Wednesday, October 31, 2007

La Buffa takes it toll

When you race fast cars and risk it all on dangerous roads with cliffs that drop off for what seems like an eternity there comes a time when the inevitable happens. Today there was a crash on te famous La Buffa and the car rolled ned over end five times before coming to a rest. Everyone is safe and due to good safety equipment in pretty good shape considering. Oh wait a second.... You didn't think I was talking about Lucky did you? (LOL) No sir. Lucy and Team California's Best had an awesome day on the second most dangerous part of the famous La Carrera Panamericana race. We raced up it and then had a service stop and then ran it backwards into the beautiful city of Zacatecas. You simply can't believe how beautiful it is here. We got here so early in the race that after we were given a warm welcome by thousands of fans that lined the hi ways and streets for miles we were asked to park Lucky right in front of the awesome Emporio Hotel which is across the street from another one of the most beautiful churches you have ever seen. I hope the priest will not mind the burnouts left in front of the steps.

Today Lucky really stretched out his muscles with a speed of almost 150 miles per hour and there was more to give if I asked for it and that was on a two lane road with no shoulder. I must tell you this car handles so well even at that speed that I could have driven with one hand. (but didn't)

I am sorry about no photos but trust me they will come. It is late as I type this and I don't want to wake Jon to use the adapter. The beginning of this adventure was indeed stressful but as usual the entire team bonded and everything came to as it should. Now each of them are able to sleep and rest which is something we have not been able to do with our busy schedule. Last night Jon and the team decided not to go to the dinner and awards ceremony so they could rest up but I went. It was at the famous bull fight arena and even though I had seen photos of this place in the past I just stood there in awe. Anyone who has seen it will tell you the same thing... simply unbelievable. (last night when I was typing this the power went out and I thought all I had typed was gone so I am finishing it this morning)

What I haven't told Jon this morning and intend to surprise him with at breakfast is that we made the podium again last night in third place. Another thing I intend to surprise him with is we are in 12th overall but there are some more surprises to come and I intend to save that one for Jon. Then if all goes well today on the very high speed section I will post here for everyone else. Please say a prayer for us and cross your fingers as today is VERY long run back towards home with a lot of racing and VERY high speeds. Today begins the day of the dead celebration here and last night was very festive. Father Peter, please say a special prayer for us. We're coming home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lucky is an awesome race car

If racing over Mil Cumbres isn't dangerous enough then they wait until this morning with the cold fog, loose gravel and throw in some running water across the road and then they make you run it again only this time backwards. Oh by the way, did I forget to tell you about the corner with the dead horse on it that had blood running across the pavement? And yes, the blood was extremely slippery.

Today it was Mil Cumbres turn to laugh as it claimed several cars into its dangerous curves and steep cliffs. As Jon and I came down a high speed straight into a corner we could see the taillights of one of the fastest mustangs going off the cliff. Later today his crew was trying to repair his car and replace broken wheels and tires and tonight they are replacing the engine but he did not finish two stages so it doesn't look too good for him. I was told this evening that's some teams had protested his car because he is using illegal aluminum heads. During another section we came into a high speed straight and saw a shredded flat tire in the middle of the road but no car and just a cliff but as we came over the next long crest we were relieved to see the Studebaker off on the side of the road. As we got closer we could see smoke but someone else had pulled over to help them. Just as we were passing the car burst into flames.

Later in the day several cars had flat ties and some lost wheel bearings, water pumps, radiators, rear ends and one guy even had his steering column come off in his hands at high speed but he was able to get it stooped in time since he was on a straight. Speaking of straights, today as Jon and I were doing a transit stage headed into the celebration in Aguascalientes we were doing 125 miles per hour while passing every car and truck on the road including police. Some of the straight aways are 10 miles long but very narrow and you can see forever. As we come into the cities the police are everywhere on every single corner and intersection and when they see a La Carrera car coming they stop everyone and make them pull over just for us. We pass on the right, the left, middle and all of the police and fans lining the roads for miles and miles are cheering and waving us on. I have never seen so many police in my life. Imagine doing a hundred in your home town and having the police stop traffic for you while sliding sideways onto a turn and getting on it with one hand on the wheel and the other waving at the fans. You have to see it to believe it and we have it all on DVD.

