What It's Like
May 20, 2002
What It's Like...through Beth's eyes
It's May. Do you know what that means? It's my anniversary. One year ago I sat down in the driver's seat of a swamp buggy for the first time! I can still remember the "rush" it gave me and... what a "rush" it was! How lucky can I get? I'm in the seat of NUNYA again for this weekend's race!
I had a lot of fun bustin' Tony's chops going into this race. The point standings showed me ahead of Tony! The 4 Play and the Cold Duck were both having some ignition problems on Saturday, and the guys were working hard to get it corrected. Sunday at the track, the Cold Duck was having some kind of fuel problem. Die hards that they are, the guys stood in the rain working to correct this thing. We were joking that Nunya (and me) might actually take these two buggies! I knew it was still a long shot, but the thought was pretty cool!
As far as Nunya goes, she just sits back and waits for show time. Then, it hit me all of a sudden! We didn't bring my padding for the seat! Without that I wouldn't be able to reach the controls! I started looking around trying to find something that would work. Hey! Howz about a 12 pack of soda? Naw...the water will soak the cardboard and I'll have 12 cans flying around my feet. OK...howz about a few quarts of oil. That might work. Nope. They could end up flying around too. Then.....I saw it, a heavy plastic case for a timing light! Looks like just the right size. That should do it. Felt pretty good actually!
Race time! Buddy pulled the #1 pill. Tony pulled #3. That leaves me in the middle. Better there than the outside line. I was determined to line my buggy up just right this time. I didn't want to go through what I went through in the last race. Here we go. The flag drops! I let loose of the tranny brake and take off. I was last off the line. Bad reaction time. I went to shift into high gear and didn't pull the shifter right. I think I actually crammed my thumb down on the tranny brake! D*mmit! Buddy was getting by me. For a second or two, I actually thought I could take him through the Sippi Hole. Not to be though. He got me! I knew coming out of the hole that I was ahead of Tony. See ya! I think I am finally getting the hang of the steering on this buggy. No problems. Just along for a great ride. Buddy was getting further and further ahead of me, but I just kept that gas pedal in the floor board and hoped for the best. Everything was going fine until I was headed around the south island for the last time. While rounding the turn, I heard a loud noise. I had no idea what it could be. Just coming out of the turn, I looked to my left (where I had heard the sound) and realized THE LEFT FRONT WHEEL WAS GONE!!!!! How in the h*ll did that happen?!?! What's gonna happen now? Am I gonna roll? I don't know but the only thing I could think of was...keep this baby going hard cuz if you slow down the front left is going to sink and you are going to be a goner! Soooo.....with the gas mashed, I held on tight and aimed (as best I could) for that final trip across the Sippi Hole and over the finish line! I must have had enough momentum cuz I made it over the hole and finished! I was so excited I forget to let off the gas and took the north end turn a little hard. OOOoops! Got a little "squirrelly". I pulled up to the pit entrance and shut her off so we could decide if I could drive her in or be towed in. I must have looked ridiculous because I know I crossed the finish line and came in PROUDLY displaying 3 fingers! But hey! That was some ride! Is that what you call "driving the wheels off"? I'm pretty sure I remember that when I discovered the wheel was missing I stuck my hand out of the buggy and pointed to that area where the wheel should have been. Who did I think needed to know that??? The fans in the grandstands? I dunno. Call me crazy. I was just pumped up! So what actually happened, you ask? Well, it wasn't driver error (thank God). The weld broke!!!
It was a cold, wet day but an awesome one, none the less!
So let me recap my experience (so far) in the Nunya for you.
Thanks again to Ray and Bubba for offering me the seat again! You two truly are the best!!