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A Gauntlet Run of Fun!!!!

I'm Feeling Sick...And So Can You!

Well, I'm chock-full of Sudafed and antibiotics right now (and all I was drinking last night was Robitussin!) so this may come out a little garbled. A little woozy. A little like my prose is being strained through wet cheesecloth. But it's been a long time since the last e-blast and I've been all over the map and back doing whatever it is I do to stay involved with the sport I love and sell enough bloody books and magazine articles to keep beans on the table. OK, and maybe a little steak, lobster or take-out Thai or sushi now and then. But my head is more-or-less spinning right now and a lot of it is pure, unadulterated exhaustion. I'm like the guy who just couldn't stop eating at a damn buffet, and it's pretty clear that I've somewhat over-supplied myself with good times, great events, long-distance travel and even a little racecar driving & instructing now and then all stacked one on top of the other like a sandwich you can't even get your blessed mouth around. You want to know how worn-down, beat-to-crap & used up I feel right now?
Lemme tell you....
Last weekend I was at VIR (probably my very favorite racetrack when it comes to the pure pleasure of fast driving) and I was moreover slated to co-drive with my buddy (in fact, his nickname is "Buddy"--imagine that!) George Wright in his newly finished, immaculately prepared, easy-to-get-along-with and genuinely bullet-fast Bob Sharp-"tribute" Datsun 240Z (see below with George & wife Linda). Sharp-eyed nit-pickers will note that it's wearing my late, great friend, Sharp-and-Newman teammate Jim Fitzgerald's #38 on account of somebody else had glommed Sharps' familiar #33. But that was fine with me. Jim was sadly killed at St. Pete many years back, but he was my very first Road Atlanta instructor (I was driving one of Mr. Hertz's $39.95-per-day Lincoln Continentals, but that's another story...especially about the brake linings and the tire sidewalls) and he became a great racing pal over the years. There's a lovely little shaded park and gazebo behind the tower at Road Atlanta ("Fitzy Park") to mark his memory. Good guy and a truly memorable character as you so often find in racing.

Anyhow, George's Z turned out to be a hell of a sweet car and the Virginia weather was fine as can be what with moderate temperatures, glorious golden fall sunlight, gentle breezes and one of the really great racetracks on earth out there waiting to be enjoyed. Only I felt like shit. No fever I don't think, but my chest was full, my sinuses were set up like concrete, my nose was running, my head was all light & teetery, I'd go on coughing jags out of nowhere and I worked up a heavy sweat just meandering around the paddock. Not good. Still, like I said, it was a perfect day and a fine car was waiting, so I went out on Friday to get some laps in and spent most of it (see below) chasing my good pal Les Gonda in his MGBGTV8 (just try saying that three times fast!). I was doing OK and the lap times were decent (if far short of impressive) and I must admit I was having trouble finding that graceful, flowing brilliance I always tell students about when I'm instructing.

In fact, a few casual observers said I looked like I was juggling chainsaws with their gas tanks on fire. I even managed to loop it once (harmlessly, thank goodness) thanks to being clumsy as hell with the brakes heading into Turn One. Dammit! Absolutely loved George's car, but I'd have to rate my performance behind the wheel as a piss-poor example of "finesse driving."

Come enduro time on Saturday I felt even worse, and I don't really want this to get around, but I actually told George I didn't feel fit enough to drive. Still no fever, but no energy either--none!--and I was also worried about what would happen if I got into a bad coughing jag inside my helmet. Fortunately, George understood and has kindly offered me a rain check (with my luck, it'll rain) and I honestly can't wait. Although I've never exactly been a Datsun kind of guy (hell, I was racing Triumphs and Alfas back in ze olt dayz, so Datsuns were the bad guys by basic definition) but I've got to admit that's one hell of a nice racecar....
By the way, now that George has his new Jap toy to play with (doesn't anybody remember Pearl Harbor anymore?) his very fine TR4 racer is up for sale.

I've driven it several times and it's extremely quick, sanitary, well-prepared and easy to drive. George's TR has run at the front for many years, has scored lots of wins and is in perfect, track-ready condition. I recommend it highly and you can look it up under Triumphs on or click HERE for the link.

I'll expect George's check in the mail come Monday....

