Racing To Make Accusations

, , , , | Friendly | February 5, 2021

I race dirt oval stock cars a few nights a week. I’m in a mid-level class — not the rookie divisions, but not the top-dollar, fastest cars, either. Mostly, it’s a class for drivers to have fun and compete without needing to spend multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars every summer. As such, as competitive as we are on the track, all of us drivers and our pit crews are also great friends who go to great lengths to loan each other spare parts or extra hands during emergency repairs. We want to race each other, and racing is no fun when all the other guys are broken down in the pits.

On opening night one season, a bunch of us have gotten to the pits early and are hanging out shooting the breeze, waiting for the racing to start. At the last minute, a massive enclosed trailer shows up at the pit entrance. This thing is easily fancier than any other trailer in the pit area — even the top-level classes — and looks like something that should be on pit lane at a NASCAR race, not just a weekend dirt track show.

The pit area at the track is generally divided by car class, and to everybody’s surprise, this fancy trailer heads over to the class that I race in. They park and start unloading the car, and all the pit crew guys are wearing matching uniforms — compared to everyone else in grubby jeans and T-shirts. Nobody from the trailer makes an effort to introduce themselves to anyone else, and they’re giving off an arrogant vibe, so we all comply and stay away from them.

We get through hot laps and move into the heat races. I’m in the same heat as the new car from the fancy trailer. The green flag drops and we all take off racing.

A few laps into the race, another driver and I make contact, and I get knocked off course — and straight into the new car. I end up hitting him hard and damaging both our cars badly enough that we can’t finish the race. We get towed back to the pit area, and before the new car is even off the hook, the driver is out of his car and storming over to me.

Before I can get out of my car, he starts yelling.

Driver: “I’m going to sue you for damaging my racecar! You ruined my easy win against all you amateur fools!”

Blah, blah, blah. I stay in my car because I don’t want to risk getting suspended from the track for fighting on opening night, and the other driver eventually gives up trying to fight, turns on his heel, and stomps back to his own trailer.

I climb out of my car and some of the drivers and pit crews from my class and other classes gather around to make sure everything is okay. I explain what happened, and after my adrenaline wears off, I walk over to the fancy trailer to try and explain what happened and offer to lend a hand to their repair efforts. 

Pit Crew Member: “Get lost!”

So, I headed back to my own trailer while they loaded up the car and left the track.

Meanwhile, the other drivers, knowing that sometimes bad stuff happens in racing, helped me bodge together a quick repair job on my car, and we managed to get the car running in time for the feature race later that night. I didn’t finish the race — some of the bodge jobs just weren’t permanent enough to stand up — but at least I started, unlike the guy with the fancy trailer that I assume was filled with all sorts of professional-quality tools and spare parts.

The team with the fancy trailer continued to show up every weekend and continued to give off the same arrogant vibe. I don’t know if they ever actually tried to sue me or not. I can’t imagine they found a lawyer who agreed to take on a case where a RACE CAR got damaged during a CAR RACE. But even if they had found a lawyer, all drivers at the track have to sign a waiver agreeing that they accept the risks and that they can’t sue the track or other drivers for car damage or injury unless it is blatantly intentional, so I would have been covered anyway.

I managed to win a handful of races that season. The “professional” team with the fancy trailer won absolutely nothing.

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