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PLAYING CHICKEN ON THE EIGHT: PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE View from the Top

PLAYING CHICKEN ON THE EIGHT: PENTHOUSE MAGAZINE View from the Top

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Published by Robin Postell
This grassroots testosterone-induced madness is another animal, a distant cousin to its racing kin like NASCAR or KART...
This grassroots testosterone-induced madness is another animal, a distant cousin to its racing kin like NASCAR or KART...

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Published by: Robin Postell on Mar 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/17/2014

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Withnolimitationsonhorsepower,weight,orbodies,Barefootpointsoutthatifcompetitionwereregu-lated,"they'dlosealotofcars.Theguywiththebad-desttoywins."Aneight-timeFigure8champwhogothisstartindemolitionderbies,hehasdevelopthetiminginstinctnecessarytocareenthroughthatXwithenoughconfi-dencetobeatdownfear.Thosewhosignonrealizethere'sachanceofcheckingout.Knowingyouropponentoffersanedge,whichmeansrookiesonthetrackclutchalittletoosnugonanalreadybackhome;Irwindaledriversgetonlyabouteightpersea-son.BarefootknowsBearandMcMurtreywillbehardtobeat.Nevertheless,theglaringdifferencesbetweenthelocalhard-asseswiththeirroughshodhotrodsandthepedigreedIndyfellowswiththeirbabiedrocketsdoesn'tseemtocreateten-sion,and,evenatafewgrand,theprizemoneyseemsmoreaformalitythanadrivingforce.AbsenttonightiscarNo.666,drivenbymotorcycleczarJesseJames,founderofWestCoastChoppers.Hisrepformoldingbikesoutofmetalfromscratchwithhistattooedpawshasmadehimananti-star-ablue-collarboystraddlingthetracks,nevercommittingfullytotheoldlifeofragsorthenewoneofriches.ThiscaughtDiscoveryChannel'seye.Severaldocudramasaboutquentinjections.Practicingahobbywithoutbeingharanguedbyautograph-beggingankle-grabbers,alongsidemenalotlikehimbutwithalotlessmoney."I'mthemostfeareddriverinFigure8,"hetellsme.''AllofthosefuckersknowthatIwillhitthem.Butit'sfun-meaninglessandballs-out."SaysWestbrookwithashakeofherhead,"I'llneverforgetwhenheflippedthisawesomecarover-666.Alltheoildrainedoutofit.Youcan'tdriveacarwithoutoil,buthedid.Hesaidfuckit,hedidn'taskformoreoil,hekeptgoing.Theyflippedhimbackover,andoffhewent.Heblewabrand-newmotortryingtofinisharace."Jamescannowaffordtodothis,andyou'dthinkitmightpissoffsomeofhisfellowFigure8ers.Histrademarkaffablearrogance
laving
bigballsisa
toppriorjty
in..
Figure
8,
but
experience
IS
king.
earnedhispeacefulairofdeference.Barefoot,deckedoutinaCherry-redfireproofjumpsuitandordinaryspec-tacles,isframedinafrazzledhaloofunkemptlocksthat,thoughclean,tellyouhe'sadirtyboy.Thistow-truck-driv-ingbachelorshrugsoffrnar-riage;saysheknowsifitcamedowntohimgettingnewtiresorhiswifegettingawasheranddryer,therubberwouldwinout.Inotethathisbarefeetarenotnearlyaswreckedasyou'dexpectafterdecadesoftrudgingthroughjunk-yards.Accordingtolore,Barefoothasneverwornshoes-noteveninschool."Ijustneverlikedwearingshoes,"hesays,shrugging.Heclaimshewearsthemwhenheracesonlybecausehehasto.Heconfidesthathisdaddy,busyworkingintheoilfields,couldn'tmusterthemighttoenforceshoe-wearingbyhismotherlessbrood.Havingbigballs,Billysays,isatoppriorityinFigure8,butexperienceisking.Onlytrialanderrorcan
26
PENTHOUSE
hairpintrigger."Lastrace,Igothitbyaguywho'donlyracedthreetimes,"Barefootsays.''There'snostopsignsorredlightsattheintersec-tion.It'samatteroftiming.Ifyourunupthereandstop,youneedtoknowalotofdif-ferentfactors.We
train
therookiesoutthere."Hechuck-lesruthlessly.It'sattheXthatthernenareseparatedfromtheboys.Aticketbrokercanbecomeafearlesschampion;aplumbermightmakehisrivallooklikeapussy.Fortherac-ersit'ssimple:Liveordie.Mostcompetitorsherearefromnearby;manyareacquaintedwitheachother'sbackyardbarbecuesortheirgarages,tinkeringunderthehoodsofbelovedhotrods.Inthemixtonightareafewstrangers,amongthemIndybigboysFredBearJr.,whowonthissameIrwindaleSpeedwayFigure8lastyear,andCurtisMcMurtrey.Withspit-shinedIndianapolisSpeedromespecialstheytowedforlonghourstoshowupandshowout,theyrunFigure8's40timesayearhiscraftandlifestylehavebeenproduced.Theseries
MonsterGarage
madehimfamous.Still,somethingwasmissing.IrwindaleSpeedway,notfarfromhisLongBeach,California,headquarters,hasbecomearealitycheckforJames,offeringaplacetoescapethegold-barredcageoffameinwhichhe'sfoundhimselfimprisoned.GirlfriendSandraBullockcomesalongnowandthen,andnobodybothersthem.They'reallowedtobepeo-ple,notstars."Beingaregionaltrack,Jamesisalwaysadrawforus,"saysWendiWestbrook,aformerracecardriverturnedsales-and-marketinggirl,announcer,andpace-cardriverfortheSpeedway.''ThetrackappreciatesthefactthatwhenitcomestimeforhimtotestoutanewMGcreation,hebringsitouthere.Ithelpsus.Thebottomlineis,it'sagoodrelationship."Figure8mainlinesadrena-line,andIrwindaleSpeed-wayenablesJames'sfre-doesn'tfaze.Hefitsin,doesn'tactlikeadiva,doesn'tmakespecialrequestsforhispits.Jamesisoneofthem.Hiscarmostdefinitelywillblowothersawayinstyleandmight(1,000horse-powerNASCAR-style,run-ningonalcohol),butit'sjustacarandhe'sjustaman.Hemightbeacelebrity,plas-teredinmagazineskissingmoviestarBullock,butheknows-asdotheotherdriv-ers-thatthedifferencebetweenthemisn'tanybroaderthanthatintersec-tionintheeight.InJune2004Jamesprovedthathebleedsandbreaksjustlikeeverybodyelse.Ahead-oncrashintoawallnearlykilledhim.Oncrutches,stillnursinganail-ingankle,heavoidsthetracktonightbecausenotbeingabletoracehurtsahellofalotworsethanbro-kenbones."Crashingandwalkingawayisbitchin',"hesays.''I'vedoneitabunchoftimes.Butcrashingandbeingknockedoutandtryingtowakeupandopenmyeyesandwondering

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