Drag Racing Was… Well… Kind Of A Drag

by Lynnette

As part of Jim’s new “gig” as a stay-at-home dad (…to our two DOGS!) and owner of Squeaky Wheel Marketing, Jim helps crew for Terry McMillen at IHRA drag racing events. ...very slick, Mr. IHRA-Harley-lookin-racecar-drivin-PR-guy!

He managed to talk me into going with him this time… under the premise that we’d combine it with a fun stay on the beach afterwards.

All Work And No Play?
We started with an 8 or 9 hour drive from Nashville to the track in Milan, Michigan.

(It’s pronounced “MY-lun”, but I like to say it wrong: “mi-Laaaan”, cuz it sounds much more extravagant… like Milan, Italy — and I felt inclined to try & turn this “work part” into something of a vacation as well!)

Welcome race fans...

Jim and Terry taking turns at a very strenuous sanding job on some important part of the car. When Jim wasn’t filming Terry being interviewed by the press, taking photographs, and other PR & Marketing kinds of things, he and the rest of the crew busted their butts working on Terry’s drag racing car — building it up, giving it a spin, then tearing it down. Only do to it over… and over… and over again. Nothing was wrong; it’s just what you do with a racecar.

Lynnette giving her best 'Vanna' impression while selling tshirts, etc. from Terry's souvenir tent. To some, this is fun. For us girls, this meant a LOT of sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, taking some pictures, selling some souvenirs, and sitting around. (…and if this butt is seated, there best be a computer* in front of me, or else I’m bored.)

The Life Of A Racecar Driver
Everyone staring at the racecar, wondering if it's 'ready'... In reality, that’s how EVERY weekend goes when you’re part of a crew team for a racecar driver… especially with drag racing. It’s hours and hours of repairs, modifications & fine-tuning — preparing for your moment of glory which amounts to just 6 SECONDS of time on the track! (…unless you’re REALLY good, then you only get 5 seconds!)

Testing the engine... Repeat that a half-dozen times (cuz there are a few qualifying rounds, followed by the elimination rounds — over the course of 3 days)… and there’s something oddly anti-climatic about this whole drag racing thing. To me, it seems like an awful lot of work for less than 30 SECONDS on the track in any given weekend!

Hordes of people came to buy Terry's souvenirs, including some T-shirts that Jim had designed for the team. So, that pretty much sums up my experience at the racetrack on THIS weekend. That, and I sold a couple t-shirts for the team.

You Win Some, You Lose Some
...When Terry's not tuning up his car or racing himeself, he and the rest of the crew help Mr. Jack prepare for his turn down the track. By the way, our car didn’t win. So the crew packed it all up and prepared to head to some other track in two weeks and do it all over again — hours, days, even weeks of fine-tuning that car, all for 30 seconds of “game time” on some OTHER track.

…Oh, and did I mention that it RAINED the entire weekend?!

Fortunately, the skies got brighter when the “vacation part” began

Jim dumping used-up oil and sludge that was drained from the racecar at the end of the night.

What I Learned Today:
*My best friend on this trip became the local McDonald’s. No, not for their McNuggets… For their McWi-Fi!

Lynnette enjoying her McWi-fi... and a french fry. Who knew that the only place I would manage to find some Internet access in this dinky little town would be at this state-of-the-art McDonald’s in Milan Michigan?! (see… now “mi-Laaaan” sounds more appropriate, right?)

Jim entering the passcode for the 'free' McDonald's wi-fi Internet service in Milan, Michigan. It’s supposed to be something like $3 for two hours of use, but they gave us two free passes, so we could check our e-mail & stuff on our laptop during the two days we were in town. (…I don’t think they get many takers in Milan, Michigan for this sort of thing.)

— > Need help finding Wi-Fi Internet access when YOU’re out and about?… Try these hotspot locators.