It seemed like time passed by in a heartbeat and before we knew what was happening we had already been on grid and were pulling out onto the traffic along with about 40 other cars about mid pack. We knew the purpose was to just shake the car down, nothing special, drive smooth, stay away from rookies and keep the shinny side up. After two laps behind the pace car we could begin to see somewhat of a line taking shape on the track as we felt the car out.
Here's the official first track run for Lucky as captured on video (this is a very rough, unedited clip from our documentary footage - which we will be giving you more information about very soon)
Some good news was early coming as soon as Jon began talking over the keyless communication system and it was as if you were listening to the pilot of a 747 talking over a multi-million dollar PA system. During the rest of the day that system worked flawlessly even over the noise of many race cars.
It was only about 5 laps into the session before we could see that a decent line had made itself present on the wet track and it wasn't long before we found ourselves out in front of the entire pack and we still hadn't opened it up. The main thing I wanted to accomplish during today was to basically drive around the track making sure every thing was working well, no rubbing, strange noises, smells, leaks and so on. Once I felt all was good with those priorities then we might do some testing and push it a little. But the longer we went the better the handling felt and getting the rear end happy was just as controlled as any driver could ever ask for. Let me tell you... Lucky can hold a line and when he plants himself you really know. I couldn't have been more pleased. As a matter of fact everything went so well we only ran a few sessions and packed up early and came home.
Here's a short clip of the interview we taped for our documentary during the test session-
Today is the first day I have honestly relaxed in 6 months and it was as if I had arrived home after a long trip. I have no idea how long it has been since I have spent the day truly doing what I love with my wife, son and best friend Jon but it was long over due and coming home with all four tires intact makes it that much better. By the way, the in-car camera with sound is nothing short of state of the art! Way to go Jon buddy!
We still have a couple big surprises to announce that I am not at liberty to discuss at this time but there are a few things that I can. I was pleased to meet one of the drivers of another team that will be running in this year's La Carrera Panamericana in the Exhibition Class. He is Colin Herrick who will be driving a BMW Mini Cooper S while his father navigates and is sponsored by Mini Mania. We had a chance to talk for a brief while before I had to go on track and I was looking forward to talking more and getting some photos of his very cool ride but he had some tech problems that didn't allow him to run. The good news is we will have plenty of time when we are in Mexico. Good luck with your tech issues Colin.
Parked near us in the paddock was a very special car or should I say it was very unique to me. Yes it was a mustang and if you saw it parked on the street you may not have even thought twice to look at it however my son told me I really needed to take a closer look. It was faded and could use a new paint job but the truth is that would probably ruin what made it so special. Standing close up you could easily make out the original paint on the door that said "SALINAS VALLEY FORD". Also on the rear fenders it said, "CAN AM ROUND 4" and "OFFICIAL PACE CAR, LAGUNA SECA 10/16/1966" Present at that very race were some of the biggest racing legends of all time. Just to name a few... Phil Hill, Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon, George Follmer, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, Eppie Wietzes, Sam Posey, Mark Donohue, Doug Revson, Al Unser. If that's not some impressive names then wait until you hear what cars they drove... Ford GT40, McLaren, Lola, Chaparral, 1966 McKee Olds Mk6 Can Am and the list goes on forever. The bottom line is this mustang has been in some awesome company in it's day. A few years after that event I was lucky to not only watch many of them on the same track but in fact spent the entire weekend with them in the pits while being a pit boy for none other than Dick Smothers. By the way, did I tell you how much this Mustang excited me?
The next time you hear someone complain about how much they pay for a gallon of gas show them the photo above of how much it cost me to top off my tank this morning. 15.3 gallons cost $98.93 and that was for low test. That is, low test considering I only used 112 octane as opposed to 114 and 116 respectfully.
There were a lot of great cars today and as usual there were more than a fair share of whale-tail Porsche's present but one of my favorites was there today as well. Check out the black and white. It seems everywhere Lucky goes the black and whites follow.
What a great ego boost it was to have so many compliments paid to Lucky from friends and racing fans alike and isn't that really what enjoying racing is all about... The love of great cars, friendship, laughter, excitement and even the sounds and smell. There was some great moments today besides the awesome results that Lucky put forth and there was one time when I laughed so hard that... well, that's one of those things I can't talk about so you'll just have to wait.
Before I close, I would like to mention my son in law. Without Anthony, this never would have come to be. He runs my business, deals with all my problems, stress and life as it is which makes this all a reality. While I am out testing and racing many times he stays behind to run things at home and business. He is a big part of TEAM CALIFORNIA'S BEST racing as well as the corporation. Even though he is a huge part of the team and has been at so many successful podium victories during these past years it saddens me to know he will not be accompanying us on this adventure due to his willingness and dedication to tend to business. I am so lucky to have such an wonderful family including my wife, daughter Charmagne, sons Will and Anthony who pick up all the pieces and even better that they have dedicated their lives to what it is we all love... racing.