The instructions and warnings at the drivers' meeting are spooky:
Slower cars are required to stay to the right on the Mulsanne Straight. Use your rearview mirror at all times.
A yellow flag with red stripes means that it's raining somewhere on the course—after all, the circuit is 8.36 miles around. Part of the course runs through a dark wood and parts of it are on public highways that have been closed to normal traffic for the occasion. The flag could also mean there's oil or gravel somewhere on the course.
Hold the pit speeds down to about 50 mph. The pit lane is very narrow; try not to run over any fingers and toes.
Cale sits calmly, with his muscular arms folded. He wears a sports shirt and jeans, plus tan cowboy boots with CALE stitched in a script of raised dark brown leather across the toes, and a big belt buckle, about the size of a salad plate. It's the solid silver and gold Winston Cup NASCAR championship belt.
The drivers will start their first practice session in a few hours. So far, all Cale has done is sit in the bare metal cockpit of the Camaro and shake the steering wheel a bit. The car has no niceties—no carpeting, no padding—just a tachometer, two oil gauges, water, fuel and amp gauges, and a fire extinguisher. "It'll do just fine," Cale says. "It's not absolutely right, but, hell, it's only 24 hours and anybody can stand that."
Now a race official reads the names of drivers who haven't had physicals. The stewards are irritated because this vital item hasn't been completed. No physical exam, no race driving. The name Yarborough is read, with the r's rolled so that it sounds especially elegant and foreign.
Then the meeting breaks up and, at the infield medical tent, the doctor looks for Cale's name on his list of drivers.
"It's not here," he says. "Your name."
Cale checks the list. "Yer right," he says.