Friday, July 31, 2009

He Who Hesitates Loses

A guy can never get started too early getting his Christmas wish list ready so this is what I'm going to ask my VERY GOOD FRIEND Carson Scheller to get me for Christmas. (THIS year.)


Update on Hershel McGriff

Last night when Hershel and I talked he was in high spirits and really excited about getting on the track today. I couldnt help but think of myself as a kid while anticipating being able to open Christmas presents in the morning.

Today Hershel had two practice sessions at his first time ever visit to Miller Motorsports Park and the good news is both sessions returned great results! Tomorrow Hershel will be qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Series and then the race so please join me is saying a bunch of good words to the big man upstairs for someone who truly deserves them. GO HERSHEL!

A Mustang That Really Flies

Not long ago I wrote a story about a very cool Mustang that our good friend Othan Garcia owns down in Mexico. CLICK HERE TO SEE. Check out this video I found that seems to prove Othan and Ford have a lot of similar taste.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tarpys LCP Get-Together Poster

Check out this beautiful poster with the details about the La Carrera Fiesta and Corral which is being hosted again this year by Adriana Robles and Bill Hemmers at Tarpy's Road House in Monterey on August 15, 2:30-6:30 PM. The flyer was designed by Adriana Robles just for this event and features a Mercedes Gullwing running the Pan Am and a couple of other German P cars. There will be more announcements in the near future regarding the Tarpys event. DON'T MISS THIS ONE!


A Pleasant Surprise

There are so many rewarding attributes when it comes to racing but one of the best ones are the friends you make along the way. Involvement with La Carrera Panamericana is no exception and I have noticed even more so that friends within La Carrera Panamericana become more like family than mere friends.

Yesterday I got a welcome surprise when Franc Blas walked into my lobby. How cool is that! I sure wish I would have had a lot more time but we did get some time together to sit down and swap some stories and share some La Carrera memories.

The first time I remember meeting Franc was after we had traveled to San Miguel de Allende with the 2007 Coyote Convoy. We were parked next to each other and unloading our car in the parking lot to get them ready for the car show, which is just one more exciting day that I will never forget. Franc was on Roger and Daryl Habich's team with their beautiful #5 Studebaker.

Parked in the square at San Miguel de Allende

What's interesting about our meeting is that even though we traveled and raced with each other in Mexico for that week and change, it wasn't until yesterday, almost three years later that we finally got the chance to sit down and really get to know each other. I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with Franc and his lovely wife Marcia in the future. Maybe next time we can do dinner.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Win On Sunday... Sell On Monday

Mustang To Debut In Nascar... Very Cool!

Nascar announced today that the Mustang could be seen in as many as five Nationwide races as NASCAR works on its new car rollout for the series next year with the Dodge Challenger, Toyota Camry and Chevy Impala SS which are also expected to participate. Ford Mustang will start racing in the Nationwide Series in 2010 which will be the first time Mustang has appeared in a NASCAR sanctioned series.

In light of the adverse effect on today's economy, the annual car sales in The United States are down from 16 million to less than 10 million. Remember the old saying "WIN ON SUNDAY SELL ON MONDAY"? Well it was a lot more than just a saying as the facts prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that every time a specific model won on Sunday cars sales for that makes rose abruptly on Monday.

While it appears that some auto manufactures appear to be pulling out of major racing series it's also obvious that Ford is not of that frame of mind. Last week Ford made it's presence well known at the 2009 Pikes Peak International Hillclimb with two Fiestas and recently the announcement of their new three-car Fiesta effort that Ford will run at this year’s X Games Rally.

Usually this event is dominated by Subarus and a few Evo's but if Ford can make as good a showing as they did at Pikes Peak they will begin to gain a lot of recognition from the younger generation and hopefully take back some of what has been a domination of imported automobiles.

Don't think it can be done? Don't forget back in the day when the big Ford himself told Iacoca and Shelby, "Win at all cost. Money is not an object." Could it be history is about to repeat it's self? Mustang has a rich history in motorsports since its introduction and has won in drag racing, IMSA, Trans-Am, Grand-Am Cup road racing and, even Formula D drifting but it has never competed in NASCAR.

Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North American Motorsports said, "It's the most successful nameplate in racing history, and it seems only right that it should be coming to the most popular form of racing in North America,"

With the introduction of Mustang, Impala and Charger to Nascar racing it wont be long until the biggest rivalry in the auto world will once again have fans screaming in the stands and in front of their TVs which will also fuel sales on Mondays just like it did back in the day. Furthermore, if you don't think Americans wouldn't rather see a Ford Mustang race against a Toyota Camry then think again.

