Jim & Cindy Griggs | Need for Speed Part 3

Need for Speed Part 3

December 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Dad and I loaded the kart up and took it all the way Oklahoma and the farm just east of Oklahoma City.  Along the north side of my grandpa's farm they were building a new type road called an Interstate Highway.  This one was to be designated Interstate 40.  It looked so smooth.  We lifted the kart over the fence and set it on the road.  Unlike the roads in Oklahoma today, this was smooth as silk.  I fired up both engines and took off, went a mile and turned around, stopped and waited for dad to wave his arm.  I took off when he did accelerating to full speed in a short distance.  When I got where we had invaded the construction site, dad clicked the stopwatch.  In one mile, from a standing start, I had averaged 64 mph.  My grandpa was there and had only one comment about me sitting there on the kart with my knees up even with my shoulders; "You look like a dog who sat in some kerosene."  Dad and I were laughing so hard.  I never drove the kart on a regular road except that one time and then it was on a road that was not yet open.  

 

I kept the go kart all thru high school still going and driving it just for the thrill of going 60 mph while sitting on the ground (almost!).  I could not fit my hand underneath the frame.  Sitting that low and doing 60-65 mph feels like you are going 150.  A few years earlier I was really anticipating getting a drivers license and getting to drive real cars.  I remember being very disappointed.  Even at 70 miles per hour on the highway (way over the 55 limit at the time), the only thrill was wondering if the old cars we drove back then would just fall apart.  No feeling of speed, just you basic boring.  Driving a regular car was nothing to get very excited about.  Having the experience of driving fast took away any speed demon ideas about driving a real car.  The thrill was just not there, at least in the cars we owned, Chevrolet's with "stove bolt" sixes and "three on the tree" shifters.  When I left for college, the kart sat in the garage at home.  I drove it a couple of times when I was home for Spring break, Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I never lost the thrill of hearing those twin engines pop to life, idling at a mere 2000 RPM.  

 

During one of my trips home for Thanksgiving I ran into the cutest thing I had laid eyes on and asked her out for a date.  Something clicked.  She seemed very special but I needed to see if she was a "speed" person.  We made plans for another date in December when I was home for Christmas break.  I asked her to get us tickets to see "Grand Prix" in the new super wide theater called a Cinerama.  Grand Prix was about F-1 racing and proved to be a great film for someone like me.  She seemed to enjoy it too.  Next test; can she or better yet, will she drive the kart at speed.  We took it to the parking lot and Cindy got on, made a few mediocre laps then a few fairly fast rounds and was grinning from ear-to-ear.  i figured we must be compatible.  We got engaged about a year later and were married shortly after I graduated from Texas Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Dad let the kart take up space in his garage while my new bride and I lived in Dallas, some 250 miles away.  I really would miss my friend, the Hellcat, but I needed money and dad had a buyer wanting the thing for $100.  Like saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time, I could not be there to see it hauled off to who knows what sort of life, so I let dad handle the transaction.  That $100 was put to good use.  We bought a 12" B&W television so we could watch the moon landing of Apollo 11, in July 1969.

Stay tuned for "Part Four, Driving a Formula Vee and SCCA"


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