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The misadventures of a pint sized man.

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Oh, To Hear those Wheels Spinning.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on September 23, 2011

As a parent, it is hard not to want to do things with your kids that they enjoy.  When Little Man informed me that he wanted to go see real race cars, who was I to argue.  Last year, I took both kids to Mid Ohio for the Emco Gears Classic, a Grand AM Rolex series race where multiple classes compete against each other.  As with any race weekend, there are multiple support races to go along with the main event. Last year, we only got to see one of those support series, the Continental Tire Challenge.  It was the middle of June and it was hot.  While Little Man was in his glory, Kid Kid was not so excited to be there.  She really wanted to go but as the day went on and the sun got hotter, her enthusiasm left the building.  As any good parent would do, I brought them home and called it a day, but not before Little Man made me promise to take him back next year to stay for the entire day and see both series that make up the day.  Lucky for me, this race is held less than an hour from my house.

The year had come and gone and it was time for the race weekend to kick off again.  This year was a little more exciting for me than last since Mazda was planning to draw in as many owners as possible for the Owners Corral.  As a proud and vocal owner, who was I to argue.   This particular race weekend is a steal if you have young kids.  For $30, I was able to get a weekend, all access pass with infield parking and get Little Man in for free. We also took my Father-in-Law with us for his birthday. A great guy and an avid race fan who has been coming to Mid Ohio since he was a small boy.  Mid Ohio is a wonderful track where the entire midfield is open to the spectators to walk around and watch the action from just about anywhere on the track.  We would spend most of our time in the aptly named Thunder Valley. Unlike last year, this event kicked off earlier in the day so we needed to get out of the house bright and early if we wanted to do the pit walk and meet the drivers.  There was no need to drag Little Man out of bed on this day, he was up and ready to go.  After a quick breakfast, I got the car loaded, we were ready and Little Man could not get in the car fast enough.

After what seemed like a thousand ‘Are we there yet’ like questions, we finally made it to the track.  Morning practice was going on and Little Man was straining to see the cars in action as we made our way to the Mazda Owners Corral.  After parking, we headed up the hospitality tent to get him a shirt and some goodies.  The night before he wanted to set out his clothes so he could get dressed quicker in the morning.  Last fall, I went to New York for work and got him an M&M t-shirt with several stock cars on it with various M&M characters. He was all set to wear that for the day until he got the ‘cool’ shirt that everyone else was wearing. He got to be like everyone else in the corral and was quite excited by it.  The shirt was just simply green, short sleeve, and had Freedom Autosport across the front. They were a sponsor of the Corral and fielded two cars in the Continental Tire Challenge.  After he let me take a few pictures of the cars and talk to a few owners, we were ready to get to Pit Lane and walk around the cars.  Little Man was the proverbial ‘kid in a candy store’.  So was my Father-in-law once he found out there were several Mini Coopers in the field.  As we made our way though, we would walk by and wave to Boris Said, and stop to look at just about every car on the grid.  We would even stop by the Riley Racing entry and talk to the Riley brothers, AJ and Jameson, for a few before we were ushered out of the pits, so the race could get going.  Little Man knew exactly where he wanted to go, an area know as Madness, turn 8.

Once settled in, the action on the track began.  This may be one of the few times in his short life, the Little Man was speechless. Well, at least for a brief time he was.  Eventually the questions would start to flow and I would have to constantly remind him that Daddy could hear him when the cars were going full speed and his head was point in the opposite direction.   I was not ready to argue with a five year old enthralled with the action on the track.  We hung around Madness for the first few laps, then wandered up to turn 1 and the pit lane exit.  Eventually we made it over to Thunder Valley where his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. This particular area is down in a small valley like area and allows spectators to get real close to the action.  One has no idea how loud a group of Rolex series RX8s can be until you stand a few feet from them as they fly by on track.  At one point he would take his ear muffs off to see what the cars really sounded like and was in awe at how loud they were.  That lasted just a few seconds. During the Continental Race, we got to see a Civic Si get spun right in front of us.  Debris would go flying but don’t worry, there are several safety barriers and fences there to protect those not on the track.

