MotorSport Sundays: Inaugural Edition
Sunday, April 3, 2011 1 Comment
Welcome to MotorSport Sundays! It’s a tradition I started a few months ago, but a tradition nonetheless. Basically, I spend the entire day sitting on my ass eating delicious food, drinking beer, and watch World Rally Championship, Formula 1, and anything rally related. (Think going really freakin’ fast on different terrains: mud, snow, gravel, asphalt, etc.)
Here in the Bay Area, cars are actually a fairly large part of our culture. You probably know at least one mechanic or someone who knows how to work on cars or is enthusiastic about something with an engine; that would be me in my circle of friends. Hell, my day job is working on semis.
We appreciate anyone with a do-it-yourself attitude and the drive to do something awesome. Let me introduce you to a man named Bill Caswell. He’s famous for buying an old BMW for $500 off Craigslist, making it usable, and racing it against $400,000 racecars at WRC Mexico. Oh, and he actually placed.
Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to buy this man a beer after such a feat, but I did get a chance to chat with him recently about some important topics, including booze and food, which are two of our favorite things to talk about here at Wrecked.
Bill Caswell was here in the Bay Area to race in the 2011 Sears Pointless put on by 24 Hour of LeMons, held at Infineon Raceway in Petaluma, CA. The premise is basically two 12-hour days around a track in a car you bought and fixed up for $500, with often hilarious penalties. For example, if you do something wrong, you are pulled aside and forced to write sentences on your car (like you did in grade school on paper or on the board). Oh, and you can bribe judges with booze. If that’s not our kind of race, I don’t know what is.
Bill was actually part of the POS Racing team, a team he hooked up with after asking around San Diego to find a garage to work on his Baja racer. He found one through Michael Bream, owner of Gravity Skateboards. They worked on their LeMons car in Michael’s garage, who then extended an offer to Bill to race on his LeMons team in 2010. How could he turn it down?
So, how was the race? Well, he won! Complete with an awesome rear wing (let’s call it robotic because robots rule) for the car that helped out a ton, a battle with a slow car that looked like a moon buggy, and a penalty, Bill overtook dozens of others to come in first for the second year in a row. Bill was ecstatic about his win and the time he spent with his team. He mentioned someone even flew in from Hong Kong to witness the event. Yeah, it’s that important.
I’ve heard of previous prize money being paid out in bags of nickels, but this race’s prize money was paid in Russian Rubles (they’re worth about $0.03 each). Seriously.
First, a little background: Bill got into racing during his mid-20’s after accidentally coming across an auto manual in a bookstore and realizing he could fix his dead car himself. After a series of events, he ended up doing autocross, which paved the road for him getting into rally and other events. He’s racing in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb once he figures out some way to fit a turbo or supercharger on one of his cars.
So, what does a man like Bill drink on a regular basis? Well, he’s not that different from us. He often enjoys micro-brews and he spent a hot minute talking about a spot in Vegas where he gets an excellent Anchor Steam. When in Mexico, he actually enjoys Corona with sea salt and lime, but won’t touch them here in the States. I can relate to that. I think Corona is generally awful, but maybe we’re just doing something wrong up here. Oh, and he raved about Stone Brewery from San Diego, especially their IPAs. I can’t turn down a good beer recommendation, so I will have to give those a try very soon. He also mentioned a place in Frisco called Salt House that looks super legit.
I asked him what video games he plays when he has the time, to which he immediately responded with racing games like Forza and the Need for Speed series. We spent a bit of time talking about how awesome Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was for Playstation back in the day, so it HAS to be awesome now. Bill has a dual-Xbox setup he uses to challenge friends to races. He’s also looking forward to getting Need for Speed: Shift. Of course, he also enjoys Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Bill also mentioned that I need to watch “50 Years Sideways”. Once I find it, I’ll probably enjoy the hell out of it and that’s how I’ll spend the next MotorSport Sunday, as I’m at WonderCon this weekend getting my nerd on.
Simply put, Bill Caswell is a totally down-to-earth guy that happens to enjoy racing. He’s getting by on his own (no big sponsorship) and that’s the kind of spirit and philosophy we have here at Wrecked. I’ll probably be going to the next local LeMons race to witness the event for myself. If Bill is there, I’m taking him out for a beer.
A huge thanks to Bill Caswell for his time and the awesome picture.