Thursday, December 14, 2023

More Rolex 24 Memories

Originally published February, 2008

My brother, Ed, called me earlier and told me, "Quite a blog you got going there. Congratulations." I told him he only liked it because he is mentioned so often. We had a chuckle about that. He told me I should post about the trip his son James and I took to the pits at this year's Rolex24Hours at DIS. So here is that story.

A little background. The Rolex 24 Hours has been running at DIS for something like 43 years. It started out as a 12 hour race but expanded to 24 hours a few years later. The race, literally, runs nonstop from 1pm on saturday to 1pm on Sunday. Most teams have 4 drivers, but some have more or less. For the remainder of the races in the season, most teams have just 2 regular drivers. For the 24 hours race, drivers from almost all of the other racing series join these teams. In the past, Max Papis, Dale Earnhardt Sr and Jr, Jimmy Johnson, Kasey Kane, Juan Pablo Montoya and many others have raced in this race. It is pretty cool to see them all.

The race is run on the entire NASCAR track at DIS plus an infield road course. In all, I think there are something like 75-80 cars in this race in two classes. The Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT class. The DP's are one off, they all have the same body style but chassis and motors are up to the owners. Supposed to save bucks this way. The GT class consists of Porsche 911's, Vipers, Ferraris, Corvettes, and Mustangs and more. The two classes race at different speeds, with the GT's being slower. As a result, when a DP approaches a GT car, the GT must move over and let the DP by. You think, "This is not a big deal." Until I point out that oftentimes, two GT cars are battling for position when the DP shows up. The trick for the lead GT driver is to let the DP car by but not his opponent, the GT. It is a blast to watch and observe different tactics, at least for us. There are actually three winners in this race, Class winner in DP, Class Winner in GT, Overall winner. Each driver with the winning teams gets a Rolex watch.

For the many years, a friend of ours has had a concession at DIS and during Speedweeks, the Rolex24, Daytona 500, the Brumos 250 and the (former) Pepsi 400, Ed and I become his employees and we enjoy passes that allow us everywhere, except the grandstands, we are there to work, afterall. Our buddy brings his motorhome out and we camp out in the infield with several hundred other motorhomes. Ed and I are the camp stewards. I am the chef and Ed is in charge of basic camp duties, get the generator going, set up and take down chairs, police the campsite, well you get the idea. Our buddy never stays overnite. He lives in Ormond Beach and, I think, enjoys the party more than the race.

Ed, James, and I have been going to this race for quite a few years,

but this is the first year Mom let James stay overnite. At 15, I would say about right.

At some point, the three of us, along with a buddy of James, camping with his dad in tent city, went to the pits but with only three passes.

Along the way, we saw this Kodak DP spun out in the hairpin, yes the same hairpin where Ed got that tire a few years ago.

In the pits and garage area, we saw some pretty cool, and some not so cool, stuff, such as this not so cool DP

So sad, I hate to see this as this means less entertainment on the track. Unlike some forms of circle track racing, wrecks are not cool, just expensive. With reference to the crowds at the 24, think Maserati Quatroroport vs. Ford Taurus.

This was the pit stall for the #60 car, forgot what it is. Check out those computers. And to think, I am just learning how to blog. Sorry about your luck.

I was going to tag this going but you can see what it is. Brumos is a high end sports car chain based in Jacksonville. Sadly, this was the first year in many Bob Snodgrass was not there. He passed in 2007.

If you look closely in this photo, you can see Ed telling the mechanics how to change a radiator in this Porsche. No, not all Porsches are air cooled.

At one point, Ed and I appropriated seats on a cart while James and his buddy went into the pits. James had Ed's pass while his buddy had a spare. A few minutes later, they returned looking down in the dumps. I asked why back so soon. James related, to us sitting right there in that picture, upon passing through the second security station, they got stopped. The security dude asked James' name, and James said, "James Lee" while wearing Ed's pass. Needless to say, Ed and I burst out laughing. Ed, to his credit, described the protocol for using fake passes, but did add that if James ever did that to get booze, the sh** would hit the fan.

But that is not the story this post is about.

As I mentioned, this was James' first time to stay overnite.

