1726 15th STREET, WEST OAKLAND, CA : 510-207-1613
WORLD RECORD BURNOUT

Then they announced Guiness World Record Burnout attempt. I’m all in. Coolest. Thing. Ever. Over 120 cars burning out at once. I nearly destroyed one rear tire. As soon as we finished up, we lined up with my Golden Ticket, which turned out to be a police escort to a party on Beale St. — wayyyyyy cool! On the way to the hotel from Beale St., Finnegan and Freiburger pulled up on us in Blasphemi. Race? Nope — just smiles.

Photo credit (above and below): HotRod Magazine.

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MEMPHIS TO BIRMINGHAM

We partied down on Beale Street and met the locals. But we were also starting notice a pull to the right. We thought it was a wheel bearing, and GM motor medics took a look and adjusted it.

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BIRMINGHAM TO GULFPORT

One hundred miles in, we exited the highway and…no brakes! Wheel bearing gave up the ghost, caliper fell. We got a tow to a middle-of-nowhere shop. Three trips to the parts store and the guys finally agreed with the part numbers I had given them. We raced from the shop to the venue to punch our card, with just five minutes to spare.

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GULFPORT TO BATON ROUGE

We hammered down to get to the last venue early. I bought Finnegan a celebratory beer. We cracked them and chatted a bit about 24 Hours of Lemons racing, which we were both doing in a week. I promised to save him a spot in the pits and to help them out, just not enough to beat us! Jim and I hung out in New orleans for a bit — crazy place!

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JIM FLIES!

I had to get back to Alloy, so I threw Jim the keys and flew home. By the time I landed, Jim was texting me from Texas; woke up and the crazy guy was texting me from Phoenix! He drove 24 hours straight with only fuel stops. Nut.

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JIM WOWS PHOENIX

Jim hung out in Phoenix for a few days. No questions.

MEETUP

Jim drove from Phoenix to Buttonwillow, California to meet me at the 24 Hours of Lemons race. Upon arrival, he figured, why stop driving now? So he did a few laps. We rolled in with our “race cars” at midnight and slept at the track.

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RACE PRACTICE DAY

No sign of the roadkill guys. The camera crew rolled in at like 10pm and I asked them about their car, the “Rotsun”. They said the guys were screwed. I offered to roll down to LA to help, but Finnegan assured me they had it all totally under control.

RACE DAY #1

Roadkill guys finally rolled in with a kinda-working car as I was making coffee at 6am. They had tech issues. I helped. They passed tech. They did a couple of laps. They had problems. Team Pinewood Dirtbags raced, and I got in for the final 2-1/2 hours. Finnegan said excitedly, “We have 9 laps in! How many do you guys have?” — I tell him 110. Sad face from Finnegan. I raged for 2-1/2 hours and had fun.

RACE DAY #2

After helping Roadkill late into the night I was tired in the AM. My team raced. I ended up helping Roadkill more. They did 24 laps over 2 days. We do 300. I hopped in the shop truck to head back to Oakland and bring her home. It was bittersweet. Much fun was had! Great memories, great friends. Can’t wait ‘til next year!

Check out the Roadkill episode on YouTube

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FINAL NOTE

Just days before this entire journey began, I lost my pops. It wouldn’t be enough to create a simple “in loving memory” page, because without his love and his unique brand of caring and support — not to mention his body shop, I wouldn’t have had the introduction to what has truly become my life’s passion.

Thanks for everything, dad! You’ve inspired me more than you’ll ever know.

Spirit in the Sky — Gregory D. Gates

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