Upcoming Races

Calling all Eastern Washington fans! EMDUB Racing will be at Spokane Raceway Park this upcoming weekend (July 30th-August 1st). We will be at the track Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a Lucas Oil Divisional race. Please check out Spokane Raceway Park for ticket information and directions. We hope to see some of you out there!

In addition, EMDUB Racing will be racing at Bremerton Raceway Park for a PNSCA race on August 14th and 15th. Please check out Bremerton Raceway for ticket information and directions. The following weekend, EMDUB Racing will be at Pacific Raceways for the Lucas Oil Divisional race. We will be at the track Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Please check out Pacific Raceways for ticket information and directions.

Please let Chris or Emily know if you need more information about the races. We would love to see some friends and family at the track!

Motivation Above and Beyond Winning

After a round one loss today at the Northwest Nationals, I was feeling particularly down. I happened to stumble upon a quote that couldn’t be more fitting: “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning”  By Pat Riley (the basketball coach). This quote really got me thinking about my motivation for drag racing, specifically what my motivation consists of.

Deep in thought

In this thought process, I realized that drag racing is not about winning. To many of you, this may seem like a cop-out statement. But I truly believe that you can learn the most from the moments in which you lose. Drag racing is a particularly interesting sport in that most participants lose a majority of the time. How does one keep up motivation with the odds so highly stacked against them? In my short three years in drag racing, I have seen racers lose passion, desire and motivation for the sport. It always saddens me when I see this, as I have yet to feel that way.

Our win the other weekend really opened the doors to so many things for us. We both felt as though we no longer had any barriers holding us back. Coming into the race this weekend, we both had endless confidence. However, our first round loss left us more frustrated than we had been in a long time. As I read the quote about motivation on our way home today, I suddenly realized why I love drag racing. I love drag racing because it forces me to know myself and what I’m capable of, and always leaves me craving more. At the end of a race I desire to know the car better, the track better, and myself better.

It is important to note that winning plays a very small role in my motivation. Winning is the result of all this hard work. But if you strive for the result, you miss all of the important steps along the way. For instance, you cannot win the race in round one. You win a race by consistently repeating those important steps time and time again. And without the motivation to continue, quite often without the reward of winning, drag racing can be quite painful.

I’ve finally realized that the passion for drag racing comes from within. I love this sport for what it brings out in me. I am constantly striving to improve and that is enough motivation for me. I only hope I can continue to remember this important lesson.

EMDUB

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!

EMDUB

You Win Some, You Lose Some

No other saying could be more true for drag racing. My dad and I have always struggled with the fact that no matter how many rounds you win, the last thing you do is lose (unless of course, you win the whole thing!). Since we have yet to win a race, we are always faced with a loss at the end of a long weekend. Sometimes it’s really difficult to see the good through all the self pity. And it’s even harder when you know what that win light would have felt like. On the other hand, our round wins have slowly but steadily increased. Chris and I will both tell you that it only takes one of those to make this whole thing worth it!

We’ve had a fairly calm beginning to our season this year. We haven’t had any huge mechanical failures or disasters (except for setting the car on fire…) and weekends have all been predictable and consistent. It’s been comforting to head to the track and just have everything work. There have been the few hiccups in our plans, but for the most part we’ve been able to handle them with ease. I must admit, it’s really been a nice break from “racer’s panic.”

We’ve had been to three races so far this season: the Boise Divisional, a Woodburn PNSCA doubleheader race, and the Mission Divisional. The two divisionals have left us sore losers after round one. At Boise we lost by .004 at the finish line and Mission sent us home with a .003 holeshot loss (he beat me off the line). Although we hate losing first round, those were both amazing races. It just goes to show how close the Super Comp field can be! We were not sore losers by any means at Woodburn though. We made it to third round both days and even took home some money on Sunday. I had some of my best driving that weekend and Chris was really hot on the number. We most definitely drove away from Woodburn with huge smiles on our faces!

In terms of our personal lives, we have had some wonderful news in the past couple of weeks. Deb has been given the all-clear by her doctor and is officially in remission from her cancer. She was able to stop chemo and resume her normal lifestyle. We are all so thrilled at the news and equally as amazed at her strength throughout this process. She really is a warrior! In addition, Emily graduated from WSU with her Masters in Human Development. These two wonderful events happened within a week of each other. Needless to say, May was a very good month!

We will be taking some time off from drag racing for about a month. We don’t have any important races on our schedule and the Williams family will be taking some much needed time to celebrate all of our wonderful recent achievements. Our next race will be the Woodburn Divisional in June. We hope to see all of our fans out there. Also, stay tuned for some new EMDUB Racing apparel!

Fan Updates

As many of you may have noticed, we’ve been slacking on our blogging lately. I promise is it not due to any laziness on our part. Chris and I have actually taken to updating our EMDUB Racing Facebook and Twitter accounts more regularly. We do updates from the track, as well as posting pictures and videos. If you are a Facebook or Twitter member, please follow our updates to keep up with our most recent activity and progress.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/emdubracing

Twitter: http://twitter.com/emdubracing

We will still continue blogging in addition to our other updates. Finally, please let us know if you have any suggestions for keeping in touch with our fans. We do our best to keep you all informed and always love to hear your feedback. Thanks again for all of your support!