Every day we have had to get to bed at midnight or so and then get up at 5:30 in the morning to get going but tomorrow we get to sleep in and then the press will take out group photos before we leave at noon for a high speed section of La Bufa. Lucky LOVES high speed and Jon really does an awesome job helping me perform.

Considering we are competing against some of the best drivers in the world, many of which have run this race many times before in cars that cost ten times what Luck cost we are extremely proud of how well our team strategy is working. We don't race against other drivers... we simply run our own race and at the end of the day let it be were it is. There are different classes and there is overall but one of the things that is interesting is the variations. For example... The Vettes (only one left) is allowed to run a four barrel carb but we are only allowed to use a two barrel. Then we are left competing for overall with our 289 against Turismo Mayor cars which are essentially tube frame cars with Winston cup high performance engine that can do in excess of 200 miles per hour. Another driver we have become good friends with and competing against is Canadian rally champion and three time SCCA champion driver, Karl Scheible.

Oh did I forget to mention how we have been doing? The day before yesterday we had fallen to 22 place but after the beating we gave Mil Cumbre we were back up to 13th overall and 5th in class. Then after today we have moved up to 8th overall but better yet we made the podium and guess which position.... FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's right we won the whole shooting match today and what a great experience this is. Just getting to take part in a world class race as this is a great experience in itself but to win the most dangerous section of the entire race on our first attempt let alone be in the top ten is beyond our wildest imagination. I am sorry to say I am unable to post any photos tonight however trust me I will post some of us on the podium with our awards as soon as we are able. In the mean time keep us all in your prayers and keep pulling for us since we only have two days left.

To my beautiful wife I send my love and to my awesome son in law and beautiful daughter I send my love and please give my grandson a big hug from Papa before taking his trick or treating tomorrow. My thoughts are with you all as well as Father Peter. And a big WAAASSS UPPPP to the guys at the shop. As for Jon's wife, thank you for allowing Jon to be here for without him this would not be what it is. His dedication and skill as a navigator to Team Californias Best is beyond description and even many other teams have learned he is the man to come talk to when they have a question. I have every intention to see he comes home with a smile on his face. God knows he puts one on mine.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What an awesome day

Yesterday and today both by veterans and the staff at driver's meetings have been warning us how dangerous today's race would be. As a matter of fact more racers have died on this stage of the race than on any other. Needless to say, for someone who has read this many times for the last 16 months it was very intimidating.

It starts off with a high speed section and there are hundreds of fans who come from all over to watch and then you begin the assault on Mil Cumbre which means one thousand curves and it seems as if it also has one thousand sheer cliffs not to mentions donkeys, cattle, dogs and don't forget the spectators.

Today after we were welcomed by thousands of fans to the city of Morelia they put our cars on display in the main center of town I met people from Canada, Detroit, Spain and Wisconsin who came just to watch this part of the race. By the way, many of the Mexicans already know Lucky by name. I love it when they ask "Can I please have my photo taken with Lucky the Moosetang." Every day we sign hundreds of autographs and take photos with fans. It really makes all drivers and teams feel special and you just can't help but feel good when the little kids eyes lite up when you pick them up and put them in the car or shake their hand or put your arm around them while posing for their photo. One custom the have here is the gals all shake your hand and then kiss you on the cheek. Hey, I can get into that. LOL. It makes me miss my beautiful wife and I can't wait to get home and give here a big kiss and hug. I also think of my grandson every time I am asked go sign someones baby. Yes I have been signing t-shirts, photos, baby's and even a butt. LOL.

