(Last) Weekly Roundup: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered Some Of It, Anyway

As some of you know, and others deduced ahead of time, I made my debut in the Pirelli World Challenge this past Friday, driving the same Accord Coupe that I’ve been racing in NASA Great Lakes since May. It would be an understatement to say that we brought a knife to a gun fight; not only did I have the slowest and heaviest car in the race, I was one of just two FWD cars in a 21-car field.

We started 20th of 21 on the same tires we’d used for both practice and qualifying. On the first lap I made up five positions to win the Optima Batteries Best Start award. After five laps, I was running 14th and coming up on the 13th and 12th place Bimmers. That was when the CV joint in my right axle lost all its grease and started wobbling apart. Ten laps later my clutch checked out. I could no longer accelerate in fifth gear because the drag of the axle was so bad. I managed to hold on to 14th, winning the VP Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions during the race. You can see the final classification on the PWC timing site.

Unfortunately for us, there was no new axle to be had within 500 miles on a Saturday night, so we elected to watch Sunday’s race rather than try repacking the wobbly axle. I didn’t want to risk our car and the cars of the 7 drivers that would have started behind me. That sucked. It sucks to be poor, at least in this context; I showed up pulling Spike the Accord on an open trailer. Some of the other teams had Prevosts, toterhomes, and spare cars. We were the only team that couldn’t afford a new set of tires for every session. I still haven’t paid for my fuel drum…

Doesn’t matter. I told my friends and my team that I could take them to The Show and demonstrate that we have what it takes to run with the big boys. I believed in them and I believed in myself. It takes a special kind of narcissistic jerkoff to sit on his couch in Ohio and say, “Hey, if I had an old Accord I bet I could whip some ass on television.” I am that jerkoff. If you look at the season points for Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car, you will see me and my team on there. Not dead last.

Click the jump for some more photos and a quick rundown of last week’s work.

Me and John in August of 2009, in my only Grand-Am race.

Here we are in 2018, re-creating the same picture. John is aging much better than I am.

Best Start award. You’d think I would win a battery for this but I did not.

Getting some love on the live feed.

Spike the Accord. He is not welcome back next year.

Nice shot of the Esses in practice.

This was mildly upsetting. Mostly because I thought he was going to bounce back across into me.

This ragtag group of people brought me all the way here.

* * *

For R&T, I wrote about the Escalade that only rich people buy. For TTAC, I discussed options bundling and reviewed a Malaysia-built Volvo S90 T8 Twin Engine.

For Bicycling, I covered balance bikes for children. This is basically a listicle but I tried to put some of my own industry knowledge into the text. I’m hoping to do some truly great work with the magazine in the future.

Brother Bark reviewed a very big Nissan.

As always, thank you for reading!

28 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered Some Of It, Anyway”

  1. AvatarDavid Florida

    Why won’t Spike be welcome next year? Or more precisely, I hope that was in jest and not an allusion to a change in rules…

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Honda came to talk to me after the race to see if I’d be interested in running a Civic.

      Nominally the Accord is eligible through 2019. In practice it’s going to be balance-of-powered out of contention. I’m already 40-50 horses below the front runners.

  2. AvatarMozzie

    I like how the Kiddimoto Karbon has a straight blade fork. Makes sense as it will resemeble the parent’s bike(s), and confer an advantage racing the regular balance bikes.

  3. AvatarJohn C.

    It is interesting to compare the Suburban to say a 72 Ninety Eight Regency in terms of understatement of class. I wonder if all the capability to tow boats/race cars/ dune buggies actually goes against the prestige. In that it shows the owner too focused on hobbies instead of wielding power in an important institution. The 98s in my mind went down pretty heavily in prestige when by the late 80s they were mostly driven by retirees instead of those in power. In that case the driver changed more than the car, he was no longer wielding power and the cars reputation suffered.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Ah, but today’s measurement of power is one’s ability to “play hard” instead of “working hard”.

      Fifty years ago, the company founder wore a Brooks Brothers suit and lunched at a chop house. Today, he dials into a meeting from his beach house then runs out to catch some waves or do yoga.

      Our elite present now in neotenic fashion, shaming us all with their effervescent ability to simply live their best lives without seeming effort.