The three of us are sitting in the motorhome, about 12:30 that night, watching the race out the windows

and watching it on SpeedTV. James looks over at me and says, I swear, "John-John, this is surreal". I was floored. I was watching this boy become a man and he described the moment perfectly.

Of course, in this deep moment of mature reflection, I said, "Let's go to the pits".

And James and I did. Ed was to pooped from bossing around those Porsche mechanics earlier in the day, and decided to stay home with his friend Bud, under the Lite.

So James and I set off. On the way, at the hairpin, we saw Chip Ganassi's 02 car spun and being recovered. Guess we should stay away from the hairpin.

We got to see this Kodak car get a 20 minute brake job, rotors included, and yes, we saw this car come into the garage area, stayed for the whole show, and watched it leave.

Shortly after this picture was taken, we walked down a few pit stalls and came across a guy, in the lower left of the following photo, working on a couple sets of tires. I asked him if they were heading to the truck, meaning wrecked out or terminal mechanical failure. He replied, no, the previous tenants of this stall were already in the truck. He worked for Mazda, the next booth over.

I told James to head into that booth and we kept talking to the Mazda dude. Well, he took off his headset and put them on James' head, saying, "Don't touch anything". I was floored and James didn't know what to do. Unbeknownst to me, while James had that headset on, the Master of Operations came on the radio and said, "Next time around bring it in and we'll take four tires and a change of drivers". Once the tire dude saw all the activity in the pits, he snagged that headset and got to work, doubletime. James looks at me and tells me this. I was so excited for him. I suggested James go up by the pit wall and hang out. You can see him in the same pic sitting in the corner, but definitely not in trouble.

Needless to say, we stuck around for that pit stop, and took pictures.

Check out James' sh** eating grin...

and mine, too.

One of the best parts of this tale is this Mazda won First in Class.

Now for the best part.

As we are walking back to the motorhome, James tells me, "Ya know John-John, I knew at the same time as everyone on that team they were going to come in." I didn't say anything and we continued to walk along. James then gave me this biggest compliment I have received in some time. He said, "John-John, every time we hang out we always do something fun."

Wait until the Amelia Island Concours de Elegance next month.

But that is another post.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Chapman Super Maverick

A few years back, my nephew, the Kid, and this olelongrooffan paid a couple visits to the Daytona International Speedway for the Subway Nationwide event on Friday as well as the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday. As usual, we spent most of our time wandering around the garage and pits leaving just after the first round of pit stops to get to the best place to watch a NASCAR race. On TV in the Kid's garage.
While we were out there, in the garage area at the entrance to pit road, I spotted this truck that TNT (who televised races back then) utilized to serve as a camera platform.
I thought it was pretty damn cool and gathered up a bunch of images of it as I had never seen one previous to that Friday.
This truck is based out of MickeyMouseLand down in the Sunshine State and made the trek to the Speedway for these events.
The big guy on the right in the above image operates both the crane and drives the truck to and fro.
I peaked at the invoice on the windshield at Saturday's happenings. TNT paid Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment $6,000 for the time period of 9:00 am on June 30 to midnite on July 4th. Soon serious cash this olelongrooffan thinks for what was a few hours racing on Saturday and a three hour round trip from Orlando to Daytona Beach.
The truck is built on a deuce and half chassis and has an electric motor that can power it up to 6 mph while the gas engine gets it to about 50 mph.
Its overall weight is 26,000 pounds and has six wheel drive and six wheel steering.
When I saw this beast I knew a blog about it was somewhere in my future. I did a little research on this and
was able to come up with a link to the Chapman-Leonard website outlining the specifications and capabilities of the Super Maverick. You can check them out here.
I couldn't find out anything about who designed or built these beauties but I am confident someone knows a ton about them. The operator did mention about 25 of these were built in the late 50's and early 60's. He also mentioned the central pivoting mechanism is from a USS Constellation but mounted inverted. While the operator told me it was built on a deuce and a half chassis, it did possess a Chevy truck steering wheel circa early to mid 1960's. It seems my 66 one ton panel delivery Chevy had one just like it.
This truck also has unique body panels that are obviously designed just for this application. Try as I might, I could not recognize any of the panels being used on other vehicles this olelongrooffan is familiar with.
It has a removable fiberglass roof and the doors are merely frameless canvas and plexiglass panels ala early Jeep CJ's.
And trust me, these were the only Firestone tires inside the garage area of the Daytona International Speedway that weekend!

