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The Caravan rental...

This is an absolutely 100% true unmodified racing story that really honestly truly happened to me. Really. Honest.

It's Wednesday morning and I'm driving my 5 Korean visitors from Grand Rapids to Flint in my rented Dodge Caravan.

We're on a lonely stretch of I-96 near Ionia. I had just pushed in the cigarette lighter when I spot two cars growing quickly in the rear-view mirror. I'm already doing 70 so I know they're really moving. One of the cars is blue with a pair of white stripes running across it lengthwise, the other is a sleek yellow design. They grow closer and I realize I've got a Viper GTS-R (the bigger brake calipers gave that away) and a Callaway Corvette (recognized Bob Callaway driving it) speeding up towards me. As they approach I see Bob Lutz in the Viper wearing a mischievous grin slightly ahead of Callaway (with a trickle of sweat on his brow). The Callaway drops behind the Viper to pass me on the left.

Against my better judgement, I decide to join in. My hands start trembling and my heart starts pounding in my ears. I push the Caravan's accelerator about 3/4 to the floor. The engine roars to life and the Caravan lurches forward, spinning the front tires and fighting for traction. I nimbly control the surge of torque steer as the Caravan passes the 100mph mark. I look over towards Callaway who appears to be releasing a string of obscenities, but I can't hear him over the roar of my engine. The Corvette and I are neck-and-neck. I mash the accelerator the rest of the way to the floor. Slowly the Caravan pulls away from the Corvette. I glance at the speedometer. 150... 160... Still, I'm not gaining on Lutz.

By now the Koreans have woken up. I give them the 'Terminator' look and utter "GET OUT". They quickly pop open the two sliding doors and throw themselves from the van. With the reduced weight I quickly draw away from the 'Vette. Now I've got Mr. Lutz in my sights. The tires, only speed rated to 110, shred into oblivion. Chunks of ceramic are puked out of the exhaust as the cat disintegrates. The wipers let loose and fly out of sight. I estimate my speed at 180 mph. The bolts on the roof rack let go and it flies off, smashing into the Corvette behind me, improving my chances of beating it. Finally the cigarette lighter pops free. Steering the car with my knee, I pull out a Marlboro and light it. In my momentary lapse of concentration I sideswipe a Lincoln Towncar, which disintegrates.

The minivan clicks past 190 mph, and I'm on Bob's tail like white on rice. The Caravan's hood ornament tears loose and embeds itself in the windshield. I decide enough is enough. Fumbling for a radio station that isn't playing Alanis Morisette, I downshift the automatic into second. Engine RPM jumps to 16,000 (est.). The minivan creeps alongside the Viper. I look over at Bob, who is talking to someone on his car phone. He looks over and gives me a wink. With a flick of the wrist he hits his nitrous switch. The Viper lurches forward, the rear tires spinning. I curse to myself as the Viper begins to pull away. Then it hits me: The rear window vents on the Minivan are still open! I quickly hit the switches to close them. As the drag coefficient of the Caravan improves, the Dodge family truckster pulls back up towards the Viper. I know I've got him. It's only a matter of time.

It is at this point that my aluminum wheels begin to wear into nothingness. With victory in my grasp, the minivan begins losing speed. I give Bob a final salute as he pulls away in triumph.

I dropped the minivan off at Avis this morning:
"Any problems with the vehicle, Mr. Ramcke?"
"No, none."
"Did you purchase fuel?"
"Sure did!"
"Thank you! Come again!"

So, in conclusion, racing a Callaway and a GTS-R in a rented minivan is alot like working in a fish market, except you don't have to clean and gut fish all day.

Carsten Ramcke
Ann Arbor, MI
1985 GLH Turbo (Rust Never Sleeps)

was taken from Donovan's Dodge Garage :thumb:
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