The Texas Mile…Journey to 200MPH

What a weekend! If you are a fan of insane speeds…adrenaline filled…heart-pounding…high horsepower…car and motorcycle racing, keep reading. But if you are just meh about it, well…keep reading anyway.

Now we all remember the scene from Fast and Furious “You owe me a 10-sec car!” That scene added to the already iconic status of the MK4 Toyota Supra and its glorious turbocharged 2JZ motor. To this day the pure mention of either has all the JDM fanboys and fangirls swooning. And the sight of a Supra always breaks necks.

In 2017 I got a call from my cousin Antrel in Texas. He usually text, so you know this must have been important. He called to tell me a friend of his just wrecked a MK4 Supra. The guy wasn’t hurt, only his pride. As luck may have it, the car was not covered for collision and the repairs were more than his friend could handle. He made the decision to sell the car and reached out to Antrel…SCORE! After telling me this story my cousin sent me a few photos and wanted to know if he should buy it. Before he could even utter the price the guy was asking, I shouted “Buy it! Why are you calling and asking me dumb questions? Buy the damn car now!”

The car was purchased and after examining the damages he immediately jumped into doing the repairs. The car wasn’t stuck as there were some modifications done by the previous owner. Running down the list of parts and the kind of power it was making prior to the accident, the Supra was a powerful, yet streetable car. But now in Antrel’s hands, this car was going to be a beast. This JDM legend was now in the hands of someone very familiar with building and racing award winning motorcycles. With the a major runway race already in his radar, the journey to 200mph began.

Fast forward to Oct 2019 and I find myself on a flight from Cali to Texas to witness my cousin race his freshly built Supra in what is known as The Texas Mile. A one mile balls-to-the-wall race down an airport runway with the goal of hitting your top MPH. Victoria Airport is the location for this twice a year event that brings out the best of the best in search of their maximum speed. For 3 days there are ametuers, seasoned vets, performance shops and full blown race teams out there chasing trap speeds at the half and full mile marks. Impressive is an understatement. I witnessed the fastest land speeds I’d ever seen this weekend by both a car and bike being piloted in excess of 240mph.

With trailers in tow, Antrel and his brother (Derrick) brought both of their JDM cars to the final Texas Mile race of the year. The MK4 Supra, now pushing over 1000whp and a home built turbo Z31 Nissan 300ZX capable of over 300whp. The Z was built and tuned solely by Derrick, who by the way is not a mechanic by trade. He cut his teeth learning how to build and tune his car from the ground up and completed the build just in time for the event. Their passion stems from their father Derrick Pride Sr. who had built many race cars before his untimely passing a few years ago. As you can see the apples didn’t fall from the tree. Pride Motor Sports (PMS) was created some years ago to encompass all of the motor-sports activities of both brothers and that of their late father. This was to be their first team showing.

Now the Texas Mile is an extremely well organized event and is the place to be for anyone that loves the rumble of a big ole American V8 and high speed driving. With one car at a time making runs down the runway, it is just man/woman and machine. No time clocks or staging trees to focus on…just you, the accelerator and a license to run your vehicle as fast as it can possibly go within a mile. Seeing the vehicles speeding by is like watching planes take off. An illusion enhanced by the audible sound coming from some of the cars that sounded light fighter jets.

Mopar seemed to be the theme at this event…not officially, but there was a good showing of Hemi powered cars. Hellcats-a-plenty, but as the weekend went on, Mustang GT350s and Camaro ZL1s emerged to give the Dodge Brothers some competition. But standing out from the crowd were the Supra and the Z. First by being imports, but the nostalgia factor was heavy. While collecting many looks, the 2 cars evoked emotion and many conversations. There were numerous people that either had a Z, or Supra in their younger years or the typical Supra fandom took over. “I used to have a Z and regret selling mine.” came out of a lot of mouths. “Look a Supra!” “Whats your top speed?” “How much power are you making?” “What did you do to the motor?” “What turbo are you running?” were the common questions being asked and seeing Antrel and Derrick light up to talk about their cars is a memory that won’t be forgotten. They worked hard to get here and this was Derrick’s first event…ever. This was to be the fastest he’s ever driven and to be competing on this stage for his first ever race was intimidating in the hours leading up to his first run.

This event was special for a number of reasons. Derrick’s first race…the PMS brothers racing together for the first time…and both of them hitting the highest mph in a car they’ve ever done. Both cars performed very well and it was really cool watching Derrick tweaking his tune after each run. I am still amazed that he taught himself how to do this in preparation for this race. Added to the fact that the car ran without issue is a testament that this is God’s gift to him from his dad. What they don’t know is that I saw when Derrick pulled out one of their dad’s old helmets to show to Antrel…a symbol that he was with them. Such a surreal moment.

