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...was Billy's boot, with the rubber clutch pedal pad bonded hard to the sole - and most of the severed foot inside, still smoking and sizzling. A six inch section of the fragged flywheel had buzzsawed itself deep into the knee bar, welded solid with the heat of impact. They couldn't dislodge it, so it remains as a cold testament to the final pass of the hottest nitro shoe that no one ever heard of. Until now. Epilogue: At the following week's race, a member of the Safety Safari was relieving himself in the trackside weeds when he found Billy's finger, with wedding band attached. It was returned to a very shaken-but-stirred Laura, sans finger.
Oh, hey! You startled me - I didn't know anyone was around. Was just finishing up a little fluff piece for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. But I'm warmed up now, and ready for takeoff.
THRILL RIDE #1
Medford, Oregon is a nondescript blue-collar town on I-5, halfway between San Francisco and Portland. The other two principal cities in southern Oregon's Rogue Valley are Ashland (an arts community, renowned for its annual Shakespeare festival) and Grants Pass (the preferred retirement location of crispy California hot rodders). The valley itself is known for it's natural beauty and mild climate. But last Thursday, valley residents awoke to a freezing fog that blotted out the sun's best efforts to thaw us from yet another imposing winter's night. We've been enduring a forced hibernation for far too long. Cabin fever has run rampant throughout the region. Something had to give. And so it did, on this most unlikely day. I arose early and skated over icy streets to a small garage out on the edge of town, surrounded by some of the few remaining pear orchards not yet converted to golf courses. This was Chris' Hot Rods, a cold, wet, down and dirty reality slap to the antiseptic Garage Mahals presented weekly on profoundly unrealistic reality TV shows.
THRILL RIDE #2
Proprietor Chris Darland insists on keeping it real. In the shop, anyway. During off-hours, Chris pursues his lifelong passion for film making. That's why I was there. Not to partake in any movie magic, but to join him in a live interview for Motormouth Radio. The Motormouths (Chris Switzer and Ray Guarino) are longtime fans of Darland's work, both in the shop and on celluloid. Since my first appearance on the show a couple of years ago, the Motormouths have made me a semi-regular and have featured several of my friends, as well. Quite a humbling honor for this crusty old knuckldragger! Hear Chris Darland's true tales of sky jumping station wagons, sidestepping unhappy police officers, and hot rod gang warfare at www.motormouthradio.com.
THRILL RIDE #3 SCOTTY'S EPILOGUE SIDEBAR (We never close):
In the summer of 1966 I was a ten year old latchkey kid with no male role model. Wandering Medford's seedy west side streets by foot and bicycle afforded myriad opportunities to connect with colorful characters honorable and nefarious. It was a blown smallblock '35 Willys coupe in the driveway that drew me into Bill Darland's one car garage. He was an older guy (maybe twenty), whom I expected to chase me out, but Bill took pity and put me to work washing parts and handing him tools. Complete nirvana. Years went by and we went our separate ways - North for Bill, East for me. Thirty years later, I had returned to Oregon and was drawn to a clean and mean '39 Willys sedan at a car show. It was Bill's. He had no memory of me, but was touched when I told him my story. I met his nephew Chris Darland about a month later. Circle complete.
UPDATE: JIM LINDSAY'S SALINE THRILL RIDE
UPDATE: MARIA PANOVA'S KIWI THRILL RIDE
SCOTTY'S PUBLISHING THRILL RIDE
SCOTTY'S CELLULOID THRILL RIDE
STEVE SCOTT'S JUNKYARD THRILL RIDE
POSSIBLE LITTLE GUY THRILL RIDE
http://nostalgiadragworld.com/ahrapressrelease-1-19-14.php. Stay tuned to see whether this announcement bears fruit or regret. SGE wishes the AHRA well on this and future quests, and salutes you for sticking your necks out on behalf of America's little guy racers.
EVEN LITTLER GUY THRILL RIDE
CC'S LAS VEGAS THRILL RIDE
SQUIRREL AND TOOLBOX
Until next week, just remember: We're all in this life together and none of us will get out alive. So make every day one that you can live with.