Madness at Putnam

Originally published in Bent Pylon

"Eyes Open - Brake Sometime - Turn Dammit Turn"

CAUTION: This article contains graphic depictions of fictional incidents at Putnam Park Road Course during the OVR Driver Education School held on June 4 &5, 1995. The characters are fictional and not intended to represent any individuals that we know. Riiight. Pregnant women and those with heart conditions should not read this article without first consulting with their physicians. Since this article deals principally with a track event, please do not read it and complain that there is too much track coverage in the Bent Pylon. Skip the article or write your own about something else.

The intrepid professionals at Madness Motorsports feel compelled to report on their recent expedition to the Putnam Park Rally Course. Formerly known as the Putnam Park Road Course, certain members of the club felt compelled to demonstrate their prowess at Rallying despite the admonitions of Quasi Chief Instructor Jim "Spanish Inquisitor" Briggs and his Henchman, Dave "No Mercy" Talbot. It has been said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This was demonstrated at Putnam when, in a completely arbitrary and capricious manner, the Quasi Chief Instructor expelled world class driver Mason Evans from the event. Despite a roar of protest from his fellow drivers, Evans was barred from finishing the event despite having only two legitimate rule violations. This tragic miscarriage of justice rivals only the recent misfortune of Scott Goodyear at Indianapolis. The racing cognoscenti are literally up in arms over this dastardly ruling by the QCI. The tale unfolded something like this:

Madness Motorsports' very own Mason Evans was at Putnam Rally Course to prepare for the upcoming Club Race in July. Since Evans had not driven Putnam before, the OVR school seemed an ideal opportunity for him to learn the intricacies of this fast and fun 1.8 mile combination road/rally course. Having recently completed the Bruce "Reel em In" McKenney School of High Performance Driving and Juvenile Delinquency, Evans was looking forward to the opportunity to hone his competitive edge before his first PCA race.

The Madness Motorsports' flagship race car, a 1988 honest it's stock Carrera, was raring to go. Recently freshened up by "Big Dog" Rich Howe, the Mushbucket (an affectionate nickname bestowed by Howe on perhaps his hottest creation yet), the car was more than up to the relatively flat and very dusty track & field event. Evans was primed and the weather was perfect. If only the school officials, who chair but one event a year, had brought their sense of justice and fair play to the event, the wrongful expulsion of Evans would never have happened.

The disputed incident occurred on Saturday, during the second driver's session. The track was warm and the fields were green and firm. After a few warm up laps Evans was ready to roll. Coached by recent Mid Ohio PCA Race Class F champion Mark "More Gas" Hupfer, Evans was making excellent progress preparing for the race. By the middle of the session, Evans was keeping his eyes open around the entire track and was cinching up his hot right shoe.

Turn 7 at Putnam is at the end of a short straight after Turn 6, which is preceded by Turn 5. Pretty devious, isn't it. The clover covered pasture beyond Turn 7 provides an interesting surface after the slightly adhesive asphalt. Evans had hypothesized that the clover is best taken in neutral as opposed to 2d or 3d gear as advocated by the traditionalists.
As the MushBucket nose-dived in 7 under heavy braking, Evans slammed the shifter into 2d and popped the clutch. Taking offense at this violent abuse, the MushBucket immediately spit the shifter back out of gear with a resounding "THONK". The opportunity for a spectacular transition from asphalt to pasture was now evident.

Thinking quickly, the plucky driver jammed on the accelerator in an effort to blow oil on the track before rotating through the corner ass end first. Suddenly, the bright yellow missile piloted by "Magic Bill" Morgenthal once again filled the mirrors of the MushBucket. Another Big Dog Howe creation, Magic Bill's projectile had been equipped with the Big Dog's latest trick: the Turbo De-Materializer. This state of the art device, originally developed at Madness Motorsports World Headquarters in Columbus, allows the pilot to increase turbo boost to the point where the missile and pilot vaporize and then re-materialize approximately one billionth of an inch off the rear fender of the car in front. Although the device was banned years earlier by the Geneva Convention, Big Dog and Magic Bill nevertheless find it amusing to use the Turbo De-Materializer to scare the bejeezus out of unsuspecting wannabe racers. It sure works good.

Anyway, once Magic Bill materialized within molecules of the MushBucket's right rear fender, Evans, still stuck in neutral and by now swearing violently at the MushBucket, had only one clear course of action to avoid incontinence: drive straight off the track. Acting quickly, the steely nerved professional did absolutely nothing and coasted off the track. Noticing that Evans had elected to explore the John Deere line, Magic Bill twirled the magic dial of fortune and de-materialized, headed off in search of other prey.

Returning to the pits, as is aptly required by the school rules, Evans' appealed to the Quasi Chief Instructor's sense of fair play and decency in an effort to avoid having the incident counted against his pristine driving record. Evans argued that as the driver, it was patently unfair to penalize him for the MushBucket's inexplicable rejection of the 3d to 2d gear downshift. Indeed, it was the driver's quick wits in failing to take any corrective action whatsoever that allowed the MushBucket to coast gently off the track into the clover. Perhaps a commendation would have been appropriate, but certainly not a penalty. Ignoring common sense and logic, Inquisitor Briggs rejected Evans' pleas for mercy and sternly said "Strike One, you moron."

The whole sordid incident would have been of little consequence had Evans not encountered unexpected problems on Sunday. An off track excursion in Turn 4 generated a skyscraper high dirt plume that delighted the spectators and a final "Twirly in Two" compelled the corner workers to do what they had been dreading: black flag the MushBucket. Three strikes and the crowd's favorite was out.

Back in the pits, Evans pled his case once again, but Inquisitor Briggs was adamant. Evans had hit the limit of three incidents and was to park the MushBucket immediately. The whimpering driver even tried the lamest of all excuses: "I thought you meant 3 per day!!" But no amount of whining could reverse the Inquisitor's obtuse decision. With less than five minutes left in the final session of the day, Evans was done. Finished, Kaput. Expelled from school. Oh, the injustice. Compounded by the evil laughter of "No Mercy" Talbot in the background.

Although disappointed in the ruling, Evans was man enough to pout the whole trip home. Having the misfortune to caravan with the Inquisitor and his Henchman, Evans used the recently perfected Madness Motorsports Monster Truck Magnetic Mount CB Antennae to continue to broadcast the inequity of the Inquisitor's ruling for the entire trip back to Ohio. Ha, Ha, take that you QCI and diabolic Henchman.

The Putnam Rally School was a fine event. We encourage everyone to come out and join in the fun. In addition to preparing for the Club Race, the engineers from Madness Motorsports conducted extensive tests on their latest racing accessory: the Robic-Exocet Velcro Mounted Stop Watch. We'll report on the results of those tests in an upcoming issue of the Bent Pylon unless the author forgets to fire up the Speak and Spell Supercomputer and record his thoughts on that testing.

Be seeing you!
Mason Evans
Madness Motorsports
copyright 1996 Mason Evans

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Most recent revision Sunday, September 15, 1996