Despite spending $489, I was still denied my NASCAR experience!

Despite spending $489, I was still denied my NASCAR experience

Last week I lost a tire on I-95 just north of Old Town. Getting to the spare was one of my life’s greater challenges.

Today, my life was met with an even greater challenge! Getting 4 brand new tires installed!

I’ve had many vehicles in my near 47 complete years in life. And I have needed tires on all of them at one time or another, and while getting new tires isn’t one of my hobbies, it is rarely something I regret.

Most of the time I go to a place that specializes in tires, or I go to a big box store that offers tire service.

Typically, even without an appointment, I am in and out in less than an hour and a half. Often it’s like 20 minutes start to finish.

You might be shocked to learn that an average NASCAR pit crew can change 4 tires in less than 20 seconds. Granted, the tires are already mounted on rims, but still, that is very impressive.

Additionally, a 250-mile race at Daytona International Speedway can be run in two hours or less! A two HUNDRED mile race…Started, and completed in less than 2 hours! And that includes MULTIPLE tire changes!

Tires are expensive. We found out that the lowest cost tires, including installation for our 2009 Grand Caravan were going to be about $500.

Luckily, I won a promotion from one of the local radio stations last year. They wanted to know where the biggest pothole was.

I sent them pictures of the tire eating monstrosity on Rt 69 near Plymouth that my wife plowed into at roughly 387 miles per hour one afternoon.


Ahhhhh! Look out!


See? Just a harmless little pothole!


It was GREAT! She managed to destroy both the tires and rims on the passenger’s side, as well as the steering control arm on our KIA Spectra, and she damaged the exhaust to a point that it lead to the demise of the poor old car in the end.

It cost SIXTY bucks to replace that rim at a junk yard!  (I didn't get a picture of the other one, because I didn't know it was ruined, until we tried to get a tire to seat on it.)

It cost SIXTY bucks to replace that rim at a junk yard! (I didn’t get a picture of the other one, because I didn’t know it was ruined, until we tried to get a tire to seat on it.)

I am pretty sure my soul briefly left my body too, because I saw the pothole, and couldn’t believe she wasn’t trying to avoid it!

My body twisted first to the left, then to the right, as my hand gripped an imaginary steering wheel in a frantic effort to will the car on a new course.

When that failed, my feet mashed the non-existing brake pedal on my side of the car so hard, that had I been in one of my old pick up trucks from my younger days, I would have stopped Fred Flinstone style, as my feet plowed down through the rust that was once floorboards, to the shattered pavement below.

Anyway, I won a $500 gift card to a new car dealer in Waterville for a set of new tires. So we made an appointment at the dealer for 1:30 in the afternoon.

We checked in at 1:10pm and were met with a warm greeting. We were asked if we had ever done business there before, to which we replied that we were first-time customers.

After some more small talk, and the passing of the key, we were welcomed into the comfortable waiting room, and were told that we should be back on our way in an hour and a half or so.

I have seen some pretty impressive tire changes outside racetracks by some men and women who really took pride in their work. They communicated well, and worked as a team, and had my car in and out in about 12 minutes!

But not today…Nope! In the time it would take to run an entire 250-mile race at Daytona PLUS 15 minutes we were finally told that our van had 4 new tires.

No explanation as to why it took almost two and a half hours to change our tires, even WITH an appointment, and no apology!

I didn’t say anything to them because I was REALLY curious as to how they were going to handle it. I mean they had NO idea they were footing the bill. In fact, they thought we would be paying them $489 for the experience!

Had we told them before they started the work, that we were paying with a gift certificate, I would have been POSITIVE in my mind, that the delay was because we weren’t paying customers…But they should have been trying to impress us, to create a new customer!

The only question NOW is: What am I supposed to do with the $11.00 credit we still have left over? Because unless I win another big promo, I won’t be going back there again!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.