Hobby Stock Racing – Seeing It up Front and Personal
I recently had a wonderful opportunity to be the passenger during a local Hobby Stock Heat Race in Fallon, Nevada. The owner of nvracingnews.com, Dan McGee, was so gracious as to offer my name, and Radio Show Teresa’s Garage, to Tami Buehn who is a Hobby Stock Racer driving car #33.
Hobby Stock Racing is defined as Stock or Stock OEM vehicles that race on a dirt short track with specific rules.
My husband and I decided to make a day of it and we really weren’t sure exactly how the day would play out, but we did know one thing – I was going racing. We arrived at the track 90 minutes early, since the raceway is approximately 65 miles from where we live. The weather report called for thunderstorms, which this area has been receiving for the past 3 weeks. You know that one never messes with Mother Nature. She will get her way no matter what your plans are.
While enroute to Rattlesnake Raceway, it began to rain; not just light rain, more like flash flooding. As we entered the pit area, passes were waiting for us at the Pit Gate, thanks to Tami Buehn, and we proceeded to find a place to park out of the mud. It appeared to us that this race was not going to transpire today, due to too much rain and the track was a mud pit.
I headed over to the drivers’ area and was met by Dan McGee. He was there taking photos and reporting on the weekend race for his website. Plus, he was the reason I was invited to attend the race. Racer Tami Buehn came over with a bearing to grease, and we hit it off. Everyone was waiting patiently to hear the news about the race. Then it came, it was canceled, and rescheduled for the next day, Sunday July 5th. This was disappointing, but Tami and her husband Dennis Buehn both invited us back Sunday. Of course we said yes.
We arrived back on Sunday, the sun was shining bright, but there was a large chance of thunderstorms later in the day. The weather was hot, but perfect for a race. The only problem was that although most of the water at the Raceway had dried up, the center of the track was still a mud pit.
A water truck was wetting down the track prior to the race and I was hanging out in the pit area with Tami Buehn. There were 17 Hobby Stock races in Tami’s class which meant a full track and a very dirty and somewhat wet track. Tami was driving a mid 70’s Firebird #33, white and yellow. Her nick name is Mud Hen, since she has had the privilege of spinning into the mud a few times.
I could observe and feel the tension in the pits from all the racers. Not towards each other, but for the race itself. Tami was pacing and nervous, but then again, she has a lot of energy. The outside temperature was in the 90’s and it would soon be time for me to suit up and plant myself in the passenger seat of #33.
Tami was so gracious as to supply me with a complete racing suit, right down to the shoes. I hopped into the jump suit, put on the leather shoes, then, putting one leg into the car then the other, I slid in. Those seats are not cushioned, they’re hard as a rock, but there to protect you from impact. That is important!
I strapped down the 6 way harness seat belt, and then installed my neck brace, helmet, and then the gloves. I felt like an astronaut ready for takeoff. In a sense, that is what we were waiting for. The side webbing had to be installed by my husband since I couldn’t turn or move to even try.
The call came over the special receiver all drivers carry that we needed to line up for the race. I felt as if the temperature in my suit was about 100° plus. The helmet had a flip up face shield which you could use if you were in need of some air, and boy, did I. I could feel my body temperature rising as we began to move again – then we were given the go ahead to begin our journey to the track.
Once on the track the drivers will take a few laps to get everyone in position before the checkered flag starts flying. After about two laps, off we went. Engines were roaring, your adrenalin is racing and the rush was on. We made it around the first lap, all was good and Tami was still holding second place. Then, while going into the back turn, we spun out into the mud. I could feel the sensation of the car starting to move around and we ended up into the mud pit. Tami did an awesome job of getting us out without help from the pit crew.
She put the pedal down and off we went again, engine racing, dirt was flying from every car, and since there are no windows in this car, a lot of it ends up in your lap or on your helmet. My blood was pumping and the car was roaring down the track while Tami was working hard to keep her position among the pack.
Then as we headed into the top turn, we lost it again, spun once, and then were back on the track, almost hitting the wall, but with great maneuvering, Tami managed to keep us moving straight ahead. This race consisted of 10 laps and Tami was determined to finish the race, even if she dropped back a few positions due to the spin outs.
As the white flag was raised, with only one lap left to go, Tami was still trying hard to gain one more place ahead. Next came the checkered flag and the race was over. Wow, 10 laps went so fast, and the rush was awesome. It’s one thing to be in the grand stands, another to be in the race on the track. I know one thing I learned from this experience, I am going to do it again.