GarageLove: Chasing the Dragon


At the end of the weekend, my only success as a chase car was helping someone load a 356 Cabriolet onto a trailer—a bum fuel pump was the most likely culprit.  The event—and roads—were a wonderful way to spend the weekend behind the wheel, even if there wasn’t any driving competition involved.


Most of your time on the Dragon will be at a crawl in a conga-line of antsy car guys.

While the roads are great, I can't say that I enjoyed the act of driving on the Tail of the Dragon quite as much as people rave. I certainly don't get why people keep coming back and taking aggressive pass after pass on this short section of road that's not controlled or safe for any real performance use.  I probably shouldn't have even put good tires on the 3, they made the limits way too high for being reasonable and prudent.  

They say the Dragon addicting—but it would seem there are far better ways to get your jollies than this overcrowded piece of asphalt—then again, some people shoot heroin into their weiners, so what the hell do I know?


One of the stores along the route that cater to the Dragon's crowd. 

The area has attracted so much international attention that there is now several stores along the route. You can buy anything from T-shirts to chotchkies that *prove* that you conquered the Dragon. Heck, you can rent or buy a GoPro camera to document that fact—or your HeyY'allWatchThis moment when you stuff your ride into a tree.


Nearly every stretch of the road bears the evidence of driver's running out of talent.  A scarred hillside and a puddle of oil that looked fresh mark one such spot. 
If you're driving to enjoy the scenery, you won't be disappointed.  The overlooks and turnoffs are stunning.  

We all know that it's stupid to race on the street—autocross or track events are much safer and ultimately allow you more time at 10/10s than impromptu canyon carving, so is it worth preaching that fact to these Dragon-loving folks?  The visitors are the perfect group to promote and market automotive or motorcycle track performance events to.  If I was an event promoter, I'd make deals with all of the nearby stores to put flyers and posters up in their shops.  

Hillclimbs like the nearby Chasing the Dragon Hillclimb are much better outlets for real performance enthusiasts.  If you want to go totally nuts, NASA Rallysport has held several events in the surrounding Appalachian mountains that will leave you bone-tired and breathless after a weekend of stage rally.  

My take—go and enjoy the driving for a weekend at a sane pace. There are plenty of great driving roads and other outdoor activities to fill up a vacation from civilization. If you find yourself craving that red mist you have to find a real outlet for your addiction—chasing that rush on the Dragon is fairly idiotic.



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