I honestly believe what Ford will accomplish by doing this is they will begin to get the attention of young potential car buyers who will in the process start reconsidering buying a Ford instead of an import. If Ford's begin to make a name again in racing as history shows they have done many times before you can rest assured Ford will increase their sales on Mondays.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From The Desk Of Gerie Bledsoe

July 28, 2009



The third annual Carrera Fiesta and Corral at the Monterey Historic races is schedule for Saturday, August 15. The deadline for purchasing a ticket for the event is August 10. The tickets are $40, which includes a contribution of $5 for Lupita Hernandez, the Mexican nurse who lost her legs in a racing accident in 2003. At the door, the tickets will be $50, including the $5 contribution.

The fiesta will be at Tarpy’s Road House Restaurant on the highway (#68) from Monterey to the racetrack at Laguna Seca. Tarpy's is set back a little from the highway in an oak grove at 2999 Monterey Salinas Highway. It is just west of the junction of #68 with Canyon del Rey. Telephone 831-647-1444.

Our hosts again are Bill Hemmer and Adriana Robles, residents of Monterey, who have participated in two Pan Am races. Bill may be reached at

Pan Am cars, including a Porsche that competed in the original race in 1953, will be on display. Attractions include a wine tasting and video presentations.

You may purchase your tickets by or credit card.


Eduardo Leon, president of the organizing committee of the Pan Am, announced that ninety-eight competitors have signed up for the event and that it is virtually closed to new entries. These results are something of a pleasant surprise in this period of economic depression, but welcome news for Mr. Leon, his family, and Mexico.

At this point, there are only two open slots in the event, which will start at the Pacific resort area of Huatulco on October 23 and end in Nuevo Laredo on October 29.


Chacho Medina, the organizer of the Chihuahua Express, has announced that the dates for the race next year will be March 19-20, 2010.

The entry fee, if paid by August 30, will be $1800. After that it goes to $2000. This fee covers around 1000 miles of racing, including about 325 miles of top speed stages, during the three days. Hotel accommodations are extra.

For more information contact or

The Express is open to cars of all ages. A roll cage is required for competition, but a Tour and T/D rally are also offered for the less adventuresome, at a much lower subscription fee.


The Coyote Convoy is the safe, fun way to travel into Mexico and down to the start of the race in Huatulco, on the shores of the Pacific.

The convoy will gather in Laredo, Texas on Friday, October 16 at the Residence Inn Del Mar and cross into Mexico early Saturday, October 17. Normally, the convoy is simply waved through the two Mexican Customs checkpoints.

After the 540 mile drive to San Miguel de Allende, the pristine colonial city made famous by Condé Nast magazine, the convoy will rest for two nights, while enjoying this famous site.

On Monday, October 19, the convoy will head down to the city of Oaxaca, where it will stop for the night. It will arrive in Huatulco the following day, Tuesday, October 21. The race begins on Friday, October 23.

The convoy is open to competitors, friends, and spectators. There is no charge to accompany the caravan. Hotel arrangements are available through the North American Coordinator.


Satisfaction eluded Doug Mockett on Pikes Peak this year when he was unable to defend his title as the fastest vintage car up this famous mountain. Doug and his accomplished co-piloto Angélica Fuentes were leading 2.1 seconds in their ’54 “Olds” at the first split, but lost time on the middle of the course. They made up some time in the final stage to end only 1.60 seconds (14:16) behind a Ford Falcon Sprint driven by Keith Davidson, a local. Doug noted that his car was losing grip in the hard granite gravel at the higher elevations.

Jon Lecarner and Michael Sharp finished in fourth in their red Falcon with a respectable time of 15:26. Chris Salyer and Wiley Carlile in their ’53 Corvette-Toyota Supra posted a 15:29 for fifth. Frank McKinnon and Dean Smith cruised his Dean’s DeSoto at 18:32, while Doug Allen and Chip Johns had some hard luck in their cars and were both listed as DNF. Spectators trying to cross the road forced Doug off the road into the trees, causing only minor damage to his Mustang, while Chip reportedly bent his suspension on some curbing.

Other Carrera vets included Charles Breed and Ed Gaven in the Exhibition Class. Charles went up the mountain in his winged Lucra-Lister powered by a Corvette 427 in only 14:53, while Ed coaxed his Factory Five Cobra up the hill in 15:49.

The fastest trip was again recorded by Nobuhiro Tajima in 10:15 in a double winged Suzuki with 1100 HP, while Marcos Gronholom was clocked in 11:28 is his 800 HP Ford Festiva rally car.

Click on to see a great video of Gronholom’s run. (Just another day in the office for these guys!)

For an excellent collection of Pikes Peak photos, go to


Being a spectator at the Pan Am is difficult because, after the racecars go by you one time, you become trapped behind the race. This is especially true in the more remote areas of the country, where there is only one highway, which is closed for the race. In the more populated areas, it is often possible to get ahead of the race again using the toll roads, if you have an experienced driver.

