If your idea of the perfect vacation is lying on a beach, soaking up the sun and sipping on a cold one, you might wonder about dealers like Barry Lundgren and Jerry Baker.
Instead of opting for laid-back vacations, they prefer the emotional rush that speed and risk provide.
And what a rush, says Lundgren, a Honda dealer in Auburn, MA. He races his 1974 Porsche 3.0 RS (only 57 were built) in vintage rallies throughout Italy, Spain and France. Cars from all eras, including as early as 1911, participate in various events and stages.
“Some of the events include special stages of racing up mountains,” says Lundgren, talking with Ward's in a phone call from Paris as he prepares for the 24-hr Le Mans Classic in July.
Lundgren describes racing up and down mountain roads with no guard rails as “a huge rush.”
He adds: “You're going so fast, you're not even aware of the risk. It's like being chased by the police, knowing that, if they catch you, you'll spend the rest of your life in jail.”
Even Lundgren's family vacations involve speed. Each winter he and his wife take their four children to Snowmass, CO, just outside Aspen, for a week of downhill skiing.
“Colorado is one of the most beautiful states,” he says. “Once you've skied Colorado you never want to travel to the icy slopes of New England.”
The Lundgrens prefer Snowmass because it is a family oriented with slopes for all levels of skiers on one mountain.
He says: “We put our girls in ski school for the first time and at the end of the week we all took the chair lift to the top (including Brooke who had just turned 4) and skied down together as a family. It's a great family sport. We have been hooked ever since.”
Jerry Barker, a Chevrolet and Hummer dealer in Byron, GA also heeds the need for speed. But he declines to call what he does a vacation. “I haven't taken a full week off for 20 years,” estimates Barker.
Instead, he drag races on weekends in the National Hot Rod Assn. (NHRA) Southeast Division's Top Sportsman category. He climbs into his revved-up Chevy S-10 or Cavalier racecar and hurls down a 1,320-ft. long track at speeds of nearly 200 mph.
“It's a hobby,” Barker says. “I've been doing it since I was a kid.” He has won several events throughout his career and finished second in the standings last year in the Southeast division.
Even at the racetrack, Barker refuses to take time off as an automotive retailer.
“It's a good avenue to sell cars to the racers,” he says. “I sell a car just about every time I race.” He is a salesman at heart. Visit his dealership and chances are you'll find him on the showroom floor with a customer.
At a recent event, one fellow racer was so intent on buying a Chevrolet Suburban SUV, he brought his own completed credit application. Barker had the vehicle towed to the track and had his son bring the paperwork. The deal was done right there.
“That's happened more than once,” laughs Barker.