Too Much of a Good Thing???
So how did I bring myself around to feeling so lousy?
Let's take a wee look.
For those of you who have been paying attention, we last left Burt's Swarming Summer Saga after a back-to-back-to-back weekend at the Riverside Cruise Night (Thurs.), Millers at Milwaukee (Fri.-Sat.) and an incredibly HOT Barrington Concours d'Elegance on the Sunday. Followed by the monster-blowout HAWK vintage extravaganza the following weekend at Road America followed by Coffee & Classics in my old hometown of Winnetka, IL (offshore accounts, substance abuse & spoiled children are our specialty!) on July 28th and instructing and hawking books with my friends from Woodman Tire at the thoroughly fabulous Ferrari Club of America's 50th Anniversary blowout in Elkhart Lake. Watch for my column on it in the next issue of VINTAGE MOTORSPORT magazine (it's sure to piss off a few designer-watch-and-sunglasses Ferrari types, but the genuine Ferrari enthusiasts are gonna love it!). And if you've somehow neglected to get a subscription to VINTAGE MOTORSPORT, stop what you're doing immediately, click HEREand rectify the situation. I'll wait....
Anyhow, it was a long grind, and come August 14th, Carol and I were finally off to California for a vacation with our kids. Although I naturally had to slide in a little side-trip to Monterey so's I could flog books and schmooze potential sponsors/advertisers at the Monterey Historics and Pebble Beach. Stayed with the rest of the VINTAGE MOTORSPORT types at a wonderful little two-story house overlooking the beach and the ocean (that would be the Pacific) just a few miles north of downtown Monterey. Lovely setting, great people (of course!) & abundant good times, but as usual I'd over-committed myself a wee skosh as I was setting up in the VM booth on "Vendor Island" at Laguna Seca every day and then moving my flag (and my books, and my prints, and my support suitcase that sets off alarm bells on the blessed luggage scales every time I bring it into an airport!) to hawk even more books at the first-ever "WORLD CLASS AUTOMOTIVE FILM FESTIVAL" just a block from the frenetic auction action in downtown Monterey. 

It was a lot of schlepping (look it up if you're terminally gentile) and although the theater was really cool, the turnout was honestly a bit disappointing the first two nights. But I did meet some wonderful new people, and had a lovely, movie-nutcase dinner with film-makers Harry Pallenberg("WHERE THEY RACED") and Chris Swzedo, who made the beautiful and lyrical "RACING'S HIDDEN VALLEY" documentary about Lime Rock Park and also "A GULLWING AT SUNSET,"which was shown at the festival. It chronicles my late friend and hero John Fitch's twilight-of-life attempt to set a Bonneville speed record in Bob Sirna's 300SL Gullwing. It was very nicely done and a real tribute to John (SPOILER ALERT: they don't get the record) and it was extra-special for me because I was actually Bob Sirna's instructor when he showed up at his very first Drivers' School in that exact same Mercedes Gullwing (albeit a hundred or so horsepower ago) and he went like stink in the rain with it, too! He also let me drive his Reventlow Scarab/Chevrolet (#4 of 3 built...long story) at Waterford Hills a few years back (see below). 

Surely the highlight of thefestival--at least for me--was Ken Burns' (of PBS "THE CIVIL WAR" and"BASEBALL" documentary fame) nostalgic, beautifully crafted and often heart-warming"HORATIO'S DRIVE", which tells the incredible, even unbelievable story of the first-ever cross-country, sea-to-shining-sea drive across America back in 1903. Which started, believe it or not, on a whim and a fifty-dollar bet in a gentlemen's club (not that kind of "gentlemen's club") in San Francisco. Oh, it's maybe a little slow in spots (my beloved daughter-in-law Tara, who casts the snappy-comeback TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" in real life, said the movie seemed almost as long--and grueling--as making the actual trip!). But it's a real, even magical window into the very early days of the twentieth century when cars were a noisy, uncomfortable, unreliable oddity, there were no roads to speak of and the only folks who'd successfully made that trip before were riding in covered wagons! It's a long, challenging and regularly discouraging tale, but it's also uplifting and a real testament to old-fashioned American pluck, gumption and pioneering spirit.
I recommend it highly.
What I can't recommend is trying to do multiple book-signing events at totally different places during the jam-packed-with-activities & terminally congested Monterey weekend. Wife Carol told me that before I even left LA. But I never claimed to be especially bright....
We had a nice, quiet party with Chinese takeout (plus libations, of course) at Chateau Vintage Motorsport on Sunday evening to celebrate the end of the always frazzled-and-frenetic (but fun) Monterey/Pebble Beach weekend. Then, in the morning, I noticed a bicycle & helmet hanging on the back garage wall and took off for a ride down the fine bike path that runs along the Monterey/Pacific Grove/Carmel coastline. Got to see the sand beaches and the craggy rocks and the barking seals and the neat old frame houses I can't afford and the sailboats in the harbors I can't afford and Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row when they're empty and the food purveyors are making their deliveries and all the unsold or sold-but-not-yet-delivered or deal-that-went-bad auction cars behind temporary chain-link fencing in the parking lots. You can bet I want to take that ride again the next time I'm there.
One of my housemates at Chateau VM was a big, friendly guy I knew from the races named Greg Elliff, and I was only too happy to give him a lift back to LA in my rental car. If anything, the ride was too short. Let me explain that Greg has quite a resume along with an unending supply of insider stories. Greg came up as a racing wrench and served on many pro IMSA and Indycar teams over the years, and these days he runs GE AUTOSPORTS in Avon, Indiana, which specializes in the finding, restoring and race-preparing of high-end modern Indy Cars, IMSA cars and Le Mans Prototypes. That's a corner of Greg's shop below. 

