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Sleep, what's that?
Sunday 9:00am: I wake up, and wish I hadn't. My mouth tastes like an ashtray and my eyes are crusty, swollen and bloodshot. I've felt this way before, but the condition was always preceded by large amounts of beer and smoke filled bars/clubs/casinos. This time all it took was a 6 hour drive in the middle of the night. Maybe I'm getting old.

10:00am: Check out time is 11:00am, but the first qualifying passes will start at 10:00am. We don't want to miss the record breaking run. We stumble around getting ready and by 10:00am are out the door. The track is only twenty minutes away so we have a good chance of catching Erick's first pass. We query the navigation system for the best route to the track. I'm really beginning to like this system. It was an amusing and useful distraction when I first tested it in our CL-S 6spd test last year, but now it's become almost indispensable. Great, another $2,000 to spend on my next new car.

10:10am: We're about to enter the freeway when Joe exclaims, "Oh shit!". I look around wondering if we're about to be carjacked, or maybe pulled over. Nope, turns out Joe left his cell phone in the hotel room. Under his pillow no less. What, was he afraid I was going to steal it? Or maybe he wanted to call for help if I tried to kill him in my sleep deprived state. I guess I can't blame him. We ask the Odyssey for directions back to the hotel and we get our first error of the trip. The road it tells us to take turns from 2-way to 1-way.

10:30am: We got the cell phone and are now on our way to the track. We're probably going to miss Erick's first run. Oh well, not much we can do about it now.

11:00am: We're finally at the track and find Erick. Turns out his first pass was on new slicks and there was no traction. He didn't even get close to the record. Phew! I also see several other of my customers milling around - some from SoCal and some from the Bay Area. Hopefully none of them blow up. At this point I realize I forgot business cards and Erick is pointing lots of dyno inquiries my way. Crap.

11:45am: Erick puts his old slicks back on for his 2nd qualifying pass. The lights drop and he launches like a fighter jet from a steam catapult. I'm still amazed at how far FWD drag racing has come, even if drag racing in general doesn't excite me that much. The technology is still super cool. He looks like he's on a good pass, but how good. The scoreboard lights up - 10.10@132 mph. A new record. There is some fist pumping, but it's not a 9, not what he came for.

12:30pm: Erick skips the 3rd qualifying round and I grab some lunch. Mmm, track food. Although, to be fair, Sacramento Raceway actually has some decent vittles. Erick's new sponsor STR has a full rig setup with plenty of shade, chairs and drinks. I enjoy the environment, although sitting doesn't appeal much to me - too much time on my ass in the Odyssey I guess.

1:00pm: I watch some of the bracket racing. This is one area where import events still tend to lag. Most of the participants in these classes are sorely lacking in what it takes to win. Then it hits me, the Odyssey is an automatic. It's got good torque, and it launches easily. It's also an import. Wouldn't it be fun to make a run at the bracket title with a minivan? Maybe we could even pull off a 15-second pass. I tell Joe of my thoughts and he laughs and says it would be fun. Then he realizes I might be serious and gives me one of those strange looks again.

1:30pm: The ladder is posted for the pro-class eliminations. Erick is 5th. What, 5th? No one else put up a time within half a second of his ET. The race organizer is standing by after he posts the sheets and I say, quite loudly, "that's bullshit". He zeros in on me and asks what I'm talking about. I tell him Erick ran a new record, he can't be 5th. He asks when he ran it, and I say, "2nd round.". The organizer says the 2nd round didn't count because some cars from other classes got into the lanes with the pro cars and they can't separate them on the computer. What? So proceeds a 20 minute discussion whereby the organizer is accosted by pretty much the whole field, their crews and sponsors. The crux of the matter is that the organizer doesn't want to manually structure the tree and the computer can't do it for him. Someone shouts, "Jackass" which basically reflects the opinions of the racers (I swear, it wasn't me). Erick will start from the 5th position which means he'll actually have to make a semi-serious pass, instead of a less parts taxing half pass against a 12-second opponent.

2:00pm-6pm: Erick takes down his first opponent with a easy 10.3 pass. His next opponent, Holland Racing is also sponsored by STR. The STR guys are still fuming because Erick and Holland should have been 1-2, which would have meant they'd meet in the final - that's good press and what sponsors dream about. I think the race organizers (CMI) will be hearing about this for a while. Erick should have no problem with Holland, but racing isn't about what should happen. Both cars launch well and then Erick misses 2nd gear! The last time he missed a gear was 10 races ago and the tranny was broken. Let's hope this isn't the case. Holland is now in front, but Erick's superior hp pulls him ahead just after half track and he goes on to win with a 10.5 vs. a 10.7. The finals loom vs. Erick's teammate and former employee Javier Loarca. Javier's car is another 10.7 runner, so Erick should be able to take him no problem. Will he risk the tranny and go for the 9? Do LA cops pull over slammed Civics with 5" exhaust tips? The lights drop and Erick pulls his best launch ever - a 1.39 60 ft. He shifts deliberately to 2nd to avoid a misshift and nails the rest of the run. The lights flash. 10.07!!! So close. That fear of 2nd gear might have made all the difference. Nonetheless, it's a new Honda and FWD all-motor record, by a large margin. I'm happy for him.

7:00pm: Milling around the STR truck, everyone is in a pretty good mood. Fred Gordon from STR invites everyone out for dinner at a local pho restaurant (vietnamese noodles). Joe and I decide to go. Only problem is, by the time we get there, it's almost 8pm. I've got early meetings on Monday, and Joe is worried about dozing off on the highway. So we reluctantly tell Erick that we've got to go and hit the road for LA.

2:30am: With only a brief stop for gas and some McDonald's slop, Joe and I make good time, covering 425 miles in about 6 hours. I sleep the last half of the trip. The crosswinds on I-5 have died down, so there's no wind whistle to keep me awake. Joe drops me off at the shop and I watch the Odyssey drive away. I can't help but thinking that Honda has really nailed the market with this one. Yeah, they sell a ton, but with good reason - its a great vehicle. But I can't help thinking what it might be like with a bigger rear swaybar, a slightly lowered suspension, a good set of headers and exhaust and some stickier tires. I'm a single guy, but even I like the idea of a project Odyssey. I'm quite sick, but instead of trying to figure out what's wrong with me, I think I'll just get married and have kids to justify my insanity.


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  Odysseys are Fast
xxcaedmonxx 6
  You guys are SLOW! My 16 hour Odyssey...
TonyEX 0
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JeffX 0
  Great Story!
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