There are a few constants in the world of traveling to racing events: the track food is generally terrible and burned (although I've heard rumors of better fare); and at the end of the day, you need a good two hour bath to wash all of the track particulates off. It's not until then that you can even think about eating dinner at one of the numerous chain restaurants that pepper the areas surrounding dragstrips, ovals, road courses, etc. And when you get to the restaurant, and the waitress asks you what you want to drink, forget about it-you can't even hear her, you just hear run after run of cars ringing in your ears.
That's part of the fun though, isn't it? Getting away from the day-in, day-out routine of the real world, and doing something you are passionate about. The Gainesville stop on the Super Chevy Show tour is always a popular event. It's just miles from the University of Florida and its rabid legions of Chevy fans, coupled with the Bow Tie fanatics of the Sunshine State.
After cruising around the fabulous facilities in the famous "Super Chevy" golf cart (performance mods are on the way, we hope), it was time to examine the car show portion of the event. Somehow we got caught up in the swap meet. We found all sorts of steals and deals, none of which we could check on the plane back home. Such a shame.
The show cars were impressive, to say the least, and with it being 9 a.m., we were astounded with the turnout. It takes a lot to get someone out of bed that early, and every car seemed to shine, almost blinding our sleep-encrusted eyes.
After the flotilla of show beauties moved through the inflatable "victory Bow Tie" complex to have their photos taken, we moved on, and caught some of the drag monsters in their tire-smoking glory, while we chowed down on track burgers in the opulent luxury of tower suite F.
The Editor's Choice Top 10 drag race awards were handed out Sunday morning to the cars that we, the editors, felt deserved recognition for their efforts. All to often, the true "weekend warriors" don't get the credit they deserve. There's something special about seeing people receive awards, so much emotion and extreme gratitude. Enough of the mushy stuff, there were still a few bracket finals to be decided Sunday afternoon.
The Mr. Gasket Bracket One Pro Eliminator final saw two dragsters going head to head, and Craig Spell of Jacksonville, squeaked out the win with an 8.505 e.t. (.016 RT) on an 8.49 dial-in to beat Marty Nichols of Deland, Florida.
In Bracket Two, J.R. Hamelink's beautiful black '62 Chevy II ran down Quinn Holton of Gainesville, Florida, with a 10.650 on a 10.50 dial-in. Hamelink, of Silver Springs, Florida, cut a .008 light that undoubtedly contributed to his win.
The DOT class witnessed Shane McFadden's (Kissimmee, Florida) '78 Malibu of run a 15.509 to a 15.50 dial-in, which trumped Bobby Deblaso of Tampa, Florida. Deblaso broke out of his dial-in by .030.
We spent the rest of the day cannoodleing with some fellow Tri-state area denizens, the Tweaked Ya! Racing team from Long Island, which races in style. Despite hurting the engine in their 8-second blown Camaro, Andrew and Dina Parise, friends and family, had the eggplant parm, sausage and peppers, and frosty beverages flowing, overwhelming the Super Chevy crew.
The end-of-the-year Super Chevy Show was a great one, but sadly, the Gainesville stop is not in the cards for next year's schedule. Oh how we will miss the venue. See you at the next Super Chevy Show stop-Bradenton, Florida, in early 2007.