Being a Kid Again

It’s funny how we take life so seriously sometimes.  Work, family, well, I guess that’s it, really.  What else do we take so seriously that we forget how to have fun?  Just plain fun?

Last night I took the family to Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.  Now we’ve been there a bunch of times for various versions of the Motosports Spectacular… or whatever they call it on this particular night (it depends on the sponsor and the specific group of cars/trucks/other stuff that shows up, I guess).  The name doesn’t really matter (although, I’m sure the evening’s sponsor would beg to differ).  What matters is having a good time, which is something I think a lot of people forget about doing.

Where else can you walk around and see this….

Monster Truck

Bet your kids would love to go to school on that thing!  If you don’t find this fun, then you’re just not trying!

Of course there’s lots of funny cars, dragsters, a corvette parade, motorcycles, stunt bicycles, and other stuff.  It’s loud, it’s fun, it’s fast!

But the real fun starts when the sun goes down, and they bring out the jet cars…

Jet cars staging for a race

These things are basically a frame, the engine from an F-4 fighter jet, and wheels.  And oh yeah, a place for someone to sit, steer, and hopefully, live.

… and then, the light turns green and you hear the loudest sound you’ve ever heard in your life (hearing protection is a must).  And I say that as a person who’s seen Black Sabbath in concert (the second loudest sound I’ve ever heard in my life).

Jet cars hurtling down the track- at this point well over 200 MPH

So, that was pretty thrilling… these things are so fast that they actually have to cut the engines before they get to the finish line.  If they don’t, they’ll be going too fast for even their parachutes to stop them before the end of the track.  On this night, they hit about 295 MPH, but I’ve seen them go well over 300 MPH.  When they go by, you can feel the pressure.  What a rush.

Next, the monster trucks roll out.  Remember that school bus?  Did you see wings on it?  No?  So I bet you didn’t know it could fly!

School bus montster truck. Yes, it flies!

What about the other montster trucks?  This is the best Bat Mobile I’ve ever seen…

Bat Mobile monster truck

And of course, everyone’s favorite, Grave Digger, was there too…

Grave Digger monster truck

Then, suddenly, a criminal steals a Raceway Park Security car and recklessly races around the track, putting everyone in grave danger!  The thief must be apprehended… but who can do the job?


Robosaurus getting ready to munch a victim!

The car stops in front of Robosaurus and he simply reaches down and crushes it!   Next?  Some hapless cars that have been left out for food for this 50 foot tall, fire breathing car crusher!

First he digs his claws in and lifts up the hapless junker.  Then, he lights it on fire and rips it in half, dropping it to the pavement like so many before.  On, to his next victim.

Robosaurus gloats over a meal...

Invariably, the fire department is involved.

If you didn’t feel like a kid again, you just weren’t trying.

Photography… Nikon D5000, 55-200mm lens.  Most of this was shot at 1/100, f/5.6 at ISO 3200 (yup, added noise to the photo which was easily removed in Adobe Lightroom).  The Vibration Reduction features of Nikon’s lenses allowed me to shoot hand-held with no tripod.  This was still at the limit… If it wasn’t for the fact that jet cars and Robosaurus provide their own light with 20-30 foot flames, photography would have been difficult.  As it was, the monster trucks took 10-20 shots each to get one that was usable.


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