Livengood: Flying Cars

March 9, 2011

The other day I was asked why it is that flying cars don’t exist. The immediate smartass in me replied that airplanes fly, not cars. After all, nobody asks when it is that a dog will become a bird. It’s illogical to expect a car to fly. My second reply was to wonder quietly and awkwardly to myself, as I usually do, while hoping that the question was one of simple rhetoric.

Finally, I contemplated the question with true thought. Sure, cars exist that are capable of flight, but they are not remarkable at flight or so at driving. Rather they are only remarkable in that they perform the task of two different vehicles. So when you really boil it down, who cares that such a lackluster phenomena occurs? I sure as hell don’t. However, I do care that there exist cars that are able to perform in a superior fashion. In case of an F2000 car as well as other winged cars, we utilize technology pioneered approximately 110 years ago by the Wright brothers and do so in bane. My powered glider is designed to stick to the ground as best as possible. And in true duality, I too strive to stick as closely to motorsport as possible.

For the 2011 season I cannot be anymore excited. Several things have changed for this year. One of the coolest things, being the nerd that I am, is that there are several stars added to the paddock. This comes not only in the form of the several national champions that I will get to stand amongst during the drivers meetings, but also in the form of equipment. It is going to be a pleasure to watch the new brands of equipment hit the track and battle against the well-sorted machines of the past. Variety as they say is the spice of life and this year the headlines I’m confident can boast not only the talent between the wheels but also the materials attaching those wheels to the driver.

The biggest asset Work Racing has for the upcoming season is the experience I gained last year. No longer should John, Bruce, and my father have to deal with the noob behind the wheel. Over the past season I was able to work steadily towards bringing myself to the front of the pack. One consequence of this is that I expect myself to play an ever-larger part, and carry greater responsibility, in making fewer mistakes and producing even greater team-wise development across the season. As a result, I hope to start the season not with the 9th place finish that heralded in the start of last season but rather with something further up the grid.

Additionally, we start this season with Zetec power. Reliable and drivable, our Quicksilver Zetec made a big difference in performance for our relatively small but mighty Work Racing effort and I am lucky to have this asset at my back for the entire 2011 go around. Finally, I get to sit inside our 99 Van Diemen. Are we going to hang on tightly to our stock wings and narrow track? You bet your ass we are! If history has things to teach, it’s that racing is more often about evolution than revolution. Perhaps it is because taking small steps, ones controlled and deliberate, rather than leaps, which may be sloppy and inaccurate, provides the best path for improvement. This technique, I believe, will allow us to achieve the yet to be seen full potential of the Van Diemen chassis.

You may question my wisdom, but I’ve seen the multitudinous happenings behind the scenes at the John Walko Racing shop and can confirm that a massive number of improvements are underway or completed. Many of these changes are of the same nature, those small and deliberate, which allowed our steady movement up the grid last year. Finally, add in the wind of Primus Racing Parts support at my back and you can get a feeling for the building momentum of the Work Racing team. As a result, in the upcoming season I hope that my competition, like Axel Foley’s, will fall for the banana in the tail pipe. If you’re not familiar with the proverb, I strongly suggest finding your way over to YouTube.

The first race of the season is again at Virginia International Raceway. This track, scenic and historic, provided me with both successes and troubles last season. In 2010, having had very little experience with the F2000 car and even less in an open wheel field I literally had to learn something every corner. This put my diminutive brain on overload where I then was coerced by the patterns we call the laws of physics into making mistakes behind the wheel. This year will be different. I have been training and doing so extensively using methods that were not available to me last spring.

This training has made me confident that as I listen to the lullaby of my Quicksilver Zetec propel me down the ample and shapely back straight of VIR I will drive focused and precise around the equally buxom asphalt that comprises the rest of the track. At this point I can only see one fitting way to end this discussion, that of course is with the words of the ever-wise Mister Forest Gump, “and that’s about all I have to say about that.”

See you at VIR!


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