Turns out Greg was crew chief on the 2nd overall/class-winning Paul Newman/Dick Barbour/Rolf Stommelen IMSA-spec Porsche 935 at Le Mans in 1979, and has also been responsible for a lot of the race-prep and restoration work on some of the exotic and highly successful Highcroft Racing machines wheeled by mutual friend and team-owner Duncan Dayton. As you can imagine, the conversation wandered all over the place from the almost-brilliant rear suspension setup on my ratty old TR3s to testing a freshly-restored Lotus 79 F1 car with Mario Andretti. Or trying to keep a less-than-happy Rolf Stommelen in the car all night (and the other two drivers out of it!) through a driving rainstorm at Le Mans.
In return for the great stories, I was able to arrange a quick stop at Jay Leno's incredible Big Dog Garage on our way into LA (I could tell you where it is, but then I'd have to kill you...and myself, too, most likely) where we got a nice insider tour from my pal Jim Hall (not that one) from Jay's project-and-restoration staff. As you can imagine, we saw all kinds of neat stuff...and then Jay himself showed up! And was promptly down on his back on the concrete shop floor fooling around with something oily underneath a beefy old motorcycle. He's a genuine, busted-knuckle car guy (OK, and a bike guy, too), no question about it!

The cars and bikes were cool (to say the least!) but the old-time, steam-powered power generators (including the one with the immense, perfectly balanced multi-ton iron flywheel shown at right) were great glimpses into the quickly emerging "age of the machine" that spun the world around on its axis around the turn of the century. Wow!
To reciprocate for the tour of Jay's shop, Greg invited me to join him at a fairly nondescript garage in an even more nondescript section of Burbank on Tuesday night, and what a treasure trove it turned out to be! It was "bonding night" for a bunch of local enthusiasts of the hands-on persuasion, and all sorts of midget, sprint-car, Indycar and hot-rod projects were in process amid a collection of Offy engine blocks, Halibrand quick-change rear ends and an avalanche of American oval-track memorabilia. Wow! The shop belongs to one Gary Schroeder, who's a 2nd-generation racer and car-builder and by the way makes the best damn oval-track racing-application steering boxes in the business.  And the guys working on the projects scattered around the shop were in most cases involved at trackside (with a wrench or behind the wheel) when all that history and memorabilia was made. VERY cool! Then, after the tinkering, we all went out for Mexican, of which there's plenty--and good--in Southern California!

Spent a wonderful couple weeks with the kids after that, just going out for too much good food and going hiking up the hills and high ridges of Fryman Canyon. It's a neat view, looking out over the steep, ragged, forest-covered hills and the hazy expanse of The Valley below and all those amazing mountaintop mansions with all their glass and brick and steel that make you wonder how they got all that stuff up there in the first place? Then again, Mad King Ludwig built his famous Neuschwanstein castle on top of a mountain in Bavaria back in the late 1800s before there were Caterpillar earth-movers, motorized cement mixers or Chinook helicopters to drop a few tough, bulky items neatly into place. 

And if you've never read up on old Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria or his incredible castles and hunting cabin or the intrigues surrounding his mysterious death (or murder?) or why there never would have been a famous German composer named Richard Wagner without him, let me suggest you take a half-hour and do a little web-searching. It's pretty amazing stuff.
See what happens when I'm light-headed and my brain starts to wander?
Where were we?
Oh, yes, hiking down out of Fryman Canyon with my family. Right past George Clooney's house, in fact (it appears he's done rather well for himself) and, a little further down, the place where the Kardashians live. I kid you not. It's amazing what ordinary white trash can do with entirely too much money and a lot of plastic surgery....
The kids made a point of taking us to far too many good restaurants in and around LA (that's everybody but me in front of a lovely oceanfront place called Geoffrey's in Malibu where I ate too much). But I ate too much everywhere!

