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The Poser's Revenge at Thunderhill
Mike Denman

I like that title... the Poser's Revenge. Attention-grabbing and perhaps a little sinister. Now, what kind of article do I type to go with that title? Well, I suppose the article should be about some type of revenge. The problem is that "revenge" implies that I am somehow dissatisfied with the way things have transpired in the past. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As I said in last years article, titled "A Poser's Day at the Race Track," the track day was almost perfect. I arrived at Thunderhill Race track as a guest of Lee Cordner and the Golden Gate Volvo Club. Lee had invited me to join his merry band of Volvo-loving car enthusiasts at their annual track day at Thunderhill because I owned a Marcos. A Marcos is one of those "warp speed" looking cars that is so exotic that no one has ever heard of it and even less people have actually seen one. And under the Marcos's hood beats a Volvo engine, which allows me to participate at the Volvo track day.

But I have digressed. As I was saying, the track day last year was almost perfect for a "poser" like myself. My exact words were, "So the Poser's day at the racetrack was almost perfect. I showed up and didn't have to race... If I could have avoided those greasy tools and hot sun by sitting in the shade with a Margarita in my hand it would have been a textbook example of a perfect day for a poser." Yep, I was pretty happy. The Marcos had a legitimate mechanical problem, which proved how exotic the Marcos was since everyone knows that exotic cars are temperamental. And I wasn't exposed on the racetrack as a fraud (which all posers are, by definition) since the car had a problem. Thus I was able to leave the racetrack with my reputation unsoiled. People would continue to assume that because I drove an exotic car that I was indeed, one of the "beautiful people" and probably a world-class driver as well. So what's all this "revenge crap" about?

Well, I hate to bring up something that happened last year but... I was minding my own business (which is what beautiful people who are world-class drivers do) when this Lee Cordner guy spoils my day. I'm reading the letters to the editor of this fine magazine and what do I find? A rebuttal to my version of the events penned by no other than Lee Cordner! Now why would Lee want to go and do that? I mean I wasn't hurtin' anybody. So in his rebuttal this shifty eyed Lee Cordner says I ain't no "poser" and I am the "real deal" and a bunch of other "horse feathers" comments. Disguised the letter to the editor (who I thought was my friend, but apparently not!) like it was a compliment or something. Well, let me tell you what it really was... a threat! Yes sir, that's precisely right. Lee came out and threatened me right there in the letters to the editor. Lee, with his poison pen, removed all my excuses. And a poser without excuses is not a happy camper. And, after dismissing all my excuses, Lee drove the knife through my heart with his "and we will be looking forward to seeing Mike next year at Thunderhill." Yeah, right, I bet you are! You would love to see me at the racetrack without any excuses.

So you can see that I have myself a bit of a problem. I'm not sure how to proceed since a lack of excuses is uncharted territory for a poser like me. What other tricks does Lee have in store? The date for this years track day at Thunderhill was quickly approaching, so I didn't have much time to wiggle out of this dilemma. I needed a plan, I needed it quick, and I needed it to work.

The day before the track day at Thunderhill, the Golden Gate Volvo club hosts a meet at Davis, California. I left for the Davis meet without a firm plan on how to avoid embarrassing myself at Thunderhill. I had invited another Volvo-powered Marcos in the hope that the presence of two Marcos cars might upset the karma somehow and aid me in my problem. Imagine my delight when a third Marcos appeared. I cornered the other two Marcos owners, Mark Petrinovich and Don Lattimer, and explained my problem. "Didn't you read the poser handbook?" they asked. "How could you have got yourself in to this situation?" Then as a show of support, they got into their cars and left!

The Marcos at Davis

Track day arrived and the weather was overcast and threatening to rain. Somehow, this seemed like a good omen. Perhaps we would have a biblical flood! While I was waiting for Noah and the rain to arrive, they divided us into groups and did the tech inspections on the cars. With Noah not in sight, they announced that my group was to proceed to the pre-grid. I was reminded of the scene in the movie "The Green Mile" where the guard says loudly, "Dead man walking!" In my case the dead man was driving a Marcos. Keith Soreng, acting as the track steward, waved me onto the track full of Volvos. Fully committed at this point, I did my best imitation of someone driving badly. After a couple of laps I settled down and the track seemed a lot like commuting hour traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area, except my fellow racers were more polite. The sessions went quickly and I was having a lot of fun. At the end of one of the sessions, Keith said, "Not bad for a poser!" Now, was this a compliment or one of those, "you don't sweat much for a fat girl" type of comments? Either way, I did have a lot of fun.

If you haven't participated in a Track day perhaps you should. Track days are designed to be low-key, low-risk events where you can safely drive your car at speeds that are no longer acceptable on public roads by responsible adults. Track events will probably make you a better driver and will certainly give you a new appreciation for real race car drivers and their abilities.

Photo courtesy of Lee Cordner

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