In 2004 I was in Bure Ethiopia with the United Nations. luckily we had decent internet to help allieveate the boredom. I was stationed just outside of Oklahoma City and discovered OK-Speed.com. MySpace was to social media leviathan of the time, FB was a startup and tweeting didn’t exist.
No in the era just before smart phones, the message board was king.
So from a converted shipping container at the edge of the Denikil Depression, I made friends that I have been blessed enough to carry with me my whole life.
This past weekend we competing in the 24 Hours of LeMons true 24 event at Autobahn Country Club in Joiliet Illinios. We were driving the teams 2nd purpose built car, the Civic Tape R. It’s a great car, but so far had yet to prove itself, always suffering from a critical ailment before the race ended. So much so, it was a bit of a punchline on the team.
But I was fresh off of a week of success. I refused to share the cynicism, was quite aware of the effort my team and Chris to put into the car as well as the other team members, and felt like this really was going to be our time. So I replied with this;
Not this time. This time the Honda will perform perfect. It won’t be the fastest, but it will stay on the track. The lines will be smooth. It will be a stealth machine, quietly climbing through the ranks and the field. It will be invisible until it appears in the top tenon the wee hours. Both the car and the team will press on, unflinching, unwavering and without incidents. Our only conversation with the judges will be during tech, our only interactions with other teams will be lending tools and help.
No, this will be the Tape Rs finest appearance. Team OK speed culmination and application of over 50 combined endurance events reflecting our skill, strategy and maturity.
In the end, others will take notice and the mere mention of our names, the Tape R or OK Speed will be met with nods of approval.
There will be no major let downs, no major repairs, no contact. Only a great weekend of exhausting competition of the highest caliber
As it turns out, that sentiment was more correct than we imagined. Through a series of circumstances, and also a lot of hard work, we accidentally ended up leading the entire race for a few hours.
While it was a thrill, as a team we wisely abandoned chasing this particular rainbow. Instead focusing on being consistent and giving up the overall lead when we had to pit to address some radio issues. Our “strategy” instead of “glory” philosophy enabled us to win our class. Decisively. If we had quit driving the last 40 minutes of the race, we would have still won our class.
Teammate and dear friend Justin said it the best. It was just before five in the morning, the sun was starting to rise over the race track and Chris Mills was out extending our 20 laps lead over the second-place car.
Regardless how this turns out, I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this team.
Well said friend.