In an effort to keep my girlish figure in spite of a raging onslaught of California calories, Carol and I went to Adam's personal trainer a few times (she and her husband run Chainfitness on Cahuenga Blvd. in Toluca Lake--highly recommended--and they train a few mixed-martial-arts fighters as well as thoroughly kicking the ass of any old folks who happen to wander by). I also actually BOUGHT a used bicycle (the same one I've been mooching for free from Brooks Smith of AUTOBOOKS/AEROBOOKS in Burbank every time I come out). Had to do a little wrench work on the old Centurion (snapped a couple spokes & blew a tire on my first ride, etc.) but I got a lot of nice riding in, including the path along the LA Drainage Ditch (er, pardon me, make that "River") a few times, where I got to see a fine selection of native waterfowl plus far too many homeless folks in their natural habitats. Also had a fantastic run down & back up the Pacific coastline from the end of Topanga Canyon clear down to damn near LAX and back. Met another bike-rider about my age who turned out to have worked as a character actor on the same blessed movie I worked on as a 2nd-string stunt driver back when THE BLUES BROTHERS was shooting in Chicago. Small world, eh?
The other curious thing from that ride (outside of the sunburn!) was trying to fathom how so many tattoo-and-piercing parlors can co-exist side-by-almost-side on the seedy, carnival-atmosphere promenade along Venice Beach. Are there that many young shoulders, tongues, belly buttons, backsides and bosom creases still in need of tacky decoration?
One hopes not.
Oh, and speaking of bike rides, I have a "Damsels in Distress" story (involving a Jaguar E-Type, no less!) from just south of the confluence of Lankershim and Cahuenga Boulevards at the entrance of Universal City. Now picture this: I'm just pedaling along, listening to old Doo-Wop music and minding my own business, when I come across a silver-blue Series One E-type roadster with a blue racing stripe down the middle, a racing number on the deck lid and two very California-looking blondes (but with British accents) standing next to it looking a tiny bit perplexed. The car is in the center lane but decidedly not moving, and one of the blondes has already liberated an orange rubber traffic cone to put behind the decklid so some text-messaging kid in a slammed Civic won't run right into it. And if you don't believe me, see below (that's me with the hundred-dollar used bicycle and the excellent legs on the right, just asking if I can help out):

Well, it turns out the presumptive driver of the car is one Lisa Boses (shown above), and she and her husband are total E-Type geeks (they used to own the one-off, Raymond Lowey-designed E-Type show car (see bottom of story) and she and her almost equally blonde sister have just picked the car up from the local Jaguar specialist (he's paid me a small fortune to keep his name out of this) where some brake work had been done. And, as best as I could suss out, whoever was spinning the wrenches failed to leave any free play on one of the master-cylinder actuating rods, with the net result that the brakes dragged ever so slightly, caused the fluid to get hot and expand and then--PRESTO!--they locked up solid and brought the car to a screeching and ignominious halt. To be honest, I felt a little smug about the whole thing until I remembered all those calls from stranded and occasionally angry customers that I had to receive back when my wife and I owned our infamous Mellow Motors shop on Chicago's soon-to-be-trendy near north side. In any case, the Jaguar guy showed up with a couple wrenches and the net result was that they all headed back to his shop where the E-Type was admitted for further attention (and charges?) while I biked myself the rest of the way back to my kids' apartment for a hot shower and a really nice meal.

