Dateline: Sunday, September 1, 2019

I bought a t-shirt. Why didn’t your dad win?

Clearly, t-shirts are not the answer to the problem. On the other hand, maybe you just need to buy another one! I’m sure we have extras. They’re $25 if you want one to show up to your house, and $20 if you want to show up to our house.

We’re indoctrinating your kids, VW Bros. Watch out.

Did he at least have fun?

Of course he did! Racing is always fun. Especially when you’re at your home track in Watkins Glen, New York, where they say the streets are paved with…uh…asphalt.

Watkins Glen residents report a boost in self-esteem whenever they cross the street.

Wasn’t the car really fast in practice, though?

Yes. It was also planning on being really fast in qualifying. Unfortunately, after three laps, qualifying was stopped. I never got all the details, but maybe it had something to do with the door that just kind of fell off of the Mini Cooper. Or the smashed Subaru. So the #34 Alfa qualified in third, behind the Audi and The Ginger.

There’s a new one.

Why is it always a Subaru?

I have no idea. But it always is.

Where’s the red flag? They forgot to put it back after using it on lap 3.5 of qualifying.

The Ginger? There’s a brand I’ve never heard of.

You’ll hear of it soon, if Mason Filippi gets his way. Mason, I learned this weekend after meeting him for the first time, likes his hair. His long, red hair that matches the front of his car. I heard that he wants to sell hats with fake red hair out the back with the tagline #letthegingerflow.

That’s completely ridiculous.

I know, right? (Dad edit: easy, Zack. Don’t be jealous that his dad lets him race.)

Combined, they have an average-length haircut.

So why didn’t he win?

Blame the squeeze. The theory is that whenever my dad qualifies third, he lines up on the inside of the first turn, then gets squeezed inside by whoever’s in fourth, gets slowed down by whoever’s in front in first, then gets passed on the outside by everyone who doesn’t have to slow down. On Saturday, this resulted in him dropping from third to sixth after one lap, and on Sunday he dropped from third to fifth. Then he had to spend the rest of the race catching back up.

It was nice having the VW Bros in the mirror for a few minutes.

So what’s the solution, qualify in second? Or fourth?

I like the qualify-in-fourth idea better. Then our car can do the squeezing. Maybe make some orange juice out of the Ginger.

Dang, that sounds aggressive.

There are two weekends left. We’re not going to finish the season strong by being nice. Sorry, VW Bros. Sorry, Mason.

We double as a pizza-delivery service when we’re not racing. SRO Pizza, anybody?

You’re not allowed to call him Mason.

Fine, but he’s 21 years old. There’s no WAY I’m calling him Mr. Filippi. Heck, I met his dad last weekend, and he might be younger than my dad. So, from now on, he shall be referred to as “The Ginger”. Look, Mason Ginger, free advertising for your new brand!

No smoking inside the Risi trailer. Unless your name is Batman.

Speaking of advertising, are you obligated to give the sponsors little shout-outs like your dad does?

Not until the end of this newsletter, at least.

Brian Putt hoping that being the first one on the grid will give him a competitive advantage.

What does your dad think about racing against guys half his age?

Don’t make him feel old. I have that base covered with this picture.

While The Ginger takes his Calculus 1 final, James takes his afternoon nap. Maybe Mr. Putt does the same thing?

I didn’t have to correct you that time.

There’s hope for me yet.

Sitting in Uncle Jay’s race car is by far the coolest thing Nolan has done in his short life.

Was James disappointed with the race results?

I’m not allowed to tell you that. I will tell you that he was thrilled that he was able to pass The Ginger right back on Lap 3 on Sunday to regain fourth.

See the tire mark? There’s proof he may have been in third for a few milliseconds.

That’s why he was able to finish two spots better on Sunday?

Well, that, and the fact that the Gingermobile wasn’t able to finish the race, and the fact that Victor Gonzalez spun in Turn 1 of Lap 1. All kidding aside, he did drive better on Sunday. It just didn’t translate into passing the VW Bros.

Mr. Hurczyn says good morning from your steering wheel.

Is that a sticker of Michael Hurczyn’s face?

I stopped by the FCP Euro (read: VW Bros) tent and picked up some sticker sheets. I asked for one, and they gave me six. So now I have five Hurczyns and six Vincents remaining. I guarantee you I will find a good use for every one of them.

Endless possibilities, brought to you by FCP Euro.

You could put a sticker of one of their cars in your dad’s rearview mirror.

The crew already did that. Then he outqualified both of them. I sense a useful strategy here.

Nate Vincent, now with red hair. Or, a slightly older version of The Ginger.

Have you even met the VW Bros?

I don’t think I have. I was going to at this race, but I forgot. I did meet The Ginger, though. He knew me as the guy who writes the sarcastic newsletters.

He knows my name? He knows my name! Mason Filippi knows my name!

Back to the race. How was the car?

The car was great, except for the fact that it keeps eating axles. They’re working on that. Or were you talking about the other #34 on track this weekend?

An imposter!

At least he was on the podium. It was yet another Quick Shyfter Award, for the fastest race lap on Sunday. He hates that award. He thinks it should be called the “Not Fast Enough” award. He is right.

This is not his real happy face.

You haven’t mentioned the sponsors yet.

At Road America in two weeks, the team will try to make the car XtraLight. This will BioCure all of our problems and make James go Hella fast and win.

*mic drop*

See you at the track!