Some drivers said they conquered Mil Cumbre but let me tell you NOBODY conquers Mil Cumbre. Mil Cumbre may allow you have a good day but only if God says so. This is where the news gets better... I HAD AN AWESOME|DAY TODAY ON MIL CUMBRE!!!!!!! Not only was I fast but I passed some very fast cars on some very dangerous corners and Jon's navigating was PERFECT!!! On one high speed corner at over 90 miles per hour on a cliff I pushed the envelope a little too far... Well, way too far. I was headed for a rock wall and the rear end swung out way sideways and it looked pretty bad for Jon and I. All that was left to do was mash the gas down and hope Lucky had what it take. He did! Lucky swung our wide enough to clip off a cement pole and gave him a a pretty cool battle scar and then he came swinging back the other way towards the cliff but with some minor correction he just kept on going. Jon was cool as a cucumber and we just kept on sailing. WHAT A RUSH especially after all the worrying.The best part of all is that it's all on the in-car camera!!!!!!!!!

I have to get to yet another dinner and awards ceremony so we can find out how well we are doing but the single most important thing is Will, Jon, Steffan and I are having the time of our lives and the teamwork that California's Best is so well known for really showed up today. (EDIT) Not only did we do well in the famous Mil Cumbre but in fact we WON THE BLOODY SECTION! You talk about satisfaction!!!

I will post a few more photos, some from yesterday and some today. One of them is what is left of the Corvette. By the way, there are many cars that have crashed, blown up or broken and there are even a few drivers suffering from Montezuma's Revenge but knock on wood we have truly been blessed. The Apple Dumpling Gang had some bad luck when they ran at the new race track in Queretaro when they over-reved their engine and it developed a rod knock. Today they limped the route but another team sold then a spare engine and they are out in the parking lot where some other teams are helping them change it so they can finish the race back to the U.S. I almost forgot.. Jon and I had an awesome time on the track and we really kicked some ass, BIG TIME while spanking a bunch of the pro veteran La Carrera Panamerica drivers. Like Jon said, "It's just what we do." LOL.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Move on up

Sorry, it's late and we have some very long stages tomorrow and I need some sleep. But real quick here are some updates. I have a lot of awesome photos from today. There where some major accidents today including some that injured some locals. During the crash several other race cars where wrecked as well. If you injure anyone while in Mexico during a transit stage they put you in jail... no if's and's or buts, that's the law. So now a Brit sits in jail and will probably stay there.

Today we ran some very dangerous roads mostly along cliffs again. My first two runs where far from spectacular however the rest were stellar and now I have moved up into 16th overall out of the hundred that started. Today a Corvette that was right in front of me lost control and crashed of the road over a hillside and the car burnt so bad there was only a frame left. Most people could not even tell that it was a car let alone A Corvette.

By the way, for those of you who want to know how the father and son team of Apple Farmer's racing is doing... Jon, my Co-piloto/navigator spent some time with them this morning helping them to better understand timing and so on. Then they won a position in their class on the podium today. They were very happy and rightly so and we are happy to see them doing so well.

One last thing... After a very dangerous stage today where we ran thru some mountains and cliffs at high speed on what I know is the most dangerous place I have ever raced we came into a small town and all of a sudden my front brake locked up and we skid to a halt. One of the brake caliper bolts had worked loose and fallen out which allowed the caliper to lock up on the wheel. Jon had a dozen Mexicans lift the car out of the street so I could take off the wheel and put the bolt back in which we found laying in the street and we still finished in time.

Today we were greeted by 350,000 people after we were given a high speed motorcycle escort thru traffic sirens blazing and all. I have lots of photos but no time to post them tonight. Tomorrow they are doing something that has never been done since the first days of the original route of the La Carrera Panamericana... they are stopping the traffic in Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world so that we can race there. There will be literally millions of people lining the highways to watch us. Today Jon and I did three more news interviews in different places and one news paper interview as well. One of our race stages will be on a brand new race track after we run thru Mexico City.

In the mean time here is a video from two days ago of a "safe" and "slower" section of road Lucky took us safely thru.

Those we miss

The only thing I regret on this adventure is the fact that Anthony isn't here. He's back in California taking care of business and watching over my family as well. Some men in their lifetimes find their calling in life and some do not... Anthony has and I couldn't be more proud of him.

