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On a sunny Sunday in late March I drove my beloved silver 2008 Chevrolet HHR LT to my local Chevy dealership and left a few hours later with a bright shiny champagne silver…Chevy Equinox. Those who follow this blog or even my online social media are probably surprised that I didn’t leave with a Chevy Camaro. I have loved the Camaro since they re-debuted it and I continue to.  It’s a gorgeous car especially in that hot bright yellow color that I love.

So how on earth did I come out with a small SUV then?  Did I get talked into it by the salesman? Was it a last minute, impulse buy? The answer to both of the latter questions there are a resounding no. I went to the dealership with the express purpose of test driving a specific Equinox that I had already been discussing back and forth with the dealer through email and to see what they would give me for my HHR. As a matter of fact we had already done most of the haggling about the Equinox over email, and I had already been approved for financing.  It was just a matter of details. I went in knowing full well what an HHR was worth thanks to KBB.com as a trade in (you can also see what you can expect to get for it if you sell it yourself- something I did NOT want to go through the hassle of trying to do).

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I live on the Monterey Bay and last week was Car Week. Monterey Car week centers around the famed Concours d’ Elegance which if you are not familiar with Concours it is a very prestigious car show where cars are judged on a variety of merits including authenticity, function, history, and style. It’s a huge event and beautiful and amazing cars from around the country are entered. To go along with Concours there are tons of car-related events: car shows, motorsports club gatherings, tons of car auctions, car accessory and art shows, and the Rolex Motorsports Reunion. I have had a chance to wander around some of the car shows and auctions in recent years (i.e. the free ones) but I have never actually gone to the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazada Raceway (Laguna Seca to us life long locals) until this year that is. My dad got his hands on free tickets for Saturday and asked if I would go with him. My answer was HECK YEAH! I love cars, I love racing, and I didn’t have anything pressing to do on Saturday that couldn’t be put off until the afternoon- so going to the raceway for free? Sign me up!

We got to the raceway early on Saturday morning and it was foggy which is not uncommon for this area this time of year.  The fog burned off early and we had sun for most of the day.  We spent the first part of our day in the paddock enjoying all the cars on display and getting ready to race. And of course you know I took my camera with me because I love getting pictures in the paddock!

I might have drooled a little on this corvette in the paddock at the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on August 16th, 2014. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

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I posted this on my Facebook yesterday…but realized this morning while I was driving to work that I probably should have posted it here too:

I haven’t said much about the incident at Canandaigua because I can’t. I can only envisage the heartbreak the Ward family feels. I am also crushed for Tony. I know in my heart that, despite some claims, it was not intentional. I can only imagine how this weighs on him.

What I can say is that the nearly instantaneous vilification of Stewart last night and today has disheartened me more than I can express and has made me seriously wonder about the nature of humanity.

I meant that- and as you probably noticed Misty was the one who wrote her opinion about the accident because I just didn’t have the heart to post anything.  Between social media trolls unleashing personal attacks on fans who were trying to make sense of a tragedy in their own internet spaces and the sensationalistic and downright misinformed mainstream “media” I am still reeling and severely disappointed in what I saw of human nature. Sure maybe I look at the world through rosy colored glasses but I like that color because it makes the world I live in liveable.

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Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross available now at Amazon and other retailers.

 

“Racing appealed on a level far more deeply satisfying than fame and money; besides the pure adrenaline rush, it gave him an outlet for taking control and conquering life’s uncertainties.” John F. Ross, Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed.

It’s been awhile since I read anything- especially anything I could use for an installment of “Amy’s #NASCAR Reading List” but finally here it is! In this installment I am reviewing John F. Ross’s biography Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed. Chances are you are having one of two reactions to the title.  One reaction might be “Who?”   The other thought might be something along the lines of “World War One ace fighter pilot.”  The second thought was what came into my head when I was asked if I would like a copy of this novel to review for my readers to the point I nearly turned it down. Luckily the words Indy 500 caught my eye and I thought- heck I will give it read.

