In Hebron, Ohio, at National Trail Raceway we conducted our first CHP Street Challenge. I hate to play it up or exaggerate, but the weather we experienced was just plain nuts. It was off-the-wall crazy; almost bizarre.
In Los Angeles, we’re used to wild fires, drought, earthquakes, and even the occasional riot or two, but sideways rain the size of .50 caliber rounds, are you kidding me? Is that even possible? I was hunkered down alongside a rental car with two other colleagues. The rain was pelting us like paintballs. I should have known this was coming, too, considering the brief conversation I had with three racetrack employees. The clouds off in the distance were low lying and painted the sky black. “Is it going to rain?” I asked. Apparently, that was a dumb question. The three boys looked at me, snickered, and replied, “It’s gonna get crazy here.” One showed me the Doppler radar screen from his phone. The state of Ohio was in the red. Seconds later, the light rain began to fall, and I made my way to the pavilion for shelter.
Soon after, the wind got wicked and began tossing 55-gallon drums. I figured the pavilion roof was going to peel next. Then, the rain got heavy. People freaked and scrambled to their vehicles and car haulers. Nick Licata from Camaro Performers and I were held up, taking cover against the side of a car. I was fine and calm, even joked. That all changed when I noticed Licata’s pale face.
Our only hope was to run for the rental car (10 feet away). “We can make it to the car, give me the keys!” Nick shook his head side to side, chucked me the keys, and sucked himself into the backseat of an already-full car. Before I knew it, I was abandoned. Soon after, I was hit with a face full of wind and mouth full of water.
In an instant, I was soaked. I left my shoes and socks inside the car and ran barefoot to help Kyle and Stacy Tucker load up what they could before it was obliterated.
Inside DSE’s car hauler, we were in shell shock and mystified. What just happened? Just like that, it was gone. The remainder of the day was spent in wet clothing. Thankfully, though, no one got hurt, and hours later, we were back to business. CHP