The Day the Fire Came Into Town
Santa Ana Winds + Dry Timber = Big Fires. Orange sky from the smoke and ash
[note: November 12th. I
heard 2nd hand that the Owner of The Car apparently didn't want the
photos and story on the net, so I removed them]
In southern California, the cool wind normally blows off the ocean onto land. But occasionally due to atmospheric conditions, we have what is called the "Santa Ana winds". The hot Santa Ana winds blow from the deserts, and move "off shore" towards the ocean. Which is great if you are a surfer, as when the wind blows offshore, it holds the face of the wave up a little longer, causing the face of the wave to be larger, and creating the "tube like" conditions that surfers crave.
Flames were 100 feet high in some areas. 3000+ houses destroyed in various fires
Temperatures go up quite a bit, as suddenly instead of it being 65-70 degrees by the ocean in October, it now becomes 80-85 degrees. As you move inland, figure it gets a degree hotter for every mile you are from the ocean. Which is why so many people live by ocean, as everyone wants to feel that cool breeze blowing through their hair in the afternoon.
Anyways, since it hardly ever rains in Southern California, the drought condition can get real bad. Combined with the Santa Ana winds blowing at 30-40 mph, it creates a tinderbox condition, and any little fire rapidly spreads and becomes a full on, out of control wild fire. Some of these huge fires can be started with something as simple as a lit cigarette laying on top of a book of matches (typical of most arsonists). The huge San Diego fire was started by some moron who was hiking, got lost, so he shot a flare up into the sky. Flare hit the ground....and burned up about 2000 homes.
Mumford right after winning the Laguna Race
We went to Mumford's funeral service, buzzing up in the F-cars to the Victorville area. About 200+ people were there. The eulogies for Mumford were very touching, as racers, business partners, and employees told their stories about how Mumford played such a positive influence in their lives. One of the more touching stories was the guy that stood up and said at one time, he was a down-on-his-luck sales person until he met Mumford. The guy said his life was going downhill, he was bankrupt, his business failed, he sucked as a sales person, and then he met Mumford. Mumford was apparently hiring people for his insurance office, and took this guy under his wing, helped the guy, and he eventually became one of Paul's best sales people. Other people told stories about how when they were kids, Paul would do stuff like get sleeping bags and turn them into toys for racing, and they would put the sleeping bags at the top of the stairs, get in them, and race down the stairs, sliding down in the sleeping bags. Another person said that Paul was at a business meeting in Hawaii, and when he heard that there was a big slide contest, he practiced for hours on the hotel slide, complete with someone timing how long it took him to traverse the slide, so he could maximize his "line" through the slide. And yes, he won the event!
After the burial, Wayne and I were among the last people to leave, as it takes about 10 minutes to take the top off the F355 and put it back behind the seats, and for me to change into my short pants and tank top. Mumford is buried closed to a big tree, and Wayne pulls up and stops in the street parallel to Mumford's grave, and signals me to wait. What the hell? I then hear Wayne rev the 360 Modena to 8000 RPMs, and he dumps the clutch, leaving a 50 foot long burn out. Wayne calls me on the two-way radio, and says, "Paul would have liked that!".
Brett and BP stopped by the house after the funeral, and Brett had one of the best racing stories that I heard about Mumford. It had to do with the Sport Compact Car Ultimate Street Car Challenge. It goes like this:
Last year, one of the Brembo guys was telling me that the editors of Sport Compact Car were looking for entries for the Ultimate Street Car Challenge. For those of you who do not read the magazine, it is geared more toward high performance import cars that go in a straight line. Anyways, the Brembo guy heard about the event from people at the magazine, and they mentioned they got a Viper driver entered to mix it up with the import guys. The Brembo guy asked, "Oh yeah, who did you get?". When the magazine guy replied, "Some guy named Mumford", the Brembo guy started cracking up laughing, implying, "You morons, if you want an "import car" to win your "import" event, you can't let MUMFORD enter in the event! He's gonna whup on everyone!". Anyways, we thought that would be the end of that, and they would boot Mumford out of the event, but apparently they are pretty sporting over there at Sport Compact Car, and decided to let Mumford run his Viper ACR street car that he has been whupping ass with on the race track. I guess maybe they thought it was a "dinosaur" car with a old-style, non-VTEC pushrod engine.