While I could write for hours about the action on track, I was more engulfed by my son’s desire to be there.  He was very excited to learn that he would be able to see both races, the Continental and the Rolex.  One of the hardest task in the life of a parent is to get a kid his age to sit still for more than five minutes.  He sat still for large chunks of time and just watched.  Sometimes he sat next to me, other times he would go off just a little bit but still in sight.  Watching your children fall in love with things that you love is something special.    I tried to figure out what was going through his mind during the race.  I would ask but he left me with few clues.  I could only try to watch the pretend I was five and go from there. I can only hope that this will remain an annual event for us. Maybe even have Kid Kid come back with us, but I have my doubts.

Posted in Auto, Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Kid Kid and the Goat

Posted by Bill Prosperi on April 11, 2011

I have two wonderful children. Little Man who is just over five and is about as boy as they come. Then there is Kid Kid who is seven going on seventeen and is half tom boy and half ‘we do not know yet’ and this installment involves her. When she was younger, she would cuddle up with me and watch races, oogle over cars in the parking lot, and other such things.  She once saw a ’64 Mustang and told me how she wanted one when old enough to drive. When I had my truck, she would beg me to get on the gas in order to hear the engine roar.  The mazdaspeed6, that was ‘Daddy’s Race car.  Now that her ‘girly’ side is starting to emerge, the desire to go to car shows with the old man is all but gone. I am trying to cope. Then this weekend happened.

On the way to our first soccer game of the season, a car caught my eye, and not just any car. This one was a thing of beauty at its simplest, a shiny red’67  GTO. Kid Kid knew something was up when I cut her off mid-ramble with a long ‘wooowwww’.   She quickly replied with ‘what?’ and all I could do is point. Her next few words made my heart skip a beat. Kid Kid sat up in her seat and said, ‘that’s a beautiful car!’. Yes, yes it is kid. We then proceeded to have a conversation on classic muscle cars and why I love them. She may not know it, but she made her dad’s day with that one. Plus she played pretty darn well at her soccer game too.

I can trace my love of muscle cars to my father and the stories of the white GTO he bought straight out of high school. He loved that car but would have it sold out from under him when he won the wrong lottery back in the late 60’s. I think that may be why the car holds a special place in my heart.  I hope it stays in Kid Kid’s as well.  If anything, it shows that some of the old Kid Kid from a few years back is still there.  If she decides that stuff like this is just boring old ‘Daddy talk’, I’ll still love her anyway.  She may not get the coolest car when she is old enough to drive, but only time will tell.

Posted in Auto, Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Tires are Not the Only Wheels Spinning…..

Posted by Bill Prosperi on January 29, 2011

It is January 29, 2011. A Saturday this year that brings the beginning of something special for me, the start of the 2011 racing season.  It is not just special because I am a motor sports junkie, but the fun of watching Little Man sit in awe as the cars fly around the track.  Today is the 24 Hours of Daytona, a race we both look forward to since the time the last races took place back in October and November.

Currently the previously mentioned monster has two Hot Wheels and is running around the living room, cars on the hardwood floor, shouting out race commentary and anxiously awaiting the start of the race.   I sit here in front of a computer to quickly type out a bunch of thoughts streaming through my head.  Motor sports and cars are ingrained in my DNA, I believe.  As a young kid, I have vivid memories of watching NASCAR with my father and grandfather on Sunday afternoons as our entire family invaded my grandparent’s house for Sunday dinner.  There were the stories of my Uncle Junior who was a local drag strip ‘champion’ when he was in his youth.  I never made it to a race as a kid but the time spent with my father as we watched them was just as awesome.  The time I spend now with the kids as we watch is as equally awesome.  Kid Kid is now more into more girly things and does not sit with me anymore to watch but she does do a good job pretending to care. Little Man knows that I am a big fan of Mazda a will root for them with me but if there is a McDonalds sponsored car, its all over.  (If the that car was white and green like their sweet and sour sauce packets, he would probably rip the hood off and dip his chicken nuggets in the engine. )  With the rule of thumb being to try and do one better than what you had as a kid, I hope to take Little Man to as many races as I can.  We have hopefully started a tradition of going to Mid-Ohio every year for the Emco Gears Classic where the Grand Am series races for the weekend.  The kids and I made it last year and it was a time I will never forget.  Now that I know which kid loves the races and which one does not, we plan on becoming regulars at Mid-Ohio and visit some of the many SCAA and NASA events that happen there.  First up this year, may be a large NASA Mazda meet in April. Time will tell though, it is still a few months away and anything can happen.

