Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Not a racecar driver

"Race fast, safe car!" -- Weird Al Yankovic, "Bob"

Seriously, race car drivers. How do you do it?

Last Friday morning, a week ago on the road to Eugene, I had a moment of clarity: there I was going at about 70*, keeping up with I-5's traffic, and flashed on race coverage I've seen. I thought Race car drivers are doing this at speeds two to three times faster than this, and they're inches from each other.

Made me suddenly very glad that I've never been a serious lead-foot. I wasn't even one before I lost three people in my life -- first a high school lunch acquaintance, than a fellow writer for my high school paper, then my best friend -- to car accidents. (That there seemed to be a progression to those losses made it worse: someone I sort of knew, then someone I knew better, then a fantastic guy who deserved far better than getting killed by a drunk driver. Made me worried that a progression would keep going. It didn't. I'd seen a pattern where none existed, beyond "Damn it, people died due to cars.") I speed somewhat, but not 80**/90/100/100-plus miles per hour. I try to notice trouble spots: there's a viaduct near my place with a 30 mph limit, but I and most other drivers routinely drive 40 across it. I do try to strike the balance between a prudent speed and keeping up with traffic, a good idea on the viaduct. And I know my reflexes just aren't fast enough for the adjustments needed at racing speeds. A man's gotta know his limitations. (Also? Part of me imagines that the one time I race would be the time cops are waiting. And I mean on a race track.)

So I definitely don't go very, very fast for fun. Or profit, which racing can entail.

I watch some racing. I can appreciate it -- heck yes, it's a sport, you see any out-of-shape racers? -- and know it's another of the things I should not do. Let them get the upper body strength needed to steer those cars and motorcycles. I'll use my upper body strength for other things.

Heck, one of my main associations re: racing? I think Dario Franchitti, winner of the Indy 500, and how he's married to Ashley Judd. I watched one Indy where he didn't win, and said to the TV, "You're doing fine, you're still going home with Ashley Judd." I hope he raced home!

* There's no retroactive ticket-giving for speeding in the past, right?

** When I get up to 80, it's almost always due to me not paying enough attention. I slow down then.

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