Sign up for the Pan Am Tour with Rosa María Mondragón, the former P.R. director for the event. She will get you close to the action. Rosa Maria will be greeting the Coyote Convoy in San Miguel de Allende and will follow the race back from Huatulco.

Her service is highly recommended for photographers and others who want to be able to capture the action close-up. The cost for the entire week of the event will be $1350 USD. You will also need to make hotel reservations at

Contact Rosa Maria directly at She will provide something of an adventure! BTW, she is a licensed rally driver and has competed in two Pan Am races as a navigator.


Check the U.S. web site for cars for sale. Also the official site in Mexico.

I have experienced co-drivers ready to go, and one opportunity to share the driving.

Mustang-Falcon builder Todd Landon in Minnesota also has cars that are ready to be leased for this year’s event or the Chihuahua Express – for full competition or for Exhibition.


Gerie Bledsoe
North American Coordinator
La Carrera Panamericana
677 Highland Ave.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
650-726-9890 (home office)
650-726-9599 (fax)
650-867-9488 (mobile)
Car #395, 11th Year

Monday, July 27, 2009

GO LIKE HELL... A Racing Book That Is An Absolute Must Have

Since I was a little boy I have been fascinated by all things automotive but like so many others it was the race cars that reached deep into my being and took hold never to release me again. Even though I have a deep respect for any make or model of car I have to admit that Ford was always the top dog in my mind.

It all began growing up in a household with a father who had always been a Ford man and had even operated his own Ford dealership at one time with sold every conceivable Ford product you could think of including Ford farm equipment such as combines and tractors. My very first car was a 1959 Chevrolet Impala with a 409 cubic inch engine with three deuces and a four speed but the engine lasted me less than a week. My second car was a Ford and I have enjoyed a bunch since then all of which out-lasted that Impala thus confirming how I felt about those Chevrolets in the first place.

Growing up in the 60's which included the muscle car era not to mention the efforts put forth by every automobile manufacture known to man kind to win every weekend played a huge roll in my conviction of Ford being the greatest thing on four wheels. Beginning in the 60's I was fortunate not only owning some of the most amazing high performance Ford and Shelby automobiles ever built but was truly blessed with the good fortune to become good friends with some of the greatest names in racing including Carroll, Shelby and Bob Bondurant. In retrospect who could possibly argue with the history and reputation Ford laid out for all the world to see. Then if that weren't enough enter Carroll Shelby who really put the icing on the cake.

One problem I have had over my many years of love and fascination with automobile racing is that there were very few books written about them with the exceptions of those devoted to a specific model, i.e., technical specifications, how many built, and the rest of what was typically boring trivia only looked for by those who liked that particular make and model car. There has never really been anything written which allows everyone to enjoy more than some boring history, specifications and a few anecdotes... that is until now.

Recently publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt asked me to review their latest book GO LIKE HELL: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, written by A.J. Baime. A.J. Baime is an executive editor at Playboy where he oversees the automotive and various feature sections. I have to warn you right up front... what makes it so special is for the first time here is an automotive book that will not allow you to sit it down. Not only do the characters include and endless list of the most recognizable legends in all of racing but the entire story is based on truth, documentation and facts. The moment I finished this book I began reading it again, because I loved it that much and so will you.

GO LIKE HELL: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, tells the remarkable story of how Henry Ford II, with the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned engineer, Carroll Shelby, concocted a scheme to reinvent the Ford company. They would enter the high-stakes world of European car racing, where an adventurous few threw safety and sanity to the wind. They would design, build, and race a car that could beat Ferrari at his own game at the most prestigious and brutal race in the world, something no American car had ever done.


This Is No Time To Panic

I found this video from the 2007 La Carrera Panamericana today and I remember that moment in time as if it was just 10 minutes ago. This was the morning we were about to qualify Lucky for the starting positions for the start of the 20th anniversary running of the 2007 La Carrera Panamericana. For me it was the very moment that would bring everything to it's fullest fruition in light of all we had prepared for over the last two years. This was do or die.

Everything seemed to be at the ready and we were as ready as we could get or at least that's what I thought until the split second that Jon said something to the tune of, "Holy crap, those cars are moving fast. We better get our ass's in the car and buckled up right now." As I got in and began buckling up it began to sink in that we had never been in a situation where we had to rush to get ready. As soon as we climbed in and began trying to reach our seat belts, get our communications devices plugged in and tested, have the route book in hand and so on it immediately sunk in that from now on we really needed to start getting prepared much sooner.

In retrospect I really have to laugh because if you watch the video I was almost ready when it dawned on me I didn't know where to stick my window net. Now normally all I would have had to do was call someone over and ask for a hand lining it up. So here I was with my full face helmet muffling my voice while trying to yell loud enough over the sound of other race cars and waving my hand to get someones attention to come over and help me. That's when Jon comes over the intercom and says, "Don't forget they speak Spanish here."