So while the wheels of the cars spin around the track, I can guarantee that the wheels in Little Man’s head (as well as mine) will be spinning with dreams of not just watching the race but being in the car.  The imagination of Little Man has a leg up on mine but I can still get it done.  So as we all sit around a TV at some point this year to watch a race, try to watch with the imagination of a 5 year old.  The fascination doubles and the excitement will go off the chart.  As an adult it is too easy to start examining why the Porsche was just passed by an M6 or why the RX-8 does not have the speed on the long straight as it did during hour 3.  That only takes away from the fun that this is meant to be.

Time to go, I am being told the race is about to start. Best of luck to all the teams but it’s all about the Zoom Zoom for me.

(The car featured above is the Mazda RX-8 of Riley Racing who competes in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge series, a Rolex Grand-Am series.  A.J. and Jameson are a couple of great guys who I enjoy talking to on Twitter and FaceBook.  Best of luck to them this season! )

Posted in Mis-Adventures of Little Man & Kid Kid | 3 Comments »

The Mind of a Five Year Old. Part Duex: Oh Shik.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on January 6, 2011

Everyone knows that kid that just says the craziest things.  I have the joy of living with that kid and I am sure many other parents would say the same thing.  It seems that at least once a night, Little Man will pop off with something out of the blue and completely catch my Wife and I off guard.  This particular evening, he was on fire.

When I got home from work, my wonderful Wife asked me: “What is shik?” With a perplexed look, I asked her to repeat what she just said.  I heard her right the first time and it was shik.   She would go on to explain to me that Little Man’s speech therapist was working on ‘SH’ words with him and shik came up.  The therapist would go on to ask him what he meant by it and he would go on to say that ‘it is the word that you say when something you don’t like happens’.  We assured her that he did not hear it at home and it must be one of the many bad things that both kids have picked up from the grandparents.

Recently we decided to move the old desktop computer out of our office into the play area of the basement for the kids to use as they wish.  Little Man was down there doing his thing and needed a potty break.  A little while later, he came up from the basement to get ready for his bath.  I tried to get him to race me up the stairs and see if he could get ready for his bath before I got up there.  I asked him to go upstairs and get his clothes off and go potty but he reminded me that he already went potty.  Then he would launch this nugget: ‘Oh, by the way, the toilet overflowed and all the water went on the floor.  But don’t worry, the next time you flush it, it will fill back up again.”   Awesome, the carpet is soaked in toilet water.  My head hangs a little lower.

After finally getting him through his nightly sanitary rinse and in the midst of getting him to get dressed, he would throw out one more pearl of wisdom for the night. ‘When Sissy and I are grandparents….(dramatic pause)…you and mommy….(more pause)…will be dead.’  All I could get out was a few words of agreement.  How do you respond to that one!   At least he would go on to do well with his nightly sight words that he is wanting to learn and then read me a book.  The little dude is very proud of himself as he has somehow picked up reading at a pretty nice pace.  As parents, we are pretty darn proud too but to figure out we will be dead when he is old?  That is just rough…and very humoring as well.

At least I did not find the wet carpet the hard way, his mother was the lucky one there.

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The Mind of a Five Year Old.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on December 6, 2010

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Little Man has recently turned five. How they grow up so quick. It amazes me the memory that he has at times. Very early that morning, when the two neighbor boys and he woke up, they were trading ‘war’ stories that put more holes in the space-time continuum than imaginable.  All I could do was laugh as they were born when they were six, on Tuesday. (None of them are that old.)

