Racing in Monterrey Mexico
by Paul Caster
“The names, however, have been changed to protect the guilty!”
There was Jimmy Jack, Jerry Joe, Jack Bill, Ronnie Ray and myself in a crew cab Chevy……..
We had a two day race scheduled in Monterrey, Mexico over Cinco de Mayo weekend, consisting of bought-in blown alky dragsters and funny cars. Everything had been loaded the night before so we were ready to pull out as soon as everyone arrived at the shop around 11:00 a.m. We made it about a half-mile down the road before a stop to nourish our bodies at the infamous Sammie’s BBQ on Belknap Street in Haltom City, a suburb of Ft. Worth. Naturally we all pigged out on ribs, brisket, potato salad and copious amounts of red beans and - except for our chauffer - cold beer.
Needless to say, an hour later heading south on I-35, the three drinkers were in need of relieving ourselves of the beer we had rented at Sammie’s earlier. Our chauffer was having none of it, declaring: “Suffer until we need gas, ‘cause I didn’t get any beer!” We all threatened to relieve ourselves out the window if he didn’t stop. Enclosed trailers with the door on the right are great for such emergencies. Don’t say you’ve never used the side door urinal on the side of the road. After the emergency stop we’re on the road again down south of Waco. Remember the beans and beer? We still don’t know who started it, as it was one of those silent ones that would literally strip Imron paint! It’s always hot enough in early May to have the A/C buzzing on high. Well…naturally that turned into an all-out war to see who could peg the decibel meter. We were well south of Austin before the combat stopped and all the windows were rolled back up.
We rolled into San Antonio around 6:00 p.m. or so and found our landing spot for the night at a friend’s one bedroom apartment. The friend had a very small compact car, so the six of us piled in and headed downtown for some good Mexican food, spirits and a little fun. Naturally we got into a bit of a drinking contest made from that fantastic nectar of the Agave cactus plant, one shot at a time. After the contest, we decided to go for a stroll on the San Antonio River Walk. From this point on I’m not sure how we managed to walk, stay out of the San Antonio “crowbar inn,” or even find our way back to our crash site. This was one time a camera was needed, so just imagine five slightly inebriated guys crashed on the sofa, a chair and the rest on the living room floor. The next morning was not pretty sight as everyone looked like walking zombies, but the one in the worst shape was Jerry Joe who we had to help get to the truck. His coloring (very muck at this point) reminded me of the Jolly Green Giant, and, as he was mumbling about desperately needing 7-Up, we stopped and bought him a six-pack of the clear liquid.
We had to be in Laredo, Texas by noon where we were to meet up with the rest of the racers at a parking lot just north of the border near the end of I-35. After the group gathered, we all headed to the border crossing to meet up with the guy who was going to handle the crossing and then lead us on into Monterrey. After waiting about two hours we finally endured the inspection by the federales that went through everything from luggage, the trucks and naturally the trailers. All the while Jerry Joe was steadily hitting the restroom, throwing up his guts and paying a .25 cent charge every time he went in. We finally cleared Mexican Customs and were on our way to Monterrey. Jerry Joe was even beginning to look almost human again and the rest of the trip to Monterrey was uneventful.
First, we hit the track which is located on the north side of Monterrey and dropped the trailer. There were numerous guards posted and we gave the one that was assigned to our rig an extra $20 in greenbacks and off to the motel we went. Upon arrival, we were met by several people who would not only wash the truck, but stand guard all night; we chose one and put him to work. By this time it’s pushing 6:00 p.m. and we were ready for a hot shower, food and refreshments…even Jerry Joe.
We all meet up and head to the restaurant located in the motel and ordered steak, baked potatoes and – naturally - refried beans, along with our first round of beer, which was brewed locally at the old Carta Blanca brewery in Monterrey. After waiting nearly an hour for our food the steak was as tough as boot leather and the service was about as much fun as an oil down at a National Event. Maybe Mexicans don’t guzzle beer as fast as a crew of Texas boys. After waving, shouting and waiting about fifteen minutes for another round, Jimmy Jack disappears behind a wall and returns with a beer. Once back at the table he discovers he has no way to open it, so, using his Texas logic, he lays the beer cap against the back of the chair and hits it with his hand. In doing so he breaks the top off of the bottle; not a problem – it was beer so he turns it up and drinks it. With blood running down his chin, he shouts…”Damn that was good!” The night was still young at this time and between the restaurant and the disco later, I’m very surprised we didn’t wind up in a Mexican jail.
The racing went very well the next day other than a pit accident and hitting the ground on my backside and going completely numb for about five minutes. It was a bought-in show for the dragsters and funny cars so everyone went home with a smile except for Mr. D., who picked up all his motor pieces in a box. I have to mention one last thing: the Montana Cigarette girls were very accommodating in their tight little mini-skirt outfits. There could be several other stories written out of this one, but they probably wouldn’t be suitable for print in this publication.
That’s just one of my stories of how it was and I’m sticking to it!
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Nostalgia Drag World - by Paul Caster; photo by Connell R. Miller