In a last second attempt I was able to get the window net up, gloves on, engine fired up and ready to go and everything worked out just fine or so I thought. That's when I realized I had left my steering wheel on top of the car. The good news was not only did Lucky perform flawlessly but in fact Jon and I were very proud of our performance not to mention greatful for the lesson learned which was you can NEVER get ready too soon. So if you are planning your first La Carrera Panamericana my advice to you is add this to your list of things to practice. Make sure you know where to lay your gloves so you can reach them after you fasten your helmet straps, get the window net in place "by yourself" and so on and do this long before you get to Mexico so that everything you do is second nature.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New 2007 La Carrera Video 20XX Anniversary

The only reason I say it's new is simply because I have never seen this one before. It's always extreamly satisfying to find a photo or better yet a video three years later. Enjoy.

From The Desk Of Doug Mockett

My very brave rally navigator Angelica Fuentes (in blue suit) at 14,000’ getting a good shot of Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in his twin turbo 1000hp 4wd Suzuki trying to break the magic 10 minute mark in last Sunday’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb. He did not do it, going “only” 10:15 for the 12 ½ mile, part dirt, part asphalt 156 turn and 4800’ elevation gain course. Fuentes and Mockett finished in 14:16, 12 seconds better than ’08, but good enough only for second place in Vintage Division.

“You just wait ‘til next year” is what Mockett, Fuentes and Tajima all said, one in English, one in Spanish, and one in Japanese.

Cheers …


Monday, July 20, 2009

Race Day PPIHC Photos

With permission of Artemis Images here are some awesome photos from race day. If you see something you like drop them a note and let them help youy with a memory of a lifetime.

More to come as there added.

Should have been.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

4 Pages Of Photos From Sunday's 87th PPIHC


Lord, Please Don't Take Me Now... I Still Have Another Race.

I had to laugh... While at Mass this evening the priest was talking about of all things, returning home to be buried. After Mass he asked me why the smirk on my face so I told him about Hershel McGriff. The more I thought about it the funnier it seemed. While a lot of men return home at the age of 81 only to be buried Hershel returned home not only to take part in a Nascar race but in fact to run 13th overall. I guess you could even say Hershel buried a few of them young bucks today the track and they have been running the entire season.

I know for a fact that some optimist couldn't help but wonder if Hershel could come back after his bad break at Infineon and asked if it got him down enough that it would cause him to have self doubt? But the results are in folks and it proves once again that once a champion always a champion. Not only did he bounce back but he did so with a vengeance and kicked butt and took names while doing it.

It's amazing Hershel had time to do anything since every time he turned around there was a camera stuck in his face. Oh the price for good looks.

Anyone who watched the race will tell you it was a blood bath. There was a filed of rookies, proven champions and on top of it all this was a seasons championship event so all the marbles were on the table and let me give you some facts about this race. There were 5 cautions for 23 laps, 7 cars not running at the end and the scheduled 63lap race went 66 laps with a green/white/checkered. During the last 20 laps at one point Hershel was up to 4th overall and there where cars off the track at every part of the course some from over-driving, some crashing, body contact and more but the best part of all... NOT ONCE did Hershel spin or go off proving he's still got it. And trust me when I say, that has nothing to do with luck.

Hershel getting mentaly ready.

Prior to this event the only driving Hershel has done in years was a little track time with our good friend Bob Bondurant (not in a race car) then one day of testing in his brand new car prior to heading up to Infineon for very little time in his car. While at Infineon there were some carburetor problems which made for a poor practice session which caused an understandable setback for qualifying. Then one day of testing at Thunderhill which really has nothing whatsoever in common with PIR other than making sure Hershel's butt began remembering what it should feel like. From there it was on up to Portland and from what I saw of the race Hershel's butt was beginnging to feel pretty damn good.

Hershel's pit board. Looks like his wife Sherrie.

During today's race at PIR, one of the track announcers said, "Man, look at McGriff move up. Ya know Hershel only signed up for three races but I am thinking he should sign up for all of them. Any of these young drivers who may have thought they would just drive around him are surely giving that a second thought right about now."

Nope, Hershel isn't going to be buried.. he too damn busy racing cars. Now I cant wait to see Hershel move up at the Utah race. GO HERSHEL!

Wanna ride along around PIR with Hershel?


Hershel was put a lap down due to a car modification prior to the race (had to change carb) but after a few laps he got the first Lucky Dog. The bad news is the pace car did not allow him to get his entire lap back before the next green flag. But already after 12 laps Hershel is back up to 17th place and all this while they are seting record lap times at PIR!!!

EDIT; Now under yellow and Hershel is up to 13th!

EDIT; Hershel is up to 7th!

EDIT; 5th!!!

