Chasing Green Lights and Win Lights

We’ve made quite a splash in the world of racing since our last blog! We’re deep in a long stretch of back-to-back weekends and we’ve come out ahead in round wins. Just when I think I’m losing patience for the long weekends, a streak like this comes along and proves me oh-so wrong. Don’t worry, fans. I have a new found passion for this ‘ole sport!

All smiles in the staging lanes at Mission

We were at Woodburn Dragstrip last weekend for the divisional event. It was wonderful to see some old friends (and meet a few new ones!). We, also have always loved that track and now that Jay Livingston is in charge, the track is an all-time favorite. Jay did a great job prepping the track and organizing the event this year. It was truly an enjoyable experience. And as many of you know, not all races are enjoyable.

The weekend started off with a test and tune on Thursday. Chris and I managed to get back from our stellar vacation at midnight the night before and headed to the track on a few hours later. We met up with Paul Nero for a new set of Hoosier slicks. He had them mounted in no time flat and we were off running. When we returned from the first test pass we noticed a huge blister on the front left tire. It’s not recommend to run with a blistered tire (at 173 mph), not to mention it can severely impact performance on the track. After a chat with Paul, we decided it was best to swap those out for a new pair as well. With all new tires (and empty pockets) we finished up the test session with another solid run.

Qualifying on Friday and Saturday was long and quite uneventful. We did, however, qualify for the Shootout race on Saturday. Qualifying for this based on the first 8 qualifiers for the divisional event who have chosen to enter the Shootout. Those 8 racers then forfeit their Saturday qualifying runs for Shootout eliminations. Unfortunately we lost in round one the Shootout to a very good racer, Andy Morris. Although disappointing, we simply rejoined the event qualifying field. And we even made back the money for the entry fee.

When Sunday finally rolled around we were more than ready for eliminations. We managed to go round after round, finally ending our streak in the fourth round to Super Comp rookie, Don Knoblauch. Don went on to runner-up in the event. We were so thrilled to have made it to fourth round (the quarter-finals) at a divisional event. We had huge smiles painted on for days to come.

This brings me to the current weekend. After a couple days off, we packed up again and headed across the board to Mission Raceways for a PNSCA double-header. As you’ve seen in previous blogs, we have a huge issue with the front end of our dragster jumping out of the beams on the starting line at this track. This is the only track where this is an issue and we’ve changed a number of different variables to try accommodate for this issue. Because the divisional event at Mission was so touch-and-go with the rain, we did experience it too much at that event earlier this year. But it was glaringly obvious this past weekend.

Seconds from a dreaded Red Light

Saturday consisted of some confusing and frustrating red-lights and gorgeous passes. But a gorgeous pass means absolutely nothing if that red light comes on. Unfortunately, round one was no different. The car jumped the beams and left me a loser on the line. We decided to inflate the tires quite a bit, creating more spin off the line and preventing the car from jumping as high on the leave. We were able to make a test pass and our solution proved to work just fine!

I forgot to mention that because this race was sandwiched between a big divisional event and the national event in Seattle, the car count was very low on Saturday: 7 cars. On Sunday, which happened to be the Fourth of July, we only had 5 cars! Chris and I were not about to let this opportunity to make up some ground in the points go to waste. After a long morning (and afternoon) of broken cars at the line, oil downs on the track and rain delays, we finally made it to round one. We qualified number one, giving us the bye in round one.

After a couple of good passes (and a little luck) we found ourselves in our first final ever! Our last opponent was Mike Popal, a Canadian racer who runnered-up in our PNSCA race on Saturday. He had me on the line, but I caught him fast and took the stripe with a double-breakout. Luckily, we ran closer to the 8.90 dial in than Mike and took our very first race win! I was so stunned when that final win light came on I wasn’t sure if I’d really just seen it. After a few screams into the radio and a good number of fist pumps it finally sank in that I had just won a race. Now all I need is that trophy I earned!

On our way home from Mission we dropped our trailer off in line at the Seattle National Event. This is our biggest race of the year and it’s awesome to head into this race on the heels of our first win. Stay tuned for more updates soon!