Now I don’t have a car to race, but I was there with cameras in hand ready to capture the Pride brothers make their mark in this sport. I am getting excited all over again just writing this. Antrel came into this latest event with a 195mph license from his March qualifying run. Derrick was there to earn his stripes and make his first licensing runs.

There are guidelines to racing in this event. One being that each driver needs to level up through 3 license brackets…165, 200, and up. So this means that no one can just come out the gate swinging 200 on their first ever run. You would be escorted off the grounds immediately. Your first license run has to be under 165 and second is under 200. Once a driver ticks 200 they fall into that elite 200mph club and its balls to the wall from there on out. An elusive speed that even after years and thousands of dollars people are still striving to reach.

Over the 3 days of racing, the goal for PMS was to find out what the Z was capable of running and try to hit the 200mph mark in the Supra. With the amount of cars running there was a lot of down time so this gave us a chance to hang out, talk cars, and reminisce. We checked out cars, came up with strategizes, and reflected on how we got so deep into cars. Antrel and I blamed my sister for getting us behind the wheel at an early age. I think I was around 12 or 13, but that’s another story.

After unloading the trailers and setting up camp Friday morning, the Pride brothers made a couple of runs.  Both cars looked and sounded very solid. Antrel put down a 186 and Derrick tripped the mile with a 111. The Friday runs were used to dial in the cars and get comfortable with the track. Both cars were run in low boost and with the rev limiters (accidentally) turned engaged. This was fine because they were just testing things out, plus no one wants to blow up their car on the first day. After a couple of runs and some minor adjustments we shut it down and planned to go all out on Saturday.

That night the 3 of us discussed their runs and how the cars felt and what to expect for Saturday. Here are the plans we came up with…

Derrick plan: Step 1: Warm the car. Step 2: Turn up the boost. Step 3: Turn off anything that would prevent the car from reaching peak power. Step 4: Push the Z as hard as he could.  And he did, he was able to hit 130 but realized more tuning is needed to extract the cars full potential.

Trel’s plan (very similar and went something like this): Step 1: Warm the car. Step 2: Turn up the boost. Step 3: Turn off anything that would prevent the car from reaching peak power. Step 4: Roll thru the 1st and 2nd gear and then open it up in 3rd. At 9:09am Saturday October 19, 2019 on Antrel’s first run of the day, he crossed the mile marker at a blistering 205mph! Holy —-! He did it! I cheered so loud I couldn’t hear the other spectators clapping. I rushed over with his son (Aaron) to meet him after the incredible run. The 2 years of building and tuning paid off. He was now in the prestigious 200mph club. Amazing! So glad I was there to share in and capture this moment.

The definite highlight was spending time with family and watching these 2 brothers encourage, strategize, and congratulate each other over a race their father would be proud to have witnessed. Aside from being with family, meeting and talking with so many people…correction…enthusiast was definitely a highlight of the weekend. People of diverse social and economic backgrounds congratulating each other on their runs, or just admiring someones build put a huge smile on my face. This is definitely the type of community I could get used to being around.

This weekend I was beyond blessed to share in this epic accomplishment with my life long friend, someone that I’m happy to call family…my cousin Antrel Pride. I am proud of what you and Derrick have both accomplished and I am looking forward to what the upcoming years will look like for Pride Motor Sports. Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey.

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The Goldilocks post

I know it’s late, but happy New Year to you all.  I started a new job back in December so I have been focused on getting up to speed with that while celebrating birthdays and the holidays with family. I hope that the holidays have treated you all well.  With that said…Happy 2016 from Perks Garage!!!

There is this thing that I do when I want something and I believe is is the instinct of man to justify why they want whatever it is that they want and how they plan to acquire said item.  For women, well some women, they may justify the purchase of a pair of shoes with…I need this for work to match this new suit that I had to buy for this meeting I need to attend.  Or it may be a purse and the thought behind it is I need this because my other one is fraying on the inside, or I need one that I can wear everyday for work. Kids may say something like, I need a new lamp in my room so that I can see better while doing my homework, (so that’s why you failed your test? ) or I need a new XBOX and an XBOX live membership because the old XBOX is not as clear when talking to my friends over the headset.  Still don’t get that one since you see your friends everyday at school and text with them all night.  How ’bout we get you another headset…or pick up the phone to talk with them like we used to do back in the day.

