Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Racing School Recap

Tuesday I started off with a 1000 ft blast down the track. After spending hours in the hotel practicing clutch moves, feet swapping, shifts, chute dumps and brake control. I was feeling pretty confident. I have a problem if i think too much about what i'm doing while im doing it. Especially in these cars. I'm not sure if my mind works too slow (keep laughing) or because the car is moving faster than my mind can tell my body to react. But if I think about it too much i screw up. So tuesday i decided to stop thinking about it. Get my ass in the car and have fun. I was joking around and having a good time when it was my turn. Let me touch a little on safety here. If you think some of the tracks are a little strict making you wear a triple layer jacket and pants, then you need to drive in one of these space suits. You start with pants and a jacket that could withstand a hiroshima bomb. Then fire shoes. Then knee high fire boots that cover the fire shoes. Then a Hans or R3 helmet restraint device, Followed by a head sock, helmet with helmet skirt, arm restraints and a chin strap. Let just say that when your in the car. You Are IN The Car. Im used to it now and i like it. Anyways they towed me around and busted of the engine. I have gotten used to the clutch now and really like it. I dont know what ill do with my left foot anymore in the mustang. I burned in, backed up. Staged and left. Straight as an arrow to the 1000ft mark. This car is really getting fun to drive. Frank said it was a very good clean run and gave me the nod to take old girl all the way to the stripe. I way hopping around the pits like a mexican jumping bean. We towed around and the crew gave me the thumbs up. I burned in like a champion, staged and off we went. One shift, two shifts, Man this thing is hauling ass. Here comes the stripe, boom the chutes are out. Until you feel two full size chutes blossom at 230mph, you havent lived. Forget about having to push the clutch in at the end of the run, the chutes throw your foot on the clutch for you. Another clean run down. Only one more full run left and i would be done. Today we got to the track around 8:30. We had 3 inches of rain last night and water was coming up through the track. It was 1pm before i got to run. Talk about icing the kicker. Man the pressure was on. But i just told myself that i was just a kid out here having a good time driving a hot rod. I made a near perfect run buzzing the clocks at 230 mph again. I earned my NHRA Top Alcohol License. Talk about happy. I think i shook the whole crews hands twice. Frank invited me back in a couple months to drive the alcohol funny car. Three runs in that beast and i can cross over my license. So im gonna try. Now im back home and real life has set in. The orange car is still in the trailer and we have an event next weekend. It needs an engine, transmission, brakes and some overall TLC. So thrashapalooza is here again. I guess if it wasnt for the last minute nothing would ever get done. I have to go play in a charity golf tournament Saturday. It'll be fun. But time isnt on my side. So im off to the shop. I hope Kmart has a special on midnight oil.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Getting Down in Gator Town

I am down here in gator ville, I mean Gainesville Fla. By gosh this whole town is orange and blue. All these poor misguided souls are convinced that the ole raggedy Florida Gators are goin all the way this year. I stick out in my Georgia Bulldog red and black like a sore thumb. but then again, fitting in has never really been my thing. I got up this morning at 6 am fired up ready to burn in the Top Alcohol car. After a problem was found early, it was 3 pm before i got in the car. Its hard to anticipate how this thing feels when you burn it in. It's fun. I staged and dumped the clutch. the car made a move to the wall and i gently coaxed her back in the groove, Made the one-two shift at 9700 rpms, then the two-three shift at 9600 rpms. ran to about 800 feet and hit the chutes. oh crap no chutes. I hit them again and nothing. Moved my hand to the brake and pulled the car to a stop. good thing it was only an 800 foot shakedown. Im not sure why the laundry didnt come out but the crew said they were fixed now so hell yes. Tomorrow I get to take it a 1000 feet and if all is done perfectly, ( and boy thats a big if) I'll get to make a couple full passes. These cars are a handful to drive to say the least. There is so much to do in such a short time. You manipulate almost every action the car makes. And they are the only car or bike in professional drag racing that you have to control the launch rpm with the gas and clutch. (no 2 steps here) This thing makes the orange car seem like a caddilac on a sunday drive. Ill update on tomorrows progress tomorrow night.