On the wine trainFriday, June 29, 2012
Posted by: Toni Yates

Hello everyone! Jim left early yesterday morning for the Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., so I thought that I would take the opportunity to post a short blog. This will be the first race that I have missed this season but it will be for a good reason. I am going to be visiting Jamie’s in-laws in New Hampshire this weekend. Cynthy and the kids are there, Jamie is flying up and they will all be attending a wedding. So, what better person to baby-sit Ryan, Maia and their two cousins than me? I can’t wait!

Of course you know that I will have my computer on listening to Bob Frey every moment of Pro Stock qualifying and eliminations. Between the audiocast and the NHRA app on my iPhone I shouldn’t miss a thing – well other than getting the racecar ready to run, standing on the starting line, watching Allen drive his Mopar Dodge Avenger to some, hopefully, fast elapsed times and enjoying him win on race day. Ok, so I may miss a few minor things but I will be having a great time where I am.

It is hard to believe that we are almost to the half-way point of our racing season and the “western swing”; one of my favorite parts of the NHRA circuit is almost upon us. This year Jim plans on riding in the rig with Jason between Denver, Sonoma and Seattle in order to help him drive across country and I volunteered to ride along with them. I mean someone has to be the navigator right? It will be just like old times! LOL

We are really looking forward to Sonoma this year – not only is there so much to see and do in and around the beautiful Napa Valley but this year we are having a very special event to honor our late dear friend Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins. On Thursday, July 26 at 10:20 am we are having a special three-hour ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train as a memorial for the “Grump”. Bob Frey will be in attendance along with Jim and I, the Cagnazzis, Johnsons and many other drivers and crew members.

The railroad car we have reserved is a 1952 Pullman glass-topped car complete with a “Grumpy’s Toy XVIII” banner. The best thing is we will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful wine country while sharing our many stories of Bill and feasting on a four course gourmet lunch complete with wine and a keepsake memento. Now you know that Grumpy would be loving that!

I don’t know how many of you are planning on attending the Sonoma race, but if any of you are interested in joining all of us for this very special occasion, there are a limited number of seats still available. For those of you who want to join us, you can contact Valerie Lindsey via email (valerielindsey@att.net) and she will forward you all of the information. But hurry - the deadline is very soon!

Well I promised you a short blog and I better close this before it gets any longer. When I start talking about racing and the swing I just can’t help wanting to share fun stories with everyone, but I will save that for another time.
Be sure to keep track of Jim, Allen and the entire Mopar racing team this weekend and if you are in Joliet for the race stop by the pits for an autograph. In case I don’t get a chance to write a blog for a while I will say now that I look forward to sharing the Grumpy Memorial Wine Train with those of you that can join us in Sonoma. Only two more races and the “swing” will begin! Can’t wait!