Anthony truly has a gift, one of an artist. He sees things many do not. I am glad he chose my daughter to spend his life with, his taste pleases me. When he was a boy he lived a bit on the wild side but who doesn't in our family. Anthony was a "tagger" you know those graphic artist that tells his story with art. It was Anthony's steady hand and good eye that painted the trailer before we left besides many other things. When we were staged in Oaxaca the entire area around the baseball stadium was painted by taggers and much of it was very well done. They welcome it and actually paint canvas type billboards all over town for them to paint them on.

Here are some photos and one of Anthony painting the trailer. I am already looking forward to seeing him when I get home.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today was one hell of a day. The racing was awesome as we raced along cliffs on twisty mountain roads at high speed with no guard rails and in many spots if you went off it was so far down you would have time to write your will on the way down. The in-car video is going to be un-real!

There was a lot of carnage today and a lot of very expensive cars will not run again.... ever. Even though the crashes were spectacular and the cars totally destroyed everyone is in good shape and only a few cast were needed. At to nights awards ceremony they told us the doctors could not attend because the had to tend to some of the racers that suffered bad accidents today.

Lucky had some bad gas... (not that kind) but it was bad enough that I was losing fuel pressure and had to milk the car along but at the service stop the crew was waiting and I diagnosed the problem in seconds, cleaned the filter and took off again. Before dinner this evening Will and I took the fuel cell apart and cleaned it and cleaned the filter again. Hopefully this will eliminate any further problems
because we were sitting ducks with only 2 pounds of fuel pressure. As a result we fell back one position in class but better yet was we moved up to 17th overall!

As navigator Jon is awesome and there is absolutely no way I could get this far along
without him. The navigator roll is extremely complicated and requires him to be on the ball for so many variables but he really has a handle on it.

Besides the racing there is so much beauty in this country and the people here just love the La Carrera Panamericana. They live to see this race and all along the hundreds of miles fans old and young alike find out where the route is and they line the highways and overpasses just to watch all the cars whisk by. Last night we took a cab to go to a palace for a meeting and along the way a car was blocking the way so our taxi driver honked but the guy didn't move. Then he yelled and still nothing. TheN he goT out and went up to his window and yelled, I HAVE VERY IMPORTANT MEN IN MY TAXI. THEY ARE LA CARRERA PANAMERICANA PILOTOS! When we arrived in Teheacan there was over 450,000 fans lining the streets within inches of the car. Lucky is a very popular car and we stood for three hours signing autographs, shaking hands, posed with fans for photos and I even signed a few baby's and lots of shirts and hats. That took place in a square with a live band and all the food and drinks all of the drivers and crew could eat. WOW, was the food great and boy do these people know how to make you feel welcome. Once again, the footage is unreal.

Here are a few photos from today that I hope you will enjoy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


There is so much that I would enjoy telling you but we have to get everything packed and organized before we get to bed so that we can leave this hotel at 5am.

What I can tell you is the MORFmobile CALIFIORINA´S BEST RACING TEAM had a very good day. On our very first La Carrera Panamericana out of 100 cars we finished 4th place in class (by 2 seconds) and 19th overall. Keep in mind, when Juan Fangio won the La Carrera Panamericana he never won a single stage and the car will come to me as we go forward. We very proud that we finished ahead of many cars with four barrel carbs, much bigger engines, many who have ran this race many times before.

As we drove back to the city of Xaxoca we were welcomed by thousands of people who lined miles of highways, on overpasses and city streets. There were countless numbers of police officers stopping all trafic to allow us to run every red light on the way back to the staging area. Let me tell you, ripping up the city streets at speed with a police car hot on my tail all the time with his lights and sirens on was one hell of a blast. It´s important to realize you can not believe the traffic we are doing this in. You gave to see it to believe it. Hopefully we will have some fottage for you in the next few days.

