There was one other record that fell in this weekend's brace of mountain-climbing festivities: the top-speed record at Mt. Washington was raised to 114 by Jerry Driscoll, 68, who drove the homebuilt car he set the previous speed record in 13 years ago. Speed can come from unexpected places, as Jstas tells in his comment on fast cars and high-school bullies:

Most of the people who did the bullying had Mustang GT's, Camaros, Firebirds and a couple of Monte Carlos.

Me and my Ranger got laughed at regularly. Halfway through senior year, the bullies of my class had discovered street racing. They systematically went through the class challenging everyone to a street race for money. They went after all the hand-me-down sedans and such first and then the kids with the clapped out beaters. Since only a few of us had small trucks, we were left until last.

I laughed and said no every time one of them would taunt me. They called me all kinds of variations of "chicken".

Then, one day, one of them flew by me on a residential street, cut in front of me and slammed on the brakes. Wouldn't move. Every time I tried to get around him, he'd speed up and get in front of me again. Since my Ranger was considerably slower, he had the best of me. He demanded that I race him. I thought this was quite stupid. So I relinquished but under certain conditions.

I told him it had to happen at the track on a grudge night so no question about timing, fair starts and finish lines. We could bring whatever we wanted to the race to help out our situation. A no-show was a forfeiture. He scoffed and tried to back out. Claimed it was too expensive. I told him no money, just bragging rights and I'd pay his entry fee and helmet rental. He said ok to that after I asked if he was scared.

Pretty much half the class showed up that night. They all were waiting at the gate for me to come pay this douche's way in. They thought I'd be the one to punk out. So I walked up to the gate, paid his way, rented his helmet and said "See you in the lanes." I walked away to my little corner of the pits. The classmates were wandering the pits looking for my little, tan, 87 Ranger. I heard a few of them say to the opponent that I must have left when he showed up.

They paid no mind to the primer gray '83 Mustang GT in the corner. When I pulled up next to him in the lanes, I had my helmet on. I got out of the car with the helmet on and walked up to the official. I took my helmet off and told him we were to race together, grudge match. Official smiled and gave me a thumbs up. I walked back to the car with the helmet off and they flipped out. "You're cheatin'! That's not your car! Where's your truck?!" I asked him what was the matter? His '92 Mustang was too slow to beat a 1983 Mustang? He demanded to see proof of ownership. I kept the title in the glovebox, stupid, I know but I was kid. I pulled out the title and registration with my name on both. He tried to make more excuses and I said "You're not scared, are ya?"

He got angry, shouted no and that he was going to kick my ass. We got up, the guy in front of me went to the light for a solo run and the official held us. I had been running my Mustang for a while so they knew me and they knew it was a sleeper of sorts. So the tower announcer played along. They lined us up. I deep staged on purpose to freak him out. I uncorked the exhaust cut outs just before I staged and coasted into the beams in all the rumpity-rump glory. I stood on the line lock and I sat there staring straight at him, ignoring the tree completely, revving the living hell out of the car. The lights dropped, he cut a fairly decent .511 light. Better than I thought he would. We were running heads up so I sat at the light until he got to about the 300 foot mark. I stood on the gas, dropped the clutch and actually got traction. The car twisted good and I was told there was daylight under the torqued side front wheel. I took off like a shot and passed him like he was standing still at 1,000 foot mark. He was pedaling hard.

His time: 15.288 @ 79 MPH
My time: 11.624 @ 121 MPH

I got warned about not having a safety cage and running that fast that night. Nobody from school ever asked me to race again.

You know, now that I write that all out, it sounds like some cheesy '80s "feel good", "coming of age" movie. Kinda lame. But the Ranger I had gotten the year before as a first car and had to share it with my sister. I wanted to race something and the parents said no. So I went behind their backs and bought the GT with no drivetrain for $300. I rented a truck and trailer to go get it. I got the drivertrain from a wrecked '86 for $375. I put it all together over the winter in my friend's driveway. I think I threw about $1200 in total in that car and spent weekend after weekend buried under the hood at the track tuning and tweaking. That 11.624 timeslip was my last full throttle run....