we had more opportunity to mix and mingle with Hayden Christiansen, Carl Lewis, Christie and her dad (in the Boxster) and our new compadres, Emil Rensing and Rory Camangian. The liquor and the BS stories flowed at similar rates after getting tanked up (us, not the cars), we retired in anticipation of Day 5.

Day Seven

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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…..