When I loop back around and stop at the timing booth, a guy in a hat hands me a piece of paper with a triple-digit speed printed on it. Funny, unlike every other time this has happened, there is no court date written on the paper. No tongue-lashing or handcuffs, either. And this one's a record -- 173.6 mph.
A record for me, that is -- because it quickly becomes clear that we're in some kind of alternate universe where a stupid-fast Ferrari isn't actually fast at all. At best, my Ferrari and Sherman's Corvette are mid-pack. An F-16 wouldn't seem all that quick in this crowd. Spaceballs' "ludicrous speed" might go unnoticed.
Worse, Sherman's deafening Lingenfelter-tuned ZR1 is barely audible at full-tilt over the thrum of idling cars on the grid. Even cars that look innocuous are insane: a Cadillac DTS almost shatters my sunglasses with an exhaust so loud you could still make out its firing order a mile away. A Volkswagen R32, normally one of the sweetest-sounding cars in the world, belches a turbocharged acoustic fury not unlike that of a garbage disposal grinding up nitroglycerin tablets.
One particularly impressive sound is the one a twin-turbocharged Lamborghini Gallardo makes when shredding the internals of its transmission. Still, you'll see more breakdowns in twenty minutes of reality TV than in a whole weekend at the Texas Mile. In spite of (or perhaps as a result of) how astonishingly fast the cars are, they all seem to be bolted together well. So do the people -- participants and spectators are all friendly and remarkably well-behaved. OK, so a few police officers jumped up from the lunch table on account of a reported on-site shooting, but apparently that's no big deal here, because they were all back in a few minutes. Hey, it's Texas-yee-haw!
Or perhaps they didn't care who got shot (and obviously no one did) because the food is so damn good. I, for one, wasn't venturing too far away from the Fusion Taco Truck, a Houston-based mobile restaurant teeming with great dance music, energetic staff, and Asian-Mexican fusion vittles that are, no joke, among the best food I've tasted in my life. I'd fly back to Texas just for a meal from that truck.
Except if I ever come back to the Texas Mile, I'll do things a little differently. First, I'll bring a bicycle -- you don't realize how long a mile is until you walk it 3700 times in one day. Second, to maximize social time, I'll bring an RV and just sleep at the track. Third, and most important, I'll choose something far, far faster and more dangerous than a little ol' Ferrari. Especially if that troublemaker Sherman shows up again.