Auto racing: Figure 8 nervewracking, however a laugh
It’s no longer for the faint of heart but Figure 8 racing is “about the most fun thing that you can do on the racetrack,” consistent with reigning Tiger Cat Figure 8 champion at Oxford Plains Speedway, Kevin Varney.
Eric Hodgkins took a car a half-mile down the road and he stated subsequent element he knew he becomes within the beginning lineup for a Saturday night time Figure 8 race at Oxford.
Hodgkins said Michael Haynes, the buddy who Hodgkins had sold the car from, said Hodgkins — who had sat in the stands however by no means pushed a car — changed into going to kill himself. But that didn’t end up the case.
“I got 2nd vicinity my 2nd race out and the rest is history. I became hooked,” Hodgkins said.
Figure 8 racing isn’t new to Oxford Plains, but the department that commenced in 1969 took a spoil after 1988 and didn’t go back until 2015, that’s the 12 months Hodgkins started. He said after looking the primary 3 weeks he decided to sign up for in for the fourth week.
Varney turned into the inaugural champion of the Wednesday night Tiger Cat department for 4-cylinder cars.
“It form of takes a little bit of crazy to race Figure 8s in the first region,” Varney said.
At Oxford, the Figure eight course is laid out inside the pits along the front stretch, with drivers curving around a giant tire at one give up, then a sand banking at the alternative, all at the same time as seeking to cross-move at the “X” in between.
Larry Lizotte, the contemporary Saturday night time Figure 8 factors chief and whose father has 4 points titles that sandwiched the nearly 30-year ruin, stated the close calls in the intersection is what appealed him to take to the division.
Lizotte started out racing the Saturday night collection last 12 months, and he stated he become “shaking the entire time ready to go at the tune” the primary time he did it.
Dustin Salley, the modern Tiger Cat factors leader, admitted it changed into “a little nervewracking” the first time he tried Figure-eight ultimate year, however veteran vehicle proprietor Larry Hewins and other friends eased his issues with the aid of telling him what to anticipate and what now not to do.
For Salley, the fear doesn’t take area inside the center of the course.
“For me, I would say entering corners I simply take my time till there’s a gap. Far because the X is going I simply don’t consider it,” Salley stated. “Most of the time you recognize if you may make it or no longer. I just keep it and desire for the nice.”
Lizotte stated he lifts off the gas on the intersection.
Hodgkins, in the meantime, still doesn’t recognize if there’s a positive-hearth mystery to it.
“Timing, boy that’s a difficult one to give an explanation for. Most of the time you could maneuver in the front or behind at the X, but we all make judgment errors. Last yr it becomes my turn (at Oxford),” Hodgkins said. “Figure 8 using isn’t for absolutely everyone. It takes quite a few skill, timing, forethought and an entire bunch of testosterone.”
Hodgkins got such an itch for Figure 8 racing that when he heard approximately the World Figure 8 Championship he knew he needed to be part of in. He soon found out the world championship cars have been an entire exceptional animal than either of the divisions at Oxford Plains. Hodgkins likened it to Super Late Model technology in a motive-built Figure 8 vehicle.
After attempting out the former global championship runner-up car he bought in Kentucky at some stage in a practice on the Indianapolis Speedrome he delivered the auto returned to Oxford and felt the pain of the X.
Hodgkins stated it took three months to restore the automobile and all winter to get it competitive. Now he’s racing at the countrywide circuit in opposition to the quality Figure-eight drivers round.
The again of his vehicle reads “Why Yes Mine Are Brass.” It stems from a remark that got here from a passer-through that asked if the automobile Hodgkins and racing partner Gary Powers had been running on changed into a circle-track Wednesday night time automobile. Powers stated “No, it’s a Figure 8 automobile,” and the man said, “Wow, you gotta have a pair of brass balls to do this.”
“That pronouncing has caught ever given that,” Hodgkins said.
But it’s equal components loopy and comedy.
“We beat and bang and get out in victory lane guffawing our butts off,” Varney said.