The Lightning Lady

Ford is hunting to the future by reviving the Lightning identify for its new electrical pick-up. For me, the moniker delivers up reminiscences of the earlier, of a truck now two decades aged, that I only ever saw from the back.

The minimal aged lady from Pasadena did not generate a manufacturer-new shiny super-stock Dodge, she drove a brand-new shiny Ford SVT Lightning. Also, she was not from Pasadena. I assume she was from Palmdale, or possibly Santa Clarita. Somewhere close more than enough that she could head out to the Los Angeles County Raceway (LACR) each individual Friday night time and conquer me in the bracket race.

I couldn’t even be mad. She was so awesome about it. She’d wander down the staging lanes, smiling at anyone. I feel she may well have introduced cookies on event. I was about 23 at the time, new to drag racing and functioning wholly on adrenaline and youthful feminism. Each Friday evening I’d head out to (now defunct) LACR in my Dodge Challenger, and attempt to decide a combat. Line me up versus a major gentleman with a lopey Chevelle and a patronizing mind-set and I was unbeatable. I had no defenses in opposition to a 60-calendar year-outdated grandmother in a stock red select-up.

Her name was Marie and conquer me just about every time. She’d end her helpful greetings of the racers, pull her helmet on about her tight-curled gray perm, and proceed to whip me. Me, and anyone else likely for that night’s shiny gold sticker and six-inch tall trophy. Final time I checked, Marie experienced 11 of those plastic prizes.

I can not keep in mind precisely what year Marie’s Ford was, but it was a second-era Lightning, manufactured immediately after the horsepower bump. So, 2001 or more recent. She persistently ran a higher 13-2nd quarter-mile, which at LACR was using tobacco-quick for a road automobile. That track was superior in the mountains, and surrounded by sand, not all of which stayed off the racing area. Hooking up and laying down any amount more quickly than a 14-second operate on street tires was remarkable.

“She made use of to beat James way too,” Bernie Longjohn, former monitor manager for LACR, stated. James was Marie’s husband. He also drove a Lightning, a white one. James and Marie were at the track virtually just about every weekend in their matching pickups—except when it overlapped with a bingo tournament. I guess Marie was a killer there too. I could beat James, but in no way Marie. I am not certain everyone could defeat Marie. It was not just that the Lightning was quickly. She had a secret weapon. She shocked us with kindness, then flattened us with the supercharged V-8.

The Squires utilised to fulfill up at the monitor, James coming from do the job and Marie coming from property. She’d deliver supper, and they’d consume on their tailgates prior to obtaining in line to race. Any leftover desert discovered its way to other racers in the pits. How are you intended to beat another person who just gave you a lemon bar? It truly is Mark Donohue’s Unfair Advantage in action.

Playing thoughts video games is a major part of any competitive sport. In drag racing, where a fraction of a second’s distraction can be the variance in between heading rounds and heading home, motorists will fiddle about at the starting off line, or talk a huge sport in the staging lanes to psych out their opponents. In the early times of racing, groups would phony a lifeless cylinder with a splash of oil in the header just ahead of staging, hoping their opponent would let down their guard.

Marie by no means had to phony a wounded engine or brag about response moments. All she had to do was stroll by and pat my shoulder as I sat in the car—game facial area set, completely ready to kill—and say, “Hello honey, great luck tonight!” Then we might line up, and I’d soar the get started, or split out of my dial-in time, refusing to carry while the red truck was in watch. I might miss a shift, or spin the tires, or daydream correct by the green gentle. She was a witch, and her Lightning was wicked, and I hope when I’m 60, I am particularly like her.

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