« December 2008 | Main | February 2009 »

January 20, 2009

So Long Old Friend.

Never ashamed to admit that I'm a big Daryl Hall and John Oates Fan, the song I can't seem to shake from my head at the moment is "She's Gone" from their 1973 album Abandoned Luncheonette.

My 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 (Dually) 4x4 Cummins that has been in the family since May of 1994, when it was new, and that I've personally owned since May of 1998, was sold to the highest bidder, and no longer a part of my life.

Today is a sad day in the Perrine household...well, maybe a sad day for the author.   I believe my wife is pretty indifferent, sad that I'm sad, but not too concerned either way.  One of her first comments after the truck drove off was, "God that truck stinks!"

Funny the relationship between a gear head and his vehicles.  I currently have a 1987 Dodge Ramcharger that has been parked (some would argue if it is parked or stranded) just off the turn around in my driveway since the summer of 2003.  Aside from being started a few times, washed probably twice, and driven a couple of times since 2003, the truck has sat, awaiting new piston rings in the 7th and 8th cylinders.

There are holes in the rear quarter panels, the 'C' pillar is begining to rot, the windshield is toast. It sits on 3 flat tires (but they will hold air), with two different styles of rims.  Each year as more and more pine tree sap and needles drip onto the roof, I think about getting rid of it, but just can't do it.

Why?

I have no specific answer, but think it is just because of the memories.  This was my college truck, got me through four...ok, five years of college, and Michigan Upper Peninsula winters.  I've drank a lot of Pepsi's in this truck (sorry, my parents might read this).  You could easily fit two 12 packs of Pepsi in the huge center console.  5 guys could fit comfortably and drink said Pepsi's while on our way to our favorite smelt dipping spot, hunting spot, race track, whatever function you can think of. 

SIDE NOTE: I always wanted to put a drain plug in that thing so you could add ice to keep the 12 packs of pepsi cold.

Also this was the first engine build project I did with my dad.  I had always helped him with various cars he was working on, but this one was mine.  When the truck was bought, it had a miss, turned out to be valve seals, so we replaced the heads (don't ask where we got two brand new heads for a Mopar 360), and remembering that one thing always leads to another if you got the heads off, might as well change the cam, put a new Edelbrock intake and a Holley 650 on it as well.  We opted to keep the stock exhaust manifolds, but all the emision equipment was removed, and we ran true duals out the back through two flow master mufflers.

Now the performance and sound didn't match the look of the truck, so new aluminum rims and 33" tires were added to complete the project.

I typed all that to sum it up with this...Nope, can't sell it have no idea what I want to do with it, but can't part with it.

Now onto the Dually, Darth Vader as my dad and his buddies called it, and The Pig as my wife knows it.  Why was I so torn up with the sale of this truck as I watched it pull out of the driveway?

For the better part of the last three years, I've cursed this truck.  It was loud, it does stink, both doors, both front fenders, parts of the floor board, the bed, all had holes in them.  The back up lights didn't work, every time I hooked up a trailer to it, I had to "fiddle" with the trailer connector to get every light working.

It was down to two speakers that worked well in the truck.  Buttons were starting to fall off the radio, it leaked coolant, it burned oil, trac bars needed to be replaced about every 300 miles or so.  Just in the past year alone, I had to change the starter in the parking lot of a Bally's in Waterford, change the trac bar, replace the headlight a few times, change rear drive shaft u-joints, change the turn signal flasher can, and that is just off the top of my head.

The heater didn't work real well.  When the temp dipped below 20, I would have to wear my Ice King boots to keep my feet warm.  And yet with all of this, I was sad to watch the "www.dndracing.com" decal on the tailgate drive off out of my life.

Though I didn't drink near as much "Pepsi" in this truck as I did my Ramcharger, this truck did make several trips north pulling a couple sleds, head north to deer camp, drag the race cars to various tracks and appointments.  It also moved me into a new home...twice.

There was not another one like it, if people knew me and the truck, they always knew when I passed.  Hell, some people could even tell I was coming by the SOUND of the truck.  A co-worker once asked me, "was that thing a cement truck in a previous life?!".

I could make the truck smoke on command.  I'm not talking a little smoke, I'm talking in violation of most EPA regulations smoke.  I would get out of the clutch, and stand on the throttle, watch the RPM's drop, and before the turbo could spool up to feed enough air to match the massive amount of fuel that was being pumped into the cylinder, I would check the passenger side rear view mirror, just in time to notice whatever was behind me become less and less visible because of the immense black cloud that had engulfed whatever was in it's path.  This was a great tool for tailgaters, or to annoy my friends and/or wife if they were following me.

Yes, I was proud of my carbon footprint, and it's contribution to global warming.

As much as I like our new truck, it is not unique, it blends in (as much as a red truck can) with the rest of the cookie cutter metal boxes that roll down the street.  It doesn't smoke, and the exhaust even smells a little sweet for lack of a better term.

So what causes a gearhead to choke up a bit when he watches his 15 year old high milage truck with minimal heat and no 3rd gear drive down his driveway with someone else behind the wheel for the last time.

It's all the upgrades, repairs, bloody nuckles, and TLC that he is watching leave.  It is a 336,891 miles of memories that he has now passed onto someone else.