EDIT; After pit stops lap 24 Hershel 13th.

EDIT; PIR Live screen overloaded and cant watch!!!

EDIT; 45 laps and Hershel in 15th place but there was a car that hit the tire wall so hard they are having to repair wall under caution. 18 laps to go.

EDIT; 14 laps to go Hershel in 15th.

EDIT; Hershel makes a pass into 14th on first lap after restart.

EDIT; After Hershel became down a lap he get's his 2nd lucky dog.

EDIT; Only 2 laps left and LOTS of crashing and battles. Cars off everywhere which has helped Hershel move up to 11th place on the lead lap!!! Getting ready for a green/white checkered!!! GO HERSHEL!

EDIT; Still under yellow. It's going to be a hell to pay finish!!!

EDIT; Largest NASCAR turnout ever at PIR.

EDIT; Lights out on pace car and Hershel is in 9th!

EDIT; Hershel runs an awesome race finishing in 13th!!!

Paul Dallenback Wins PPIHC 2009 Division: Open Wheel !!!

Driving the #98 Chevy Paul Dallenbach has won the 2009 Open Wheel Class and second overall with a very impressive time of 10:52.097!!!

Team California's Best would like to be the first to congratulate Paul on a simply amazing race!!! BARTENDER... DRINKS ON THE HOUSE!

A NASCAR Record That May Never Be Beat

Hershel McGriff just finished qualifing his 04 Park Corporation Chevrolet to run in the NASCAR Camping World West Series race, the BI-MART Salute to the Troops “125″ Race. Hershel has thus become the oldest driver ever to compete in a national NASCAR series race setting one of the most prestigious records in automotive racing history. What a great day for the entire race world and when you realize he did it at the very track that it all began on on September 16, 1945 it simply makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

Update On Douglas Allen's #358 1965 Ford Mustang

Kristin Stewart reports on Douglas Allen and says, "Our driver crashed but hes ok. A jackass fan ran out in front of the car -doug chose to risk his life and crash rather than kill the idiot."

We're glad to hear Douglas is ok. On the other hand if there are some jackass imprints on the bumper it's ok with me.


2009 PPIHC Vintage Class Winner Keith Davidson!

Keith Davidson took Vintage class top honors by beating out Doug Mockett by a full 20seconds. Congratulations to Keith and all the other Vintage teams.

On a side note I would like to make note that Keith did it using the very tires that Roger Kraus, owner of Roger Kraus Racing hand picked out for my car but after not being able to make this years event which just goes to prove that Roger REALLY knows his tires.

As incredible as it is to think about, when you realize that a vintage class car ran withing 2 minutes of a purpose built car like famous RS200 ran it's pretty amazing. Even more amazing is realizing some were within 4 minutes of the world record.

Unfortunately three cars failed to finish and I hope they are all safe. As soon as I get word I'll post it here. They are Douglas Allen's #358 1965 Ford Mustang, Chip Johns's #385 1964 Ford Rally Sprint and Michael Jones's #220 1966 Ford Mustang.

Keith Davidson 163 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint 06:14.808 09:30.070 13:56.066
Doug Mockett / Angelica Fuentes 133 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 06:12.685 09:32.658 14:16.499
Jess Neal 42 1971 Plymouth Barracuda 06:38.944 10:03.067 14:43.402
Robert Hill 68 1968 Ford Mustang 06:31.634 10:05.897 14:47.934
Jon Lecarner / Michael Sharp 390 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint 06:49.066 10:36.284 15:26.695
Chris Salyer / Wiley Carlile 203 1955 Chevy Corvette 06:40.886 10:34.582 15:29.108
Frank McKinnon / Dean Smith 33 1952 Desoto Firedome 8 07:45.153 12:29.426 18:32.799
Douglas Allen 358 1965 Ford Mustang DNF
CJ Johns / Mark Galione 385 1964 Ford Rally Sprint 12:04.986 DNF
Michael Jones / Raymond Wilson 220 1966 Ford Mustang 06:21.671 DNF

The Word "Timid" Is NOT In Hershel's vocabulary.

If you think for a second that this is just some old fart running a few races to full fill some sort of middle age crisis as if that's even possible at 81, then think again. Hershel McGriff has no intention of going 90 percent just to make a showing. However he does have every intention of winning the race and proved it by showing that he still knows how to push the edge of the envelope as can be seen in the following photo.

Funny isn't it... A lot of fans may see this photo and remark, "Oh my God, is Hershel all right!" while racers say, "Hot damn, that Hershel has no fear and is NOT afraid to use the pedal on the right!" Looks bad but the car only suffered some small cosmetic damage and will be ready for qualifying today.

