Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fathers and Sons

One of my favorite parts of racing is being able to enjoy it with my kids but there is something special with respect to the bond found between a father and his boys when it comes to cars and racing. Now I have to admit my daughter is no slouch when it comes to muscle cars and racing. She was the only girl in her large high school class to take her driver's license test in her own 1968 candy-apple red Mustang complete with hi-po 302 and a four speed. I will always regret not getting a photo of the look of the lady's face who went out with her that day for the driven part of the test. But that's all another chapter.

Over the years I have been fortunate to see my own son become involved with a lot of amazing stories and many first in auto racing world one of being at the age of 13 he was the youngest licensed race car driver in the United States. He was driving my Dodge Viper and kicking butt while doing it. I keep putting off writ ting something about Will but he's a lot like many great adventures... just too hard to put it all on paper so that too will have to wait for another day.

Regarding Father and Son racing teams I have met a lot everyone of them very special in their own way. During the La Carrera Panamericana we met yet another Father and Son team of Richard Bailey and Chad McKinney both from Washington where they own an apple ranch. Better known as the Apple Farmer Team (Apple Dumpling Gang) they drove Volvo #290 and this was their first rally as well. Richard flew back east to test drive the car and then purchased it from the owners who then delivered it our hotel in Laredo Texas the night before we crossed over into Mexico. Since they didn't have a trailer we carried some of their spare parts in our truck for them on the way down to the tip of Mexico and back.

Along the way we enjoyed places like the amazing San Miguel de Allende where we walked around the town, had some dinner and even enjoyed a disco one night and there were breakfast and many other memorable places as well. I told Richard when my brother was a young man he picked apples in the very same area his ranch was on. Wouldn't it be something if it was one of the very same places. During the trip down and the few days in Oaxaca before the race they had to get their car set up to pass tech, install their Terratrip and so on. Like I posted in an earlier post they over-revved the engine at the track in Queretaro which did some damage to their engine. Another team had offered them an engine but kept putting them off since they had problems of their own. Richard and Chad where true sportsman in every since of the word as they waited two night for the other team to help them out but as happens sometimes all of a sudden the price for the other team's used engine went sky high and the Apple Farmer's Team's race was over.

Not letting the terrible turn of events get them down they continued on each day hanging out with the service teams and every day as we reached the large crowds of fans awaiting our arrival there would be Richard and Chad standing right in the arch to greet and congratulate us with a huge smile. I must say it was very refreshing to see racers of such caliber since many would have been complaining and crying in their beers. On the other hand these two guys accepted their fate as all part of racing and made the best of things. Now in my book that's a class act.

Yesterday when I came into my office there was a large box sitting next to my desk. It was a case of wonderful Washington apples special delivery from the Apple Farmer Racing Team! Thank you Richard and Chad and the crew thanks you as well. The apples are wonderful and it such a nice thing to do. Like I said... A class act all the way.

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