Words and photos by Michael Chandler
When last we left our brave travelers they were scrambling for cover from the sudden and violent storm that had rolled upon Magic Valley Speedway. Chance, Mikey, Brandon, Hector and myself chose to sleep in Brandon’s trailer, while Jordan and Riley elected to sleep in Jordan’s and Hector’s trucks respectively. And now for the conclusion of our tale…
The sudden storm lasted through the night, but had mercifully ended by morning. We awoke to a beautiful, albeit a little chilly, sunny morning. Those of us who slept in the trailer had has decent of a night as one can while sleeping on the floor of a trailer. Meanwhile Jordan and Riley had learned why you don’t sleep in your vehicle in the cold. While at least Jordan came prepared for camping, Riley only brought his hoodie. Suffice it to say they were both happy to see the sun creep over the mountains.
All over the makeshift camp grounds people were working on various things. Brandon was mounting tires for the day, and Mike had begun to cook breakfast for himself and his crew
of jolly pirates. Zack was still working on his wheel studs, while Jordan was looking at what appeared to be a bent left rear wheel. Chance took Brandon’s truck into town, and left Mikey with us. Chance returned with breakfast for himself, Brandon, Mikey and Jordan. I had a Clif Bar, and Hector managed to score a parfait from Brandon.
Hector, having eaten, and Zack, having replaced his wheel studs, were the first two out on track, and were both giving ride alongs. Chance and myself made our way over to the track and were chatting about something inconsequential to this story while watching the two of them make their way through the infield. Hector took his usual line through the last two turns, and Zack took a wider line…
The rear quarter panel hit then end of the barrier, and spun the front of the car into it with a great deal of force. Zack and his passenger were ok, however his car was finally dead.
The car hit so hard it snapped the lower control arm, bent the coilover on that corner, dented the wheel well so deeply that the clutch pedal couldn’t be pushed in, sent the fender into the windshield and generally tweaked everything. As it sat the car couldn’t move or be dragged off the course without leaving more parts in its wake. So the plan was hatched to bring the trailer down, and drag the car on to it using ratchet straps, a jack and man power.
A crowd gathered to watch the lifeless S13 get dragged on to the trailer. It took some effort on the parts of everyone in the infield, but the car was on the trailer and secured.
Although he had the worst weekend on paper, he had the best weekend because he went out there and said fuck it. Blow out both tires? Finish the lap on the bare rims and swap them out. A wheel goes flying? Throw that thing on the hatch and get to work fixing the studs. Destroy the car? Jump on that hood, throw your arms to the sky and declare that you won’t be defeated by conventional means! It had cost him $75 to drive, and he got his money’s worth.
After clearing what was left of Zack’s car, the rest of the drivers came out to play.
Everyone was having a good time, just sending one after another after another. Things were moving like clock work.
And then Brad spun out and knocked one of his battery connections loose. This brief pause in the action allowed for some other drivers to fire up their chariots and make their way on to the track.
Crowd favorites Mikey, Brandon, Worm and Dennis all were out. Things progressed as they do: one driver led to pairs of drivers. Those pairs linked up with the other pairs and suddenly we had gridlock in the grid.
Thankfully this traffic jam passed, everyone was sliding, and I climbed atop a gigantic planter.
This continued for a few laps, then people started peeling off to grab tires or to let their car cool down. This left me standing on top of the planter, and Dane in his 1UZ swapped Celica Supra taking laps. After passing me he stopped, backed up and asked “Hey, do you want me to just hit this corner?”
Yes, yes I do. As so he did until the time came for him to grab new tires and take a break. Which it seemed liked we all decided to do. I took this time to wander about, change lenses, and eventually jam a GoPro on to Jordan’s car before he went out in a four car group. All was looking good.
Until a small fuel leak caused a fire in his car. Thankfully the fire was extinguished quickly, but not before his wiring harness was toasted. Fear not though, there were still three of our group still running! Sort of…
So the trio went out, with various passengers who had GoPros on sticks. Since this was a grassroots, just for fun kind of thing nobody could communicate with the cars while they were on track. And car to car communication was primitive.
And occasionally crude… It was during these runs a few of noticed that Mikey was smokey. Really smokey.
Catastrophically smokey. There was an oil leak somewhere, and it was bad enough to send Mikey back to the trailer. He wasn’t done though, he would take a few runs in Brandon’s car. However, Hector was entirely done. He bent a tie rod on one run, did an epic burnout and headed back to his trailer.
Our crew may have been decimated, but there were still some people who hadn’t broken their cars! Mike and Worm were still out taking cuts.
And then the track cleared, and the Previa rolled down the bank, and began its runs.
Behind every good man is a strong woman, and Dennis & Katie literally demonstrated this. They mounted the rear bench seat of the Previa in the van backwards, she strapped in and went for a ride!
And it is on that note that we end our story. It was an awesome weekend, spent with awesome people and doing awesome things. If there was a better way to spend Labor Day Weekend, and close out the summer, I can’t think of one. This wasn’t an isolated trip either. While I can’t make it to the next event, I will make it to a few more next year. Until then, thank you Idaho! GOODNIGHT!
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