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Car Club Crazy

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His old man wants Crash Test Mark to move up in the architecture world, he says, which can't be done from South Florida. But he's not about to abandon this car club. He worked too hard getting it started. Sure, he could join some other car club in New York City or San Francisco, but he wouldn't be the leader. And when it comes down to it, Crash Test Mark wants to be the guy whom everybody listens to and looks up to. The one with the lowest, fastest car. The big boy.

"It's about the respect," he says.

By the time we arrive at the Bradenton Motorsports Park, the sun is hot overhead, glinting off the hoods of more than 1,000 Volkswagens and Audis. There's a snack hut, some tents, some bleachers, and practically no shade. Drivers peer out of their windows at all the shiny cars and discuss what looks good, what looks hideous. How fast so-and-so's car can go. How low it is.

On the track, cars are lined up waiting their turns to drag-race, two by two, on the quarter-mile run. For $10, a driver can race a car all day long. But not many of the core group of the South Florida Dubs are interested. Either they don't feel like paying the $10 or their cars are not in racing condition. They've brought folding chairs and have parked behind the bleachers, where they can't even see the track.

A couple of girlfriends are dutifully standing in the sun as their boyfriends cruise the tents, where car parts and magazines are on display. Conversations mostly revolve around what the drivers will do to their cars next and how much it will cost. To Mika, an 18-year-old Broward Community College student and a friend of Clarke's, this is baffling.

"How much can a person do to their car?" she says. "Every week, they're like, 'I'm doing this. I'm doing that.' Isn't there a time when it just ends? When the car is just perfect?"

"Never," one guy responds. "You're never done."

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Ashley Harrell
Contact: Ashley Harrell

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