So, I’m heading to the airport tomorrow morning, I haven’t written in 4 weeks (which is two races to all you hardcore fans), and it’s nearly midnight. Sounds like my typical M.O. (thought I’d throw in some Latin for you REAL old-schoolers). Hey, how come Latin folks speak Spanish? Anyways, I digress....
With all that has happened in the past month, I’d be sitting here for hours just trying to recall, repeat, and recant my activities, and I just don’t have that kind of time. So, I’ve selected some photos, I’ll caption them accordingly, and I’ll give you guys the “Reader’s Digest” version (for you literacy buffs out there) of all things Beckman:
I’ve taken up painting lately, and I must say I’m getting pretty damn good. Before you start jumping to conclusions, I’m not dabbling in canvas recreations of the Old West, nor am I trying to emulate the Blue Period of Picasso (you art historians would of course know this to be from 1901-1904, during which time Pablo apparently ran out of all colors except blues and greens). Hey, here’s some useless trivia for you Jeopardy followers: Picasso’s real name was: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. Can you imagine him trying to sign that on the back of his paintings? I think I’d just have called myself, “Pee Pee,” but perhaps that would have instigated some ridicule. Oh, yeah... back to my story:
My painting lately has been displayed mostly on vertical surfaces, and featured the use of the fine products from Behr, primarily Latex and primer. Yep, I’ve made many a trip down to Cindy’s (my mother-in-law) new condo to change that ugly blue and green (with my apologies to Pablo Diego Jose Fran.....ah, never mind) to a more neutral earth tone. If you want to see exactly what that new color is, my hands and arms should still have plenty of samples on them in Gainesville.
Layla got her first central incisor (that would be a tooth to you who aren’t fluent in all things dental) about 10 days ago, and we’re still on the hunt for tooth #2. Jason had the bottom front two break daylight on the same day, but his little sister appears to be slightly behind him in that department. All the fussing, crying, and drooling (I’m not referring to me on that) tells us it won’t be long before more teeth appear.
Yes, it runs. Yes, it’s THAT small. And, yes, someone has WAY too much time on their hands!
I don’t know what was more impressive: Randy’s amazing “Museum” (I see cars from Ivo, Capps, Gilbertson and Hight just in this shot), or Tyler’s glow-in-the-dark jacket!
We’ve had to take our little Princess on several doctor appointments, as there has been some concern about the size of her noggin. The pediatrician felt worried that Layla’s head was growing at a rate that could indicate bigger problems, and that has caused lots of anxiety here at the Beckman Estates. Instead of sending her in for a CT scan, which is an alarming amount of radiation for a little body, we elected to visit the neurologist first. He seemed to think her large cranium and slight delays in achieving some “milestones” (rolling over, pushing herself up, etc.) were not that unusual, and not a reason to be so fearful. Hell, big heads and slow development are a hallmark of the Beckman family tree!
I think every parent wants their child to be special, to stand out and achieve great things, to set themselves apart from the average person. And yet, at moments like this, all Jenna and I really want is for our daughter to be normal, average, and “unremarkable.” Health truly is the most important thing a person can have. Except for maybe a nice car... and pretty teeth... and a hot wife.
I was able to hang out with the guys on the crew several times, both before and after the Pomona race. Randy Haapala lives about 30 minutes from me (roughly a half hour for you math professors out there), and has amassed an unbelievable collection of drag race memorabilia. My buddy Bob Frey and I set out to take in the sights over at Randy’s place, and we turned our twosome into an eleven-some with the addition of the crew, Brent Cannon, and Rick Green from Drag Race Central. And... Randy has friends that like to collect cool stuff also. So, we set off to see another garage packed with bitchin’ toys, cars, surfboards, and the like. I’m not sure if it’s cool to use any names, so I’ll keep that on the “down-low” for now.
I think Jason was mad he didn’t get to wear one of those cool vests, but any day you can watch people blow stuff up, AND score a free hard hat... how can you be upset?
