Other pilots sit under the wings of their racers or around them in the hangars, making small talk. For some, the day before racing includes a frantic effort to rebuild a broken airplane. Andy Chiavetta has taken the engine out of Sport Race #33 and spirited it to a secret location in the mountains near Tahoe, where a mad scientist of the propulsive arts is reputed to live. Sometime past midnight, they will be installing the engine on the airframe in time for the 9:40 a.m. first race Thursday. The Unlimited Gold-winning P-51 Strega is also having engine problems, as is Voodoo, two stalls down.
The mechanics are focused; there is no time now to waste. In the gathering dusk the Griffon-powered P-51 Precious Metal returns from a photo mission, makes a pass down the runway, and lands.
Tomorrow we begin.