Sunday, December 23, 2007

What It Is, And What It Is Not.

FIrst of all, this pisses me off:

Lawyer is killed; Partner arrested.

What sickens me the most is that this is referred to as "racing." Real Racing involves a lot more safety equipment than what you get when you buy a factory-delivered Nissan. Real Racing involves tech inspections of the car and the driver's gear (including a helmet, which would save you from that nasty black eye), and no respectable track official would turn a blind eye to drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, Real Racing is done on a closed course where ALL of the cars that come through the gate are built to the same safety standards and are there for the same purpose, to Race -- There aren't any SUV's or mini-vans trying to get through the traffic to make a turn onto a side street or pull out of a parking lot; and the spectators are sitting in the bleachers on the other side of the fence, because Real Race Cars don't have passenger seats.

(Yes, that's the same text I posted in the "comments" section of that article, where my grasp of written English definitely put me in the category labeled "minority.")

What Real Racing looks like from inside the car:


(This YouTube video is from TS4S, who has several other awesome in-car films.)

Note that there are no intersections, no stoplights, no old folks tryin' to get out of the Walgreen's parkin' lot -- all Race Cars, all the time. Sure, some of 'em are feckin' crazy, or don't know how to drive, or don't have enough sense to keep from hittin' other cars, but the fatalities in Dirt Track Racing have stayed in fairly low numbers compared to the "street racing" fatality rates.

In eight seasons of racing, I've been in quite a number of crashes, I doubt that I could come up with an exact count; but I came home with bruises exactly four times and none of those bruises were anywhere on my face or head -- that's what safety equipment is all about. In all of those parts-throwing, car-ripping crashes, some airborne, some tangled, some piled with me on the bottom, I have never had any part of any other car intrude past my cage more than two inches; and even the night I watched the car body split open from the passenger door clear over to my feet, nothing touched me and I never worried for my safety. That's the difference between a Race Car and a Street Car.

As for crashing Street Cars, I've had one fender-bender, and one serious crash in my fifteen years of licensed driving -- lemme tell ya, a half-ton Ford is a damn tough truck; a passing-gear impact was not enough to fold the cab up, but even with my seatbelt on, I still ended up with one eyebrow that doesn't move quite right, and the scar is still visible if you know where to look.

I spent a couple weeks stumbling around not sure what day it was and trying to figure out why I couldn't remember Christmas, and I wondered if I'd be able to see out of my right eye when the swelling went down enough to open it. I was in a fog, but I was very, very aware of what I'd done, and that I'd had a drunk-style wreck stone-cold-sober in the broad daylight. I wasn't "racing" or showin' my ass for anybody, I was just comin' home from droppin' off the Christmas film for developing -- made one wrong decision, couldn't fix it in time, and ended up in the midst of life-changing consequences. I've been there; I was a stupid teenage kid when I learned the hard way -- it saddens me to think a lawyer in his thirties didn't already know better.

Drive safe, and drive a safe car -- it could save your life if some moron runs into you.

As Red Green says, "We're all in this together..." When you get all drunk and crazy, it's not just your personal safety that's at risk, everybody's safety is in your buzzed, blurry hands. I don't trust drunk people, I'd rather y'all stay off of my highway.

While I'm at it, If you're on a city street, you're not "racing," you're just "driving like a moron."


More Later... _\,,/

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