The time is 1970, and the tale relates to my trip to the Gators at
Gainesville that year (excerpted from my as-yet unpublished autobiography,
"Wheeler Dealer -- Confessions of a Nitroholic.")
My Gators experience was not too far out of the ordinary with a couple of
I'd not made room reservations in advance so the closest place I could find
to stay was about fifteen miles from the track. I had some good company
there, however, including ‘The Greek' himself, Chris Karamesines.
On race day morning Chris came up to me at the motel restaurant and asked if
he could catch a ride to the track with me. I've long forgotten exactly why
this came about, but I was glad to be of service to him.
On the way to the track I was having a difficult time keeping my VW fastback
going in a straight line, especially considering there wasn't a crosswind or
other obvious reasons (to me) to explain its ill handling. The car was
wandering left and right, no matter what I tried to do to correct for it.
Karamesines noticed what was happening, and out of the blue he said to me,
in so many words, "Relax!"
For whatever reason (nervousness, perhaps?) I had a ‘death grip' on
the steering wheel, and nearly any movement I made with my hands was
inadvertently steering the car in a slightly different direction!
By relaxing, and keeping a ‘lighter' touch on the steering wheel, the
problem went away.
I was only ‘mildly' embarrassed by all this but I got over it pretty
quickly. And, to think -- I got a driving lesson from Karamesines out of the