One Saturday night last summer, I was invited to a friend's house to hang out and watch a few movies. A small group of us showed up, had a good ol' time, went to Applebee's for dinner, and eventually returned to the house to chat for a while before heading home.

One of the people present at this small gathering was Eric Carlson, who is becoming quite infamous for his roles in my Highway Tales nodes. You can imagine what was about to happen, I'm sure.

So, after chatting, we dispersed. I started home in my Neon, right behind Carlson in his old Porsche 924. I got almost to my apartment before I realized (quite stupidly, I might add) that it was 3am on a Saturday night, the streets were perfectly empty and dry, and I had never raced Carlson. You see, Carlson had the bad habit of bragging about his Porsche. Granted, it was a fast car, but it technically had less horsepower (and less torque) than my Neon. I'd always been curious to see how we'd match up in a race.

Having decided my fate for the evening, I bypassed my apartment, exceeded the speed limit by an exponential amount, and caught up to Carlson about five miles from his house. We were on the perfect racing road (for those of you in the Portland area, it was Murray road going north, about a mile before Cornell). Wide, empty four-lane road, median, wonderfully-spaced stoplights, perfect.

I got up next to him in the right lane and waved. He noticed me. I motioned that I wanted to race. He raised his eyebrows, grinned, and mouthed "okay". We didn't bother waiting for a red light, we just whomped on it right there, a rolling start from about 45mph.

He downshifted and pulled ahead of me by about half a carlength, which was no surprise since I drive an automatic. I floored it, though, and did my best to catch up. After a few seconds, he ran out of his power curve just as I was right in the middle of mine, and I began to gain on him tremendously. I pulled up right next to him, so our cars were nearly even, and I was still accelerating faster. At this point, I knew I had it...he was going to have to shift in a moment, and I was still in my sweet spot -- I was going to win!

Suddenly, he jerked right, and would have rammed his Porsche right through my front end if I hadn't reacted on instinct and slammed on the brakes. We had both been going near 100mph, and I really had to struggle to keep control of the car as the brakes locked up and I began to fishtail. Somehow, I managed to keep everything under control and slide to a stop partially sideways on the shoulder, in time to watch him speed off, waving at me.

When I later asked him why he had pulled such a cheap and dangerous stunt, he said, "The quickest way to win a race is to wreck your opponent's car".

I vowed right then never to trust him again, and never to race illegally. Far too dangerous for my tastes.

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