The Son Also Races


Some days are better than others.


Last night we continued our LaFerrari vs. 918 Spyder test at Circleville Raceway Park. I gave John a kart with a functioning starter and a working clutch; he rewarded me by shaving six seconds off his best lap time in under 30 laps of practice. He got steadily faster all evening and only spun once, but as every auto journalist knows this is a business where you spend most of the time taking photos. So he put his suit back on and posed for half an hour in the eighty-eight-degree heat. I was very proud of him.


I took my first laps of CRP last night as well, behind the wheel of the 918. John coached me around. I was surprised at just how complicated the track is. We had a good time. I hope he remembers these times when he’s older. Most of my memories from when I was seven are unhappy ones. I don’t blame my parents for that; it’s just a side effect of being a few years younger than my classmates and being continually bounced from school to school around the East Coast. I think the best image I can summon from that era was when my neighbor across the street, an African-American postal worker who drove a slick silver-and-burgundy M-body LeBaron, gave me a high-power cylindrical “space magnet”. It was half red and half polished. It disappeared in the next move. Those things happened whenever we loaded a North American truck and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do to prevent it. I hope John feels more in control of his own life. At the very least, he knows how to get around a racetrack. But was he faster than the LaFerrari? Check your local airport newsstand in ninety days or so.

18 Replies to “The Son Also Races”

    • David Walton

      The only cool pics I have at a race track from that age involve me at Road Atlanta with Richard Petty (he offered to autograph my shirt, I declined) or John Paul, Jr.

  1. Michael

    Brilliant, I think it’s time to subscribe.

    I recently moved out leaving my children with their mom. I look forward to every minute with them. Right now I’m counting the minutes until Sunday July 31. I’m picking the kids up in my Black Beauty, yeah I’m stealing that one, and we’re driving to the Queens Museum for the final day of the Ramones exhibit. Then we’re off to the Museum Of The Moving Image for a vintage video game exhibit and a 70mm print of 2001 A Space Odyssey. I hope they remember the road trip and forget the pain they are going through.

    I just subscribed.

    • Robert

      They will, and the pain will fade eventually, so long as you continue to make connecting with them a priority.

      I saw a 70mm rerelease of 2001 in the 90s. I was amazed by all the details I never noticed watching it on television. You’re in for a treat.

  2. hank chinaski

    Print and bind these, dead tree style, gold leaf and everything, for his 25th. 18 will be too early. It is a moral imperative.

  3. Tomko

    The worst day of every child’s life is the day that their first younger sibling is born.

    • jstyer

      I don’t think I could disagree more… Every time I see someone without siblings I cannot suppress the pitty that I feel for them.

      • -Nate-Nate

        “Every time I see someone without siblings I cannot suppress the pitty that I feel for them.”.
        Siblings : meh .
        I have a shytload of ’em and only _one_ is worth anything .

    • Hank Chinaski

      Clone #1 tried to throw Clone #2 out of the nest several times in those first 6 months. Now they are inseparable.

  4. -Nate-Nate

    I’m loving pic. # 2 ! .
    It reminded me of they day one of my old Friends decided to box with my then 15 (+/-) year old Son ~ all I said was ” be careful , he’s not Eight years old anymore ” but my foolish Friend got his 200 # @$$ handed to him in an eye blink and tried to blame me as my Son walked off laughing…..
    Trust me , for better or worse , John will never , _EVER_ forget this day’s events .
    It’s bittersweet if you were not close to your Father because every time you Son and you close ranks , it’ll remind you of your Father’s failure to do the same thing.
    Anyway , I can’t wait to read all about this day in detail , it looks *very* interesting and fun ! .
    (who spent Wednesday evening “Supervising” my Son working on his new (gently used) 2003 GMC one ton Express C-Class motorhome)

  5. Shocktastic

    I think it is amazing the experiences you are giving your son. As an aside, what sort of engineering goes into the license plate holder of a supercar?

  6. Yamahog

    With all due respect, how in the heck did someone as irreverent as you get cleared to drive LaFerrari? I thought Ferrari only let ‘yes men’ ‘journalists’ touch their cars and bringing a Ferrari to the track was a whole ordeal. Obviously this is a private car but aren’t they afraid of attracting the scorn of the factory?

    Totally cool though. If you haven’t already, you made a gear head. Or you did the best anyone could ever do and if it didn’t take, it wasn’t meant to be.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      We’ll see what Ferrari has to say. They’ve been pretty cool about me driving their cars. We’re not going to publish specific performance numbers for the car — there was no standardized testing on these two days — so with any luck there won’t be drama.

  7. VTNoah

    John’s a lucky kid to have you as a father. He’ll remember the time you spent with him forever.

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