At this evening´s awards ceremony we went to a large city center with a palace where there were many groups of Mexican dancer to perform for us. Inside the palace there was our driver´s meeting including the mayor of Xaxoca and other important dignitarys and officials. One of the annoucments about how special this 20th anniversay was besides something about tonights full moon being the closest to the earth that it will be in our lifetime is that this is the first time in seven years there was no crashes on the first day of the event. They also told everyone how upset they were at the fact one driver was caught doing over 110 miles per hour in a school zone. How stupid.

Tomorrow we will take off from a beautiful square while thousands of fans line the square and streets as we drive the entire day thru several race and transit sections.

PS; for those wanting to hear about our new friends, THE APPLE FARMERS RACING TEAM (AKA Apple dumpling gang) the are haveing the time of their life. I promise to post some photos the next time I can.


I only have a few minutes so this will be short. Today we needed to go to an "official"
kilometer on a map to calibrate our Terratrip but on the way there was a large demonstration that blocked the street we needed to go on by hundreds of angry demonstrators. We were forced off onto dead stopped side streets. Eventually we made it to a street where the cops were not allowing anyone thru so I ran their blockade and headed back to the spot on the map since that street was closed and we calibrated everything. Then we tried to take the closed street thru the demonstration where they had ropes tied across the street stating their demands and they began kicking and breaking windows on the car in front of us. I told Jon to hang on and ran the blockade tearing down the banners and ropes which were held down with large rocks and everyone chasing us. Are we having fun yet or WHAT!

I have to leave now to qualify and we are the second car to go in the Historic C class. Keep your fingers crossed. One car (a chevy) in our class was ready to go and blew his motor.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One day before green flag

Can you believe it! All the waiting is over now and the day is tomorrow that we get to qualify. Today Jon and Steffan´s plane arrived and the next thing I knew there they were walking toward the car with big smiles. After getting Jon´s paperwork signed off without any problems they got a bite to eat. There were many people for them to meet and a bunch more cars were coming in and many were still not able to pass tech inspection or still having to wait in long lines. For the most part everything is very well organized which really makes it a pleasure to be here. Everyone on TEAM CALIFORNIA´S BEST was having a blast and naturally I was up to my usual antics when I got Jon over to take his medical exam. The doctors giving the exam were trying so hard to stop laughing when I showed Jon how to take the exam. (see photo)

Jon and I signed a lot of autographs and handed out lots of hero cards an posed with spectators for photos. Afterwards we decided to go do a pre-run on the section of highway where qualification will be run tomorrow. This is the only time we will be allowed to do so. I chose to not take Lucky but instead all of us piled into the crew truck and check it out. Boy was it fun even though the road as not closed off from two way traffic yet. It´s nice of them to start off with an easy course even though it has a bunch of cliffs with no guard rails. There was no reason to run it more than once and its very short. It´s not important to qualify in front as many seem to wreck on the first day and any good endurance driver knows this is a long race so there´s plenty of time to sort things out. It will however be a good time to check out the car.

Driving and sliding the four wheel crew truck around mountain corners on the wrong side of the road was a hoot to say the least. On the return to town I was casually driving along at 90 miles per hour when I looked up and saw 6 new Charger police cars all with their lights on coming up behind me. At first I thought I was being pulled over when they turned on their sirens but after they saw the La Carrera Panamericana sign on my door they waved at us and then stepped on the gas. Before long we were all doing 100 miles per hour. It turns out these are the Federalies that will be in charge during the race for the next week. I honestly don´t remember the last time I was doing 100 miles per hour WITH the police instead of FROM them. During the entire time Steffan had the camera running.

Now were are back at the hotel where Jon is having a nap before we go to another hotel for tonight´s co-piloto meeting and then Steffan goes to the press meeting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Being organized pays off

This morning we met Enrique who is from Puebla in southern Mexico. He owns a shop there and he built a special trailer which nothing short of a machine shop on wheels. We hit it off and now he is TEAM CBR unofficial machine shop and service to help Will. He is going to travel with Will to all service stops and speaks fluent Spanish and English. Talk about lucky. Enrique brought a small go cart he built to get around the pits but Will wanted to test drive it so he took off downtown on a taco run. He was passing cars on the street and using the curb to manuver while the police laughed since he was faster than most cars. Before he left I installed a Tecate beer cup holder to bring back my drink.

