Monday, May 11, 2009
LETTING IT ALL HANG OUT
Boy what a weekend of highs and lows. We pulled into South Georgia Motorsports park just after midnight on Wednesday. We probably would have gotten there sooner if the stupid GPS hadnt sent to timbucktoo down a wrong road. First thing Thursday morning we warmed up the hot rod and towed her to staging. Let her rip with a 4.82 striaght off the trailer. We were pretty fired up to run that number after thrashing all week. I was just happy that no parts fell off. I tweaked and screwed on the ole girl a little, and the next pass she lifted up her skirt just a little more and laid down a 4.78. Two back to back passes with nothing falling off. Holy crap. Then luck turned south. After two slow 5 second passes I was bum fuzzeled. The car was all of a sudden super fat out of the hole, and I couldnt figure out why. I went over all the maps and past tune ups and was pretty lost, So i called up the Grand Pumba of boost Chris Tuten, and we put our heads together and found something in my tune up that was causing the problem. Its was so stupid of a thing that i won't even tell you, But most things generally are simple. It goes to show that no matter how smart we think we are, we never can know it all. Anyways, Next pass back in the game with a 4.82, followed by a 4.78. So we finished where we started and were fairly consistent. We were in high spirits thursday night, which in turn led me to wake up with a mild headache friday morning. We had all day to test friday, but i was pretty confident. I told Brian, and Chris that if the hot rod ran good on the first hit that we were done testing and would wait for first round qualifying. 4.78 right off the trailer. We were ready. They called us to staging at around 7 pm for first round qualifying. I was ready to go cowboy style with the tune up. I figured we had a decent base, why not go ahead and lay the wood. To my surprise the boys agreed with me. Now this is dangerous territory. Me wanting to throw caution to the wind and light the candles, and Brian and Big Johnson not fighting me. I put my Mad Scientist tune up in the ole girl and drug her to staging. Burned her in like John Force just for good measure, and staged her up. Lights came down and off i went.She was cooking when she went into high gear and never stopped. 4.65 @164 Mph. Boom that put us number one. I blew my voice out hollering at the boys over the radio. We were on cloud nine. Saturday we huddled together and talked about how we wanted to proceed. We decided to play safe and back her up a little. Second round Qualifying we went a 4.69, followed by a tire smoking in the third round. We were still number one heading into eliminations but i was pretty nervous cause of the recent tire smoke. I backed her down a little more just for good measure. We had a first round bye. I knew the instant I turned loose of the brake that I was on one hell of a pass. The orange car snapped me in the seat and never let me back out. When she shifted to high she never stopped dangling the left front tire. I buzzed the clocks with a 4.609 at 165.39 MpH, a new stock suspension world record. I am always talking shit about have the baddest stock suspension car in the world, well now we have it on paper. Talk about being on cloud nine. I walked halfway back to the trailer up the return road before Brian, and Chris scooped me up on the golf cart. Although our excitement was overwhelming, we had to get down to business. We won the second round, but only went a 5.35 due to multiple wheelstands. The next round was one of the most heartbreaking moments ever in my life. I was racing my old buddy Terry Elam. He is one of the most honest, nicest guys in drag racing and has the absolute most beautifully built stock suspension car i have ever seen. We staged and launched and off we went, side by side. We both had awesome 60 foot times. We were side by side still at halftrack. The Orange car started making it's move about 4oo feet pulling half a car, then I smoked the tires like a funny car at the traps and had to pedal. Terry took the win with a 4.71 to my losing 4.73. I was still way out of shape from smoking the tires and had to drive the shit out of it to keep it off the wall. I got it straightened out and looked up and the was Terry's car on fire. I locked the brakes up beside him and snatched open his door as he was getting out. The track put out his fire and and my heart sank when we looked at his car. Although not a total loss, its burnt pretty bad up front. He told me it will be fixed, and i am certain by his drive and determination that it will be just as beautiful as it ever was. Then in remarkable show of sportsmanship, Terry bypassed the scales, forfieting the round and allowing me to be reinstated to the next round. I didnt know whether to be happy to be in the race or devastated because my friends car was torn up. I have been in his shoes and there arent too many things in the world more sickening than tearing up your baby. I would have much rather stood behind his car and cheered him on the next round than for his car to be burnt. Anyways, My motor was hurt. When the car smoked the tires in hit the rev limiter hard must have hydrauliced a cylinder. It was had 75 percent leakdown on one cylinder and 50 percent on several others and was smoking pretty bad. We towed to wounded girl to staging for the semis, We squeeked by that round only mustering a 4.95, but we were off to the finals. I decided to get really aggressive on the good cylinders and really get after the tune up. I basically stopped caring about the motor and put her in destruction blow up mode. We were racing John Kolivas, the number two qualifier and all around nice guy. We both staged and left together and the orange car blazed down like she didnt give a damn or even need 8 cylinders, taking the win with a 4.63. But now she was hurt worse. We won the Boosted race, and as a bonus, we were to take the top two boosted cars, and the top two nitrous cars and run a four car shootout for even more cash. I had to run a nitrous car first. I left the same tune up in the hot rod, taking the win, but slowing to a 4.73. She was eating herself from the inside out, and now we had to run Kolivas again for the second time of the day. I left themotor cooking tune up in, hoping that she had just one more pass in her. It took me about 20 seconds to get her started in staging and boy did she sound raggedy. I decided to take a shot at the tree knowing I would need all the help I could get. The tree came down and i hammered it, going red by .012. But it wouldnt have mattered anyway, Kolivas went a 4.67 to my 4.95. he deserved the win and ran one hell of a pass. We got paid pretty good for winning the Boosted race and for finishing second in the shootout, Hopefully enough cheese to fix the car. Thanks to my crew and my sponsors for sticking by me through the tough times, and to Donald and Amanda Long for putting on such a bad assed race. I took the motor out and apart last night and we need some pistons, and rods. I have ordered what we need and with any luck the rods and pistons will be in on thursday. We have to leave friday for the Orsca race in Atlanta, so look forward to me burning the midnight oil. I guess I wouldnt have it any other way.