Even funnier was Hershel's remark when he returned to the pits and laughingly said "Hey a row of tires jumped out in front of me." Not only is Hershel doing great but he's having a blast doing it and isn't that the way it should be?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

It is very quiet on the mountain the night before the fans head up the mountain in groves for the big race. It's the lull before the storm. In the brief calm before the storm, the drivers and teams prepare themselves for the opening of Hell's Gate and the wrath of what is to come.

Then suddenly they notice that everything goes quiet? The air seems still and calm and even the birds stop singing and quickly return to their nests. Then after a few minutes, you feel a change in the air, and suddenly a sound of raw horsepower comes from far below that tells you they aren't fooling around.

This storm happens every year at this time and the locals call it Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the thunder is loud and exciting. This is the storm we all want to be square in the middle of right where we can absorb the brunt of it.

The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas in which the Count of Monte Christo held his glass high and said, “Life is a storm my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout, as you did in Rome, ‘Do your worst…for I will do mine.’”

Tomorrow, the storm better known as Pikes Peak will begin and some will be shattered on the rocks but join me as we hold our glass high like The Count of Monte Carlo did that day long ago in Rome and lets hope and pray that it will be Paul Dallenbach who is left basking in the sunlight tomorrow.

Awesome Day For Hershel McGriff !

Like I told a friend, I bet when Hershel got to Portland International Raceway he looked around at the track and said, "Honey, I'm home." This has simply got to be overwhelming for Hershel as well as his family and close friends not to mention his fans. With out a doubt it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Going Full Circle". Can you believe it; Hershel won the very first NASCAR race here before most (if not all) of the other drivers in this weekends event were even born.

As best I could I watched Hershel run his NASCAR West practice laps today at Portland International Raceway by watching it on and an awesome practice session it was. Hershel finished 16th overall and looked super doing it. Tomorrow Hershel will qualify for the BI-MART Salute to the Troops “125″ Race at 11:00am then his race will begin at 2:00pm. This event is one of three that Hershel will be running in the NASCAR Camping World Series.


Word About Doug Mockett

For those concerned about Doug Mockett not making all the practice runs yesterday, not to worry. Doug told me there were no problems other than he had to leave early so he could go race omne of his formula cars at Elkhart and will be back today and rested up for tommorrows big race.

Random Footage Of 2009 Practice

Keep an eye out for when the Fiesta hood flies open.

Paul Dallenbach Getting His Morning Feeding

Walter Cronkite's Thoughts On Racing

For many of us Walter Cronkite was a man we grew up watching almost every night but did you ever hear his views on auto racing? Be sure and notice the drivers while Walter speaks. They have roll bars but no seat belts. Like Walter always singned off... "And that's the way is is."

Some LCP Retirement Humor

A Well-Planned Retirement:

Outside the San Francisco Zoo, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses. It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars $4.50 and coaches $12.00. This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work. "Oh well", said S.F. Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new Parking attendant . . . ""Err . . . No", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility." "Err . . . No", said S.F. Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?" "Err . . . no!" insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere in San Miguel de Allende (presumably), is a man who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at (about $890.00) per day at the S.F. Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over $9 million - or $380,000 every year for 25 years!

Each year he takes part in the La Carrera Panamericana and no one even knows his name.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Breaker, Breaker Good Buddy

We've got a convoy Son...

Well OK so it may not be a convoy but none the less you better not get in the way of Shane Chapman's #60 2000 Sterling running in the Exhibition class as was the case with a few rocks and trees. Hopfully he can get this bad boy ready before Sunday.

Photo courtesy of Kristin Stewart

Again And Again And Again... Why? Real Racers Know The Reason Why

Dallenbach finds ‘thrill' driving fast up that hill

July 17, 2009


Paul Dallenbach sometimes asks himself why he keeps returning to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Winning, he reminds himself, will fail to make him rich. The course is a confusing mish-mash of dirt and pavement, nearly impossible to predict and often infuriating. Almost every year, he toys with the idea of not coming back.

But then he attacks the mountain at speeds of more than 100 mph. He rips around hairpin turns. He defies death.

He has a blast.

“It’s definitely an adrenalin rush,” Dallenbach said. “It’s a complete adrenalin rush.

“When I get to the top, there’s that rush followed by a migraine headache. The adrenaline just rushes all out, and I’m exhausted. I’ve been in 6-hour races and don’t get as tired.

“I do ask myself, ‘Why am I here?’”

But every year, he encounters the same answer.

“For the thrill,” he said, laughing. “There is nothing else like it.”

He’s right about that. On Sunday, Dallenbach returns to the Hill Climb for the 14th time to compete in the open wheel division.

No matter how many times you attend the Hill Climb, the sheer outrageousness of it all is there, ready to startle you all over again.

Thousands of tourists drive to the top of the Peak and suffer at least a touch of fright.

And they’re driving 20 mph. Dallenbach and his buddies reach speeds that would be scary on flat and open spaces of Interstate 25.