Remember Darth, the Force will be with you...always.

January 14, 2009

1st Report on the Tigers

Breaking away from the racing and random theme for a bit.  With pitchers and catchers reporting in just about a month, lets talk some baseball.

A couple moves this week created a level of frustration on my part and that is what made me decide to blog on the baseball topic.

Derek Lowe signed with the braves, 4 years for $60 million, and John Smoltz signed a one year deal with the Sox for $5.5 million.  My frustration comes from the fact that I think the Tigers did not even try to get either of these guys.

Now if they did and it wasn't reported anywhere (not in the papers, not on TV, no magazines, no internet, no blogs), which I doubt, then I take back everything in this blog entry.

Instead, they trade a promising prospect in Matt Joyce for Edwin Jackson (who might possibly have been the 6th member of the Jackson 5 had he not had so much talent on the mound...ok, that is totally speculation).  Now Edwin might prove to fulfill all his potential they claim he has, and as a Tiger fan, I hope he does, but why did they pull this trigger so quick?

(if he sucks, I've already projected his nickname will be edLOOSE)

I don't think Lowe and Smoltz went for outrageous price tags.  Smoltz might have been a good guy to get for two years (if he took one year for 5.5, maybe he would have done two years for 8 - 10 million) until Porcello is ready, similar with what they did with Rogers in 2006...that worked out ok.  No one has any idea how Willis and Robertson are going to be, so maybe it would have been wise to try to get Lowe or Smoltz AND Jackson.

Don't think I'm hung up on Smotlz and Lowe, it isn't the guys more than the fact that the Tigers are trying to fix this thing on the cheap.  Illitch spent a bunch of money last year, and it didn't work out (to say the least), so he has totally done a 180, and is way too gun shy, and won't spend a penny this off season.

I do like the Laird signing, I think he is a solid backstop that will give you a .250 stick somewhere down at the bottom of this still pretty potent lineup.  I'm not the biggest fan of the Everett signing at SS, but I won't berate Dombrowski too much for that (I still think Santiago should have gotten his shot, and still predict he will be your starting SS by June).  My hope was that he was doing the defensive fixes inexpensively, to spend some money on a closer, or some starting pitching help.

This proved to not be the case as they are entering spring training with captain crooked hat Fernando Rodney as the closer, and the same pitching staff they had last year minus Rogers, add Jackson.

I hope I'm wrong folks, but I think this is a .500 team at best for 2009.  Way too many ifs, most of which I didn't even mention and will save for another entry.

Thanks for stopping by - Dan

January 02, 2009

Why Do I Drag Race?

Recently a Super Gas racing friend of mine sent a mass email out and asked everyone on the list to think about why they race.  As I was thinking about my answer, I thought what a great topic for a blog topic (don't worry, I emailed him and got permission to steal his idea, all royalties to be paid to Chick Honez).

I tried but could not narrow it down to one reason, but here is what I came up with...

If I had to pick only one thing, it would be that it gives me something to do with my Dad that we both love.

How many 34 year old's do you know that can say that?
During a trip to Puttin Bay, Ohio, a few years back I was talking about racing to a non-gearhead high school friend of mine.  He asked how much money I make racing?  "None, it actually costs us money...a lot of money." I replied.  He then asked, "Why do you do it then?"  For some reason that I can't explain, the first thought/image, whatever you want to call it that popped into my head was being at the track in the evening.
I love being at the track in the evening.  You are done for the day, there are still some classes racing, and although you can't "hear" the cars doing burn outs and making passes, you know it is there, and every once in a while you notice the actual sound of fellow racers making their final passes of the day.
The sun is setting as dusk approaches.  You smell lighter fluid and bar-b-ques all over the pits as the dinner fires begin to burn.  You crack the 1st beer of the evening.  The lighter fluid smells turn to the smell of burgers, hot dogs, steaks as everyone that camps in the pits begins to eat.  You finish dinner and put the car and all the other "stuff" you got out over the course of the day back in the trailer.  Now the rest of the evening is yours.
You take a golf cart/pit bike ride to the trailers and motor homes of your buddies, bench race, and talk about the days racing, and what tomorrow might bring.  You take a look a the ladder, see where you qualified, or who you are running against in the 1st round.
(If you are lucky enough to get a 1st round bye, maybe you crack a 2nd beer!!!)
(And some of us crack a 2nd beer regardless of who we are racing in the 1st round)
The air, although usually humid, is cool and comfortable, not hot like the middle of the day can bring.  The intensity of racing and everything that goes with it is gone, at least for a few hours, and this is your time to enjoy.  Win or loose, good pass or bad pass, good lights or bad lights, running the number, or breaking out, broken parts or cars, whatever, this part of being at the track is always the same.  Laid back, relaxed, your time to unwind and prepare for tomorrow.
No matter how bad the day at the track was, or how much I myself question, "why do I race" and may be ready to quit, this time in the pits always makes me realize why I go through all the bulls--t to race, it reminds me that all the money spent and headaches caused are totally worth it.
That is why I race.
On a side note, winning makes the feelings listed above all that much better, and if you brake something and need to thrash to get ready for the next day, everything above that I just typed is thrown right out the window.
Thanks for stoppin by...Dan