Pictures worth how many words?

BMW racecar at Little Black Sands Beach, near Swan home in Calif. in 1992 (D. Swan)

It was never a dream, like playing music on the radio. Even though I’ve always loved cars and had a few fast ones over the years, the BMW really got me interested in racing. Remember when I said, in Chapter 32, how exhilarating skiing was?  Racing is better. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Drive at 9/10s; you lose; drive at 11/10s, and you crash. That’s my theory of road racing. A little luck is beneficial, too.

Racing is all about risk. But it’s more than just life and limb. Road racing can exact a toll on your finances and family. Careers are launched, and in the blink of an eye, years, decades, and a lifetime of preparation can come apart in one split-second decision. (partially from Road & Track.)

It’s much more than going fast around a track and having fun. You are in a fight as soon as the green flag drops. You will be Black Flagged and disqualified if you’re not competitive or fast enough.


Wheels up at Thunderhill Park Calif. turn 5, (top & bottom) driving at 10/10s.  (John Blackmore photos)
NASA Hard Charger Don Swan.
The flying Swan at Thunderhill Park Calif. driving at 11/10s, not the quickest way around the track. (Hot Pit Photo)
Swan at his workstation in the number 67 BMW (Lightweight) headed to grid at Sears Point Calif.  (Now Sonoma Raceway) 1992. (Swan archives)
Getting air at Sears Point, Turn 3. 1992. (John Blackmore)
Leading the pack, out of Turn 3, Sears Pt.  (John Blakemore)
Swan-Allen #67 racecar after I signed on Dave, heading for turn 4 on the way to win at Sears Pt. in 1995. (Photo John Blackmore)

winning BMW clipping

Racing into final turn 11, at Sears Pt. (John Blackmore)


Swan down the famous corkscrew at Laguna Seca Calif. in 1994. (John Blakemore)
NASA Hard Charger Don Swan using all the track and more at turn 11, Andretti Hairpin, Laguna Seca.  It’s actually OK to run off track, slightly, if you stay in the throttle. (Hot Pit Photo)
Partner Dave Allen hits the apex, after an inside pass, lapping cars from slower class, at Willow Springs, Calif. Inter. Raceway, 1995. (Hot Pit Photo)

I didn’t have a radio in my racecar for playing music, but Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg–TLC, I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston was getting plenty of airplay in Northern Calif.  Achy Breaky Heart–Billy Ray Cyrus, not one of my favorites.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 40: My Checkered Past–Racing That Is

    1. Mike, No, I should have been racing in a 1972 Datsun 240Z with completely sorted suspension, after several years racing, had almost as much hp and weighed 400lbs less than my BMW! They won a lot of races and beat me more than once. ​Thanks for reading. Don

      Liked by 1 person

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