Archive for December, 2007

Remembering a racing pal

Posted in racing pal with tags on December 27, 2007 by vastine

The holidays do bring a lot of memories, one of them of a dear, good friend who has moved on.

Have a friend named Theresa. Operative word is have, because I still consider her as someone who is still with us. It’s her birthday today, but she passed away 19 months ago. I felt obligated to let the world know her as a good person and a good friend.

Silent type
Met her in freshmen year in college. We were seatmates in a couple of subjects and she was really shy and quiet. Women of the fewest words, literally. She rarely laughed but had a gentle smile. Never imagined she had an inkling towards car racing. I only heard her heartiest laughs when we were all in the finish line together with other racers. She would laugh whenever she finished last or when she thought she would win first.

We became racing pals and even exchanged a few notes in class. Thought she was a normal girl who enjoys a risky sport rather than indulge in make up or the latest trends like my sister. Didn’t know that she was living life to the fullest and was leaving at the soonest time.

Unexpected yet expected departure
It was summer two years after we graduated that I got a call from Theresa’s sister and asked me if I can visit her sister at the hospital. The next day I went and brought pastries. Then I saw her, lying in bed and unable to move any part of her body except her eyeballs. The doctor said she had a brain disease which paralyzed her whole body.

I almost cried at the site of her and 3 of my racing pals came in. We wondered why we were called and her sister said that our numbers were the only ones that were saved in Theresa’s phone book. We told her ‘bout the clandestine races that we’ve done over the last 6 months and I could tell that she wanted to laugh but it was her eyeballs that can only smile. The doctor said she only had days to live. Painfully, we said our final goodbyes at after 4 hours of talking to her at the hospital.

Got another call the next day that said that she had passed away.

Last glimpse
My friends and I rushed to the hospital as soon as we received that fateful call and waited for 12 hours outside the morgue to see her body. It was my first time to see a corpse of an actual person I know. I have seen and opened up dead bodies in college but seeing someone who I actually saw alive almost 48 hours before gave me a sense of foreboding and numbness in my body. She looked like she was just sleeping. It was the first time I saw how fragile she looked all those years. We waited 12 hours to see her in 10 minutes.

She lived for 22 years. Knew her for 6 years. I was lucky to see her laugh at a sport no one thought she would enjoy doing. I know she’s winning the race up there.

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Kindergarten driving’s eternal questions answered

Posted in driving questions with tags on December 24, 2007 by vastine

Kindergarten driving’s eternal questions answered

The first time is usually the hardest.

All car racers began as average drivers. I remember when I first learned how to drive. My uncle was the one who showed me the moves. Came home from school during a weekend when I was 13 and his car was parked in front of our house. He asked me to go with him somewhere and without any questions I went with him without asking if my folks knew where we were going. Later on I found out he didn’t asked their permission if he can “steal” me for a few hours. Got home to an “angry mob of two”, if you know, what I mean.

He drove me to my dad’s construction site made me sat in the driver’s seat. Said that he’ll be teaching me how to drive. He let a 13-year old lad to carelessly steer his precious wheels. He taught me for 5 weeks. During that time and even I was permitted by my folks to drive by myself, I asked him so many questions and I would like to share his answers. Those of which I can still remember, mind you.

  • How does the hold button work?

It varies. It is usually used in winter countries where snow slippery is virtually inescapable. This is usually also on slippery roads. Upon pressing this button, your engines will run smoothly and switch gears to around 2,500 rpm. Another good thing is, well, theoretically speaking, you will be able to save on fuel because you’re running on lower engine speeds.

  • Is a humming steering wheel bad news?

Definitely. Means you have a filthy oil system. The whole fluid system should be drained completely with the appropriate power steering fluid recommended by your car manufacturer.

  • What in the world is a grounding wire kit? Can it be used for all types of cars?

It’s actually an accessory for any car. Functions as a supplement for your car’s electronics accessories. But make sure to sought an auto electrician’s assistance to install this.

  • Do cars really smell in the morning?

What do you mean smell?

  • Like, every morning, when I start the engines, I smell gas for about 5 seconds. Is that normal?

Oh, ok. Yes, that is just normal. This is made to add more fuel to your car so that the engine won’t stumble because there’s too much oil and circulation is still low. Should be gone in 5 seconds as it has reached the correct pressure and circulation.

Those were the “kindergarten” questions that I asked him and I remembered he answered them with all enthusiasm. Until now, I still do ask him questions and the vigor is still there. With him, I still have a lot to learn. When I told him that, he said we all still have something to learn no matter how old or skilled we are.

Top NASCAR car racing teams you would want to be a part of

Posted in car racing, NASCAR car racing teams with tags , on December 18, 2007 by vastine

The need to belong is a universal need.And if you are a part of the professional car racing, you definitely want to be be associated with the top NASCAR car racing teams for this year.

Wonder what they look for in a portfolio?

In my previous article, I had posted the priciest racing cars for this year. Gee, would it be a dream to get our hands on one of those? Now, what will be featured are the top teams according to revenue earned, value, and operating income. Mind you, these numbers are all in millions,and not your single-digit numbers.

1. Roush Fenway Racing – for this year, they were valued at a whopping $316 million, earned $189 million as revenue, and spent $39.1 million on operating expenses. They have DeWalt to back them up.

2. Hendrick Motorsports – there were valued for $297 million, operated on a budget of $38.9, and earned $163 million. They are currently sponsored by Dupont.

3. Joe Gibbs Racing – their value for the year 2007 was reported to be $173 million. Also, earned a revenue of $110 million and had an operating income of 23.6 million. Home Depot is their primary sponsor.

4. Evernham motorsports – valued at $128 million, earned a revenue of $89 million and operated on an income of $178 million. They have Dodge Dealer/UAW on their side.

5. Richard Childress Racing – they have a tag price of $124 million, audited for an operating income of $19.1 million and earned a revenue of $98 million. Shell/Penzoil sponsors them as of now.

Big numbers mean success

In this case, the higher the number, the more stable and successful the car racing team is. It is interesting to note that they they still managed to operate on a two-digit income and earning triple more. They really do know how to do business. If you have a top notch and an industry leader to hire you to drive their racing cars, then it is the sweetest victory next to actually winning the car race.

Racing cars that will make you want to be a multi-millionaire..fast

Posted in racing cars with tags on December 14, 2007 by vastine

We all have dreams of becoming rich. Don’t we?

But, in real life, most of us just want a quiet life, just have enough to let us get through the day and a little more to take advantage of little luxuries.

But maybe you’ll change your mind once you see these racing cars. Mine did.

Multimillion wheels

We all know that the price tags of competitive racing cars are sky-high and the sponsor teams pour in the big bucks to design and build not only the most jaw-dropping racing cars but state-of-the-art autos. Forbes.com has compiled the most expensive, competitive racing cars that have raced in the NASCAR tracks for this year. Well, for now, let’s just feast our eyes on these priceless racing cars, when I say priceless, I meant that almost literally:

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1. No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet – Jeff Gordon drives this $85 million racing car for the Hendrick Motorsports.

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2. No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet – Jimmy Johnson has his hands on this treasure that has a net value of $76 million. Hendrick Motorsports also own this racing car.

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3. No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet -Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives this with the team that has the same name as his. Worth $65 million.

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4. No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet – Worth $60 million, Tony Stewart is the lucky guy who drives this for the Joe Gibbs team.

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5. No. 17 DeWalt Ford – Matt Kenseth drives this $47 million racing car for the RoushFenway racing team.

Boy, these racing cars are worth a fortune, literally. It is every car racer’s dream to get our hands on these precious wheels. Racing teams and sponsors spend billions of dollars for these racing cars to win. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to show pictures of myself right inside these multimillion racing cars.

Car crash sensor: A car racer’s life-saver

Posted in car crash sensors with tags on December 14, 2007 by vastine

a racer’s life saver

My not-so discreet racing life had given me more than a few bumps in the head.

Want to share an almost fatal accident that I had just this year. My physical scars have healed, in fact, any seen traces of the injuries I have sustained were erased by the doctors, who happen to be my friends as well. One thing I find ironic is that the accident never ever, even for a minute, made me stopped to race.

Late night accident 

It was a cold and rainy night. Yeah, it sounds melodramatic, but it was really a cold and rainy evening. I think it was a few minutes before midnight. My folks were in Australia visiting my brother and his kids there. Angela was on night shif the hospital so I was home-alone and then out of my unconscious prayer, my friend, Jake, called and said there was a car race in two hours. Jumped out of my bed and put on a shirt, and went to the garage and an hour later, I drove to the place and saw 7 cars lined up. I made the last few adjustments to my car and revved up my engines.

Everything was going my way as led the pack. We raced downtown and though the rain had susbsided, it was still slippery, which I loved. But then as I was going to the intersection, I didn’t see that there was a truck parked in the left side of the closed market. My six senses (my common sense, included) were liked shut down, but something in my car made a loud noise as I was like a few feet away from the truck and I instinctively hit the brakes and the airbag zoomed out of my steering wheel. My car’s front part was crumpled like paper. The truck only had a few scratches.

If it weren’t for the car crash sensor, I’d probably be somewhere I wouldn’t want to be.

Saving grace 

Car manufacturers have been developing car crash sensors in order to lessen accidents on the road. Car crash sensors now offer control in cruising, car veering warnings, and a software that will make drivers brake harder during emergencies.

The car racing world is not also oblivious to the tragedie that racing can bring. Have heard this latest news about the NHRA mandating racing cars to install the crash sensor into their autos. They have ordered to install Blue Boxes, for all nitromethane-burning cars. The car crash sensor was a result of 7 months of rigorous testing of the following:

  • helmet and driver restraint
  • computer modeling of the chassis
  • accelerometers of the driver’s ears
  • seven-post shakers
  • occupant modeling of the driver cockpit area

In Japan, there’s also steps that are developed to enhance car crash sensors such as the AVM or the Around View Monitor, which features includes digital cameras in the front and back of the autos, as well as in the sideview mirrors.

Inevitable risks

Danger will always be a part of racing. Heck, it is a part of life. I had experienced more than a few accidents over the years. In the course of it all, when racing, we should combine safety measures and instinctsbut also take responsibility for our actions.

Features of a race car demo you shouldn’t pass on

Posted in race car demo features with tags on December 11, 2007 by vastine

Features of a race car demo you shouldn’t pass on

Like the speed but afraid of getting behind the wheels? Then, a race car demo is a good way to take.

Sibling rivalry

Angela, my good old reliable sister, she is if she feels to act like one, got jealous when our dad gave me a motor cycle for my 16th birthday. She hid in her room for the rest of the night and threatened not to go to school anymore. She was the sporty girl, my mom reasoned. But I thought back then that she just wanted to get what I had. But she’s a good sister, nonetheless.

Since she was a daddy’s girl, or whatever term you call it, our dad bought her a race car demo two days after. I got to play it maybe once or twice a month. That’s it.

Being the younger between the two of us, I just decided to get myself a race car demo to be the bigger person. See the antithesis there? Through the years I bought around 5 for my nephews and god sons and have realized that even though they serve the same purpose, there are things that spell the difference which you should consider.

Here are the things you can consider when buying a race car demo:

  • Features real race car tracks. This has an educational purpose. Especially if you’re going to give it to a kid or someone who has no knowledge whatsoever of what race car is.
  • Includes beginner to difficulty levels. A 5-level race car demo is ideal for full familiarization.
  • Awards oriented. The prizes should also be counterparts of real life race car awards.
  • Supreme sound effects. A race car demo should resonate the actual sound of races.
  • Displays cutting edge graphics. Visuals are the main retention factor especially for kids and beginners.
  • Multiplayer functionality.What’s a race if you’re the only one in the track? Make sure it has the multiplayer feature so that they can also share the thrill to their friends. Less hassle than guarding them while they play in the park. Experienced that with my 8 year old nephew.

Realism is the key

Main thing to remember is get a race car demo that closely reflects rea-life car racing. The more realistic, the better and more enjoyable it’ll be. And this is not for kids only, it’s for all who are kids at heart and loves speed.

NASA tags along Daytona for a race to the moon

Posted in motor racing with tags , on December 6, 2007 by vastine

It’s a race to the moon for motor racing.

I think every one of us had dreams of going to the moon at one point in our lives. I, for one, had a childhood dream of flying to the moon with my bicycle. Hey, give me a break, I was a 5 years old. I was a child. Now, I am still, actually. In some ways. Enough of me.

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It’s official. Today, December 6, at 4:31 p.m. , NASA’s Atlantis will be taking along 3 green Daytona 500 flags to the moon. Upon returning, those three lucky unanimate most sought-after racing memoranbilias will be given to Daytona International Speedway, who’ll take two, and to NASA who’ll be keeping the third one.

The monumental and historical moment is in lieu with both NASA’s and Daytona’s 50th anniversay next year.

I feel elated and honored when I heard this news. Makes me feel prouder to be a racer. The winner of this year’s race will be keeping one of the green flags that will be handed to Daytona. Makes me think of pursuing a professional career in racing..well, that’s just for my thoughts right now. It will be a goof though to ponder on if the day will come when we’ll all go out and take a walk to the moon.