Taking a "worldly" approach to life is something I feel is important; auto racing pretty much hits the nail on the head. But I'm not terribly worldly with tracks I visit. High Plains Raceway is less than an hour away and when I say, "Its my home track", that means I spend 95% of my time there, with an annual trip to UMC (See link below for our UMC blog). So, when Jake Latham asked me to accompany him to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) as his pit crew , I could not pass.
Jake is a friend of 18 years. I met him in college through Club DSM Colorado, which I started with John Salmi in the late 90s. Jake was in need of a clutch tool and I had one. I traded it for a carton of Tropicana Orange Juice. That's not as odd as it sounds: I was a poor college student and Tropicana is awesome! These days, Jake is a very accomplished driver who pilots a unique Stohr F1000 formula car. Now, here at XNR, we are fans of the Radical lineup...But we won't hold it against Jake: His Stohr is a beautiful and amazing machine.
The mission: Drive his trailer from Denver to VIR and meet up with his Stohr, which was concurrently being transported from Road Atlanta; act as pit crew for Jake for 4 days on track; tow the Stohr up to Canada, drop it off, and fly home. Sounds pretty good. Mission accepted!
I told myself this would not be a long blog, so lets just cut to the chase!
I don't want to go into too much detail about everything onsite (I want this blog to be relatively short), but suffice it to say that the grounds are worth exploring on their own accord. The aged but well-cared for barns, incredible observation areas, the karting course and high-end restaurant at the top of the hill, all interspersed between densely forested pockets of land...There is a lot to take in after you've paid some attention to the course itself, which boasts some very interesting geometry. My favorite track area is the climbing S's, which themselves are situated upon a beautiful backdrop--But don't take your eye off the track too long or you'll find yourself in the wall that protects the accommodations at top. A long straight following the S's leads into a section of track that many people find to be some of the best turns this side of the Mississippi.
As Jake's pit crew for the weekend, I unfortunately did not spend any time on track myself, but I had a serious job to perform: I was busy making sure the Stohr remained in tip-top condition between sessions. We ran into a few difficult snags and had some very long days; but at the end, Jake ran successfully in his class before we left for Canada.
What I really want to portray here is that VIR was a spectacle to take in. It should probably be on your bucket list if you take racing very seriously. I certainly plan to make my way up there eventually and race--its just too majestic to pass up. And I'd recommend you do as well, even if only once--be a bit more worldly, add VIR to the calendar. Explore VIR and let it show you what it has under its hood...
I hope you didn't think I would end this blog without getting back to Radicals!!
After racing was finished for the weekend, Jake and I set our course for Canada to...store the Stohr. It will remain there over the Summer while Jake decides if he wants to sell it or not.
While there, we met up with a couple of the Radical Canada guys who have been in this game for a very, very long time (HUGE thanks to Matt for being an amazing host while we were up there). One of them has a beautiful shop with some really nice cars, including a Radical SR3 RS--I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to see if you can identify the uniqueness of the older collectible cars. As a quick side note: If you follow any of our Radical cars for sale, you'll notice that I really like to keep track of chassis numbers; so, I just HAD to get a shot of the Radical chassis number that we looked at in the shop. For the pictures below, that black Radical SR3 RS is chassis 670.
It's always a fantastic evening to hang out with good company and shoot the shit over cool cars. Thanks Jake and Bruce--what a fun night. Take a look at the pics below and enjoy. I sure did...