The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif., Bob Padecky column
Mar 24, 2012 (The Press Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Last Tuesday, in an attempt to establish an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, 75 cars went in circles, spinning donuts, burning rubber for at least 15 seconds, most making it to 57 seconds.
Or, as they like to say at Infineon Raceway, Earth Day, 2012.
Now, don't get the wrong idea. The folks at Infineon are extremely Earth friendly, green to the gills as it were, with sheep, solar panels and waterless urinals. They recycle tires, cardboard, oil, aluminum. They even have owl boxes on the property so the birds can catch rodents, eliminating the need for pesticides.
Tuesday they took a 57-second break from their environmentally righteous cause to create a scene best titled "American Graffiti On Steroids."
Eighty cars registered, 75 made it to the paddock parking lot. Two cars blew their engines. Six others overheated. To those who were there and to the veritable millions who have seen the popular videos, it took about 30 seconds of spinning tires and whiny engines to cover the paddock in a Tule Fog while in broad daylight.
"All I could see," said Keith Gevas of Rohnert Park in his 1996 Nissan 240 SX, "was that little orange cone I was to circle."
That Shakespearean line -- "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" -- did not apply here. All this sound and fury signified a little buzz.
"After about 45 seconds," said driver Sean Hoover of Rohnert Park, "I started getting a little dizzy (from the fumes). You never get to see that much smoke, unless something is on fire."
Hoover never lost control of his 1989 Nissan 240 SX. In fact, no one did. That was Lino Ramos' chief concern. Ramos is the facilities director at Infineon, his job is keeping Infineon in tip-top shape, not having 75 drivers playing bumper cars with multiple ambulance pleas. The donut-fest was Ramos' idea. Last year Ramos and his staff did a drive-through as it were. On two separate occasions 40 cars did donuts successfully without any bending of fenders. Ramos was testing the waters, er, pavement to see if he upped the ante to 60-70 cars, he wouldn't be creating one heck of a 911 call.
"You prepare the best that you can," said Ramos, 35, "but you don't know what to expect."
Ah, but never underestimate the dedication, the focus, the prestige, the honor of entering the Guinness Book for World Records. Keep spinning donuts for at least 15 seconds, Ramos told the 75 drivers, and you'll be part of history; the old record being 57 cars. And it's not everyday a health care caretaker (Hoover) and a restaurant maintenance supervisor (Gevas) can become a world-record holder.
Sure, it's fun to poke fun at the Guinness Book, and that's the point. The Loudest Purr By A Domestic Cat (67.7 dB) stands proudly with The Most People Dressed As Ninja Turtles (836) along with the dude who has The Largest Collection Of Film Projectors (1,919). And who can't be impressed with the Largest Bubblegum Bubble ever blown (20 inches in diameter)?
Sometimes, life doesn't have to be brain surgery. Sometimes it just has to be fun. In an increasingly complex and stressful world, it's a guilty pleasure to enjoy seeing on the Guinness website the Longest Fingernails By A Female (28-feet, 4.5 inches). You might even say the Guinness Book takes a little steam out of our kettle. And Steve Page, the track's president and general manager, is more than happy to acknowledge he has no problem with accepting the 75 donut-makers as a pleasant and welcomed divergence from real life.
"I immediately distributed the video," Page said, "to everyone in my life who said I would never amount to anything."
"So that would be your wife?" I asked.
"She was first on my list," Page said.
That last sentence will put a smile on Judy's face, not an uncommon reaction to her husband's sense of humor. Then again, Page wasn't alone.
"It put a smile on my face," Hoover said. "Going in circles, I dunno, it just felt gratifying."
Of course, there's no free lunch, even if it's just smokin' donuts. Before he started spinning Tuesday, Gevas estimated he had about 30 percent tread left on his tires. After the donuts, Gevas did one lap on the road course and blew his tires on Turn 11.
"If you had brand new tires out there," Gevas said, "and you spun for 57 seconds, you would kill 35-45 percent of the tire tread."
It's wild. It's wacky. It's over-the-top. It will not advance civilization. It won't be and will never be nothing more than one heck of a joy ride. And that's entirely the point.
"I know it's ridiculous," Gevas said. "It makes no sense. It's crazy ..."
"And I love it."
For more North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky's blog at padecky.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
___ (c)2012 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Visit The Press Democrat
(Santa Rosa, Calif.) at www.pressdemocrat.com Distributed by MCT Information
[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]