The Frontstretch: Driven to the Past: Getting There Is Half the Fun... by John Potts -- Thursday September 30, 2010

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Driven to the Past: Getting There Is Half the Fun...

John Potts · Thursday September 30, 2010

 

Yeah, I mentioned this last week and said it was another story. A couple of
them, actually. My first experience with the saying came outside of racing. I
was working with the Enro Shirt Co. in Louisville right after I got out of the
service. They came up with a new line of really sharp pajamas, and a few of us
thought “Getting there is half the fun,” would make a great theme for an
advertising campaign.

The higher-ups didn’t care for it. Like I keep saying, some people have no
sense of humor at all.

- – - – - – - –

Back in the 60s, Charlie Glotzbach was running a Chevrolet in ARCA, and one
Saturday night at Louisville he asked my brother and I if we wanted to go to
Winchester the next day with he and his crew.

He said was no room in the truck, but we could ride in the race car.

Okay, we took an air mattress with us, and flipped a coin to see who got to
sit in the seat on the way up. Bob won that flip, and I settled down in the
back with the air mattress

While the Bristol Motor Speedway has built its reputation on its white-knuckle racing, there’s something to be said about the odyssey fans traverse to make it to Bristol as well.

After Charlie cautioned Bob not to be fooling around and taking it out of
gear or anything like that, we took off.

The ride wasn’t all that bad, even on the interstate when we hit a bridge.
The air mattress took care of that.

Somewhere on the interstate, a guy pulled up alongside us, saw Bob riding in
the driver’s seat and got a really funny look on his face. The, according to my
brother, he kind of scowled at him.

Bob answered this by taking his hands on the wheel and and sliding them over
like he was making a hard left hand turn.

I don’t know how the guy got his car out of that median, but he wasn’t in
there when we came back.

When we got to Winchester, it started raining, and John Marcum decided to
call things off for the day. Back in the car, and this time I get the seat.

I warned Bob that there was a bit of a burr on the aluminum paneling back
there and to stay away from it. Naturally, he didn’t listen.

On the way back we stopped at a restaurant. A race fan came in and asked if
that was our race car out front and wanted to know where we were running.

Charlie said, “Just up and down the road, today.”

When we got back on the interstate, Bob found out that hitting that burr and
letting the air out of the mattress wasn’t a good thing. He said it took two
days for his insides to settle down.

- – - – - – - –

Another “getting there” story involved an ARCA race at Bristol that Marcum
asked us to work for him late one season.

Bob had a brand-new VW Beetle he was super proud of, and insisted that we
take it. He and his wife, myself and Joyce.

Once again, we get to Bristol and the race gets canceled. Snow, this time.

We decided to stay overnight and head back the next morning, mainly because
none of us was eager to get back in that car for another long drive. I still
think he was trying to get even with me for that day in Charlie’s car.

Along the way back, we pass a sign saying, “Visit Davy Crockett’s Boyhood
Home,” with directions on where to get off the highway.

After some persuading from the women (most of it from Joyce), we get off and
head for the place.

We went about 60 miles out of our way before pulling up in front of a
replica log cabin near Limestone, Tenn. with a sign out front saying, “Closed For
The Season.”

The best part about that was that Bob didn’t say much for the next couple of
hours.

Four in a Volkswagen to Bristol and back. Sounds like a good book title.

- – - – - – - –

And there was the time we took somebody with us on a trip to Dayton, and
coming back down U.S. 42 at night, this guy decided it would be a good idea to
try to hit the next billboard with a soda can.

I tried to talk him out of it, but he tried anyway.

Bob, in the back seat, said, “Nice shot, dead center, right in the middle of
the star!”

Our passenger replied, “That sign didn’t have a star on it.”

Bob’s answer was, “No, but there was one on that car sitting behind it.”

I waited for the flashing lights to show up in the mirror for a good five
minutes before he admitted he was kidding.

Contact John Potts

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Jacob
10/01/2010 07:59 AM
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John: Another collection of great stories. I always get nostalgic for the days when men drove fast cars when I read your articles.
Do you think there are as many adventures (or as much fun) when the trip to the track is 2 hours at 30,000 feet? Maybe it’s why there is no personality left in the sport.

Johnboy60
10/01/2010 08:49 AM
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Another good one John, you are the Man!!

Scott
10/01/2010 10:08 AM
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Enjoy old stories like this. Sure beats now when the entire team flies in on private jets and the driver stays in million dollar motorcoach while the car is delivered to the track safely loaded in the back of a million dollar semi.

DoninAjax
10/01/2010 11:44 AM
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I can still remember in the mid-70s going down I75 after crossing at Detroit to go to Toledo Speedway at 70 mph and being passed by a truck hauling a race car. And driving along I70 to get to I70 Speedway and being passed by Don Gregory’s hauler going a “little” over the speed limit.

John Potts
10/01/2010 12:03 PM
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I want to thank everybody who comments on these things. I wasn’t sure how this one was going to be received. DoninAjax, that St. Amant crew was probably one of the fastest on the circuit when it came to getting down the highway. You’ve given me another column topic. Thanx.

Danny Burton
10/01/2010 03:44 PM
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John, you need to think about writing a book full of these stories. DB

gopapa
10/01/2010 06:55 PM
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Thanks John. Brings back memories of a jaunt back in the 80’s with my old buddy Steve in his bad-to-the-bone ’75 Camaro. We went from upstate New York to Glendale Ca. in about 54 hours. And that included a little sleep both nights. Then he proceeded to break the wheel studs off the right rear hub doing a celebratory burnout later that night in downtown Glendale.

Not every road trip is an unforgettable one, so it’s good to have them when we can.

Jacob
10/01/2010 07:19 PM
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John: I agree with Danny Burton, I would buy a book of the historical racing anecdotes.

TruckFan
10/02/2010 01:23 AM
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Man, I wish the ARCA of old was still around, especially now that I’m a student at Eastern KY University, I know for sure that I’d be in the bleachers at Winchester every race night.

old farmer
10/02/2010 10:44 AM
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Great stuff, as usual. Perhaps you could teach some of the other Frontstretch bozos how to write an interesting column.

TommyW
10/02/2010 11:02 PM
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John how about the ferry boat crossing.

John Potts
10/03/2010 12:31 PM
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OK, I know who this is now, Wigs. Yeah, more column material.

dewayne
10/04/2010 01:33 PM
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It sucks that Winchester does not even have a date.I wish ARCA would expand the short track side of the series