Live, Love, Laugh, Race!

December 29, 2009

1972 VW Rat BeetleI live to race. I love the smell of burning rubber, racing fuel, and concession stand food. My past was certainly nowhere near as exciting as my new life--I live to race.


I power a voluptuous flat-black rat '72 Beetle around the track, just as fifteen other cars do each Saturday night, to the sound of squealing tires, screaming fans, and hard-working, chill-inducing engine revs. Am I a VTEC? No. Am I a Hemi? Nuh uh. How about a big-block, big-bore Chevy that sounds as means as it is?

No--better! I am a proud and hearty little 1600cc Volkswagen engine. What do I have on all those other engines out there, you say? Hardiness and simplicity.

Post-race tech inspection.I--and the classic VW body I propel--are part of a local New Mexican racing division. The standards and rules we follow are not an evil scheme devised to make our builders insane with frustration or our officials busy with tech inspections; the rules level the playing field so that the true winner in our division will be easily recognized when all is said and done.


How do the rules do all that, you ask? Well, all of my fellow racing engines and I must be stock and of Volkswagen descent, with a maximum capacity of 1600cc. We must race as received from the factory--save for aftermarket cam shafts and oil sumps and pumps. Our curvy bodies must be race-safe, meaning Lexan replacing glass, headlights removed, bumper guards or nerf bars added, and hood pins secured. I have a lighter load to speed with because nearly all of the interior has been removed. What remains inside is a racing seat, a bright blue roll cage, and idiot lights (that's what my driver calls them--I've never called her an idiot. *wink*) My fellow bugs tend to ride around on classy little simple universal wheels, but, tires--such an important part!--are open to whatever non-slick tire works best. Right about the time we started to get attached to a good set of tires, Yokohama ES100's, they were discontinued. They were so much fun to lose traction with!

Fans enjoy close-action slug bug racing every Saturday night.

Racing season is over for now. I will get my rest this winter and dream of warm summer nights spent on the track learning new tricks and perfecting old ones. Ahhh, what a wonderful racing life it is!

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