Dallenbach, 42, shook his head. He was relaxing at a local hotel, talking about how much fun it still is to speed to the top of the Peak.

He’s not alone.

“I haven’t found anyone who has come here who didn’t say it was the greatest experience of his life, whether it scared him or not,” Dallenbach said.

He has returned to the Hill Climb for more than the rush of excitement. He hopes, along with 10 other drivers, to beat the seemingly eternal 10-minute mark.

It won’t be easy.

In 1994, Dallenbach beat his own record with a run of 10:27. A few minutes later, Robby Unser dropped the mark to 10:05.

But Rod Millen immediately stunned Dallenbach and Unser with 10:04.06. In one day, the record dropped 39 seconds.

But since then, the record has fallen less than 3 seconds. In 2007, Nobuhiro Tajima came achingly close at 10:01.41.

Dallenbach said conditions were virtually perfect in 1994. He’s sorry to say conditions haven’t been anywhere close to ideal since then.

There’s dozens of reasons not to put up with all the hassles. But there’s also the never-fading happy jolt of racing to the peak.

And there’s the lure of busting, finally, the 10-minute mark.

“That’s what keeps me coming back,” Dallenbach said. “And if I can’t break it, I don’t want anyone else to break it.”

Day Three Practice Results

Interesting turn of events today... Keith Davidson in his #163 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint turned in better times than Doug Mockett and Mockett didn't run the last two runs. Wonder what's going on there? Hmmm.

Keith Davidson 163 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint 02:58.502 02:46.042 02:41.632 02:38.642 02:37.782 02:39.002
Doug Mockett / Angelica Fuentes 133 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 02:50.762 02:50.802 02:42.822 02:45.292 DNS DNS
Jess Neal 42 1971 Plymouth Barracuda 03:01.182 02:50.782 02:49.602 02:46.862 02:43.472 02:46.932
Michael Jones / Raymond Wilson 220 1966 Ford Mustang 02:55.212 DNS 02:49.992 02:47.652 02:46.592 02:45.202
Robert Hill 68 1968 Ford Mustang 02:59.412 03:02.692 02:55.112 DNS 02:49.972 02:53.642
Jon Lecarner / Michael Sharp 390 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint 03:21.072 03:11.102 03:06.642 03:02.992 03:01.432 DNS
Chris Salyer / Wiley Carlile 203 1955 Chevy Corvette 03:04.762 03:06.342 03:04.722 03:03.322 DNS DNS
Douglas Allen 358 1965 Ford Mustang 03:14.842 03:07.952 03:03.822 03:07.642 DNS DNS
CJ Johns / Mark Galione 385 1964 Ford Rally Sprint 03:31.712 DNS 03:15.622 03:07.582 03:07.322 DNS
Frank McKinnon / Dean Smith 33 1952 Desoto Firedome 8 03:53.543 DNS 03:45.683 DNS 03:45.573 DNS

Off With His Head!

According to Kirstin's Blog WTF earlier report that the #422 1995 Subaru Impreza STI that was rolled during a transit section was inaccurate. It was not rolled by driver Brian Moody but instead by a crew member who was taking the car back down the mountain and made the idiotic decision to play "Mr Drifer" and now the team has to pay the price. If I were that crew member I would go back to the top of the mountain and jump off.

Kirstin also posted a photo of Chip Johns Falcon which had suffered a bent front wheel and front end suspension but reports he should be ready for Sunday race. Good luck Chip.

Our buddy Dean Smith who is navigating for the 52 Desoto Firedome 8 poses with Chip's car.

Photo Courtesy of Kristin Stewart

Engine parts for Mark Rennison of England who drives the #200 1984 Ford RS 200 arrived in Denver Thursday and will be installed Friday. His engine broke down early Wednesday and he managed to complete only four corners of his first practice run before his car’s engine stalled and did not make any runs on day three.

Something broke within the engine — already the spare — and Rennison said the crew will work through the night Wednesday to ready for practice today.

I Love This Kind Of Story & So Will You

Tollett goin' racing again in Hill Climb

July 16, 2009
For someone not inclined to sit and wait, just getting out of his wheelchair and into a time attack car competing in the 87th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this Sunday was success enough for co-driver Travis Tollett.

Tollett, 24, is two years removed from a spinal injury suffered during a race.

He is the first quadriplegic to compete in the Hill Climb, race officials said.

Tollett navigates for the lead driver, Ken Stouffer of Texas, by reminding him how to handle each turn.

The race, Tollett’s second as a co-driver in a hill climb, is another step toward what the Walters, Okla., resident hopes is a full recovery.

“I wasn’t going to sit back and wait for it to happen,” he said. “I kept working and starting rehabbing.”

He soon gained a lot of motion back in his arms. He’s unable to make a fist and is numb from the chest down.