The guys and I also went and saw a nice explosion (my definition of that is ANY explosion where I’m not behind the wheel). I have several buddies that run a local quarry, and their job is to make lots of little pieces out of a couple of big pieces (which, ironically, kinda sounds like my job). Unless you’ve seen a demolition crew blast a big chunk of earth in person, you don’t know what you’re missing. This was my second viewing, and I intend to go back for more. The crew was so impressed that we may try to schedule a November viewing when they’re back this way for the Finals. We just need to decide who’s doing the cooking and who brings the beer. As for me, I want to push that ACME/Wiley Coyote plunger and start the fun!
I had an extra $400 laying around, so on one of my painting trips I decided to run over someone’s lost hex driver and puncture one of the PT tires, causing a real dilemma: what do I do now? The fronts only had about 5,000 miles left on them, but the rears would have easily gone another 15,000 plus. But, with Murphy’s Law being what it is, I of course blew out a rear tire, and it didn’t look good. It only made sense to bite the bullet and put 4 new shoes on my P.O.S. Cruiser (you can fill in the acronym on that). Fortunately, my friends at Mountain View Tire Centers, the Mitsoses, made sure I was treated right. Still, it was a little like putting $200 running shoes on a guy in a wheelchair (the car is getting old and tired).
I wanted to call my friends and tell them the great news, but I decided to share a photo with all of you... my extended family! Aren’t you proud!
Speaking of old and tired, how about my Little Red Wagon pickup (with apologies to Bill Golden). Yeah, my pride and joy just turned 250,000 miles, so I of course had to pull off to the side of the freeway and take a photo of the odometer (why don’t they call it a “mile-ometer”?).
Rodger and Karen Comstock have been some of the biggest supporters of the incredible BRAKES organization of Doug Herbert, and I like to help whenever possible. On February 24, BRAKES held a fundraiser at the NHRA Museum. Rodger had reserved a table, but he and Karen were in Phoenix racing at the divisional meet, so I was tasked with filling it. Brent and Staci Cannon, Jim and Leann Costanza, Bob and Karen Pederson, and my favorite orthodontist (that’s someone who fixes your teeth), Dr. Steve Chapple all came out to help raise funds to instruct more youth to become safer drivers. Neat deal.
From the driver’s seat, this thing was flat truckin’, and stuck in the middle of the groove. Right about now I felt 1 second away from being in the semifinals.
Speaking of safer drivers, did any of you see my second round race against Gary Densham in Pomona? Holy carp (I’m allowed to make references to religious fish without getting into trouble)... was that unbelievable. I’ve probably made more than 600 runs in a nitro Funny Car and never once came close to the centerline. Well, I certainly ended that streak in a big way. Not only did I get the centerline, but I collected two cones and another Dodge Charger in the process. Fortunately neither car was seriously hurt, but man was that strange. That car moved so violently that many of the other crew chiefs thought we must have broken an axle or lost a spill plate. One of the more frustrating parts of that incident is that we really don’t know what caused the car to turn so abruptly. Our numbers up ‘til about 450 feet indicated the car was on at least a 4.04, and in a split second everything changed.
Phoenix was kinder to us, but did you see all the Funny Cars veering over the centerline there? (At this rate, this year could be the most interesting ever for the fuel coupes!). We had the second quickest car in the semi’s, but our problem was that the quickest car, Mike Neff, was in the other lane. Still, we like our chances of getting a trophy real soon.
While at the Winternationals, Brent and I were able to attend a roast for Don Garlits. The “roasters” were: Dave McClelland, Ed Pink, Sid Waterman, Ed Iskendarian, Jerry Ruth, Tommy Ivo, and Don Prudhomme. Bob Frey did his usual amazing job keeping things flowing, and the stories were fantastic. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy just being a “fly on the wall” around some of the pioneers of this sport. I have been so blessed to have been able to meet so many of these incredible folks over the years.
I suppose I better close for now, get a few hours sleep, and catch my plane back east. I am doing a Wal-Mart appearance for Valvoline in Joplin, Missouri before heading to Gainesville. Joplin was decimated last May by a tornado with winds well in excess of 200 mph! 160 people lost their lives, and hopefully we can help put a little sparkle back in the community by displaying our car and getting a chance to hang out and talk with the residents.
Stay tuned, don’t take pictures of your dash while driving, and stay in your lane!