Column: I know a guy in West Haven
May 25, 2014 | 1711 views | 0 0 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Johnathan Bentley
Johnathan Bentley
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I know something about making lengthy road trips.

I once drove 750 miles from Carlisle, Pennsylvania to Huntsville in one day.

That was by no means the plan.

The day before landing in Carlisle, my car broke down in West Haven, Connecticut, which is located directly south of New Haven. Someone must have got their directions mixed up.

Driving down the road on a Sunday afternoon, my car started shaking and shimmying. Before I knew it, every warning light on the dash lit up. I was in trouble.

With the car coasting to a stop, I was looking for a place to pull over. I knew the second I put the car in park, it wasn’t going to start again.

That’s when I got a huge surprise. Off to my left I saw an oasis — a mechanic’s shop.

How many mechanic shops are open on a Sunday afternoon?

One — and it was in West Haven.

It turns out that the car’s motor had a cracked head, which is as painful as it sounds. Apparently someone had not checked the fluid levels in the car. The jury is still out on the culprit.

By the time the car had cooled off and was ready to hit the road again, the farthest I could get that night was the aforementioned Carlisle, which coincidentally is known for its car shows.

The next day, I made the 750-mile haul to Huntsville.

By the end of the trip, I had consumed 10 carbonated beverages and traversed six states.

On a related note, months later, the car engine blew, stranding me on the side of the interstate at 1 a.m., but that’s a different story.

That 750-mile trip was the longest of my life, though a one-day drive from Macon, Georgia to Key West, Florida was a close second.

I don’t plan on pulling a lengthy one-day trip ever again.

Yet, that’s nothing to what Kurt Busch has in store today.

The NASCAR veteran plans on competing in both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600.

Starting at 11 a.m. and ending at around 9 p.m., Busch will have driven 1,100 miles in total — if he completes the feat.

He is the fourth driver to attempt to compete in both races on the same day. The most successful was Tony Stewart in 2001, who finished 6th at Indy and 3rd at Charlotte. Stewart set the bar with that kind of effort.

The 1,100-mile drive is the equivalent of driving from Jasper to Columbus, Ohio and back.

That makes a ride to Carlisle look like a leisurely Sunday drive.

The toughest part for Busch has to be making the transition from driving an Indy car to his NASCAR Chevy in just a few hours.

They are about as similar as a four wheeler and a monster truck.

How tough is the transition? Busch wrecked his Indy car during practice on Monday forcing him into a back-up car for today’s race — and he is a veteran driver.

Busch will start 12th at Indianapolis and 28th at Charlotte.

I commend Busch for the effort, even if he crashes in both races.

If he’s in need a mechanic at some point today, I know a guy in West Haven — and he works on Sundays.

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Johnathan Bentley is the Sports Editor at the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at johnathan.bentley@mountaineagle.com.