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Unhinged: The Best Part Of Large Events – The People Who Make Going Worthwhile

Unhinged: The Best Part Of Large Events – The People Who Make Going Worthwhile
What are automotive events all about? Is it the racing that does it for you? Does the sound of engines going to the moon while cranking out power does it for you. Maybe it involves seeing the biggest, best, and shiniest vehicle that is out there. Maybe you are competing in something, at which point you’re in it to win it. But think about it for a minute…is that what you are really there for? Aren’t all of these events designed for everyone to have fun and come together in the name of the automobile? Or is it even easier than that? To say that standing out at an event like the TS Performance Outlaw Diesel event weekend is difficult is an understatement. It seems that everybody is going for the bigger, louder, brighter scene. So when I saw a well-used, slightly rusting Volkswagen Jetta take the line against a Super Duty, I couldn’t help but smile. It was David vs. Goliath, and unlike the late-model Jetta wagon that was completely set up to be a bracket dominator, this sedan looked like it had been raided from a used-car lot and had been beat on for a few months before pulling onto Beech Bend Raceway. Heat-soaked and trying to make a multi-event schedule happen, I shot my pictures and was on my way.
TS Performance 2015_125
The next morning, I found myself in a field near Franklin, Kentucky, half-awake, slightly sunburnt, and concentrating on rehydration when two Jettas parked next to me: the silver one I had seen at the strip and a black one I didn’t remember seeing. Four guys, all from Wisconsin, got to work on setting up their chairs, while I left the air-conditioned confines of the Chrysler in preparation for a long day. Immediately, once I pulled on a work shirt, I heard it. “Hey, BangShift.com! You got any stickers?” Crap…I had precisely nothing to give at the moment except for a few lukewarm bottles of Gatorade and a granola bar or two. I apologize for being empty-handed and in the fog of the morning, and move on to shoot the incoming show trucks and figure out where I need to go so that I can shoot at the truck pulls. Sometime later on, after walking the entire area to sign waivers and get the all-important wristband, I dragged my sweating, nearly-dehydrated carcass up to the car to pillage the cooler. The four Jetta guys were having a grill out and the hotdogs were at the ready. Middle of a field, a quarter-mile away from the pulling track, and these guys are just camping it out, drinks in the cooler and food on the ready. They greet me and wave, and offer up a hot dog. I decline (warm food plus dehydrated McTaggart equals Linda Blair-like vomiting) and proceed to turn the 300C into a refrigerator so that I can cool off and go shoot another round of pictures. Three cheers for 98% humidity!
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 I leave the car, I shoot more pictures of the show, and by one in the afternoon there is nothing really going on. The amount of trucks coming in has stalled, sled pulls are being held off to six P.M. and I was like a man in the Sahara as I made my way back to the Chrysler. The Jetta guys had their trunks open and were using the boot lids as shade. I proceeded to crash out for a quick nap inside what was becoming my portable Fortress of Solitude. A half-hour later, I emerge and take a look at the show area…not much is happening anywhere. With the pulls still hours away I hang out with the guys to get an idea of why they brought knives to a gun fight. What’s the story? They have two fairly clapped-out VWs that they are having fun with. Since they get great mileage (the black car was pulling low 40s MPG on the trip down from Wisconsin) coming down to Kentucky was a no-brainer, and if you’re going to make that kind of road trip, shouldn’t you have fun with it? While relaxing and enjoying their company (and the Little Debbie cake I was offered) I heard it all…from the regret of not bringing an inflatable pool to the parking lot to their quite favorable reactions to the local females. These guys were having a ball. Not the obnoxious over-the-top drunken shenanigans that were happening elsewhere, but just laid back, beer in hand, soaking it all in, and they were more than happy to have a brain-fried random stranger join in for the afternoon, so long as I sat in the bright pink chair. After a couple hours, I gave up my seat, thanked them for the company and got back to work.
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 Here’s where the Jetta guys really showed how it should be done: Saturday, the last day of the drags. I had seen a couple of the guys on the show field, where they stopped, said hi, and ribbed me for looking like I’d spent the night surviving a zombie hoard. (To put how hot and humid it was, the black undershirt I was wearing looked like I decided to swim in the Great Salt Lake.) Later on, just as the track is beginning to come to life, I run into all four of them one last time, and the first thing they do? Offer me something cold to drink out of their cooler that they have been dragging around with them. No expectation of anything, and without anything offered in return except for some wiseass comments during previous day’s afternoon break, these guys showed what should be happening at these shows…the cars are fine, the racing is good, but didn’t people used to just come together to meet new people and share in the hobby that they all enjoyed? These guys did, using two Volkswagens in a field full of overkill diesel builds, stories, camaraderie  and cold drinks They weren’t really there to compete at anything…they were there to have a good f***ing time while enjoying the weekend. And maybe score a date with a lovely in Daisy Dukes and cowboy boots.
TS Performance 2015_383

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5 thoughts on “Unhinged: The Best Part Of Large Events – The People Who Make Going Worthwhile

  1. mooseface

    As soon as I’m within arm’s reach of a beer, I’m raising it to those four Jetta guys. They had the right idea all along.

  2. TheSilverBuick

    That’s awesome.

    (and why I don’t like black shirts. The new logo’d ones still are not offered in anything but black…)

  3. Tubbed Pacecar

    Bryan: They sound like some decent, laid back lads.

    So, now that you’re back at home base, their BS stickers are in the mail, right:)

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