WDMS Chapter 141


or... "the corner workers called in and want to know what kind of car this is!"


30 May 2009


I had just unclipped my HANS, hung the helmet on the hook, released the harness and slid out to sit on the door as the track maintenance guy cruised up on his motorized mule thing. He was slowing down and really intently studying the car and it appeared he was taking in the lines. In reality, he was desperately searching for some visual clues or body lines to give away just what the heck he was looking at. As he pulled closer to the car he was eyeballing the fender where the tiny yellow Chevrolet bow-tie sticker is with a tweak of his mouth and a squint in his eyes. He turned down the track radio in his hand and simply said "the corner workers called in and want to know what kind of car this is".

Ahhhh...the joy of a not-so-common car.

Years ago, not 100' from where I was pitted my buddy Fertitta was doing a racing school in this same car when an older guy came by and asked "just what the heck is this?". Fertitta was with his instructor and I was in a hurry to get the car ready for his next session (schools are pretty fast and furious with track time) and as I was running the checklist I simply said, "it's a Monza". Old guy: "MAZDA? That don't sound like no MAZDA" and he wandered off. True story.

But today's story started a day before with me scamming borrowing Nick's trailer to run Red to TWS for a shakedown day. If you've been following along you know that I put Red back together with a fresh motor and it was time to make sure it was all working right before the next step. Misty was having a TWS Motorsports club day and she told me the previous weekend to come on over and help out. She thought she was okay on instructors, but having extra around is always nice. So I scooted into town on Friday afternoon after reserving my usual corner suite at Casa Del Wade's Garage and after an awesome Roadhouse dinner followed by Meredith's incredible Brownies-N-BlueBell it was sweet dreams. Saturday found me at the track early enough to snag the corner pit spot and setup the EZup for some shade!

The Monza always pulls in the young hotties!!

So after my first 20 minute session of feeling the car out, I did another session where I pushed it a bit harder and was reminded that the tires (dated 05) were as dead as I suspected. I had fun and pushed it just a little bit, but with the break-in oil still in the pan and this being a shakedown (I didn't have enough events to qualify for the HPDE National Championships anyway) I mostly just tootled around and made sure Red was solid and didn't do anything unsuspected. She was and she didn't. I took a little on-board video and got some from outside too!

------------LINK TO VIDEO HERE-----------

Being pitted near the concessions meant a steady flow of 'what is that?' traffic and just before lunch the winner was pulled from the woodwork like a snipe drawn to watermelon rinds. He approached cautiously and spoke to the female on his side as he educated her on the rare breed that is GM H-body.

Guy: Yeah they made these back in the 70s and the big motor you could get was a 305

Me: Actually, the car was available first-year with a 350

Guy: No it wasn't

Me:……yes, yes it was.

Guy: Oh yeah, right….hey, the distributor is on the wrong end of this engine!

Me: It's a buick motor, the 3.8

Guy: They didn't use buick motors, it was a chevy v6

Me: No it wasn't. The buick v6 was available each year from 75 on

Guy: Oh yeah, right….they made these from 75 to 81

Me: Actually, it was only made till 1980

Guy: Oh yeah, right…do you have the automatic or the 4 speed?

Me: I've got the 5speed (I didn't even go into the fact that you could also get a manual 3 speed)

Guy: They didn't have a 5speed back then

Me: Actually, they did. It is the borg-warner T50 and it was the forerunner to the T5 and was available from 76 through 80

Guy: Oh yeah, right…is this a 78 or a 79?

Me: it's a 78

Guy: (visibly relieved that he got one thing mostly right) They came with 4 cylinder motors too, right?

Me: Yup, the old vega motor and then the Pontiac iron duke.

Guy: Yeah, right….these were such cool cars…


The rest of the day was pretty normal and (as always) a lot of fun. I did a few check rides and stood in for wayward instructors. Wade came out and so did Anna with cuteh Rossi in tow. A group of kit-car Cobras showed up and a few of them were really sharp. Not nearly as sharp as a Monza, but sharp nonetheless.