There are others like it, but this one is mine. Now, before Kris shits a friggin’ brick. This is actually Kris Marciniak’s rally car. I do not have one because I gave up on my own rally car plans. I say the 2GN is mine because it’s Prescott Rally time, which means one thing – I’m going to be volunteering as Rallynotes service crew.
Less than a year after moving to Phoenix, I found myself staying up way too late on work nights watching WRC on Speed Channel. It was well after midnight on such a night in 2002 when the Speed Channel announcer said, “Join us next week for the Prescott Rally in Arizona.” So I took a couple days off work to drive up north to the Prescott National Forest in search of rally cars the following weekend. I was so naive.
Turned out it was only coverage of the event they would be airing that weekend. The rally was already over. At least, that’s what the lady behind the counter in the tiny bait shop where I finally stopped for directions and I figured out. So I was thrilled when, in 2005, my buddy Kaiser messaged me on 2GNT asking me if I would be interested in volunteering as service crew for his friends who were entered in the Prescott Rally.
Kaiser’s friends turned out to be Kris and Christine Marciniak of Rallynotes.com. That first year, I was a complete rookie, wholly reliant on Christine’s meticulous movement plan and Kris’s thorough service checklist. But I’ve been back every year since. Sometimes as Crew Chief, others as Team Captain and other times as simply “media,” because Kris and Christine were taking a year out to build the new car or otherwise volunteer, themselves.
Over the years, Kris and Christine have given my “Red Army” friends and I all kinds of fun memories. Removing a fuel tank in a Nevada hotel parking lot at midnight to repair the fuel pump after a way crazy jump nearly binned the car – and driving across the ceremonial finish so we could continue racing in the morning comes to mind. We’ve swapped tires and struts, filled cool suit coolers with hundreds of pounds of ice, and lost KC Daylighter covers. Recently, we even skipped most glorious, People’s Taco Bell dinner to attempt re-filling a blown, remote reservoir shock with a bottle of mineral oil, turkey baster, and one of those baby medicine syringes. Yeah, no.
And the Blazer. Oh, the Rallynotes service Blazer. It’s like an old friend. This is where I grew to love Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium, as it was the only music the original CD player would play. I discovered new tracks when Kris finally ( finally ) replaced the sketch deck with something assembled after 1997 and started keeping fresh electronic selections in the center console. I’ve paid to have it washed by school kids, kept custom made, Sonic “McBLT” toaster sandwiches hot for hours on its willing V6, taken dozens of cat naps in it, and even, well, let’s just say I had a passing fling with a dancer one year. (Let the record show this was before I’d even met V, by the way.)
10 YEARS LATER
Today, Jace Tuttle, who I interviewed back in 2011, and who has done some custom illustration for us, and whom I’m currently collaborating with on a simple story book for children 2 and under (whose gearhead parents are tired of reading the usual baby books), lands at Sky Harbor here in Phoenix. After work, I’m running down to pick him up. He’s crashing at our place tonight. Tomorrow morning, we hit the road for Prescott.
This will be my 10th consecutive year volunteering at the Prescott Rally. Like I said, most of those years have been servicing the Rallynotes Neons. I know the “2GN” is Kris’s rally car, but for a couple days each year, it’s mine too.
MORE TO COME
I’ll be pushing pictures to our Tumblr over the weekend and hope to have a couple stories soon after I get back. Until then, keep going fast with class and press on regardless.