I am glad I did.  My dad is an aviation buff so I was familiar with the name Eddie Rickenbacker in that sense; ace pilot of World War I. But that is about all I really knew about him- that he flew biplanes in World War I.  I am going to be honest- when in school I was never a huge fan of history. All those dates and names and places. But this book brings this era that we learned about in school to life for me with it’s words in a way that has never been done before.  About the excitement and the constant changing of the industrial revolution and as the author calls it the “Age of Speed”. The book is very full of descriptive prose that make you feel like you are reading a novel instead of a biography. (more…)

Merry Christmas From BadGroove.com

We plan on starting 2014 with a bang and a contest! Be sure to check back next year! Until then have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy Happy 2014!

If you’ve been reading for awhile- you know that I reviewed author the first two books in Simon Wood’s racing thriller series here on BadGroove a couple months ago. As I mentioned in the review, I rather enjoyed both DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT and expanded out to Simon’s other “non racing” books.  I am excited that Simon was kind enough to answer some questions for me for BadGroove. So without further adieu:

BG: Did you always want to be a writer? Did you have a proclivity towards writing as a child?

Simon: No, not at all.  I’m dyslexic so I avoided the written word like the plague.  I wanted to draw.  I was a daydreamer coming up with stories but I didn’t begin writing until I was thirty.

BG: Your bio mentions you are a sometimes private investigator. How did you get into private investigation work?

Simon: When I moved to the US, I couldn’t get a job.  My wife and I were living pretty close to the breadline so we were looking to supplement our income so we responded to an ad to become mystery shoppers.  We “shopped” cinemas, electronic stores, fast food joints, etc.  We did well enough that we kept being bumped up the food chain moving to restaurants, to hotels and to finally casinos.  Once we started working in Vegas, we had to get PI licenses.

BG: Does being a “sometimes private investigator” help with being a writer- especially in the suspense/thriller genre?

Simon: To be honest, most of the work was pretty sedate and detail oriented.  The only thing we did have to do was come up with a lot of cover stories as we were undercover a lot of time.  The best thing about the job is all the people watching I got to do.

BG: Who are a couple of your favorite authors and/or books?

Simon: I’m a big Reginald Hill & Raymond Chandler fan.  But I would say my biggest influence is Hitchcock.  He understood human frailty and he liked to poke it with a stick and I like that.

Simon’s books DID NOT FINISH and HOT SEAT are the first two installments that follow Aidy Westlake, a young racer with a pension for finding trouble. Since Simon is an ex-race car driver I wondered how his experience factored into the personality of Aidy.

BG: Did you always want to be a racer? How did you get into it? (more…)

Cars on track at Laguna Seca

This picture has nothing to do with the post other than it’s a favorite of cars on track at Laguna Seca that I have taken. This was taken during the 2012 ALMS race in what I believe is turn 7 but I could be wrong about the turn number. (Photo Credit: Amy K. Marbach)

So several weeks ago I promised you all a story at the end of this post about the first Chase race. Really it’s the story of my first ever race…and I am not talking my first NASCAR race.

Not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away- back when the IRL series was known as the CART series, my dad decided that my fandom of motorsports was not a flash in the pan and I think secretly he was thrilled.  The Indy cars were coming to Laguna Seca- which is very close to where we lived.  At the time I was into that series (I lost interest in it when CART split into IRL and CHAMP and half of my favorite drivers went one way and half went the other way). Since I had always shown a love of racing and specifically CART at the time- my dad laid down what I know was big bucks for him at the time for weekend grandstand tickets in Turn 11 as well as weekend paddock passes for the two of us for the race in Monterey.  I was a teenager at the time- so it was probably somewhere around 1990-1991 I think.  My parents even excused my absence from school so that we could take full advantage of our weekend tickets. (more…)

Rush Movie Poster: Everyone's driven by something.

The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It’s a wonderful way to live. It’s the only way to drive. – James Hunt, Rush 2013

I have been giddy like a school girl ever since I found out about Ron Howard’s Rush. I might be primarily into NASCAR these days- but my first race was open wheel (CART) and I am willing to watch pretty much anything with wheels if given the opportunity- whether that be at the track, on television or yes in the movie theater. I don’t go to many movies in the theater so when Misty mentioned maybe going to see Rush while I was in town for a visit and the truck series race I practically screamed affirmations at her with excitement  since she obviously wanted to see the movie too. (more…)