Royal GTO Club Session
Paradise Garage

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© 1999 Brian F. Schreurs
Even we have a disclaimer.

After you win a couple races, you can tell people you have a checkered past.

Maryland International Raceway, Budds Creek, Md.

Bracket Race: Saturday, May 15, 1999

First of all, thank you to Chris Parrish who invited Jamie Stone who in turn invited me, and then Josh! (Demonstrating the gearhead network.) And thank you to the Royal GTO Club who hosted the event!

What event? The Royal GTO Club Session at Maryland International Raceway. Say it with an echo and it's more impressive. The Royal GTOs are, not surprisingly, a Maryland-based Pontiac GTO club. And their Ponchos are fast. How fast? Damn fast. These guys are runners, not waxers, and that's the way we like it.

See ya: a good reaction time is a good head start.
Josh gets ready to boogie.
The Royal GTOs were also really cool about being overrun by the dozen or so F-bodies that Jamie broght with her. Most of the crew was from or Some handles in attendance include: Tornado of Souls, Craig, GutterBro, Leatherneck, Enigma, 3 Mad Ponchos, 9698, davef, Mike 92LX, 1fast Firechicken, Ralph L 99 WS6 TA, Swampdog, jsb, and Matt 991LE.

Josh was the only Mustang in attendance.

The track surface was driving us nuts. MIR said they had coated the track, but it was hard to tell. Everyone was having a hard time hooking up. Plus there was a strong headwind. These factors conspired to keep most cars running slower than expected. In our case, both the Firebird and Mustang were off by about two tenths.

It took us a while to rack up any wins. Most of the Camaros and Firebirds were modified; the Paradise Garage Firebird remains stock and therefore slower. The GTOs were heavily modified and very fast. But here and there dumb luck allowed us to prey upon the unsuspecting opponent. Plus, there was Olds Guy.

Olds Guy was hotlapping a '90s Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight (the H-body car, Bonneville/LeSabre/98), running a consistent 16.5. He was very good off the tree, eventually taking the RT trophy with a 0.503 while racing Josh. It's just as well that we didn't have to race him in eliminations.

I took a passenger down the track for the first time. Tornado of Souls wanted to see the lay of the land before her first race, and I happily obliged. It definitely slows the car down but it's kinda neat having someone along. Later in the morning I raced and beat Tornado but not by much. The Addiction Begins for ToS. Hahahahaha.

A yellow Plymouth Satellite consistently ran low 12s. I don't know whether he was with the club, but it was nice to see a Mopar marking its territory. I lost to him twice.

Eliminations began around noon. We were divided into three classes: Pontiacs faster than 12.99, Pontiacs slower than 12.99, and non-Pontiacs. Fair enough, since a GTO club was hosting us. This put Josh and I in separate classes for the first time. Good; it meant we most likely wouldn't be racing each other.

Josh, unfortunately, had a spot of bad luck by lining up against the 1998 MIR Pro Street Champion in the first round of eliminations. Josh redlighted. Bummer.

There were three cars in my class (slow Pontiacs). On the first round I got lucky and won the bye. My class-mates, a '60s GTO convertible and an LS1 Trans Am, duked it out; the TA lost. It was me and the GTO. We shook hands, wished each other luck. But I ended with the better half of the deal.

His 1.042 reaction time was no match for my 0.611. This left him at a severe disadvantage to catch me; in trying to do so, he broke out in a big way: 13.27 on a 13.50 dial-in. I did okay with my 13.97 on a 13.90 dial. Okay enough to win the class!

But the taste of victory was short-lived. In my first round of final eliminations, I raced the fast- Pontiac champion, a black GTO, and lost. By how much, you ask? I lost by 0.001 sec. And I have the timeslip to prove it. Thank you, thank you.

That's racing. And when the Pontiac champ lost to a Barracuda for the overall win, that's racing too.