Time To Put Up Or Shut Up

Brandon Reed

Brandon Reed

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Columns 11/19/10

Several years ago, my dear friend and mentor Rob Wainberg taught me a phrase in Yiddish that I have used many times since. It’s become one of my favorites, and it sums up some situations nicely.

The phrase, as best I can spell it in English, sounds like “Tokhis oyfin tish.”

Roughly translated, it means, “Put up or shut up.”

Well, back in July of 2008, I had to apply that phrase to myself. Over the course of the previous 25 years, I had said many times that, given half the chance, I’d hop into a high powered, rubber burning race car to tear laps around Gresham Motorsports Park (then Peach State Speedway), my home town race track.

Well, that opportunity came around on just over two years ago. I’m proud to say, folks, that I put up.

The folks out at the track were getting geared up for an Independence Day weekend race, and invited the media out to the track to talk to a few of the racers and to tour the facility.

Plus, then track media director Allen Hastings added in his email, the newly renovated track “Ride Along” car, a two seater race car, would be available to take folks on a few laps around the venerable old speedway.

Now, I’ve taken laps around tracks many times before, in pace cars, on golf carts, and more than once just driving a pair of sneakers. But I had never really had the opportunity to turn laps at speed at the half-mile speed plant, which, at one time, was the fastest half-mile paved track in the country (and remains the fastest paved half mile in Georgia to this day).

I think I can honestly tell you that I didn’t once think about not doing it. My 34th birthday fell just a few days before the media day, and I just looked at it as a late birthday present from fate.

So, on Monday morning, I drove out to the track on Lyle Field Road, along with fellow reporter Justin Poole, to have a go at the track.

Hastings met us at the gate, and directed us to the infield to wait on the drivers to arrive, along with track promoter Vince Whitmire.

Whitmire, a second-generation racer who competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series and has worked and appeared in several racing movies and commercials, arrived in style moments later.

He hit the track in the ride along car, which, instead of being the short rack late model racer that I had expected, was a former NASCAR Busch Grand National racer, a car that potentially held a lot more horsepower under the hood.

Remember I said I was looking at this as a late birthday present? Somebody also brought cake.

Before the other drivers showed up, Hastings asked me “You ready to jump in there?”


I climbed in on the passenger side, and got some assistance hooking up the three-point seatbelt before putting the helmet on. After securing the window net, Whitmire looked over at me and grinned.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“I was born ready,” I said.

With that, he lit her up, and took off.

The biggest sensation I noticed were the g-forces. Even on a small track like GMP, they shove your body over pretty good, and I was fighting against them to stay upright. I didn’t reach for any kind of “chicken bar,” but I did hold on to a support bar in the middle of the car to help keep me upright.

I never really got worried during the ride, other than when the car came up on the track off the apron, and when it was coming off the banking into the pits. That was the only time the car ever seemed unstable. Other than that, it was pushing up in the turns, so there was little fear of it spinning out.

As we rolled into the pits, Hastings looked in and grinned, asking how it was.

I just flashed the “ok” sign. I looked over at Whitmire and said, “Good run. Felt good.”

I climbed out feeling like a million bucks. I had done something I had always wanted to do.

It made for a heck of a birthday present.

Brandon Reed is the editor and webmaster of Georgia Racing History.com.

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