April 29, 2002

Gumball 3000: Update #3
Article and Photos by: Jeremy Master and Zerin Dube

Our day begin outside the Crescent Hotel in Dallas. We were relieved to see that the M coupe that had been in the ditch the prior day had made it to Dallas, albeit with dents along its driver's side. Further enquiry revealed that the driver had tried to pass an 18-wheeler on the right hand shoulder, but the truck driver got the last word by pushing the Bimmer off the road. There were lug nut marks on the side of the car to prove the story.

When the race got underway the F50 took its usual lead position. Traffic was mercifully very light in Dallas and the Gumballers proceed to the highway and out of town in no time at all.

The APR team hooked-up with the blue Texas Viper, black Saleen, green Corvette, and the red twin turbo Porsche from England. The green Corvette was the very same one that hadn't made it to Nashville with the rest of the group. The story behind that was a blown rear end on the first day which required all-day repairs. The Corvette drivers were then forced to make a 1,400 miles trip straight through in order to be Dallas for the morning's send-off.

We were heading more towards the back roads of Texas when we met up once again with the Mini-driving Playboy girls. Cruising together we were suddenly passed by screaming Ducattis

Not long after the Ferrari F50 and another yellow Porsche came up to join our group. After a requisite fuel stop at a gas station overrun by Gumballer cars, the group reformed its phalanx on the highway.

Near Whitcita Falls, Texas with the F50 in the lead one of the first Texas State Troopers we had seen for a while quickly swung around and pulled over the front two cars. The ticket was later reported to have been for 150mph and a $5,000 fine.

The group rolled on and through small town after small town where the speed limit was reduced in to 55 mph or less. In nearly every town, small groups of people assembled on the sides of the road to watch the passing racecars. It wasn't much later that we spotted the gray Diablo in a Wal-Mart parking lot surrounded by three cop cars.

The next stop for the Gumballers was Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas where the details of the day's final destination were distributed. At this point the New Mexico border was only a short drive past the Ranch and everyone was once again glad to see slightly higher 75 mph speed limits. Mustering our best surveillance it appeared that there were fewer cops and soon the speeds increased dramatically.

Together with the APR car we caught the Ferrari F50 and Aston Martin DB7 from behind where they were actually sitting on the side of the road. We stopped to chat with the drivers and found out that the cop had been waiting because he clocked them earlier at 155 mph, but lost them when they stopped for gas. They said the cops initially told them that they were pissed off at them, but after talking for a while they eventually just let them go without a ticket.

There was one minor mishap to the APR S4 to report. Along the I-40 highway inside New Mexico we were behind an 18-wheeler when a section of re-tread on one of the tires came loose and hit the underside of the S4's bumper, knocking out the grille insert. The debris from the impact went airborne and hit the Mercedes Galandewagen behind the S4, doing even more damage to that vehicle in the process.

Rolling into Albuquerque around 7:00 p.m. we found speed traps set up at the entrance to the hotel, proving that no matter how close you are to your destination it still pays to keep an eye out. APR's position for the day appeared to be in the middle of the pack again. Arriving at the5-star Hyatt resort in the middle of the desert was a welcome experience after the day's long drive.

As had become custom, the drivers were greeted with drinks, food, and music that lasted late into the night in the courtyard at the front of the resort. At one point a couple of guys in a Mercedes E-class decided to do some donuts in the adjacent parking lot in a show of spontaneous celebration. White smoke filled the air, but the police officer standing nearby was not amused and drove over to give the driver of the car a ticket.

Dinnertime was filled with story swapping from the day's events. One story overheard by the drivers of the blue S4 on a scanner was that the police had clocked a yellow Diablo at 174 mph in Texas, but decided that they'd never be able to catch it and so just let it go. Another of the best stories was about the Microsoft-sponsored New Mini that was being followed by a helicopter. The helicopter landed when the car went into a gas station, much to the surprise of the Mini drivers. As it turned out it was nothing more than a news crew interested in finding out more information about the Gumball 3000.

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