Brandon's Blog - Perfect

Sunday, July 31, 2016
Hemby Bridge, NC – Three hundred and twenty-seven miles to go. You’re already tired and look over at dad snoring up a storm. Wanting to wake him up and tell him to drive, but you also want him to get as much sleep as possible so he can get you the rest of the way home later on down the road. Now you’re trying not to hit the rumble strips and potholes so everyone in the cab isn’t jumping out of their skin thinking the driver is falling asleep at the wheel. The only thing that keeps you awake is the constant replay in your mind of everything you did wrong just a few hours ago.

The caffeine and adrenaline eventually throw up the white flag. It’s time to fall asleep in the upright position as someone else takes the wheel knowing full well when you finally wake up everything is going to be sore followed by a dizzying headache.

Gingerly walking into the house as the Sunday morning sun appears, it’s decided that today is a good day to relax, take it easy, and unwind from a long week of work and long night of racing. That plan usually never really works itself out though. As the headache disappears and a bacon and liver mush sandwich replaces soreness and fatigue, a new game plan is drawn out consisting of water hoses and plenty of soap.

Most racers have a weekly routine in preparation for the next big outing. This particular guy’s system revolves around what has to last him the longest. That being said, the truck is unhooked, unloaded, cleaned inside, and cleaned outside.

The car is then rolled out of the trailer along with everything else from fans to fuel and stored in the front corner of the shop. A good sweeping, moping, wiping, and spraying await this beloved hand-me-down trailer. Don’t forget cleaning the outside and scrubbing all the bird shit and gigantic bugs off the nose.

The car is placed on stands and wheels broke loose. A screwdriver dismantles muddy body pieces and relocated throughout the concrete patio. Air filters are blown clean and electrical instruments are taken off and inspected while the car is rolled out to be pressure washed for the next thirty minutes.

The oil is changed. The valves, springs, plugs, and shutoffs are adjusted. The nozzles cleaned and the fuel lines and filters are drained and WD-40ed.

The birdcages are disassembled to be reassembled moments later, only this time with cleaner grease. The Jacobs Ladder is confirmed straight and rear end bolts are torqued according to good guesses. A meeting of the minds determines the next gear ratio and torsion bars are coated with a new coat of graphite. A quick square up brings smiles to faces as the freshly cleaned torque ball loosely spins around and around and around!
The front end is more of the same. Grease here, oil there, torque that, wipe down, and square up.

Rummaging through the toolbox in search of that one particular screwdriver, its time to put on that worn out body one more time. One by one, tires are bolted on while fingers dig into the tread hopefully confirming they can last one more race. The car is floored and ride heights are set.

It’s time to load up and do it all over again…

Saturday night comes around and a push truck bumps you needing confirmation that you’re ready. A quick flashback to everything that made this moment possible pulses through your mind and its time to decide if you truly are ready for every possible outcome this sport can throw at you.

Your left hand proves your decision as it swings out of the car and waves the push truck to drop it in gear. The tires eventually start rolling, the oil pressure rises, and you flip that ignition switch as the motor comes to life. A lap or two idle by under caution and you find yourself looking down on the track at the grip, scanning for caution lights, distancing yourself from other participates, and scanning the crowd for friends and family while giving slight waves to kids with checker flags.

The green light starts blinking and two thousand fans standup all at once. You take one more deep breath and feel your heart actually start to slow down. You close that visor until you hear that deafening click and know it’s time to ease on the tiny little throttle that creates so much horse power.

The weight shifts toward that soft left rear tire and everything around you becomes a blur. For the next few moments in life, the world is perfect.

Because sprint car racing is perfect….