Starting the Season Anew

Well, we’ve been delinquent in blog updating, but not in racing updates.  I’ll let Em fill you in on the racing side of the equation, but I’m well overdue in telling you about all the updates I did over the winter to the trailer, and the car.

Last winter was all about the car.  I rewired it from front to back, built a new dashboard, replumbed everything, updated nearly everything there was to update.  And it paid off.  We had a great season last year, finishing 8th in the PNSCA and in the top third in the division.

But the trailer was still in need of a lot of work.  While it generally worked for what we were doing, it surely was not a “looker” on the inside.  Storage was unorganized, things didn’t close quite right, and there was enough leftover stuff from the previous owners to fill every nook and cranny.  The Home Depot particle board cabinets were far heavier than they needed to be, a situation not helped at all with the Pacific Northwest’s constantly wet climate.  Maybe in dry SoCal particle board is OK, but where we lived, there had to be a couple hundred pounds of moisture in those cabinets.

So in early March, the trailer was gutted.  Down to the bare walls.  My good friend and PNSCA president Ed Hauter helped with the tough work, and we cleaned out everything, talking almost 800 lbs. of cabinets and junk to the dump.  The walls got three coats of fresh white paint, the side rails were removed and painted, the 120v electrical was completely checked and rewired as necessary, and preparation was made for new cabinets.

After much research, I ended up going with custom made CTech cabinets, some of the nicest out there.  The new cabinets are not only beautiful, they are light.  Even on the pallets, they weighed less than half the particle board cabinets, with almost twice the storage space.  And they work like a dream.  They have fully roller drawers and self-latching everything.  If it’s closed, it’s latched.  What a dream!

With more than a little help from friends and family, the new cabinets were installed.  Then went in new lighting inside and out, a new pit radio, new speakers outside, and a new air conditioner for those hot summer days.  I even put up new decorative trim to hide the electrical, replacing the dented and tired metal with elegantly curved hi strength plastic.  All fresh and white, and beautifully equipped, the trailer was gorgeous, now both inside and out.

Then I loaded all the gear in, each in its own bin, all carefully labeled.  It looks great, with a place for everything and everything in its place.  I was feeling pretty good.  Until, I finally (after a month of work) took it back to the storage place.  On the drive back, I noticed that the marker lights didn’t work.  Hmmm…

Then Em reminded me that they had failed at the end of last season, and I neglected to fix them.  Great…  When I had the trailer completely apart, with all the wiring just sitting there so I could diagnose and fix it, I forgot to fix the trailer lighting.  So I brought it back, tore it apart, and completely rewired the rest of the lights from the back, all around the top, replacing every light with new LED lights, and running new wires for it all.  Finally, at the very end of the job I found it, a wire pinched between the new cabinets and the wall, shorting out everything.

Frustrating, yes, but at least it was now fixed, and it looks great.  The lights work, the cabinets look great, and we were ready to race.  Until I came to load the car…  I had redesigned the layout to allow the car to go in backward, so there would be plenty of room for a golf cart, the quad, whatever at the back.  I even got new ramps and bumpers to make the door work even smoother.  This all, however, created a million problems.

Number one was that the car scraped the floor going in.  So badly one time that it ripped a huge pizza slice shaped tear in my beautiful new floor (see last year’s trailer update).  To get it in and out, I had to jack the front up, and that’s almost impossible to do with one person.  Even when I did get it in, with the help of the winch, I neglected to realize that putting the engine in front of the trailer wheels would make the trailer very (very, very) tongue-heavy.  The truck handled terribly, almost dangerously, even with the fancy air bags in the truck.

It was back the the drawing board.  At Boise we loaded the car in front first (like always) and it went in and out like a dream.  And it rebalanced the trailer.  That was decided.  But with the new cabinets, the car couldn’t go in as far, so there was no room for the quad.  Ugh.  To quote an old SNL sketch with Roseanne Rosannadanna, “if it’s not one thing, it’s another”.  We loaded the quad in the back of the pickup, and bought a used scooter from Em’s boyfriend to use as pit transportation.  It fits behind the car perfectly, and we hated the old, nasty quad.  But of course, the scooter needs repair and tuneups…  I’ll update you on that at a later time.

Despite all the setbacks, we have a wonderful new trailer, it works wonderfully for our needs, and it looks downright professional.  Maybe it won’t make the car work any better, but we sure like it more, and that can’t hurt.

Long, Cold Winter

It’s been a long, cold winter here in Washington. Not only is this evident from the bare existence that is this blog, but also from the lack of activity in our racing camp. I think Chris would agree with me that this winter has been especially hard on all of us. Here’s a little summary of our activities for the past few months.

I, personally, have been slaving away at grad school. This off season left me with more than my fair share of coursework and papers to grade, not to mention my thesis. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced some “technical difficulties” in the thesis journey. With a little blood, sweat and tears I was able to complete my 90 page document and submit for review last week. I’m currently preparing to defend this project next week in front of my colleagues and professors. Then I will be graduating with my Master’s degree on May 8th. I’m so excited to move onto the next phase of my life and get back to the track!

Chris has had a very different experience this winter. His off season was spent with doctors, surgeons and oncologists. As many of you know, Deb’s cancer returned last summer and she has spent the past year in and out of the hospital for chemo treatments, surgery and blood work. Fortunately, things are looking up for this amazing woman. Her numbers and scans look wonderful and we are all looking forward to the day when she’s off chemo. Only 8 more to go!

Now that they have settled into a routine, Chris has been able to get back into the racing mode. He’s been working diligently on the car and trailer. He’s completely redone our trailer and it looks absolutely amazing. But I won’t spoil his blog update with too much information!

In other news, we ordered a custom fire suit this year. It came back looking absolutely stunning. I might actually look like a girl out at the track! We also replaced a number of out of date parts on the car (belts, etc.). It may have been an unproductive winter, but we are most definitely back in gear – well, as least Chris is. I’ll get back into once I my defense is over and I’m free to enjoy life again. We’ll be out at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA for a test session on April 17-18. You all should come on out!

More to come soon – I promise!

EMDUB

Season Ends with a Whimper

Getting from where we are all the way to Medford, Oregon for the NHRA Division 6 season ending race is no easy task for us.  It’s over an 8 hour drive from Woodinville, even longer when towing the trailer.  And getting there from Pullman (where Em is these days) is even worse.  The drive would be in excess of 10 hours each way, quite a bit more than makes sense for a weekend.  And the flights all seem to involve a layover in Seattle or Portland for several hours.

HiLifeIf you add all this to the fact that the Medford race is on Friday and Saturday, and not the usual weekend schedule, and it makes for an interesting travel dilemma.  But we worked it out.  I schlepped the trailer down on Tuesday, so that Em’s brother Stephen and I could move him into his dorm room at Southern Oregon University on Wednesday.  SOU is just 20 miles from the track, so that worked out well.  Then I set up the trailer on Thursday, and picked Em up at the airport after midnight.  A quick five hour nap and we were back at the track ready for our Friday test sessions.

Friday went well.  We got three time runs in, and ran only two-thousandths off the number (8.898) in our last test.  We were ready and armed for Saturday’s eliminations.  So we left the track early, grabbed some Mexican food for dinner and hit the hay by 9:00.

Saturday dawned as a beautiful day, if you didn’t count all the smoke from the nearby forest fires.  We got one test run in the morning, but we blew it.  We were a bit nonchalant, and forgot to turn the CO2 bottle on, resulting in a wasted run.  But that’s OK, we had great numbers from the day before, we were armed for bear.

We lined up in round one against one of the heavy hitters.  Steve Williams (no relation) is a VP of K&N, the big automotive filter company, and was 8th in the world last year.  But we were confident, the car was running great, Em was on her game with great lights, we had good numbers, we were ready.  Until we actually ran.

medfordFor reasons we couldn’t understand, we ran a 9.01 — way off the mark.  We were baffled.  And the data didn’t help.  For some reason, the car lost a huge amount of time to 60 feet, Em’s light was a relatively slow .037, and there was a weird blip in the RPMs right off the line.  We spent an hour trying to figure it out.

Until we gave up and tried to load the car in the trailer.  First gear was gone.  We had blown the transmission’s planetary gears.  Ugh.  So we loaded up (in second gear), packed up the car for the trip home, and booked Em an early flight home.

We went to say “congrats” to Steve Williams as he lined up for second round.  He said, “I was really surprised to see your car fall back so quickly in that round, I had looked at your time trial numbers and was expecting you to be right there.”  How cool is that.  Respect from a guy who’s competing for the national title.

That made our weekend and capped our year.  Sure we’d blown a transmission, but we’ve got plenty of time to fix that.  And we have accomplished so much this year: 8th in our association, well into the top 1/2 in NHRA Division 6, and we’re currently in the 35th percentile out of almost 1300 cars in the world.  Not too shabby for our first full year of racing.

So even though our season ended with a whimper, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to next year.  Look out Division 6!

2010 New Model Launch Party

Chris will be displaying our race car at the Valley Pontiac, Buick, GMC dealer in Auburn on Sunday, October 4th from 12-4pm. This is in celebration of the 2010 New Model Launch Party for the dealership. There will be a number of race cars present, so come out and support us!

Check out the website for more information!

Pacific Northwest Super Comp Association

Looking to add some races to your 2010 calendar? Check out the Pacific Northwest Super Comp Association at http://pnsca.com. Some of the best Super Comp racers in the Northwest spend their free weekends laying down rubber with the PNSCA. Be sure to check out our amazing website and stay tuned for the 2010 calendar. We hope to see you out there!