Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?

One of the original ideas behind this website when I started it back in 2006 was to yammer about more than just F1, IndyCar, NASCAR and whatever other major league motorsports that I might be thinking about. I actually sort of envisioned this as being a homeless man's Jalopnik, covering all sorts of minor-league motorsports (which guys like Junior Open Wheel Talent do better than I ever could, anyway) one day and high performance road car stuff another day and mundane-y thoughts on boring-ish road car stuff (like thoughts on the upcoming Ford Fiesta-in-America launch) another day. Well, my basic inability to post more than once every couple of weeks (at best) sort of submarined all of that, but...every day's a new day, right?

Motorsports and general fast car experiences are not exactly an every day occurrence in Eastern Nebraska. Sometimes, though, stuff comes up, and you've got to go ahead and do it, 'cause sometimes there's aren't second chances. Not to make what happened this weekend some sort of life-changing experience or epiphany or anything, but it did make for a far more interesting than normal Saturday afternoon.

A co-worker friend of mine approached me a few weeks ago, knowing that I'm a gearhead of sorts, and invited me along on an outing that his car club was doing. I'm not a big car club guy, I suppose because the cars I've owned ('88 Honda Accord, '99 Ford Contour, '05 Mazda6) are not really car club-worthy, but I thought this would be a good time to bend that general rule. These guys, being the area's preeminent Mopar club, were going to go check out the Woodhouse Viper Pit.

Some background: Bob Woodhouse has been a big-roller in Nebraska and national motorsports for the better part of the last 20 years. He's kind of a hitter in the car biz, as well, selling a few cars here and there. Anyway, he's possibly best known in motorsports circles as team owner of the Woodhouse SCCA World Challenge team, fielding Vipers in the GT class last year for the likes of Tommy Archer, Brian Simo, and Jeff Courtney.

Woodhouse Chrysler in Blair, Nebraska is the #1 Viper-selling Dodge dealer in the U.S. That sounds sort of crazy, but it's sort of obvious to see why...

Yeah, that's 25 Vipers under one roof, plus a few Shelby Cobras and some different stuff that people have recently traded in for Vipers. That, by my quick and rough math, is something on the order of 18,000 horsepower, all under one rather non-descript roof. They even had some full-blown Viper ACRs, which are possibly best known for making the all-time fastest lap by a street legal car at the Nurburgring.

Very, very cool. Alas, they wouldn't let me do any hot laps in the parking lot, but it was well worth the trip for the simple gawkability of the whole thing.

Huge, huge ups to Bill Pemberton and Mark Jorgensen at Woodhouse Chrysler, and thanks to my buddy Wade and the guys at High Impact Performance Mopar Auto Club for having me along. I survived my trip to the Viper Pit, but I've definitely been badly smitten/bitten.


Pablo said...

Vipers. Very dangerous. YOU go first!

Come on now... you drove an SVT Contour - BIG difference!! I don't imagine many people have autocrossed stock Contours! :)

Didn't we try to get hot-laps in Vipers in MI at one point??

The SpeedGeek said...

Yeah, but who really thinks that SVT Contours are all that cool? Thornton? That's more like a negative vote.

I think we did try to get laps in some Vipers, if we're both thinking of the MTV thing at the Silverdome. No luck there, either...

The SpeedGeek said...

Oh, and thanks for getting the Indy reference... :)

Pablo said...

Yep - that's it! IIRC - I had to drive all the way back to Bailey's from the Silverdome to retrieve my ID, which had been left behind the night before, so that I could attempt to qualify for that stupid show, hungover...


As for the Indy reference - I thought you were going to review Indy-4!! Which if you haven't seen yet, prepare to be SEVERELY disappointed.