Sport Compact Car Magazine had a bunch of different categories to score the cars on, (some of them dopey) like price, skid pad, braking, burnouts, quarter mile, how comfortable the car is, and the all important lap time. For laptime, they used a variation of the "short course" at California Speedway, meaning no high banked turns, they just used the infield section.
So Mumford's phone conversation with his friend Brett went something like this right after the California Speedway track event:
Brett: How's it going so far?
PMUM: It's hot as hell and everybody is taking a break after one hot lap.
Brett: That sucks. How did you do?
PMUM: Well, before anybody went out for a run this guy that is driving the Skyline comes over for a little chat about the Viper. He tells me he's an IMSA driver, or used to be, and they hired him to drive the car. I told him "That doesn't seem fair". He said, “you could have hired me to drive your car". I told him "nah, I've done a couple weekend events, lucked out and won a trophy or two and just like to drive my own car". He said, "Well, good luck", and walked away.
Brett: (laughing) I know where this is going.
PMUM: Oh yeah, game on! So the Supra and this IMSA guy in the Skyline are going at it pretty hard. They keep exchanging fastest lap times until the Skyline comes in with a time that's about a tenth of a second faster than the Supra at about a 1:22 flat or just a shade under, AND it was his last run. I swear Brett, it looked like they had just won the Indianapolis 500. They were high-fivin', jumping all around. Now keep in mind, I haven't even put a wheel on the track yet.
Brett: This is getting better by the minute, so what did you lay on them?
PMUM: Well if that guy put down a lap time really close to 1:22 flat, like 1:21.9 what do I need to run to make a point? So everybody says, "OK, that guy really gave us a beat down".
Brett: Uh.....well if the Skyline guy laid down a smidge under 1:22, I would say a good "Mumford beat down" would be about a 1:19.5. That's usually what you do to the next fastest guy, 2 to 2.5 seconds. That would be the "end of story, thanks for playing."
PMUM: Ya' know, that's exactly the number I had in mind. A high 1:19 would pretty much let them know who's boss.
Brett: OK Mumford, what did you lay on them?
PMUM: Try a 1:16 flat on for size.
Brett: You ran a 1:16 flat? Holy shit! That's fucking hilarious! What was the mood in the Indy pit after that?
PMUM: OH, I'm not done, it gets better. I finish my ONE lap and I'm living the RV lifestyle, because it's so damn hot outside, and I hear a knock on the door. One of the USCC guys tells me that they think they have a timing issue.
Brett: What? That's jacked up!
PMUM: You'll like this. I asked him, "What was my lap time?" He told me they had two watches on me at a 1:16. I told "Them that sounds about right", knowing that is exactly what I ran. He said, "Paul, that's over 5 seconds faster than the second place guy, and he's no slouch."
Brett: He is now…
PMUM: Yeah right, but apparently they needed more than one lap and two watches. So I said to the guy, "Do you want me to go back out there and do it again, despite the fact that it's now 110 out there instead of 100?" He told me that I didn't have to if I didn't want to because it was so hot, and he didn't want me to have to beat-up my car any more. I told him, "No. I get the feeling you want me to run again". So I did. I told them to get the stop watches ready, and by this time everybody that owns a watch is waiting for me to run again.
Brett: (laughing) OK, I'm sitting down now.
PMUM: I laid the wood them with a little 1:15.6. Thank you very much.
Brett: That a boy! The import world knows who you are now, huh? Was that all the car had?
PMUM: Oh yeah, I could have run the rest of the day and probably not squeezed any more out of it, BUT as I pulled into the pit I told them I wanted to go once more because I thought I had another half second in there somewhere. They said, "That's enough Mumford. Park your car, it's over"
Now THAT is a classic story, and just another reason why Mumford is our hero. He did a little sandbagging up front, and then ends up hitting them with a stick so hard and so big that they don't know what the hell happened to them!
A couple more links about the event is at:
Sport Compact Car Magazine - USCC II- Road Course Results
Sport Compact Car Magazine - Profile: 2001 Dodge Viper ACR
Sport Compact Car Magazine - The Winner, Paul Mumford
NSX Cal Costal Dromo
On the grid for the start of the enduro - picture by nsxfury
The NSX Cal Coastal Club held an event at Dromo One. But instead of running it tournament style to crown three individual winners, they decided to a 75 minute enduro, with three drivers per team. I kiddingly said they decided to make it a team event because they knew I would crush everyone if it was an individual event. The three drivers for each were "randomly chosen" to even things out. Which is fine, because if I could have snaked me, Wayne, and Terry on the same team, we would dole out an ass whupping. I think it is because we are excellent drivers, but other people would argue that the three of us would get more Cheating Bastard Practice than anyone else prior to the event.
So we did practice a week before the event. We usually prefer to do the first race at 1:30 p.m. on a weekday, then sit out the 1:45 race to compare notes and allow the winner to gloat about how he kicked everyone's ass, and then do the 2:00 p.m. race. This way, we are also out of there before the dreaded rush hour traffic.
Friday, October 17, 2003.
I get Terry to ditch work, and he meets me and Wayne at Dromo for the 1:30 p.m. race. Track record is a moving target, but the latest posting on the printouts indicate it is somewhere around a 25.9. This is my first try at the new configuration, and I am running 27.0. Wayne and Terry drop below 27.0, but they have been here before in this config, and their karts were vastly faster than mine. Damn. Wayne wins two races, and Terry wins one.
In the hot pit, ready to duke it out for 150+ laps - picture by nsxfury
Thursday, October 23, 2003
I get Terry to ditch work again, and he meets me and Wayne at Dromo for the 1:30 p.m. race. Manveer and Stephen Menk (in town from VA) also show up to race. I get my time down to 26.5, but Wayne gets top time of the day at 26.4x, beating Terry by 1/100th of a second. Wayne wins a race, and Terry wins a race. But I feel like I am dialed info our event on on Saturday.
Saturday, October 25th, 2003, 10:00 a.m.
The day of the enduro. We have 9, three person teams for the event. We randomly get assigned grid locations for the start. I get 5th, Terry gets 8th, and Wayne gets 9th, last place. Ha ha!
Green flag drops, and within about five laps or so, I make it to first place. This is too easy. Terry apparently has an "incident" which slows him down a good 30 seconds. At lap 10 or so, I see Mr. Mello passing his way into 2nd place, so the race is on! I get stuck in lapped traffic, and Wayne catches up, and we are gently bumping karts from side to side, trying to fight for the apex. I get slowed down by some guy blocking the inside lane, and Wayne gets around both of us! Lap 30 or so, I get right back on Wayne's butt, and we are duking it out again. I get by Wayne, and then Wayne bumps me from behind. The corner worker flags Wayne, and the control tower shuts down the power to Wayne's kart momentarily, thus allow one person to pass him. Wayne's throwing his hands up in frustration, apparently thinking that he had a legitimate "bump" on me. Ha ha.
For Halloween, the wife got a lion and a pumpking costume. No way! She's my Supergirl!
Lap 40. Wayne's back on my ass, and he rams my kart as I try to cut off the inside lane. He and I are both throwing our hands up in the air to the corner worker, demanding that either they black flag me for blocking, or they black flag Wayne for bumping. Wayne gets in front, and he pumps his arms up in the air for victory....until the control tower shuts down his kart momentarily AGAIN for illegal bumping, thus allowing me to take first place again! Lap 50. My 25 minutes are up, and time for me to hand over the kart to Stephen, driver number 2 on our team. Wayne hands the kart over to his number 2 guy, and all the number 2 drivers are now on the course duking it out. Lap 100 or so. Stephen hands the kart over to Greg, our anchor driver, and Greg is driving like a maniac trying to duke it out with the rest of the number 3 drivers. We end up finishing 3rd in the enduro, down by 12 seconds. Terry's team is 2nd by 6 seconds. And Wayne's team takes top honors! I end up with top time of the day, at 26.6x.
We take 2nd place, despite being bumped up two leagues! Plus, we lost 2 games by one run, so with a little luck, we could been champs two seasons in a row!
Straight Eye for a Queer Guy
New television show concept. Doug and Wayne use their sense of style on wardrobes, cars, hanging out with women, and cooking techniques to transform a gay, meek, fashionista into a macho racerista hetero. Fox Networks would probably pick it up.
Time to Order Christmas Presents for Your Racer Friends!
Hey, it is about time to start thinking about Xmas presents. Remember that famous racer saying, "What Racing is All About"? Monroe made some cool plaques of that saying that you can purchase for your favorite racer, or perhaps your mechanic/pit crew/co-driver. They have been hand crafted by a racer for racers. Below is an example of the plaque next to Racer Magazine so you can get a sense of scale. It is diamond etched on black enameled engraver's brass. Mounted on a walnut finished 13x20 wall plaque. The header is fully filled high definition mechanical engraving. The edges of the wood are beveled, about 3 times as thick as racer magazine.
Elegant looking, diamond etched wall plaque with gold lettering on black enamel
On the back of the plaque, a hole is precut so all you need is a nail on the wall to hang
it. If you call your local engraver and tell him to make you a copy,
he'll probably do it for about 300+ bucks, as there are 3300+ letters to
engrave. Monroe will sell them to Pulp Racing Authorized Customers for $95
Smaller plaque, using digital screening
Monroe also has a smaller 12"x8" plaque that is digitally screened for $35. It is also made of the same beveled walnut back plate, and has black letters on a gold face plate. Another classy looking momento to put in your garage, office, den, or trophy room. More info and pictures on the trophies is here. You can purchase these from the Pulp Store. Women: Hey, buy this for your favorite racer for Xmas. If you buy it now, then you will avoid that last minute panic when you run around on December 24th trying to find a gift for that racer dude in your life. Men: Do you date a racer chick? Buy this plaque!
All three cars are still broke. NSX is close to getting finished at Autowave with the limited slip diff and cleaning of fuel cell. S2000 still waiting for EMI to finish up the exhaust flange thingy that broke, and he waiting for Andy the Welder to fix that. The F355 is leaking tranny fluid like a hand grenade blew up underneath it. It also needs two motor mounts, the gear indicator only has about 4 of 10 LEDs working, parking brake light won't go off when brake is released, engine light stays on because catalytic converter got hot sitting in a traffic jam, reverse gear lever is loose and moving around. I'm dying to buy an EVO 8, but the wife says I gotta sell a car in order to do that. I tell her I'll sell the 1986 MR2, but she says she ain't referring to that car. I can't sell the NSX, as there is too much invested in that sinkhole. I can't sell the S2000, as it is dialed in as my daily driver. I keep thinking I'll dump the F355 and then bargain to try to get an EVO 8 and a Lotus Elise.....but then I have a day like the picture below, and I just can't sell it.
The station wagon brakes suck big time, so I figured I'd replace them with some type of racing brake pad. I called Andie up at Cobalt Friction, and told him I wanted something super grippy, but not screechy as it is my wife's car. He sent me some Hawk Plus pads. Due to German engineering, it took me and Dana almost 2.5 hours to figure out how to swap out pads. Afterwards, I did some 35mph to zero brake checks, and car stops great! Dana and I wash the car, then leave the shop, and all of a sudden the brakes are screeching like two rotors rubbing together. It is so loud, that people are covering their ears when I pull up to a stop. I call Andie and ask him if I did something wrong, and he said that I need to do some 60 mph to zero power stops to properly bed the pads in. So I take the wagon out at night, and THROUGHLY bed the brakes. Damn that A6 Wagon is fun to drive!
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