Of course there had to be some other, planned-ahead car-nut stuff mixed into our trip, so I once again dropped in at Bob's Big Boy in Burbank on Friday night for the weekly cruise-in (I'm beginning to see that a lot of these folks are regulars, and I'm afraid I still don't catch the magic of bringing your REALLY cool car to a damn parking lot just so's you can sit around all night in a folding canvas lawn chair and talk about how godawful fast it is). Did fall in love with some of the stuff there, though.
And then I ventured out to the Irvine, California, edition of Cars and Coffee on Saturday morning (y'gotta get there early, on account of it starts at 5am and breaks up by 9am) and got completely blown away. It's held in the parking lot of the Mazda US corporate headquarters (shared with Ford on the opposite end of the lot) and you would SIMPLY NOT BELIEVE the cars it draws. There were Corvettes from every series (including a fabulous black '57 Fuelie) and Ferraris and Lambos and turbo Porsches with intercoolers the size of a six-flat air-conditioning condensor and Vipers and Cobras both real and imagined and bunches of Bimmers and Benzes and a VW camper and a long-wheelbase (if such a term is actually applicable?) BMW Isetta and a Delorean that actually looked damn good in white and a couple immaculate 356 Porsches and ditto T-series MGs and the ORIGINAL John Morton Trans-Am U2.5-winning Datsun 510 right next to the Horst Kwech Alfa GTV it fought tooth-and-nail for the title and a whole early history of Nissan (including the first ever Datsun, I think, which was an Austin 7 built under license in Japan and cute as hell to boot) and what HAD to be a replica (didn't it?) of the short-tail Porsche Salzburg 917 that won Le Mans in 1970 (Richard Atwood/Hans Herrmann) and a brand-new Superformance GT40 replica from South Africa painted up just like the real 1st in class/6th overall Thompson/Ickx Grady Davis car from the Collier Collection that they let me drive at Palm Beach International a couple springs ago and...well, just look at the pix below:

The amazing part is that it's all free (except for the coffee, that is) and friendly police officers are on hand to help participants and spectators alike get in and out. By the way, the spectator cars fill up an entire parking garage!!!!
Didn't get back to Chicago until the day after Labor Day (which meant I missed Murray Smith & Co.'s always excellent Lime Rock weekend) but I was up to Road America the weekend after for reporting/book shilling at the VSCDA's unbelievably great Fall Festival. Features for the weekend were steerage-class heroes Triumph & Formula Vee, lots of track time (!!!), real F1 cars that made the hairs in your ears stand on end when they went by, a tour of the old course, a lovely car display on the Osthoff lawn complete with superb live music from W. S. Thompson's Swing Time Big Band, etc. etc. My full report is coming up in the next-but-one issue of VINTAGE MOTORSPORT, so I dare not spill the beans, but suffice to say that it was a great event for the Little Guys who rarely get center stage, and they made the very best of it. Kudos to all the participants, VSCDA organizers and legions of ad-hoc volunteers like Jason Ostrowski who made it all happen!
Which reminds me: after several years of stupid schedule conflicts, the SCCA Runoffs are on their way away from Road America next year and, much as I love that event, it will allow vintage racer-types with the necessary T,E & M (Time, Equipment and Money, of course) to do Lime Rock, The Glen, Road America, Road Atlanta and VIR on successive or near-successive weekends. That's quite a package for you California/PacNW folks or those from overseas who'd like to sample some of America's very best racetracks along with our colorful (or occasionally colorful language-inspiring?) fall weather.
Two weeks later I was back at Road America once again (I should really have a house up there...all I need is a movie deal) for the 50th SCCA Runoffs mentioned above. And what a deal it was! The SCCA pulled out all the stops (as well as lowering the entry standards a wee bit) in order to attract about the biggest damn field of cars and drivers ever seen anywhere (see below as I pose overlooking 700+ cars and drivers gathered on the front straight for a helicopter fly-over photo shoot).

Past champions were invited to participate, and we had Jim Downing (who qualified on pole for his class at the very first Runoffs) and my friend & '70-'71 champ John Morton had a beautifully prepared, fresh-out-of-the-box 240Z to drive--very similar to the BRE car he drove to those titles--thanks to truly tireless effort on the part of Steve Bonk and a bunch of spirited volunteers. And then there was Mike Rand, who brought his old Crossle FFord out to do battle, in somewhat Quixotic fashion, with all the younger lads in newer equipment. Plus we had past champs like Sam Halkias (TR6) and Jeff & Jason Miller (C and D Sports Racers) and Kent & Jesse Prather (MGA and a plethora of Miatas) who have never been away and are still eager to get that next notch in the old seat belt. I'm working on a "returning champs" story for VM so I want to keep something in the bag, but suffice to say the racing was great, a few too many cars got wadded up (welcome to The Runoffs!) the atmosphere was welcoming and friendly and there was the usual smattering of protests, disqualifications and penalties. All part of the game on that level, I guess.
A week after The Runoffs I was off to VIR, which pretty much brings this E-blast back to where it started. Except for one thing. Every now and then somebody will e-mail me a picture that they think I might appreciate, and this one really hit home:

They say a picture's worth 1000 words but, in my case, I think I'm over by a few hundred thousand. At the very least....
And speaking of ze olt dayz and Finzio's Sinclair, just look what my good buddy Jamie Goffaux did to (or should that be "with"?) one of his shop customers. Now Jamie works at a place calledAUTOFAB RACECARS (click to link) in Elkridge, MD, and they can make you just about anything. Jamie also serves as crew chief/head wrench/full-time head-scratcher and occasional driver--along with yours truly--of Kevin McGovern's well-prepped trio of Lotus X180R Turbos (see photos below, where I briefly lead a couple over-stimulated Porsches at Road Atlanta and belch out flames from my rear end. Wait, maybe that didn't sound just right....).

