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Spitballin’

Spitballin’

Gearhead Heaven

I know you’re still pissed. They never should have cut down those trees. And look at all that money they wasted paving the streets. They said the city would make millions, but they didn’t say they were estimating in pesos. And it was supposed to show Baltimore on a world stage, but it got crappier ratings than a rerun of the Canadian Cliff Divers Association Regional Championships. Oh, and the traffic! MY GOD, THE TRAFFIC!

But seriously, when was the last time you pedaled your fixie to the corner of Pratt and Light? You know you wouldn’t be caught dead at the Hooters by the Harbor, so how is it skinning your nose? And the trees are gone. They’re not coming back. Yeah, it sucks, but even if you close your eyes and believe, they’re still mulch. So the Grand Prix of Baltimore is coming back for a second season, why the hell not try and enjoy it?

Watching madmen and their machines racing down Pratt Street at a buck-eighty-five is a hell of a sight, plus the crashes are really fuckin’ cool. And with changes made to the track and IndyCar switching to their first new car design since 1997, it should make for an interesting race at least. With the old cars, the lead might not change for 50 laps, but the new Dallara DW12 racers have aerodynamics that allow for closer racing and are partially close-wheeled so drivers can bump each other without flying to pieces. This has made for a thrilling season of racing so far, with the 2012 Indy 500 having more lead changes than any other race in the 500’s history going all the way back to 1911, when the cars were known as horseless carriages because they were pulled by mules (I think).

Now I know you’re probably not a race fan, but if you’ve got even an ounce of gearhead in you, up close and personal, it really is a blast. First of all, there’s the sound that makes the Blue Angels seem like a nest of church mice. It rattles your femurs. And you have no idea what fast looks like until you stand six feet from a streaking blur of carbon fiber and steel pushing the double-ton down Pratt Street. And the first time you head home after a race wondering what the hell are all the little rubber BBs in your hair only to realize it’s shreds of tire gone nearly to dust, you’ll get a new appreciation for the insanity of it all.

And of course there is the spectacle. I mean, they’ve got portable bars that show up on a flatbed and are already nicer than any bar in Hampden. And those bars have machines that fill your cup with Budweiser from the bottom. FROM THE BOTTOM! I think it was Nikola Tesla’s last and greatest invention, and if you haven’t seen them in action, it will change your life. (One thing, when the guy next to you who thinks it’s hilarious how blown away you are by the technology tells you to “Push the little button on the bottom of your cup,” don’t do it. It’s a trap.)

Seriously, for all your complaining, did it really affect your life? Baltimore has gone ahead and made this thing happen, you might as well wish it luck instead of hoping to poop on its rotting cadaver. Grab a cheap ticket and spend the day walking around, taking in the sights, and giving your inner grease monkey a day in the sun. Worst-case scenario is you’ve got actual firsthand ammo to bitch with next year.

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