And this truck was so cool to me, I just had to add another image, this time with me with it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Barn Find: B & D Racing Selling Entire Kid 2 Race Team

Up for sale is a Barn Find 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Stock Car bodied stock go cart. Successfully raced throughout many series when new with Valvoline Racing livery under guidance of team owner thejeepjunkie. Driver the Kid Lee was noteworthy with this setup and suffered only one minor mishap when he tapped a fellow driver with the front spoiler. Repairs shown and successfully completed in the B & D Racing race shop in Tampa, Florida. Back up driver, AcrossTheStreet Bubba, also collected lucrative finishes in minor racing series recording several victories also under the Valvoline livery. 

An expected growth spurt in 2009 resulted in the sale of the race team to the B & D Racing race shop to be raced by "Kid 2" Racing. The "Kid 2" designation was included as the managing partner of B & D Racing could never remember the name of the neighborhood kid driving for them that week. As James Lee will always be the Kid, all subsequent kids were named "Kid 2". It was after this sale to B & D Racing that John Deere was brought aboard for sponsorship. 

At this time, the team was able to upgrade to new tires and spares as well as a modern, self contained race trailer which is included in this sale. Under the John Deere sponsorship, several drivers have pursued their aspirations but none had been as successful as the Lee/Bubba driving partnership based out of the Birthplace of Speed. 

B & D Racing is liquidating their race team holdings with the sale of this package. 

The managing partner of B & D Racing is known to have said in a fit of disgust, that "if it don't have 5 lug nuts, it ain't stock car racing." 

"The John Deere, Bass Pro Shops, Sunoco fuels, Mike's Welding, Pabst Blue Ribbon Pontiac Grand Prix has been a successful venture for us, even without corporate support," he continues. 

"I only wish we could have acquired that Oldsmobile Aurora the Kid liked so much so he could have driven it for us in the Rolex24 at Daytona," he lamented. 

This sale includes: 
Race car with stock chassis, suspension and ** HP Briggs and Stratton engine 
Self contained race trailer with tires and spares as shown 
John Deere and co sponsor livery included with sale 
John Deere Tractor Tow Vehicle Not Included 

Please note the racing components have been idle since 2017 after competing successfully for several seasons in the Bay area.

No Trophies are included. 

Contact info listed below:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Goodbye Old Friend

It should be noted that this blogpost was written for another site in 2013 and was thought to have been lost to these interwebs forever. I was lucky enough to have found it and with a bit of doctoring, this olelongrooffan was able to bring it back. Hope you appreciate as I do.

This olelongrooffan has previously shared some of the vehicles my family and I have owned over the years. But one of the most beloved vehicles was the one my older brother, Bus-Plunge, owned for over twenty years. I am, of course referring to the short bus that has played an important role in not just Bus-Plunge’s life but his kids, grandkids, family members and friends.

Every year at Christmas time, Bus-Plunge, on the far right standing behind my Mom, would gather up whoever wanted to go for a ride and tour around the Queen City of the Ozarks and check out all the Christmas lights and decorations. In the image above, that is my Dad, TheGentlemanFarmer on the far left, Bus-Plunge’s PrvtRN is in the white slacks and Mom is on the far right. The dude with the pipe is the neighbor who went with Bus-Plunge to Colorado to retrieve that old Willy’s thejeepjunkie got running while this olelongrooffan was on my epic road trip.

Now that shorty bus is not the only oddball unique vehicle that has ever resided in Bus-Plunge’s driveway. He has this cool ass old Airstream that he and lovely wife put to great use. He currently has a later model Suburban to haul it around though. Last summer they had a great road trip through Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and southern Missouri and this olelongrooffan would have loved to been along on that sightseeing trip.

Back when the Bus-Plunge made a living owning several “joints” in the carnival industry these are the trucks he and his Hooned up and down the highway in up there in the great state of Iowa.

One summer this olelongrooffan worked for them and drove this C-30 box truck towing a 24′ enclosed trailer. Yeah, I was all of sixteen years old that eventful summer and still remember it like it was yesterday. Fun, but loads of windshield time.

Meanwhile, Bus-Plunge piloted this bobtail towing a 32′ skeeball enclosed trailer while his PrvtRN drove his big ass blue one ton towing their huge house trailer. Yeah that summer was fun but after the kids started school, they decided to liquidate their stuff and live a more conventional lifestyle.

Conventional, that is, if you consider owning one of these three wheeled Cushmans as conventional. Which of course Bus-Plunge does.

Soon he decided to get into all things air cooled. The only time this olelongrooffan saw his Volkwagen Thing it was painted white. A few years later I got a copy of this photo and wasn’t surprised to see it was painted camo. My fellow Hoons will see why this olelongrooffan wasn’t surprised just aways down.

Yeah, he got into VDubs in a huge way. Not seen in this photo are the other two Buses he owned along with a handful of Type I Bugs. That boy in this photo? His name is LilJim. He is now pushing 40, has a burgeoning family and Hoons around in a M880. These days this olelongrooffan refers to him as NotSoLilJim. Yeah, as far as vehicles go, like father like son.

A little later Bus-Plunge picked up this cherry Porsche 911 to Hoon around with his lovely wife. He sold this when NotSoLilJim turned 16 and has never regretted that decision.

And Bus-Plunge doesn’t do things in a minor, tepid way. No Siree. He jumps in with both feet. After he tired of adjusted valves on a daily basis on his air-cooled livery, he unloaded all of them and picked up more than a few military vehicles. To his credit, they were put to use.

Yeah, a big way. Not just late model ambulances but this jeepy thing as well. And that trailer out back, damn straight Bus-Plunge had to have one even if he had to drive several hours there and back to get it.

. And, of course, for Bus-Plunge, one ambulance is not enough, let’s get another.

Well, after his lovely wife denied him the authority to purchase an old car transporter truck and trailer to haul his cache of military vehicles around he decided to liquidate yet another collection of cool trucks and pick up this Stovebolt 5 ton to match his shorty bus.

Yes, back to the bus. A year or so ago, Bus-Plunge was contacted by an advertising agency about the possibility of using the short bus in a McDonald’s commercial up in Chicago. He kept putting them off and they kept raising his compensation until finally Bus-Plunge gave in and loaded that shorty bus on thehorsefarmer’s trailer and put his grandsons in his newish Burban and headed off to Chicago for that filming.

They even got Bus-Plunge a uniform to wear while driving that bus. The commercial was destined for broadcast over in jolly old England so Rust-My-Enemy, keep your eye out for it.

Well, as Bus-Plunge ages, he, like many do, has decided to liquidate a bunch of his stuff. And as the short bus was driven less than 100 miles last year and less than 125 miles the previous year, he decided to put it up on the List that is Craigs and see what he could get for it. I did a little Hemmings type research and mentioned to Bus-Plunge the value of that bus. He was quite surprised as he was thinking it was worth less than half the amount this olelongrooffan expressed.

Well, it turns out that a grandfather down Texas way was on the lookout for a bus just like this to tote his grandkids to school, Hoon around bar hopping with a bunch of friends, use it in parades and general stuff like that. Which is exactly the same use for it Bus-Plunge had over the years. Hell, sixteen of us rode in it to my Mom’s funeral a whiles back. She loved the bus by the way.

Well, Bus-Plunge and that grandpa struck a deal and on Saturday morning one of the truck drivers who works for grandpa showed up to pick up that short bus and take it to its new home. That is NotSoLilJim in the yellow jacket.

All loaded up and off to make some grandkids very happy and provide a ton of memories for a whole damn bunch of other folks.

A final handshake as Bus-Plunge and the driver exchange goodbyes and the short bus rode off into the distance.

And as Bus-Plunge put it, “We had a blast with it over the past twenty years but it was now time to turn it loose and let someone else have fun with it.”

Oh yeah, that 1954 shorty school bus sold for $16,000.00. Yeah, Bus-Plunge was surprised as hell about that.

This olelongrooffan calls that “Well Sold.”

Image Copyright 2013/longrooffan