This link is currently down
thanks to the legal types at NBC,
who apparently think we're
trying to get away with something.
We're trying to figure out what?

OK, so it's been a long time since my last e-blast. But I've been busy. Sure, I did take a little time off (like 10 days) to escape from The Land of the Polar Vortex and head down to Florida a couple weeks ago for my friend Bill Warner's always wonderful Amelia Island Concours (where we presented yet another Buddy Palumbo Award to folks who actually restored the blessed car themselves) and The 12 Hours of Sebring. With a visit to Larry Wilson's incredible car collection where I drove some fabulous cars (see my pal Chuck Andersen's teaser pics below):

plus a entertaining and occasionally gob-smacking bike ride--the pedal variety--through the BIKE WEEK/SPRING BREAK rituals of paunch and pubescence at Daytona in between. It was quite an adventure (including a stay with David Hobbs & family), and we'll have the Full Story in the follow-up e-blast I'll be sending out this coming weekend.
But we got more important fish to fry right now, seeing as how the Florida excursion was a "working" vacation, since I was not only hawking the usual books and merchandise, but also formally announcing to the motoring media, soliciting sponsorships from likely suckers and taking meaty fistfuls of pre-orders for the long-promised and incredibly entertaining  AUDIOBOOK version of:

Yes, friends and neighbors, the radio-play-format audiobook project is almost finished, and will debut for sure at this year's big July vintage meeting at Road America. But rather than telling you about it, why don't you just click the link below and run a few wee excerpts from the first few chapters past your eardrums.
You may recognize a few of the voices...

If you like it, then you might want to take a gander at the PR  flyer we passed out in Florida for some details:

You also might want to consider (particularly if you're one of those infuriating upper-crust types with large wads of Disposable Income wallowing around in your bank account) becoming a SPONSOR of the audiobook project. Lord knows we need the money (unseemly groveling below) or, at the very least, PRE-ORDERING A COPY (will ship late June/early July). For details, click link below:

And now, the stirring saga of why this audiobook project is the greatest thing that nearly killed me. 

big rock, steep hill...
The idea was simple enough. Let's do an audiobook version of The Last Open Road so all those "people who don't read" (you know who you are) can enjoy the story. Especially since most all of you car crazies, motorsports enthusiasts and racer types travel long distances to get to various and sundry petrolhead events. And what better traveling companions than Buddy, Julie, Big Ed, Butch Bohunk, Cal Carrington, Sally Enderle, Skippy Welcher, Creighton Pendleton III and the gang from Finzio's Sinclair? And that gave me an excruciatingly brilliant idea. Why not do it as a 1950's radio play? You know, with different character voices and sound effects and period music and authentic car sounds and...
The first hurdle was re-writing the book into a radio-play script. I mean, how hard could that be? I figured it would take me a couple weeks, tops. Well, four months later I was still at it. Then came finding a production house that could, and moreover wanted, to do it. Which, after a few stumbles and mostly thanks to Carol, we did. And then there was finding the right narrator. I tired it and, in a word, I stink. Or make that "stunk." So we hunted around and held auditions and finally found the right guy: a Hollywood-based professional voice actor named Greg Beastrom, who has done an unbelievable job.
And then I had my second self-inflicted fragmentation bomb of a brilliant idea: why not use a bunch of famous motoring/motorsports celebrities in some of the smaller roles throughout the book? The good news was how many of them (David Hobbs, Brian Redman, Tommy Kendall, Patrick Long, Ray Evernham, Dario Franchitti, Skip Barber, John Morton, Bill Warner, George Bruggenthies, Bob McKee, Greg Rickes, Andy Reid, Dan Scanlan, Mark Hamilton Peters, Phil Airey and more) were willing and even eager to do it. The bad news was chasing all over the map to get them all recorded. Not to mention traveling all over the map with my recording gear to get the authentic car sounds we needed. Special thanks to Fred Simeone of the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia, who helped us with some of the difficult-to-find vehicular voices. And then came the other sound effects and the music (you would not believe what it costs to use a 5-second slice of Nat King Cole's "When I Fall in Love" or an even shorter snippet of "Count Your Blessings." And don't even get me started on the gauntlet run quest for the right-mood version of "Your Cheatin' Heart."
And then you've got the re-recording of lines that didn't come out right or matching two recording sessions done in different rooms with different audio environments and...
Bottom line is that our budget is approaching six figures. Gulp. And we still don't have a corporate "presenting sponsor," which would really help (and would be a good deal for the sponsor, too).

But here's the good news: we're almost done. There are 19 chapters in The Last Open Road, and we've had to go through each one three and sometimes four times in order to cut and chop and paste and stitch and putty-in and fade together and re-record and smooth-sand everything to a fine, glossy finish. But, as you heard from the sample (and remember, those are just a few little snippets from the first two chapters), I think it's gonna be worth it.
Let me know what you think after you give it a wee listen.

Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: