Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Team Daily Rant Makes A Pitstop In Florida

I arrived at Sebring International Raceway late at night, having driven through dense fog and bouts of rain.  Through the pitch-black woods of Central Florida, two lanes, no lights.  I couldn't find any suitable place to park when I got there, so I parked right in front of the main gate.  We woke at sunrise to meet our contact.
This sign listing Sebring Champions was directly to the right of the main gate.  In 61 years of racing here at Sebring, the Germans came out far ahead of everyone else, winning 31 races.  The Italians came in second, taking 14, the UK and Japan won 6 races each, France and the US tied at 2.    
Crossing the bridge to the paddock area, we could see part of the track.  It has seventeen turns - high and low speed - chicanes, a hairpin, and a little camber on the surface.  Oh, and it's a weird alligator-mouth shape.  Seriously.  See it here.  
When we were first called about the load, picking up at JFK Airport in New York, we were told it was going to be a race car.  We were totally psyched.  We texted our friends Marlaina and MacGyver immediately, since he's such a fan of racing.  Turns out, they were also called about the load but didn't actually get to talk to the agent, so he left them a message and called us.  We were all going to be in the same area, and they needed a team.

We told Marlaina that if they really wanted the load, we'd wait and get something else, knowing MacGyver would find it more exciting than us.  It wasn't "our load" to give away, but since the agent hadn't confirmed all the information yet, it was still up in the air.  Unfortunately, their schedule didn't allow for them to take it, so we headed to the airport to wait for the freight to clear Customs.  It took hours and hours and hours for that to happen, but we finally got loaded and headed south.

Stretching out in front of us is the pit area where they planned to unload us.  I told Ed to hit it on this stretch but he didn't go for it.
The track was on the other side of the fence to the left.  Test Corvettes were whizzing by as we drove, passing in a high pitched whoosh as Ed positioned the truck to be unloaded.
Turns out we didn't actually get a race car - I know, what were we thinking??  We got race car parts.  Part of me was thinking, they're shipping a race car in a crate through JFK?  But what do I know about racing?  Maybe that's how they do it - the stuff was coming from the Kingdom of Bahrain by way of Stuttgart, Germany.  It could've been the real deal.
At least they were Porsche parts for the winningest team - the Germans, of Team Manthey.  Looked like a bunch of junk to me - a bumper, disc brakes, fenders - certainly not as exciting as a race car.

We did sort of have our own "pit crew" though, since all the Porsche guys were swarming around the truck on foot and with a forklift to quickly take everything to their setup area.  Ed was told they weren't racing, they were just doing testing of cars.  He also said he heard a lot of German being bandied about.
The guys in the picture below were cleaning this car like they were going to wear it to the prom.  I've never seen so many guys working so hard to get something clean.  If only they could apply these skills to the bathroom.  And the dishes they leave on the counter.  And the fingerprints they leave on the refrigerator door.  
At eight in the morning, the humidity was oppressive.  Oddly, I prefer a little humidity in the air since it makes my skin glisten and my hair curl a little, but I wasn't expecting it to be that warm.  I could just imagine how this guy must have felt in this outfit.  I couldn't even stand looking at him in that suit.  And that balaclava?!   Ugh.  I took my photos and made my way back to the icy confines of my sleeper.
Ed finished unloading.  Once again, he commented on how much he loves this trailer.  We've had it on the road for about ten days now and have done three loads with it.  
Look at how cool the sliding accordion-like feature is.   Getting this trailer was a great move.  If only for the fact that Ed now doesn't have to spend hours in the cold weather - or worse in my mind, the hot weather - climbing all over the trailer, throwing tarps weighing hundreds of pounds, getting dirty (although Ed always stays inexplicably clean) and then walking around hanging bungees everywhere.  And the tarp matches the truck.  

Hello, Pretty Lady!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: An Apple A Day
2011: California Sunshine
2010: A Star (Or Two) Is Born
2009: Modern Road Warriors And Their Weapons 
2008: Holsteins On Display
2007: Listening And LOVING
2006: Unfortunately Synonymous
2005: The Gays Are The Ritziest


Gil said...

I would have loved to be a stowaway on that trip. Did you drive around the track with your truck?

Belledog said...

Wonderful pictorial, Salena.

If you weren't a trucker in 2013, you would have been Salena Bourke-White with Life magazine in the 20th century.

The Daily Rant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Daily Rant said...

GIL: When we were leaving, even more drivers, cars, and staff were coming to the track. You would have probably liked talking to them.

BELLEDOG: I had no idea who this Bourke-White chick was, had to Google her. Very cool. And we were both born in the Bronx!

Anonymous said...

I think the rolling trap system is great. Sergi (smd5231 on youtube) hated it as he had to have his trailer level. but he had a step deck