Its Saturday morning, the day after RCR and we’re headed back to Richmond VA for the Nextel Cup night race! Richmond International Raceway is a great place to watch racing. A short .75 mile track with capacity at around 110000. If you ever get the chance to get to one race anywhere on the Nascar schedule make it a night race. Theres something about it, whether its the lights round the track, the colour of the cars, the flames that fire out the exhausts or the red glow of the brakes, its a sight that you really should experience just once in your life.
The race was a great one too with Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart battling all night long with Kahne always just having the upper hand to take the win. Heres a couple of pics from the evening
Sunday we carried on with our journey aiming for Indy heading thru the lush green countryside of West Virginia and by Monday lunchtime were moving at a fair old pace through Kentucky with “moving at a fair old pace” being the correct wording here as we got pulled over doing 75 in a 50 by a State trooper
Ok, so this is how the story went. We’d been stuck behind a line of trucks for a good while and at last found a passing place to get past them but as they were all motoring along at a fair rate, we had to motor on a little bit faster…. Oh btw, heres an “Englishism”… “Semi” in America = “Articulated Lorry” in UK or “Artic” for short
So there we are “pedal to the metal” going along quite nicely and we reach the front of the queue, start dropping down a hill when round the corner coming up is a trooper! We never knew what a State troopers car looked like hence we never slowed down and we didn’t realise that they have those speed cameras in the front of their cars either and so guess what… he turned round and put his lights and sirens on. Whoops!
Mistake number 1 was speeding and so mistake number 2 was getting out of the car to enquire of the officer as to why he’d pulled me over. Hey i never knew he had a gun.. I’m British!
So i walk towards his car a couple of yards and he’s shouting and screaming at me and pointing too! I can’t understand a word he’s saying so i move a little closer to him. Bear in mind here that you can do this in the UK so as far as i was concerned i wasn’t doing anything wrong. I just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting out of his car. Then as i edged a little closer i could start to hear him and could make out words like “Stop” and “Gun”.
Now i was never brilliant at word games but those words make out a sentence that even i can understand and so rather quickly i turned and jumped back in the car..
And with the cop approaching the car he said in a Kentucky accent
“What the hell are you doing getting out the car?”
Me – “Hi!! I’m from England”
Cop – “I don’t care where your from. You don’t get out the car when you get stopped. We have guns here”
Me – “Well i didn’t know. I’m not from round here”
Cop – “Your not from round here are you”
Me – “No i’m from England”
Cop – “England? What the hell are you doing out here?”
Me – “Heading to Indy”
Cop – “Do you know why i stopped you”?
Me – “I think i might of been just over the speed limit”
Cop – “Just? It was 75”
Me – “Oh”
Cop – “Let me see your drivers licence and insurance”
Me – *Passing my drivers licence to him*
Cop – “Whats this?”
Me – “My drivers licence”
Cop – “Not here it isn’t”
Me – “Well thats cos i’m from England”
Adding here that in 2005 i was still using a paper drivers licence that looks nothing at all like what Americans have. Heres a sample of one
The size of this licence is about the same as A4 paper in UK or the standard copying paper size in US (8.5″ * 11″ or whatever it is). It has no ID on it at all except for a name, address and driving licence number. The rest of the licence is filled with words and theres a big space for penalty points when you get caught for speeding or some other traffic offence. In reality it could be anyones licence and so i produced my passport to show it was me as well as the rental cars insurance documents
To show how the current UK licence looks, heres a sample of one i pulled off the internet. It has photo ID now but still nothing like all the other ID features that can be found on a US licence
So the troopers looking at the drivers licence and you can tell he’s thinking. He flips the paper over one way and then the other and starts to read various notes printed on it. Then without warning he says “Its your lucky day, i’m going to let you go”
Me – “Oh ok thank you!”
Cop – “Drive slower for the rest of your trip”
And with that he handed me back the papers and whilst turning towards his car wished us a safe trip and a nice day.
The only reason i think he let me off that day was because it was probably going to be way too much paperwork for him considering i wasn’t just “out of State”.. i was “out of Continent”!
And with that we were back on the road heading for Indy