The thing that got me was the Hot Wheel he just acquired VIA trade. A green Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggara LP 570-4. He knew it was a Lamborghini and he remembered seeing one just like it over the summer at the Italian Festival.  His words: ‘its like the one we saw but had clocks all over it.’ He was absolutely correct. How the hell did he do that. I can not even remember what I did last week!

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Groo the Wanderer

Posted by Bill Prosperi on October 8, 2010

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My wonderful children, thanks to my Mother, know of my fear of spiders. They decided to ‘sneak’ up on me with this remote controlled beauty. Thankfully my apathetic hero, we will call him Groo after an awesome hapless comic book hero, came to my rescue.

Or so I thought…..

Turns out he does not battle insects anymore and wished me the best of luck. He did hang around long enough to let me know what a disappointment I am to him. And if the spider does not kill me, he wants his evening treat.

I am so loved.

I will leave it up to you to Google Groo the Wanderer, the Amelia Bedilia of comic book heroes.

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Me and my mazdaspeed Chap III – Making Memories.

Posted by Bill Prosperi on July 14, 2010

It was Father’s Day weekend and the place was Mid Ohio Sports Car course.  Little Man and Kid Kid, especially Little Man, had been begging for a long time to go see ‘race cars’. I could not think of a more perfect opportunity than this.  The event was the Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge, the weather was perfect and sunny.

To back drop this some, I am a huge motorsports fan, especially Formula One.  I also love watching just about everything else, except NASCAR. Not a huge fan of it. I will watch it but not for very long. When ever I do get the chance to sit down and watch a race, the kids are usually right there with me watching along and asking a thousand and one questions.  But as frustrated as I get, I enjoy every moment of it.

The trip to the track takes roughly an hour and during that time, I was asked repeatedly why I do not race my ‘race car’. Ever since I got my mazdaspeed6, it has been referred to as ‘Daddy’s race car’.  I have enjoyed this and the kids get a kick out of it as well. Trying to explain to them what it takes to be a race car driver never seems to register with them. The joys of parenthood.  We still have this conversation at least twice a week on the way home in the afternoons.

As a bonding experience with the kids, there could have been nothing better. Little Man was lost for words and was completely in awe of the cars as they flew by. Kid Kid tried her best to stay interested but the sun was getting to her and being tired to begin with did not help.  When asked what car we were cheering for, I pointed out the different Mazdas of which there were mazdaspeed3s, RX-8s, and two feisty MX-5s.  That worked for a short while, then the car of choice changed every lap. Though we all agreed that the Red Roush Mustang was a spectacular machine that day. Well until Joey Hand in his BimmerWorld BMW crashed into the Mustang right in front of us.

So how does this incorporate the mazdaspeed6, it got us there. That is about it. But since it got us there, it helped to create the memories that the kids still talk about. Little Man is looking forward to next year and Kid Kid is turning her gears on how Austin in 2012 is going to happen.  As a gearhead, it is not always about the car or all the cars that surround us but the memories that can be created around them. The few hours spent at the Italian Festival last Labor Day weekend are still brought up in conversation. Especially ‘Luigi’, the lone classic Fiat 500 that was there.

Cars are a love of mine. They are also fun for Little Man. My Father and Father-in-Law both are found of cars and will talk all day about them if given the chance.  For Little Man and I, it is in our DNA.  The hope of Kid Kid is slipping away, the inner-girl is starting to show now at age 7.  Hannah Montana or iCarly are now more interesting than Sunday morning Formula One or Saturday afternoon Grand Am or LeMans races.  Such is life but she will still stop what she is doing when a Ford GT40 shows up. She really likes that one. How could she not.

As the summer rolls on and the many local cruise-ins and car shows pop up, Little Man, Kid Kid (maybe), and I might be there in the mighty mazdaspeed6.  Even though it is not a true race car and I am not a race car driver.

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