Press "Enter" to skip to content

Laps at the Track

Fraser Crenshaw changes a flat tire at the Pueblo Motorsports Park.
(Photo by Cailey McDermott/Phreckles Photography)

TEXT FROM FRASER CRENSHAW: “Do you want to go to the racetrack some Sunday? Could be a fun article for people not interested in railroad history and characters of the SLV.” 

My response: “Yes I do. 100%. Also, ouch?”

Fraser agreed and apologized. (First he’s surly, then he’s sweet.)

I followed through with my commitment and spent a recent day at the Pueblo Motorsports Park with Fraser and Justin Jimmerson. Our Salida Crew stood out — namely because our two “race cars” had a combined value of $3,000. The other cars at the track were new BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and one penis-shaped car with scissor doors. Fraser told me it was a Donkervoort D8 GTO-40. (That reads like a top-notch password.)

Fraser, driving a BMW he bought a week prior for $1,800, made two good times on his first laps, 2:20 and 2:00. Then, he blew out a tire. And by that I mean he completely shredded it. How? Something to do with the struts or suspension rubbing. 

“Oh man, these tires are brand new,” Fraser said. (I was consumed with suppressing laughter and utter surprise. Who does this?)

We slowly made it back to the pit area, and Fraser got the spare from the trunk (new!). 

I was impressed and confused at how unaffected he seemed about the destroyed tire. If that were my tire, I would have been super pissed. 

After a few test laps to see how the spare held up, it was my turn to drive.

Originally, I thought I’d be along for the ride. But Fraser said, “You’ll kick yourself if you don’t drive.” 

He knew my trigger word, I dislike regret immensely. 

My nerves were jumpy. While this was undoubtedly my first time racing on a track, I am also not a very experienced stick-shift driver. I’m familiar with the process but not confident in my movements or which gear is where. This fact (which I possibly minimized to Fraser) definitely increased my stress level. 

Driving among other, definitely more experienced, drivers was super intimidating. 

My lap times were all around 2:28. Not too shabby? Getting to know the course and how to drive through turns was exciting. You start way out and cut in hard into the tightest part of the turn, the apex, and then you accelerate on the way back out. You don’t loop around, you zig-zag in straight-ish lines. Am I making sense?

I was doing all right, not wowing anyone by any means but also not terribly hazardous. My fastest speed was 81 mph. It was an open lap day, not a race, so people were mostly fine waiting until a passable section. Except for the asshat in the penis car. He passed me on the inside of a turn and I nearly sideswiped him. (Fraser was more upset about that dangerous maneuver than his busted tire.)

On my last laps of the day, perhaps my confidence had grown or my reactions delayed? I spun out. When approaching a turn Fraser was saying, as he usually did, “Wait, wait wait, now turn hard, harder!” So I cranked the wheel and put us into a spin. It wasn’t a full spin. Maybe a 90 and a 60? And I safely pulled off the track and stalled out. 

No one was hurt and my pride was only slightly wounded. I was impressed that I was able to get out of the spin unscathed, since at least three cars were behind me — including Jimmerson — and it wasn’t a full going backwards spin. Frasers’ GoPro footage is pretty great. (See below.) 

I did not do another lap. I felt that would be pushing my luck. 

The real hero of the day, in my eyes, was Jimmerson. He was driving his day-to-day car, a Scion. Hilarious to watch that duct-taped, spray-painted-window boxcar race around the track. 

The car’s nickname is Toaster and we cheered for it often. Jimmerson can really push it. 

The Salida crew was constantly working on their vehicles. No one else touched their car between laps. Swapping tires, making mechanical adjustments, adding duct tape or gasoline. Incredibly entertaining to be part of this exclusive club. 

Between car laps there were motorcycles. Talk about terrifying. Those guys went so fast and in the turns their knees would nearly drag on the asphalt. No thanks! 

As with all new experiences, I’m glad I did it. Trying new things is exhilarating and rewarding. I greatly appreciate Fraser’s willingness to teach me the ropes. Don’t let his surliness fool you. He is far from that.

Cailey McDermott loves to try new things and then use those stories for magazine/comedy material. Also, Fraser and Jimmerson are incredibly entertaining.