It wasn’t until the day before the rally when I was driving to Tampa that it hit me. What we are doing is highly illegal and there will be 95 other cars all trying to do the same thing as me. Get there first. I started thinking of the obvious things how I didn’t want to speed, go to jail, hurt someone, hurt my car. The more I thought about it the more I talked myself out of it. The roads we were taking we some of the most crowded in Florida. It was on a Saturday. The busiest time for driving, shopping and families. I told myself this was the worst idea I had ever had.
Previous months before I had met Nate, one of the founders of the 8ball rally. He had told me what the idea was. High stakes poker run, 80s themed, run what you brung. He loved HighwayStar and what we stood for. The road and the stories they tell. Me being intoxicated when I met him I gladly signed on. I followed him and Rudy for almost a year til I actually met Rudy in person. The only word I can use to describe him is firecracker. This dude is about his business but is as live as they come. Weeks prior to the rally I decided not only to treat myself to a birthday present but to change the look of Roxanne. I sourced a new hood and front bumper but headaches, delayed shipments, crappy sellers led to a lot of sleepless nights and a week before he rally, the car breaks down. But 3 days before the rally everything was fixed. Thanks to the guys at Revworks for troubleshooting who me and Mike Atkins from MTuned, Roxanne was ready to rock.
The night before the rally I was restless. I laid down around 11 and at 2am I was up. Hearing my friends giggle and party in the room next door all I could think of is what if something happens. What if state troopers shut the rally down? Close the Highway and take us all to jail?
Never the less at 5am my phone is going off before my alarm as rally friends and co-drivers are blowing up my phone. It’s race day. I head out and show up an hour early. Soon enough I find Nate and Rudy and we are getting our welcome packages signing flyers and taking pictures of everyone involved. I cannot say how great it was to meet new people that have the Sam interest in me. Going fast and not giving any fucks. Nowadays our car cute is littered with idiots that all care about how pretty they look in there bagged cars and if there purse matches his shoes. Grow up. You are a fad and when you’re old and with kids you will tell them about the time you got drunk and ate vomit not the time you brought a machine to life and pushed it to the limits of death.
Anyways I’m rambling.
As soon as we were off what I told myself and the rest of the HighwayStar crew happened. I started speeding. St Pete to Daytona was off. I saw a beautiful 911 turbo driven by a friend and I couldn’t help myself to try and keep up with the legendary beauty from Stuttgart. As we arrived at our first stop in Ybor we had heard we had a BOLO (be on the lookout) around Polk county. They had helicopters up. My nerves shot as I told my friends to just get out of Ybor and move on and get gas elsewhere. We were separated and fueled up but quickly caught back up and the next stop was a weird one but one of the quickest ones. We were at a rest stop running to find the check point once we got it I yelled at my friends to get going and they came back and calmed me down. They said “manny it’s not a race, relax and let’s enjoy this” they handed me a cigar city brew we toasted to a good day and boasted about what we had just done. Disclaimer: (Now in anyway do I or HighwayStar condone drinking and driving. We were at the stop for an hour and had 1 beer before we continued on).
After the stop we were off again. We caught up to some ricers on the highway and they tried to keep up, they couldn’t. At our third stop we encountered some trouble finding the check point but we found our buddies at simply clean handing out custom air freshners made for the rally and we were off again. Now i4 was at a dead stop and me being HighwayStar and main navigator I decided to take an alternate route that shall remain unnamed and 8 cars were unleashed to wreak havoc. Some of us reached speeds upwards of 170. Be I stopped at 120 from lack of downforce but I cannot explain to you what a car does to you at those speeds.
What I can warn you about is to make sure you are 120% confident that your car will not fail at those speeds. Make sure that you have told your loved ones how much you care about them because a car will end your life and the life of others. This isn’t a fucking game. That day I was ready to lay it all on the line and we all did. We all left a piece of yourselves on the road that day and we grew stronger together because of it. as we cut through traffic inches from each other’s bumpers. Some even went through medians to get around. It was madness. We arrived at the fourth stop. Revworks. We arrived with open arms and to some
Games to draw our fourth card. As we waited for everyone to arrive we conversed caught up and met new adversaries. The road had claimed some victims and the rastaface had lost a tire we scrambled to find them a new one and we did.
Then we were off to our last stop. By this point most of us had dosbamed and were taking our time. I picked up the guys from simply clean and rode out to the Boot Hill saloon. I cannot tell you what place I came in and it doesn’t matter. I was one card short of a straight though. A bitter disappointment but a win in it’s own as today has gone down as one of my favorites in a really really long time. As the rest of the ralliers showed up cars poured in and beer poured more. PBR was a great sponsor and had great gifts and beer to give out. We partied. Told stories and waited for the prizes to be given out. A lot of well deserves teams were brought into light and given custom made trophies by ATF MetalWorx in Tampa. Team HighwayStar won most epic team. As I feel others might have deserved this I am thankful and extremely happy I participated and will be the first one to sign up next year. I can guarantee that. I hope more participants come out. Share in the love that is in all of is for automobiles and drive fast, drive safe and work together to have a good time.
special thanks to Rudy and Nate for this magical day. Thanks to PBR, Revworks, and simply clean and the dirty shame for the awesome stops.
HighwayStar Manny signing out