Wing Side Up

By Bob Gangwer


Goshen, IN 5/8/00…We finally made it home from North Carolina. Let’s just say that there sure are some "scenic" routes one can take in the southern part of our country. Not that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy the beauty and grandeur of those states through which we traveled however. After many years of wondering why ISMA chose to race in the south, we now are more apt to understand.

Really it was a very good trip and even at 14 hours didn’t seem so long when you are consistently checking the map to see if east really is south as it looks to be or when you are headed to your first methanol fix of the season.

And a fix it was! WHOOOHAAA! Once the rain stopped that is. Waking up on a Friday morning race day at the beautiful Orange County Raceway, only to realize that by 11a the only thing running at this track would be someone to change the sign to read "ISMA-racing Sunday", was not some thing most people consider a great way to start the season. Not to worry, after all that is why when ISMA runs a two day weekend on long road trips they save Sunday as a rain date; sometimes.

So it was off to Southern National in Kenly, a short jaunt, as jaunts go in the south, of about 78 miles. After a quick stop for some of the local cuisine, (pulled pork, turnip greens, okra, hushpuppies, corn fingers, and sweet tea), we made it to SNS with enough time to set up the "Goshen Express" between more raindrops.

After a long night of wondering if we were really going to get to see, hear and feel the roaring thunder of our favorite raceway radicals, Saturday morning dawned bright and beautiful.

We had enough time to enjoy breakfast; although it wasn’t grits and red eye gravy, and sit ourselves down to start this column. We got through breakfast ok, but when we finally got the ancient Tandy WP going, who should we see pulling in on the crushed granite driveway, but our good friend and compatriot, Mike Johnson. Mike, otherwise and more likely known as Pinner, was riding shot gun with our on line friend Tom Salvadore. Tom would prove to be as likeable and quick witted in person as he is behind the keyboard. We’ve found that not too many people who hang around Pinner are any other way than just that.

The three of us spent some time lamenting on the lack of things to do on a rainy, raceless Friday night in a town with not much action other than the seemingly regular past time of fixing up 1956 Ford Pick Ups. As we were wrapping up our discussion of the vast differences between the North and South, the ISMA circus started to roll in. The arrival of the trailers that housed the beasts we love was more than enough to persuade us to deposit the WP back in it’s decrepit cover and it was time to take a stroll.

Stroll we did, with our eyes as big as the mountains surrounding us, and our mouths agape like the tunnels through the mountains. Even though we hadn’t been drinking yet, we were slobbering all over ourselves. New cars, fresh paint jobs, and old friends, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Twenty-seven cars showed up on Saturday to run SNS. This track is just plain cool. High banked, big wide corners, lots of racing room, and track lighting that would be bright enough to give new meaning to helping the blind to see.

This would also be the track that we would meet a new friend and partake in a strange southern tradition. Paul Robinson is one of the nicest guys we’ve come across in our travels. Paul’s father moved to NC back in the early 60’s from Buffalo, NY and the family never left. Paul has grown to love the supers after their visits to his area and occasionally posts messages on the ISMA message board.

The racing was great once it got going and we hope to get back in 2001 if ISMA reschedules.

Until then we are at 2 Winchester Trails Goshen, IN 46526 wondering exactly how deep a canyon has to be to qualify as a "hollar." If you have any ideas call us at (219) 534-0520 and don’t use the tin can and string.

As we contemplate our next road trip, at the same time we are striving to find a way to go bottoms up with the Beam and still "Keep It Wing Side Up and Wheels to the Ground."