Look up the word Americana in the dictionary and you’ll find a definition that refers to American artifacts, folklore, and or cultural heritage. Ask a person from another country what the definition of Americana is and nine times out of ten they’ll reply with auto racing. Yes is its true, the American public loves auto racing, any type of auto racing. Whether it be on dirt, asphalt, on a circle track, or a quarter mile. And the race car can be an open wheel car or a monster truck, anything with an engine and wheels has surely been involved in a speed contest a time or two. For over 100 years the racing phenomena has been part of the American psyche, and if you are not one of the millions who isn’t a fan, a driver, or hell even a crew member, then you’ve been hiding under a rock for too long.
Auto racing embodies the idea of man vs. machine, it allows the individual to prove to his fellow man or even opponent that they possess more skill, in either driving, or through mechanics then their fellow competitor. The sport can be dangerous, hard, unforgiving, yet at times, graceful, calculated, glorious, and even euphoric. Sayings can be seen in the form of bumper stickers on some of the car haulers that tell it like it is lines such as “on this trailer sits a disease from which there is no cure” or the classic “how to do make a small fortune in racing, start with a large one” all ring true. However when it comes to race time the new classic, “if you ain’t first, you’re last” has become a popular moniker.
“On this trailer sits a disease from which there is no cure.”
Racing knows no time, there is no season, no holiday, it can be seen in thousands different places, any night of the week, sometimes rain or shine. The beauty of this is one could run a dirt course one night, go drag racing the next, and catch an asphalt circle on the weekend. Obviously practice makes perfect, that is, if you’re doing it right, if not then practice makes habit. So in search for glory, most drivers want to race all the time. holidays, birthdays, weddings, you name it are all days that get in the way of racing to a competitive driver. You say that isn’t true, well then, it might behoove you to check out you’re local track. As a matter of fact, you should support your local track, as they need you.
Over the last few decades, the race track has went from the glorious place where families went to meet and watch the drivers hurl their machines down a track where everyone cheered as the flew by, to the unsightly oil slick that parents of young children warn them to steer clear of that place, its bad news. Well that might be a stretch but today, but the publics opinion is quite different for others reasons than a place of ill repute. Today the real estate alone has made most local tracks too valuable to keep open. In the case of one famous racing spot located in the heart of Los Angeles, Ascot park, the fate of that track played out like a Joni Mitchell song, as “they paved paradise, to put up a parking lot” was exactly what happened. Yes its true, the world famous Ascot Park, the track located right off the harbor freeway closed more than 25 years ago only to sit vacant for the first 10 years and deemed unsuitable for construction of new homes. So the only thing left to do with it was to pave it over, and start a car auction. Although Ascot park may seem as a tragic loss, other factors such as insurance, noise, and low attendance, have also plagued race tracks all over the country. The press has well has become the enemy of fun so to speak as more publicized street racing accidents make the late night news or morning edition newspapers. Ask the racer how they feel about it, and they all cry out, where do you want us to go?
Even though times seem tough for the racer these days, it still has not brought down the spirit of competition, or the thrill of acceleration as someone exits a corner onto a back straight away. No this can’t be stopped, it won’t be stopped, as long as the sun rises in the east and sets the the west the American racer will find a place to run their car. Such is the case at a little known spot located just outside Los Angeles in Riverside. Adams Motorsports Park, first opened back in 1959 to hold go kart races. To this day AMP still holds the undisputed streak for the longest continuous running go kart facility in the world. The alumni of drivers that have participated on the black top at Adam’s reads like a motorsports hall of fame, as veterans of the Indy 500, American LeMans series, Formula Drift, CORR, and even some famous two wheel competitors from the AMA have all honed their skills at Adams go kart track.
Wait did you get that, Adams is a go kart track?! Well technically it is as like mentioned before, as it has been the home to many national and world contests for the karting world. However the layout of the facility allows single file contests where regular size cars, and/or trucks can compete on the track racing against the clock. The track is very technical in some places, however speeds up in the 60-70 MPH range can be easily achieved by many skilled drivers.
“The word for the day is…TUNING!”
What is in store for tonight’s event? Will there be a record broken, a new personal best, or will the track prove to be too much for all who attend? First up is Bill Speed, owner and builder of the Black Widow Exhaust sponsored S-10. His ride is equipped with an LS1 pumping out 550 horses, sporting wide fiber glass fenders to squeeze the 12-inch wide rubber at all four corners. Known as the wild man on wheels, Bill doubles up on track time by running grip on Tuesdays, and Drift on Thursdays. Next up is Tim “Skrape” Katz. If his name sounds familiar “Skrape” is better known as one of the founding members of the Tapout MMA gear line. Out on the track his LS3 turbo charged and TCI equipped Nova wagon.
Last but not least is Marcel Venable’s beautiful C-10 affectionately known as “Foxy Cleopatra.” A fresh ground up build that debuted at the SEMA show. Marcel is looking to get such much needed seat time in on this brand new build as this will be the first showing of Foxy at Adam’s grip night. Foxy was built for “show and go” as it features No Limit suspension, a Currie rear end and a built 408 stroker LS under the hood. While it has good looks in spades, testing and tuning the performance can only be accomplished with track time. Bugs are worked out as the wheels spin. Sometimes, as was the case on this Tuesday evening, faulty equipment and the desire to push the truck its limit and even beyond resulted in the worst possible scenario.
At the end of the final session, with the sun setting in Riverside, Marcel’s tires lost traction due to a fuel leak and pitched him sideways coming into the back chicane. With little recovery room, the water barriers did their job; stopping the truck from crashing into the the pits. Thankfully the damage was only cosmetic. Rest assured that Foxy will see its day at the track once again.