Thursday, October 02, 2008

Street cars and NASCAR stars have a big night out

Boys with toys. (Yeah, there were girls there, too, but that doesn’t rhyme.)

Wednesday night was NASCAR Night at zMax Dragway @ Concord, an evening for guys from the stock-car world to bring their hot rods out of the closet.

The only rules were the cars had to be street legal, and some guys were pushing that. For example, I doubt very seriously Greg Biffle puts ice bags on the engine and rides around on racing slicks when he’s got his black Mustang Shelby on the streets.

Marcus Smith, the president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway who, along with his father, Bruton, built the joint made several passes in his Ford GT and beat most comers. But Biffle’s 10.146-second elapsed time on one run was about as fast as anything I saw. Later, he ran a top-end speed of 136.50 mph on a run that had a 10.225 elapsed time.

Matt Kenseth made a bunch of runs in his red Mustang with several passengers going along for the ride. Kyle Busch was there in his girlfriend’s yellow Corvette.

Several hundred fans came out to watch the action, and their favorite seemed to be the Rat Ride, a pick-up truck body that acted as camouflage for a Winston Cup chassis with a monster motor under the spackle-painted hood. I was told the driver, who works for a Cup team, has a laptop computer on board with him to help it go down the track in great haste.

Ray Evernham was there in a Viper that Rick Hendrick gave him for winning the Cup championship in 1995. Hendrick actually told Evernham that it was a good-looking car before Evernham reminded his former boss where it came from.

Speaking of Hendrick, he made some runs in his red Ferrari and also had a yellow Corvette on the grounds. Somehow that ‘Vette ended up in the sand trap at the end of the runoff area when it’s driver – in this case, not Hendrick – just kept getting it well past the finish line and sort of forgot about the slowing down part.

There was another pickup truck, one that Doug Rice joked looked like it was being held together by rust, that would get on down the road, too.

It was all a lot of fun, but if they keep on doing this somebody’s going to make a lot of money selling performance parts and racing slicks. It stunned me, in fact, that Doug Herbert wasn’t here with a truck full of parts and a credit card machine from his high-performance shop in Lincolnton. He could have made a mint.

Biffle probably ran 10 miles, a quarter of a mile at a time, before he finally packed it in for the night. I was sitting in the media center toward the end of the evening when somebody came in and asked if some track prep could be done – they wanted somebody to put down some TrackBite to make it easier to go faster.

I can’t swear that Biffle put them up to it. But I wouldn’t bet against it.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I would love to be there. I want to see my favorite NASCAR drivers.

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