The Magic Car

“I will trailer your car to the track if you pay for the diesel, and we’ll see how fast your car really is,” Chris told Marc. Marc grinned. “Sweet! Wednesday or Friday?” he asked. “Wednesday,” Chris replied.

With that brief exchange, what had been a heated but abstract debate between the old school and the new school of drag racers suddenly became a very material proposition.

The group gathered at Boost Logic on Wednesday afternoon. As we waited to leave, people talked trash and made friendly bets. Everyone had an opinion as to how fast they thought Marc would go. Laughter as well as genial arguments broke out. The majority opinion was that Marc would trap between 135 to 140mph, with a few people saying 140 to 144mph. We left the shop around four in the afternoon and headed to the San Antonio Raceway.

When the exhaust fumes settled, a whole crew of people went on the trip. Chris, Marc, myself, and Corina (my photographer for the night) rode in Chris’ F250 turbo diesel truck and pulled Marc’s car. S.W. and Cody, of American Racing Technologies, brought their BMW M5s, and Justin brought his 2002 Porsche 911 (996) twin turbo (with a Boost Logic turbo kit). Nick, a fellow drag racer, came in his truck with some Mickey Thompson drag radials that Marc was going to borrow for his run. Nick also brought Mac, his American bulldog. It was quite a motley crew.

Chris’ group arrived at the track first. We unloaded Marc’s car and went to tech inspection. The inspection went surprisingly quick, given the setup Marc was running.

Here’s a video of Marc explaining his car’s setup:

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After we finished at tech inspection, everyone else began rolling in. Marc decided to go out on a run with just his street drag radials to do a shakedown pass, while I headed to the stands and prepared to shoot. Marc’s initial run came in at 11.7 seconds at 141mph. As Marc pulled up to the pit, Justin, Zohair, S.W., and Cody arrived. When they were told the initial run time, everyone cheered and was really proud.

Witnessing how quickly the group had gone from trash talking and teasing Marc to being proud and excited of what he’d accomplished was inspiring. Chris began to discuss making some promotional videos about Marc’s turbo kit, and everyone else speculated as to what Marc could potentially run.

In addition to Marc’s incredible first run, Justin had also brought his newly modified and tuned (by himself, of course) Porsche 911 turbo to do some runs that day. His shakedown run demonstrated a speedy car with a trap speed of 126mph. Justin did his own data logging at the track, making adjustments during his run, which was refreshing, since very few people have the skills and resources to do that.

S.W. and Cody had a nice drag race too, with both of their M5s performing in the teens. It amazed me how much S.W.’s M5 sounds like a Mustang, even though it has a BMW V10 engine.

Between runs, everyone met up at the pit area and talked shop about the cars and builds. Everyone was excited and having a great time.

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As the afternoon wore on, people began to get hungry. It’s been my experience that, as long as no one’s car breaks, hunger has a lot to do with the decision to stop racing. However, to have a day where nothing breaks on anyone’s car is pretty rare, and it made the whole day that much more enjoyable, since people naturally tend to get discouraged or upset when something breaks.

Eventually it was decided that since everyone was really hungry, they’d get one or two more runs in and then we’d head out. By this point, Justin had his car dialed in pretty well and Marc had mounted Nick’s drag radials and gotten in a few runs with them. Dusk had settled over the track as they headed to the lanes one last time to wait their turn.

These final two runs brought the trip from fun to spectacular. Justin and Marc ran incredible times and trap speeds. Justin ran an 11.7 at 133mph, and Marc ran a 10.53 at 144.78. When they arrived back at the pit lanes, the reactions of everyone gathered were enthusiastic and congratulatory, and amid the celebrations, Chris told Marc not to worry about the diesel, which I thought was a great way to end the night.

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Marc drove his car onto the trailer and, after a few more compliments were paid, everyone jumped in their cars and headed to dinner.

We ended up at a Chili’s down the road from the track. Around the table, everyone shared stories of that night and nights past. The mood was so positive; people were just glad to be in one another’s company. It was a night I’ll never forget.