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Happy Birthday Don!

New 8/30/05


Last weekend was my birthday present to myself. Burning brakes, tranny fluid, baked tire rubber, hot engines, noise, heat, rain, danger, more car stories than I can remember, riding at high speeds with total strangers and being with great friends. Donuts for breakfast and sack lunches. What isn't to love about that!

It was a two-day SVTOA event at Putnam Park with my '96. I am now an instructor for the SVTOA and had two students at the weekend event. Sure was fun giving them rides and helping the one especially, get up to speed. (other student was a friend of mine from Peoria and former SHO owner that did the Putnam event at the SHO Convention so he was good to go from the start, second student had 550 hp Kenny Brown car that he was real tentative with and was not smooth at all, in his first full year of doing track events.). By the end of the weekend, he was much smoother, on-line and much faster. Sure felt good to see the light bulbs go off when I got him to do certain complexes the right way, and he then knew why I had been harping to turn in and brake where I recommended.

In that crowd, my '96 was one of the slower cars, but nobody had more fun. The car four-wheel drifts so deliciously, that several people that took rides with me were amazed. Not realizing that the back end of a FWD car could rotate under so much control in both braking and acceleration.

Although my '89 is a faster track car, the '96 is smooth, predictable, and loads of fun. With super sticky tires and a set of Eibachs, it might be faster, but I am not going to mess with it. I have a car I can drive 5000 miles (CA convention) and feel fresh, or take on the track and have fun with and still drive home in supreme comfort.

The silly grin on my face from the weekend is still with me, and today I will treat the '96 to a wash and detail. Plus when other cars broke down, or were too dangerous to drive on slick roads Saturday night (big rainstorm came through right at the end of the day) I gave several people rides to the hotel and banquet in SHO comfort!

For a car I almost sold, was almost totaled with hail damage and just turned 114,000 miles, this car drives like new and scoots around a track with authority! (90% of the vehicles on track with me at any moment had at least 400 hp! No wonder my left arm got a workout pointing cars around!). :)

On the way home 6 of us from Peoria stopped at the Beef House restaurant at exit 4 in Indiana on I-74. Superb steak (or seafood etc), hot rolls, super salad bar and cold drinks, a tradition for those going back to Peoria from Putnam Park or any Indianapolis event. Plus when my table was wimpy in singing "happy birthday", a table of Harley bikers bellowed out the song with gusto. I shared the cake with them! Just more fun than a 57 year old guy should be allowed to have.

Thanks to my family for letting me skip out on a family affair with the in-laws so I could hang around with smelly guys in fast cars.

Don Mallinson
 Proud to fly the SHO Banner at SVTOA events!


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