In any case, people find a cause to justify their wants and I’m no different.  We were finishing up dinner the other night making small talk as usual and I threw out, “I have an idea” as if I just had an epiphany of sorts.  “I found a car that I think would be good for Chris.  So I should get it now, drive it around for a while until he’s ready and when he goes off to college I can give it to him.”  Crickets around  the room.  I got the gaze of death from my wife and then she just kept on eating.  After a few moments I said “I guess in alone on this one.” More silence until Chris mumbles “I think it’s a good idea.”  Thank you young lad!

What’s funny is on New Years Eve I took him out for a test drive in a BMW 335i I’ve been looking at online.  I abused that car on the test drive.  The salesman had a death grip on the door handle the entire drive as I buried the accelerator into the floor and let the turbo spool up and the rush of 300+ hp was released.  Since then Chris had been chanting “Floor it! Floor it!”  Everytime I get behind the wheel of the family Crosstour.  My wife just shakes her head.

Now with my blurt from left field about buying a car I through out there that Chris needs the room since he’s on the taller side of the spectrum.  I thought it was a good point.   More crickets.  There were some unfriendly words from my wife that broke up the silence,  but the one comment that stood out, or that I result focused in on was…”If you could only drive one car for the rest of your life, what would it be?” And with that, she walked away.

Wow! Powerful and probably the most ridiculous question you could ask a car enthusiasts. Powerful in the respect that it makes you think and ridiculous because they can’t possibly pick just one.  One car to drive everyday with no qualms?  Hmmmm.  This has been on my mind the entire weekend.  Keeping me up at night, causing insomnia.  I have to narrow down all of my wants and needs into one form of transportation, then into which specific make and model.  This could take days or months.  Well the challenge has been laid before me and I’m up for it.

I posed this question to a couple of my God friends and let the convo run for a while. Cars ranging from a 2 million dollar Dodge Challenger, a well sorted out Evo. A few factors to take into account during the discussion were: usage, capabilites, style and making sure you could see yourself driving it EVERYDAY! So many questions come to mind with this topic. Do u want a car that handles?How well…are we talking track capabilities or canyon twisties or a simple on-ramp romp once in awhile? That’s when my buddy goes on about how the S2000 is the best handling car he’s driven, blah, blah, blah! Obviously I’m jealous since I have never owned one, although I sold him his. So, a good suspension is a must.

Next is use. What will the car be used for? Commuting is primary, but what about passenger space. Now most enthusiasts are fine with a 1-seater. I know this from owning a Miata and seeing some of the track set-ups people have done with theirs. 1 seat and no interior amenities. That’s fine for track and a short commute when you don’t have kids or a woman or boyfriend (for the women enthusiasts out there). The reality is I have those things as does the 2 buddies I was discussing this with, so multiple seats and interior are required. MK IV Supra was thrown out there. Hmmmmm twin-turbo V-6 with unlimited tuning possibilities and a backseat for the kidos to boot. Not bad! Ferrari was casualy tossed out there…really!? Daily drive a Ferrari? “What about yo kids?” I asked. “They make’em with 4 doors and a backseat.” Ferrari FF…where was my head? Lol. Maclaren P1, and on and on.

As you can see when there is no cap the possibilities become endless. With the ridiculousness now out of the way we talk civilized…M3/M4, Audi S4, Alfa Romeo Giulia (503hp) – the soon to be released BMW M3 fighter from Italy. Lexus IS-F, Cadillac CTS-V. Now we are talking. Real suit and tie cars that you can valet park or wear shorts and flip flops while the tires are screaming down a back road as you’re listening to the operatic melody of exhaust notes singing lullabies to soothe your heart. I’m admit those are some very well sorted out vehicles. Practical, stylish, and a real terror on the streets/track. But what car represents me (you) in looks and performance? This takes me to the wagons/hatchbacks. Specifically the Subaru STi, but Subie killed off the wagon. How about the soon to be immortalized US spec Focus RS, but do I want to drive a stick in L.A. traffic? NOPE! So this brings me to the grown-up cars and 3 jump right up front with me, the Audi RS7 and the RS6 Avant also the CTS-V Wagon. Although I am a big fan of the now defunct CTS-V wagon, the fit and finish is night and day compared to an Audi.

After a lot of thought, it came down to this…A 2015 Audi RS6 Avant. An unassuming and very practical all-wheel-drive 600hp twin-turbo V8 wagon clad in suede and leather and of course…carbon fiber!

I could definitely see myself driving this machine everyday!

Enjoy the pics.

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Various internet photos.