      • AvatarMartin

        When you ran my Range Rover Velar review, a few people got bogged down with the fact that I owned a Range Rover. One person chastised me (https://jackbaruth.com/?p=10758#comment-94196), ending with the accusation that I was a snob, and that I should have bought a Yukon Denali. I think this proves your point in the Suburban article exactly.

        Between the time I wrote the review and you published it, I actually traded in the RR for a new Navigator. I wonder which side of the equation that would land?

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          Maybe it’s time for a Navigator review… unless you already sent it to me and I’ve just lost it in my email…

        • AvatarJohn C.

          I think Carmine was just expressing exasperation at the plethora of Land Rover models seemingly right on top of one another. Carmine, I think the Defender was the real one but the model is experiencing some sort of intermission while they attempt to evoke some sense of mainstream appeal. I have no problem with Range Rovers or Denalis. I just think there is more prestige attached to the one owned by a modern day Cecil Rhodes finding his next diamond mine than Catlin Jenner towing his dune buggy alone on a work day.

      • AvatarFelis Concolor

        From Tom Wolfe’s “In Our Time”

        Aging – Then and Now.

        Then: “As long as they don’t think I’m poor…”
        Now: “As long as they don’t think I’m old…”

  4. AvatarJoe

    I say thats a pretty awesome outcome for being down on money and sponsors, very impressive to even have finished despite the flailing c/v joint and compromised clutch!

  5. Avatarsightline

    I always have to check my priors when I read about “stealth wealth” since anyone buying a Suburban isn’t stealth whatsoever in the “Real Bay Area” (and yes, I am using those quotes deliberately and ironically).

    Stealth here would be a Model S, pretty much, or maybe an S-class. Something quiet that blends in to the overall flow of traffic, which is so heavy on German and Japanese luxury makes that the higher-end ones disappear. For a while it was a Prius, before Tesla.

    Anything overly large or god forbid towing anything would be the opposite of stealth. Space is at a premium.

      • Avatarsightline

        So, like I said, I’m using it archly. But roughly, San Jose to San Francisco, i.e. the dense, rich part. A Suburban or a Yukon would be more associated with an Uber Black than someone with means. It comes mostly down to:
        1. Virtue signaling
        2. Size – Much of the housing stock in the Valley, even the expensive parts is from the 40s-60s and is smaller than what a Suburban would fit in…at 224″ long, it’s a foot longer than my garage can hold.
        3. Lack of “toys”. Jack makes a good point above about how now the paradigm is to “play hard” but here the playing hard is likely to be of the Ironman type, not something that needs a trailer. A Model X is good enough for that…

  6. AvatarWidgetsltd

    It ain’t bragging if you can do it. Congrats on the WC result! I still have the Optima battery that Chumpcar made us run when they had a marketing deal with Optima. It’s working well in my minivan.

  7. AvatarBrian

    Good job, Jack! Was able to catch the second half of the race and my 8-yr old son kept asking me for updates on your position. After seeing all those Bimmers finish in the top 10, it was more like watching someone bring a samurai sword to a panzer fight…

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’d have caught the two ahead of me but my axle basically gave up.

      Not only is TC basically Spec M235i, they got a BOOST INCREASE the morning of the final weekend!

  8. AvatarJordan

    Question about balance bikes – is there and advantage to getting a dedicated balance bike over removing the crankset from a correctly-sized pedal bike? Removing the crankset worked on kids 1 & 2 but #3 is struggling.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      With the qualifier “correctly sized” then no, but the correct size and geometry for a balance bike is smaller and lower than the equivalent pedal bike.

    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      Balance bikes rule. There are some things that I have an opinion about though. I think a single tube and low is the way to do it, especially for boys, and I think they should have a brake. I have no idea why the early rider or firstbike are designed like that. It basically defeats the purpose of having a low leg-over height. I bought theirs too early, like around two, but my boys were riding real bikes before they were three. They had been riding training wheels wal-mart junk and one day they took the balance bike down a mild slope, made a turn, and boom, they had it. Once they tried the balance bike it took less than a month for them to fully transition.

  9. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    I see that Hearst bought Rodale last year. I stopped subscribing to Bicycling back in the ’90s because Rodale tilted left politically and culturally and it affected content.

  10. Avatartrollson

    I don’t get balance bikes. Pedals are more important than the seat. Balancing on pedals is critical. Maybe kids just need a scooter first to learn balance on two wheels.


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