By Don Ewald
The night was cool and crisp. The air was as good as it ever gets. A slight tailwind blowing straight down the track. One of those nights where you just knew something big was about to happen. Can't remember who was in the other
lane as we inched toward the beams. A hush fell over the crowd as we eased up on the brake levers and lit the bottom two. I felt the juice bumps rise on the back of my neck as I stared down into the black hole of the night, the
track dimly lit just to the finish, then only a single porch type light marking the lone turn-off of the 700' shut-down. Focused back on the tree, they all went full yellow and time slowed to a crawl.
I stabbed the throttle and let off the brake. The front wheels came up and stayed about six inches off the tarmac as the tires gripped the surface and sent me hurtling into the night. The headers spewed their brilliant white & orange flames skyward and I welcomed that familiar rush of adrenaline coursing through my veins as if it was pumped by one of Waterman's best. The car started to move around a bit but it was a familiar dance and this old girl always let me lead.
"Hot Damn!" I thought. This is better'n sex! Matter of fact, If sex was anyway near this good, I'd have a mighty sore pee pee. The front wheels came down about a thousand feet and just for a microsecond unloaded the rear. I guess that was enough, cause things went to hell real fast.
All of a sudden, time sped back up and I found myself starin' down the throat of the dragon. The flames were brilliant orange, and in the middle were white so bright it hurt to look at them. I could see big chunks of dark stuff fly past as what was left of Donovan #187 was sacrificed to the God of Fire. "Christ!" I thought as the taste of fear rose up in the back of my throat, "On fire and can't see shit. Screamin' down the track at over 150. This is Gonna Hurt!"
About then, another really big chunk came shooting out of the flames. I think it was the blower. I couldn't duck far enough and I can still picture it as it shattered my visor and bounced off my melon. Then just black...total darkness. The only thing I could feel was the cooling effect of a sheen of sweat evaporating from my forehead.
The darkness lifted a little and I raised my head and looked around to try to orient myself. I saw my wife with an angry look on her face. "What the hell is she doing here?" I thought. She had me by the shoulders and was saying something that I couldn't quite make out. I slung my head from side to side to clear out the haze and heard her saying, "Wake your ass up! That's the LAST TIME you're eating Mexican food before bedtime! It always gives you nightmares!"
Walt Stevens adds... I love reading this. If you have ever been in one of these cars, it's the way it used to be. This would be like driving at Lions, on a foggy night. See ya. Walt