Today three of my characters are going to help out with the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Cody is the protagonist of In the Blood and Getting Sideways. Race is his uncle. And, of course, you’ll all remember Alex from Dead Heat. Okay, who wants to start?
Cody: I will. “J” is for Jess.
Alex: That ain’t a racing term.
Cody: It is for me. Jess gets my heart revved up clear past redline.
Lisa: I’m not buying it. Hey, Race, can’t you slap a muffler on him?
Race: Yeah, right. I’ve been trying for the past two years. But he’s got a point. “J’s” a tough one. How about “jacks” as in “weight jacks?” Will you let that slide?
Lisa: For you? Sure.
Race (grinning): I always knew I was your favorite.
Cody: I thought I was her favorite!
Alex: Can’t you just let Race tell about them weight jacks so I can get to my word?
Race: Thank you, Alex. All right, weight jacks are long threaded rods that run through a big nut that’s welded into the spring pocket on the chassis. On the bottom of the rod is a plate that fits over the upper end of the spring. By turning the rod you can increase or decrease tension on the spring. This raises or lowers the car at that wheel, and at the same time delivers more or less weight to that corner of the car. This is important because it lets you to adjust the handling. If the car is pushing or loose—something Alex covered a few days ago—you can compensate by adding or removing a little wedge.
Cody: Wedge? Hey, don’t use up all the good “W” words. I might need that one!
Race: Shut up, kid, and let me finish. Mopars have torsion bars in the front, which are kind of like a poor man’s weight jacks. Since they don’t allow weight jacks in the Street Stock class, I chose a Dodge Dart for my first race car.
Cody: Uh huh. Right. It had nothing to do with the fact that you had the hots for Kasey and she happens to be a Mopar fanatic.
Alex: Why do ya always gotta give Race so much crap? You can’t take it for granted he’s gonna be here forever, y’know.
Cody: I’m well aware of that, believe me.
Race: Alex has a point, Cody. You never let up. Anyway, you should be nicer to him. He’s had it a lot rougher than you have. I only got hit with the physical stuff, and you just had to deal with the emotional, but Alex got both barrels.
Cody: So to speak.
Alex: Physical … what, you mean my old man? Sure, he beats on me, but it ain’t that bad. I just gotta be careful not to piss him off.
Cody: No, dude, he’s talking about what happens in chapter 18 of your book.
Race: Cool it, kid, he doesn’t know about that.
Alex: I don’t know about what? What happens in chapter 18? Ain’t it bad enough what happened in chapter 1?
Lisa: Hey, no spoilers! Let’s move on to “K.”
Cody: Okay, I’ll take this one. “K” is for kitty litter. And before anyone gives me any crap, it’s a perfectly legitimate racing term. It’s what they spread on the track when there’s an oil or water spill.
Race: That’s kind of a stretch, kid.
Cody: No it’s not. I looked it up on this racing term page on that inter-whatever-thingie that they don’t have here in our time.
Cody: Yeah, what he said.
Alex: So is it my turn now? “L” is for line. That’s where you put your car on the track. Like if you’re taking a high line, you’re near the outside of the track, and if you’re taking a low line, you’re on the inside. What you want to do is drive a line that’s low in the corners and high on the straightaways. Sorta turn that oval into a circle, y’know? That’s the fastest way around the track.
Race: Good job, Alex. It’s nice that someone takes things seriously around here. I know I’m not Cole, but if you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to give me a call. I’m just down the road in Eugene, y’know.
Cody: Hey, wait I minute, you’re supposed to be my mentor.
Race: Kid, by the time we catch up with Alex in 2011 you’re gonna be thirty-seven. I highly doubt you’ll need a mentor.
Cody: Yeah, whatever. Can we get some pizza now?