One of the biggest highlights of Seattle summers is the Pacific Northwest Historics. It's an incredibly well run event and benefits Children's Hospital - a terrific organization. The fact that the hospital is front and center emphasizes the fact that the races are about the kids - and that includes kids who come to experience the races. The 3-days are an absolute thrill; the sights, sound, smells and visceral reverberations from old track warriors pitching around the circuit are a treat to share with my two young sons.
The festivities include a car corral attracting many car clubs. Us Corvette guys can usually wrangle a great parking place next to the track. The added bonus is filing out onto the track during the mid-day break to take a few parade laps in our ’66 big block Coupe.
A few years back, it was my oldest son Milo’s turn for a day at the races - he was 6 at the time. It was a fun morning; he made many new friends in the pits, was invited to sit in scores of rare vintage racers, got a few autographs and single-handedly cornered the market on snow cones.
When it was time to take our parade laps, Milo buckled himself into his booster seat and strained his neck to see over the Corvette’s arched dash. It was time to roll. The entire car corral jockeyed into cue and was marshaled down pit road and onto the course. The pace car rolled forward and pressed to a brisk but reasonable pace. The Shelby Cobra club was leading our group. Seeing the Cobras up-front brought a smile to my face; I knew it’d be fun to watch from behind as they pushed the limits of parade lap decorum. And they didn’t disappoint.
Predictably, they lagged behind then charged the serpentines of the backstretch. We had to pick up the pace to keep-up. Milo strained to sit straight as the G’s pulled him side to side in the corners, forward on braking, and pressed him into the seat on acceleration. His grin grew wider as the 427 sang through the off-road exhaust.
After three laps, a flagger stepped out on the track to guide us back down pit road to the corral parking lot. Milo looked over and asked, “Did we win the race?” I paused, and then assured him we did win. Of course, we celebrated with another snow cone.