By the way, Kevin's thinking about selling one of the three cars, and they're beautifully turned out, nice to drive, occasional class winners and they ARE the last factory-built Lotus racing cars to win a professional championship (say, maybe I should open up a used-racecar lot?)
In any case, one of Autofab's customers by the name of Scott Stone (whom I had never met until last Saturday at VIR) brought in a partially finished hot-rod pickup project that he wanted to finish in the popular rat-rod style. Jamie took a long look at it, pocketed the deposit and asked for "full creative freedom." Which Scott granted. And then Jamie called me up and asked for a copy ofTHE LAST OPEN ROAD autographed to "Scott and Linda."
The rest, as they say, is history. Just LOOK!!!!

Don't really know what to say except "WOW! COOL!"
And "Thanks a whole bunch," too!
So that's about it. If I'm feeling OK, I'm going to head out to Hershey, PA for the big AACA swap meet/car show next week, and I've been asked to do a book signing (along with a bunch of other automotive writers) at the AACA Hospitality Tent on the Orange Field from 11:30-4pm on Friday. Do stop by. Also hope to be set up earlier in the week (I've never been before, so I want to spend some time rooting around through all the junk & treasures) at booth CW32 along the fence on the South Chocolate Field. Not that I have any idea yet where that might be....
After that I'll be doing a few days at the Spring Mountain country club track near Las Vegas for a VM review, followed by the SVRA National Championship event at COTA in Austin, Texas the following weekend. I'll be hawking books out of the VM booth, doing air time on the PA with my friend & co-conspirator Ed Conway and hopefully mooching a ride or two in the enduros. Hate to miss the HSR Hutchinson Island event the same weekend, but when they tell you they're gonna have over 600 cars at COTA (plus it's vintage racing's first-ever crack at America's new Formula One track) I gotta be there.
After that, I'm burrowing into my hole to work on the new book. Honest. Probably won't have it ready for Sebring and Amelia Island, so I guess we're shooting for Road America in July (that's where all the previous novels have launched, and I guess I'm a little superstitious about it).
I will venture out to do a hopefully entertaining/amusing PowerPoint presentation/book signing at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen on Saturday, Dec. 7th (that's Pearl Harbor Day, George Wright!) and I'm tempted to do the VDCA event at Roebling Road raceway near Savannah the weekend after simply because I had such a grand time flogging the whee out of Gordon King's Royale and eating pig meat and oysters there last year (pic below).


Oct. 9-12: AACA swap meet/flea market/car show/medicare recipient convention in Hershey, PA. Never been before, but looking forward to it. I'll be hanging around & hawking books out of space CCW32 on the Chocolate South field (by the fence near The Giant Center I'm told) during lunchtime and early afternoon Wed./Thurs, followed by a signing with a whole bunch of other "car" authors (including my friends Tom Cotter, Andy Beckman, etc.) at the AACA Hospitality Tent on the Orange Field from 12 noon to 3pm (or later if I think I can sell more books!)

Oct. 24-27: The much-ballyhooed SVRA "National Championships" on the full F1 circuit at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. I'll be handling some PA duties during the races, hopefully driving in an enduro or two and signing books out of the VINTAGE MOTORSPORT magazine booth.

We're headed out to harass our kids again for Thanksgiving, and I'll be making a side trip to the new Thermal club track near Palm Springs to do a review of their opening day on November 30th for the magazine. Looking foward to it. My famous and accomplished (if soft-spoken) driver friend John Morton may tag along to take a peek, and he's even threatened to fly us out there in his Beechcraft. Hope Carol has my insurance paid up....  

Dec. 7: I'll be giving what I hope will be an entertaining presentation at the famous International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen thanks to an invite from my good friend Mike Argetsinger. Hope I do a good job!

Dec. 13-15 (tentative): Had such a grand time there last year that I'm hoping to return to the VDCA's gloriously laid-back race/oyster roast & pig pickin' at Roebling Road Raceway near Savannah.

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the website at: