Miss Amy is a Cheetah

My latest adventure started at a bar. The best ones always do. In this case it was the Monticello coffee bar (martini bar after 5pm when your wristband is cut). I bellied up for my usual cappuccino and plunked down next to my good buddy Mr. C. He said hey Ame! What’s happening? Lots of stuff is always happening, but at that particular moment I chose to just, (what I thought was in passing), mention that a couple of friends and I were looking at the possibility of running a lemons car this year. He said I won that race! Really? Tell me more. He then regaled me on how he was blackflagged for no reason (I just nodded in agreement…not so sure about the no reason aspect of it) and made him put on a dress and walk up and down the stands. I perked up and now must have details. How do we get in? He said I’ll help you; we can find a $500 car for you and will give you race support; you just get a team together. As if on cue, Ari Straus, president of Monticello, strolled by and stopped next to us. He must have smelled the conspiratorial air between me and Mr. C. What are you kids laughing about now? We told him and he said MMC will sponsor you; just get a team of MMC women together. Done!

We had the main sponsor; I gathered up a team (me, Ashley Novack, Mary Tietjen, Stephanie Chang); now we just needed a wacky theme. Lemons race series was all new to me and may be new to you. If so, I am going to steer you towards their website http://www.24hoursoflemons.com. But I need to warn you first to make sure your floor is clean before you read their website. That is because you will be rolling all over it shortly. According to them it is “an endurance race for $500 cars. Not just an oxymoron; it’s a breeding ground for morons. Not just for rich idiots; its for all idiots”. And if your face still doesn’t hurt from laughing I would direct you to you tube for visual confirmation. Now we all know what the goal is - the wackier the better. Mid December a few of us met up at Mr. C’s shop in NY to discuss details, sponsors, charities etc. One of the gals innocently asked if there was some way to make our car legitimately faster than the other entrants. Mr. C, in his NY accent, said well we cheatah. He of course said cheat but we heard cheetah. Since we are a bunch of cool cats the name stuck. The Monticello Cheetah Race girls team was born. Mind you, we have no intention of cheating; we expect to win fair and square…it just adds to the ever growing myth that we all know this will become.

Let’s add some wacky now. To maintain a cheetah/cat theme the car and drivers have to have ears and tails - right? That’s what I thought. No photos yet, but my gut tells me that many will be taken. And while we were brainstorming ideas of activities pitside to keep us entertained (as well as all of our spectating guests) one of us came up with an interesting idea. Not one to name names, but it was Ashley Novack who asked if a stripper pole would be acceptable - for exercise purposes only of course. I cannot confirm or deny that our pit will be equipped with a pole (I was corrected in the verbiage by one in the know - strippers are offended when you call it a stripper pole - for all intents and purposes it is merely THE POLE). Got it. I am with the program now and in case you are curious I have signed up for a few courses. Purely for exercise and preparedness in the event we do have a pole.

Now we needed a car. Randy Bell, who also ran the lemons series, thought he might still have the car somewhere in the woods behind his house. Yep still there, but with a few added vines growing through the front trunk. Perfect! We will take it. Car arrived at shop still with vines attached on New Years Eve day. I watched it unload from the trailer and I must say I never saw such a beautiful 1979 Buick Regal. It was so ugly it was gorgeous. But I noticed street tires on it. Don’t we need slicks for a racecar? I asked innocently. The guys chuckled and said not for this race; those would blow very fast; you must have streets since you will be driving over stuff (not precisely the word they used) that falls off the other cars. Oh okay. But now that the car had arrived I felt it was time to voice my concerns. I have never raced before and they all knew it, but I mentioned it again anyways. Not a problem! I was informed my biggest problem would be cars stopping in front of me on the track. Huh? Stopping on a track? Yes. Stopping. Many out there would be on track for first time in their lives and would just stop. The skill would be in circumventing stopped vehicles. Well now it is sounding much easier to me; I’ll be right at home, having driven Massachusetts roads for a few decades. But what about my driving on a track that I had never driven before? I won’t know the line! Again more laughter from the veterans. The line is not necessary; the line in this instance was explained to me as just staying ON the track. Now I am truly allowing excitement to set in. I can do this! My other team members are seasoned trackers so no worries for them, but these parameters are well within my skill set.

Just yesterday I received the confirmation email from corporate Lemons; pending status has changed to accepted! This means we convinced them we are better than the other lame-Os who applied (their words not mine). We are officially in and first race is 14/15 April Thunderbolt track in NJ. Stay tuned as it will probably be a bumpy ride. Bumping over all those lemons on the track with street tires promises to be nothing less than an adventure.

Warm regards,