Tollett refuses to give up racing, which has been part of his life since age 3. His father, Mike, will race a quad 500 (ATV) this weekend.

“You miss it when it’s taken away from you, that’s for sure,” Tollett said.

His return in 2008 to compete in the Gold Camp Hill Climb was along the same route where he was hurt.

“I wanted to get back on that course,” he said. “I was healthy enough physically and it helped the healing process. I then got the itch to try the Peak.”

Hill Climb officials were cautious, getting approval from the insurance company, and adding a few stipulations.

Stouffer’s car, a 1997 Nissan 240SX, needed extra padding and its emergency shutoff and extinguisher switches moved so Tollett could reach them if Stouffer was unable after a crash.

Once that was done, officials were happy to accommodate Tollett.

“We felt it was something we needed to do,” race director Phil Layton said. “He’s a heck of a kid.”

The third and final practice run Thursday was the best for the Nissan, a hot pink No. 22 in honor of Stouffer’s mother, Patti Davis, who is a breast cancer survivor. The improved practice run has Stouffer and Tollett, a graphic designer who sketched out the paint job, hopeful they can be competitive.

“We have to be realistic,” Stouffer said. “We have (record holder) Rhys Millen in our class with his $1 million car against a car I built in my garage. We just want to make the summit.”

Getting into a car is triumph enough. Sponsorship for a car with another driver evaporated. As recently as Monday, it looked like Tollett would not compete.

But Tollett isn’t one to sit back and wait.

“For a month we’d talked about how there were sponsorship troubles. So he jokingly asked me to save him a seat,” Stouffer said. “Since our class requires we have a passenger seat anyway, we just added a seat pad and window net just before tech inspections (Tuesday). It all came together.”

And the rest will be Hill Climb history this weekend.


Travis Tollett’s C6 and C7 vertebrae were broken July 1, 2007, when he missed a turn on his all-terrain vehicle and went over the side during the Gold Camp Hill Climb race near Victor.

“I don’t remember any of it,” said the three-year hill climbing veteran. “I must have been going 80-90 miles per hour and it was a pretty big drop, like the ones around here (Pikes Peak).”

EDIT; Travis Tollett became the first quadriplegic to compete in the Hill Climb and complete the course when he and co-driver Ken Stouffer placed fourth in the time attack 2wd division.

The Tension Mounts For Breaking The 10 Minute Barrier

Even with all the other competitors having what appears to be major hurdles to overcome breaking the 10 minute record won't be an easy task for defending champion Nobihuro 'Monster" Tajima. Not only is the pressure on but he;s attempting it in a brand bew model car as well.

Third unlimited car breaks down at Hill Climb


Marcus Gronholm of Finland had just finished the third and final practice run Friday when his 2010 Ford Fiesta suddenly overheated and stalled near George's Corner on the Pikes Peak highway.

"We'll find out what happened," Gronholm said. 'It just started to overheat. Everything was fine beforehand."

The breakdown leaves only defending champion Nobihuro 'Monster" Tajima with all nine practice runs headed into the 87th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. Teammate Andreas Eriksson of Sweden was sidelined with unfinished body work remaining for his Fiesta, which he rolled in practice Thursday.

Qualifying; Times Aren't Important... Results Are

While he didn't turn in the fastest times during the first two days of practice Paul Dallenbach wasn't worried nor should he be. In fact Paul was focused on doing what others should have been doing. Instead of worrying about fast times Paul continued to focus on testing which tire and set-up would perform best under the many various circumstances. After all, there is no such thing as pole position and the bottom line is the fastest time on Sunday takes home all the glory.

Speaking from experience what Paul has been doing is exactly how a true champion goes about preparing his ride. Some years ago I stood back for what seemed like an eternity as one of my drivers sat and stared at some tires contemplating which ones to put where on the car. As race time got close I finally told him, "Hey, it's a no brainer. You need to put on "the good tires" so you can get on pole." He looked back and said, "I'm not trying to figure out how to win the pole... I'm figuring out which tires will win the race." Point well taken and I have the exact same hunch that is exactly what's going on in Paul Dallenbach's mind too.

Oh and by the way... This being the last day of practice Paul turned in the fastest times today. As a matter of fact, he spanked the entire field. Thanks to intellegent planing and preperation, now the stage is set. Go get'em Paul!

2009 PPIHC Vintage Class

Chris Salyer 1955 Corvette

Mike Jones 1966 Mustang

Jess Neal 1971 Barracuda

Bob Hill 1968 Mustang

Jon Lecamer 1963 Falcon Sprint

Douglas Allen 1965 Mustang

Chip Johns 1964 Falcon Rally Sprint

Doug Mockett 1954 Oldsmobile Super 88

Frank McKinnon 1952 Desoto Firedome 8

Keith Davidson 1963 Falcon Sprint