On the Road – Las Cruses, NM


Well I tried.  I waited until nine before I packed my car and paid the hotel bill.  Then I headed up Rankin Highway to see if anyone was going to show up at Chaparral Cars.  I waited until about 9:20 and then decided to head to New Mexico.  It would have been nice to have met someone from the place and maybe even take a peek at the track, but it was not meant to be.  I doubt that Chaparral Cars is anywhere near as active as it was in the sixties, but I’m sure it is quite an interesting place in any case.

If I had the chance to talk to Jim Hall I would have several questions I would like to ask him.  I would like to understand his perspective on the racing of today and the way most of racing has turned into a spec series.  I would like to know what ideas he might have to change that.  I would also have questions about some of the drivers that he raced with. 

Instead I listened to MS Streets and Trips tell me when to turn left and right and what the distance was to my next checkpoint.  No questions allowed.


I watched the country side roll by and took note of the changes in the land.  I chose not to take the Interstates so that I could really see what the country was like.  By the time I reached New Mexico it was clear that there were more oil fields here than when I was back in Texas.   Hundreds, no thousands, as far as the eye could see and it went on for miles and miles.  From Hobbs to Artesia it went on and on.  Some pumps were pumping and others were static.  When I stopped for lunch at the outskirts of Artesia I sat next to an optimizer from one of the oil companies and he explained that the pumps were on different schedules depending upon the kind of well it was.  Some would pump all day and others only for half the day or even less.  They were on timers.  Rhiny was very patient with my questions.


Octane is getting very frustrating.  As I entered New Mexico the highest I found was 90.  That is pitiful.  The car has to be pulling timing like crazy especially as I headed for the hills of Lincoln National Park. 

The road transversing the mountains were quite fun.  No switchbacks, but still plenty of blind curves and steep grades.  The view of White Sands as I exited the park was spectacular.  Then it was on to Alamogordo.  I passed the White Sands Missile test area as I headed on to Las Cruses.


You may have noticed that my postings happen later and later in the day.  It is simply the result of my changing time zones.

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Cars, Road Trips. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On the Road – Las Cruses, NM

  1. markitude says:

    Jim, Sorry you missed out on Chaparel. Was there anything else to the place besides that little building? Didn’t seem too big compared to so of the other shops – B-Macs would appear bigger, but maybe that’s not the case, with the test track and all.

    Great side note on the oil wells. Job Role – “Optimizer”. I can understand what that job might entail, now thinking about it. I guess we all just assume you drill, hit some oil and pump it till it’s dry. Perhaps some wells work more like our water wells, where there are veins of oil that refill a cavity over time – you pump oil out of the cavity then wait, then pump more.

    The audi turned out just to need the TPS recalibrated to the ECM. $115. Now the radio doesn’t work – back to the dealer (appears it is in theft mode) to have it reset. While there last night we eyed a ’05 S4 (6 speed stick with 4.2L 340hp V8 ). That would be about 200 hp more in the same car, plus bigger brakes, suspension, wheels, etc. Also looked at a 2002 Porsche Boxster S. Guards Red – drilled rotos, big “red” Porsche brakes, 18″ wheels, aftermarket stainless exhaust. We have to wait about a month, but I’m excited. Lot of possibilities… for Leslie’s new car.

  2. Leslie says:

    Yeah, MY new car. hehehe

  3. tommy bento says:

    Jim, enjoyed talking with you…Evan looking forward to seeing you..
    The car burial was in the N&O…
    Looks like you are having a blast.
    Take care.

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