After breakfast we headed out for parc ferme at Eduardo Vasconcellos baseball stadium which is where all cars are pre-staged and inspected and signed up for registration. Keeping in mind that this is the 20th anniversary of the historical La Carrera Panamericana I must tell you it was an awesome feeling that we were the first car signed up and passed tech inspection! While many others worked hard all day to prep, fix or finish their cars Will and I relaxed, took photos and signed autographs until 4pm. There were TV crews who spent a lot of time filming Lucky for Sundays sports broadcast and hundreds of fans who spent most of the day checking out many very cool cars. The tech inspectors really loved Lucky and said, "This is without a doubt one the most beautiful cars that I have ever seen." Considering where we are that made the whole trip worth while in itself. Then Gerie Bledso, the North American director came over and said the same thing. That was also gratifying.

Considering there are 100 teams from around the world it would take too long to post photos of everyone of them but here are a few shots from today. There will be many more to come so I hope you are enjoying them as they come.

Monday, October 22, 2007

3500 miles... Now its about to get exciting

WOW, what a day!!! Today the Coyote Convoy took off after a drivers meeting at 6AM and we headed south. I dont know how it happened but we where the first to arrive and check in to our hotel. Its not the first time I have towed a trailer at 100 miles per hour but it is the longest. We drove 12 hours and roughly 600 miles which most of the time the weather was good but near Mexico City there was serious thunderstoms with lightning. At times it was so bad all we could do was crawl along at 10 miles per hour until the rain stopped and the water ran off the road. Once again I want to thank the SOB that stole my trailer. I cant imagaine how we would be doing with an open trailer after seeing how bad it has been for those who have one. On the other hand everyone takes care of each other. I have reason to believe every law in Mexico has been broken today alone and the race hasnt began yet. SHHHH.

I miss my wife and family but we are safe and having a blast. Its also the first time that a policeman tried to pull me over (towing a trailer) and I just ignored him until he gave up. The speed bumps here are called TOPES but they are more like an Evel Knievel jump than a speed bump. At one time while Will was driving he missed the warning sign and hit a huge tope while going 50 miles per hour. If there had been an audience watching I am sure we would have scored a perfect ten for distance, style and form.

Today we came thru the Sierra Madre Mountains, the same ones that held the Sierra Madre Treasury from Humphry Bogart. The only difference is Humphry didnt have a GT350 and he didnt pass cars going and coming at the same time when the road was barely wide enough.

We hafe safely arrived at our hotel in Oaxaca near the border of Guatemaula and even though its dark and a litle wet the resort is beautiful and huge. I am looking forward to seeing tommorrow in the day light. Will brought along two friends to ride with us today. They Anna and Rebbeca from Sweden. Anna is the co-piloto/navigator for one of the Monte Carlo Falcons which runs in our class and Rebecca is a photographer for car magazines.

When we crossed to border there were several teams who drove their cars but several of them either broke or it began to realize how servere this journey is and we are not even racing yet thus they ended up making arangments to have the cars put on trailers and towed. This also meant they had to find rides with other teams.

Thank God we had zero problems and are safe. (Knock on wood) It really is beautiful and so much to see. Yesterday we drove past a streach of road where the locals sell rattlesnake skins. Each display of sticks held about 40 dried rattlesnakes skins and there was not a few. There was MILES of them. It gave us the willies just thinking about how many snakes there are there for them to find that many.

Between being tired and the fact the computers are still in Spanish and I cant use spell-check PLEASE forgive all the screw ups. As soon as Jon arrives I am sure he will fix that for me. (Jon, please correct spelling for me.) I believe I will be able to post some photos from here tonight so keep your fingers crossed.

After looking at the photos you may understand why Al said I should have titled this, "How Will get's lucky with Lucky."