This is what it looks like to be part of a drag race.
Today, I got to experience a little bit of the adrenaline rush and speed of a real drag race when Bob Baumann of Jamestown took me for a ride-along in his 1933 Ford Victoria. This, by the way, is the most beautiful car ever, and I would have been thrilled to ride in it under any circumstances whatsoever, even just for a zip around the block.
As you can see, the interior is pretty small. There was a sort of double-seat-belt harness thingy in there for safety, and I had to wear a helmet as well. It felt pretty tight, but not uncomfortably so, considering I have a ginormous head. Seriously. I’m sort of surprised it hasn’t got satellites.
As you can see from the picture, it’s got crash bar thingies and so forth in there too, so it actually felt pretty safe. Or maybe I just have no sense of self-preservation. Could be that.
What was it like? Well, it was awesome. The car rumbled and roared like a lion chasing down a gazelle, and although we didn’t get up to positively ludicrous speeds, it was fast enough to feel quite a bit like being on a rollercoaster. I think I went “Eeee!” but not too loud, because I didn’t want Mr. Baumann to think I was insane or possibly a chipmunk.
And one more thing: drag racers may well be the nicest people ever. Everyone I talked to at the Jamestown Regional Airport today was super, super nice and helpful above and beyond the call of duty. Leon Westerhausen, president of the Jamestown Drag Racing Association, took time to answer all my newbie-questions about drag racing, even though he was pretty busy. Daine Flieth, a volunteer at the event, drove me from place to place in a golf cart for interviews, which sped up the process considerably.
And other people helped arrange my ride in the car, and of course, Mr. Baumann let me set foot in his lovely car, let alone took me for a race in it.
I’m totally nerding out over it, actually! Many thanks to the folks who helped me out with the article, from the interviewees, JDRA and drivers to the editor and writer who read the thing after it was done.
And now, since all of you already know I’m a. insane and b. possibly a chipmunk: