It Was One of Those Days - Pt XV


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I can’t tell you how it frustrated me to lose to the Shelby. I knew she had a wicked fast car but to have run a 10.83 and still lose told me that her car was definitely tweaked more than just an exhaust and tires.

As I got back to the lanes, both B and Kel were there to meet me, the looks of disbelief were as evident on their faces as it was on mine.

“Man, Steve – what has she GOT in that car? I mean, I love my Shelby and all, but still – that car is NOT close to stock…”

Brandon never was one to mince words and what he said was running through my mind too.

“I don’t know Steve…” It was Kelly this time… “There were two guys leaning on the fence, one of them saying that he was working that day at the shop when they were tuning her car. Supposedly, the car has a tune, upper and lower pulleys, a CAI, exhaust including headers, a new MAF, new rear gears, and slicks. Now, maybe he was just BS’n’ but he didn’t sound like it – he sounded like he did actually know what he was talking about. He also claimed he witnessed the dyno-tune but that he had to sign a statement not to reveal the results. Ever heard of that?”

“Can’t say I have Kel but I do know that Ned threw a lot of money around and money can just about buy you anything, including silence…”

Both nodded agreement.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter – my GN isn’t stock either but damn, I thought I had her. But the worst part is hearing her lift at the end… it could have been worse…”

Neither said anything. Apparently, they knew she had lifted too…

For the most part, the rest of the evening went by pretty quick. I did get to line up against a wicked fast late ‘90’s-model Eclipse GSX that ran a VERY respectable 11.17 against my 10.89. He actually got me out of the hole (damned little AWD monster!) but I reeled him by the eighth mile marker. It was heavily modded and well done - it had a huge Evo III Big 16G turbo, a “Slow Boy Racing” front mount intercooler, a new 6-bolt motor that had been bored out to a 2.3 liter (I think that’s what he said) with Eagle Rods and Ross Pistons, ARP Studs (head and mains), DSMLink ECU, HKS cam gears and turbo timer, Injen intake, Greddy Blow Off Valve (BOV), and – well, you get the picture; it was done right - the car was pretty awesome and had destroyed a lot of wannabe’s wishes that night. The guy was really cool too – we talked cars for quite a while. If I were going the DSM route, his car would be one I would copy.

I also got a chance to line up against Brandon’s Shelby. By that point, he had put the drag radials on, having only got a best ET of 12.06 on the stock tires. He just couldn’t get the power to the ground. But – with the DR’s, he did get into the 11’s with his best run of the night (the one against Kelly’s GTO actually) of 11.90 something. He was damned happy but he also admitted he needed more practice in launching the big snake. He seemed to either bog it or blow the tires off.

Kelly was happy with her night too. Her best ET with the GTO came against one of the numerous and impressive 'Stangs there that night. The car sounded great and looked great too – it was a gorgeous Teal ’93 Cobra that was stock other than a CAI and exhaust according to the girl driving it. Kelly ripped off an outstanding 12.99 @110mph against the stock Cobra’s 13.34 – it was a great race to watch and with Kel’s Yellow goat and the Teal Cobra, it was a colorful one too.

The sun had long set and by a little after nine we were ready to leave. Just as we were pulling Brandon’s DR’s off the car and putting his stock F1’s/wheels back on (he didn’t want to be seen driving around with mis-matching wheels – sheesh), we heard a rumble pull up beside us.

I turned around about the same time Kelly did (B was still hand tightening the lugs on the left side of his Shelby) and saw the driver’s side of the red SRT-8 sitting there just idling with a menacing exhaust note. Regardless what you might think of how big the car is, this one sounds sick. We had thought it had left since we never saw it run again but regardless, there it was… just idling, less than 10 feet from us.

The window went down and in the light from the overhead Mercury Vapors we could see Bill sitting there smoking a big cigar; it’s blue-gray smoke wafting out of the window and into the cool, crisp night air. I saw his shoulders move around a bit and heard the sounds of transmission linkage being shifted – he had put it into park… and then, he shut the engine down.

It’s amazing how quiet it was just then. Neither of us spoke…

Kelly looked at me with a curious stare and I back at her. About that same time, Brandon stood up and was wiping his hands with an orange shop towel, just looking at Bill and his car. The Inferno Red paint glistened deeply in the light of the overheads; it looked like it was bottomless with a metallic glisten that was mesmerizing. He finally spoke…

“You’re the guy who was racing my boy when he wrecked, aren’t you?”

I didn’t like the sound of his voice, the tone of his voice, and I especially didn’t like the look he was giving me. Have you ever heard someone’s voice and just knew – JUST KNEW – that he was trouble?

I had no doubt that Bill Reynolds would be bringing with him some trouble. In the corner of my eye, I saw Brandon step forward up next to Kelly who was on the opposite side of B’s car from me.

“Yes, he and I were racing. What about it?”

He sat and looked at me for a few seconds… he took another draw on the cigar and I saw the embers glow brightly in the shadows of the car’s interior and then watched him exhale once more into the air above his car…

He held the big stogie out the car’s window, his meaty hand looking puffy and speckled with age spots, the smoke spiraling lazily from the tip… he then flicked some ashes onto the ground before he spoke again…

“Ned told me that you had a pretty quick car… is that true?”

I crossed my arms and walked towards the SRT-8 around B’s car and leaned against the ducktail spoiler as Kelly came over beside me. Brandon just stared – remember that loyalty thing I told you about Brandon early on? I wasn’t worried about backup if I were to need it…

“My car does all right. Again – what about it?”

“Well, Ned tells me – er, told me – that your car is fast. I want to see how fast – care to run me right now?”

“I don’t think there’s much time left here. Besides, we’re packing up to leave so maybe next time.”

“C’mon, Buick boy… just one friendly little race. The way I see it, you are partially to blame for Ned’s wreck – er, his death – and I think you owe me a race. Tell ya what – let’s make it interesting… look at this…”

He reached around and must have got the paper he thrust out the window from his console.

“Look here.” His tone changed again; and not for the better. “Come over here and look – this is the title for this car. I’ll run you for the title to your GN. Heads up, right here on the track. Are you game? You cost Ned his car in my book; maybe his life – I want to race you for yours. You win – which I don’t think you will – you get this SRT-8 right here. And she is NOT stock, I’m telling you this right now. It’s blown and had a lot of work done to it. I know what it’s capable of… so race me. Like they say on that TV show, “Pinks” – ‘You lose the race, you lose your ride… So how about it, Buick Boy – are you man enough to run for pink slips?”

I felt Kelly’s grip on my arm tighten trying to hold me back from reaching into the Dodge and grabbing him by his throat. She also knew that what he had just said would have resulted in me punching his yellow teeth down his throat if he had been standing in front of me or more, had she not been there at the moment.

“Steve… don’t do this… ignore him... he's probably drunk anyhow..”

Brandon on the other hand was quite the opposite.

“Run him Steve - and THEN kick his fat ass... That car and him are both the same – fat hogs. Take the pig to market and take his bigass Dodge too… Hell, if my Shelby wasn’t stock pal, I would run you myself but I saw your car run earlier and I know I wouldn’t have much of a chance right now…”

A few people had gathered around us and were listening/watching intently, waiting to hear my response. None of them most likely knew who this guy was but they knew the makings of a good race and this looked to them to be a good one… and they knew that the guy had punched the right buttons with me.

“Go ahead, Steve… run the guy… the track’s still open for about a half hour yet. You’ve got time to take his car… just go do it.”

The look on Kelly’s face was NOT one of agreement.

But have you ever felt like you absolutely had no choice about something? That if you DIDN’T do it, you knew you would regret it for the rest of your life? That, even if the results were to turn out badly, you would hate yourself more for not having done it even more than if you had done it and and failed?

Well, this was one of those times. Maybe I was thinking that this might be a way to get some sort of monkey off my back about Ned; about the race that ended so badly that Saturday night after Thanksgiving; about Ned’s death… I don’t know; maybe it was just the fact that I suddenly felt an immediate hatred towards this guy for initially no reason other than his attitude and his demeanor but he had crossed the line with what he said in front of my wife, my best friend and these good people around us. He had just gone too far...

All these thoughts were going through my head as more people walked up… cigar smoke still curled upwards into the night… it wasn’t cold yet but the temperatures had dropped… Kelly held a light jacket around her shoulders as I watched her mouth the word “no” toward me out of Bill’s eyesight… I knew the title to the GN was in the glove box…

I looked at Brandon… he just nodded ‘yes’ with anger flashing in his eyes…

Two of the most important people in my life were there; each of them giving me a completely different opinion… and for a moment, I was torn either way…

But then, I knew what I had to do… it was probably the same decision making process used by most men when they are challenged… it came down to a matter of pride… I don’t know, maybe losing to the Shelby earlier may have affected my decision but I don’t think so…

“Tell you what Bill. Here’s what I’ll do…”

The crowd stepped closer… Kelly didn’t move…

But Brandon grinned… he had heard this tone in my voice before…

Bill just stared at me, his fat arm dangling from the window with the cigar still glowing brightly on the end… more smoke curls drifting skyward…

“I’ll run you right here, right now… no ifs, ands, or buts… on the track but only as the last race of the night. And - you’ve got to agree to let them display your time on the clocks and you have got to agree to let the announcer say that this is a grudge match FOR THE TITLES. I am not going to let you try and weasel out of giving me the car…”

I could see the wheels turning in his head as it was his turn for his face to flush red with anger... but, he still didn’t speak… he simply pulled his arm back in and put the stogie in his lips, inhaling deeply again and then took it out and flung it back out the window as he started the car with his other hand…

The Hemi jumped to life immediately within one ‘whir’ of the starter; the drone of the supercharger evident with it’s exhaust rumbling… yet, he still had not answered…

Finally, he spoke…

“What’s the big deal about showing my ET, Buick Boy? It ain’t gonna matter cause you’re gonna lose anyways… and I don’t give a sh!t about what the announcer says. That’s fine by me - I want the people to know that not only did you lose to the Mustang; now, you're gonna lose your car for good. But tell me this - why do you care if my ET is shown?”

“Because I want everyone to know how badly I AM going to beat you… and for everyone to know what a blowhard you really are…and one more thing - when I win your car, I’ll probably end up selling it on eBay. I'm really not interested in keeping anything you've been sitting in...”

His red face grew redder as the crowd roared with laughter. I swear - at that moment, he looked like a puffer-fish.

“See ya at the tree, Buick boy cause we're racin'… and bring your title with you…”

He roared off toward the staging lanes as I heard someone yell, “It’s ON! They’re gonna run for slips! I’ll go tell the announcer!”

Kelly just looked up at me. “You just can’t say, ‘No’, can you?”

“You know I can’t back down on this Kel… you have to know that, don’t you?”

Brandon’s grin told me what he thought…

She smiled. “Steve?"

"What, Kel...?"

"I've got to say this... I would have been pissed off if you hadn't agreed to race him. Now go kick his ass and win that car…”

The warmth of her smile flooded over me. In that instant, the disappointment of the loss to Mira's Shelby was forgotten because I remembered that old saying that racers know is true...

"There is always someone faster...

And there's ALWAYS another race...

To be continued


Alright!!!! I've been waiting for this one!!!!:cool: :cool: I'm hooked like a fish....guess I'll be coming to this section every hour for the next couple of days!!!

Quiky One

Active Member
Dangit I'm pissed because I scrolled down and there was no more...When is the next "episode"? Keep it coming!!! :biggrin:



Staff member
Excellent story Raven.
FWIW, I put in a good word to Rick at GMHTP about your skillz and this story.
Can't wait for the next chapter.


DSM Loki

New Member
Raven, you are the man!

Thanks for mentioning the DSM, and knowing about some of the more obscure things, like the 2.3 stroker motor.

great research!


New Member
I agree, i signed up on this site just to be able to find this story through search.

I've read everything from part 1 to the "end" in about 2 hours. You are an AMAZING writer and I CANNOT WAIT to read the rest. Please have it up ASAP so I can quit refreshing the page every 10 minutes.

I found out about your story from the racing section on and re-posted it on my own local forum at


USAF Retired
Raven it looks like you have gotten even more popular :biggrin:

I stopped reading after charter X, due to work(traveling) :mad:
All caught up now so.....


Active Member
hehe, i spread the good news to (the site for grand prix GTPs and stuff). Raven, if you don't watch out, you might make a name for yourself!