August 6, 2002
How do you celebrate your 39th year? Well, if a few of your good buddies have their way, behind the wheel of your '55 Chevy Bel Air at Sears Point Raceway, smoking your tires at the business-end of the drag-strip which has been held for your exclusive use for the best part of an afternoon. James Hetfield has just those types of buddies, which is why on Tuesday August 6th (James birthday is on Aug 3rd), some close friends and family got together to watch Papa Het and friends burn rubber, push gaskets and floor accelerators in the quest for best time of the day.
Does this one have an engine?
Was James happy? Well we couldn't really tell 'cos he seemed to have trouble getting words out through his huge, four hour ear-to-ear grin, but judging by the amount of times he floored both his Bel Air and Chevy Camaro (the latter was the stunt car in 'I Disappear') we'd say a resounding 'yes'...even after each suffered a spot of trouble.
Highlights? Too many to mention, but watching Mr and Mrs Hetfield race was pretty great, seeing the band's producer flying along at around 100mph was decent, Kirk Hammett in his quite lovely '57' Corvette (matched by wife Lani in a storming '65' black GTO convertible), Zach Harmon dragging his work truck through it's speedy paces and seeing two dynamic mechanics, Tom Scahill and Ronnie Lamar, trading off in a roaring bright yellow Barracuda. The latter pair won a pair of trophies for their efforts as fastest men on the track, a bar-b-que was enjoyed by all and yes, there was a rather marvelous birthday cake with (guess what?) toy cars on top. And to be honest, even though the families were out and kids were rolling around on scooters and what-not, the real 'kids' of the afternoon were easy to spot.
Bob with Lars as his passenger
Special kudos to Bob, Kirk, Lars (who was a prime mover behind the surprise but did not race) and Zach for getting it just right with the sort of gift that James will not forget.