Milan, MI Sponsor Report
August 30, 2012
The NMCA/NHRA Unleashed race was the 6th in the seven race points series. Dallas came into this race at #5 in points, and I was #3. Less than 2 rounds separated the Top Five in Points. This is the closest I can ever remember the race to be in the five years we've been running the series.
Our trip started by us leaving early Wednesday morning. Dallas and I were joined on this trip by my wife Deb, and three dogs (Buster, Dixie, and April). Our racing bud Doug Duell was on vacation in Hawaii — and we'd agreed to take the scenic route to Milan — via Evansville, IN — so we could pick up Doug's rig and take it to Milan for him. We arrived at Evansville at 1AM Thursday and spent the night on the lot of Evansville, Kia — which is Doug's car dealership. At 8am his Business Office Manager gave me a ride to Doug's mother's house — where Doug's rig was waiting. I met Dallas, who was driving our rig, about 100 miles up the road.
We arrived at the track at 7PM on Thursday. Charlie Harmon came out to the staging area to get us — as the track was filling up fast and they wanted to get our two rigs parked. While the track had filled up fast with the Cobra Jet racers — we did get a good area to pit, with the rigs facing opposite directions so that we could have a larger combined pit. It was a good thing as the inverter to our coach had crapped out — and we had to run an extension cord from Doug's rig to ours for basic electricity to charge the car's batteries, and power the Cpap machine I need to sleep with.
Friday we unloaded the cars, established credentials, and got into the very long tech line. Doug flew into Detroit — and had a car bring him from the airport to the track. Time trials started at 3 PM. Dallas' car can run the 9.50 Index at most tracks, but like many this weekend, he bumped his Index to C/FX (9.75) when he could only muster a 9.58 after his two time trials. My car has recently been running around 9.78 so I've been bumping up to the A/NSS (10.0) Index — but it has been so hard (can't carry enough weight) to slow the car down to 10.0 that I decided to try to run the 9.75 Index. I had a 9.78 on the first time trial — but tweaked the car a little and found a 9.71 (with no weight and a less filled fuel cell) for the second. Also found that my 60' was .03 slower in the right lane than the left. A lot of the faster cars were having problems in the right lane — and one NSS racer had to abort every pass in that lane except the one he made in eliminations — and lost. Cars would turn right at about 500' up and it was hard to ease back into the groove by the finish line.
The first round of qualifying was at 7PM Friday — and I had a miserable 9.81 in the right lane. Dallas faired much better. We had two more Qualifying passes on Saturday and my best of 9.77 had me at #6 of 20. I believe Dallas was #7 or #8. The first round of eliminations was Sunday at 9am. Dallas had Mike Dichicco, who had qualified 2nd, and who put him in the right lane. They had a double breakout, with Dallas being the worst (because of a sleepy light) — so he was put on the trailer. I ran a 11-second 442. He red lit but I didn't realize it and raced him all of the way down racing (9.79 at 121mph) the stripe to put a fender on him.
In the second round I had the AAA/FX Hustin Hooser Barracuda of Mike Sanders, who was the Top Qualifier. He also red lit and I again ran the car out the back door not knowing it – as he left a full second after me and I was busy staying in the groove as opposed to looking at the board. The good thing about having to go up against the Top qualifier is that you get a 3rd round Bye when there are 20 racers and you win the Top Dog in the 2cond round.
It was almost 8 hours until the next round. The weather took a turn for the worse by then. The weather station indicated that I'd be too slow — so we took out the 42 pound passenger seat, which is legal in the FX indexes. For the Bye, I had my first red light of the weekend (all of my other lights had been no better than a .030 and no worse than a .058) with a -.0003 (yup — they go to 4-didgits in Michigan) by pushing the tree with my Bye. I'd bumped in one bump for a better light — but my ET suffered in that Bye with a 9.77.
For my fourth round (the Semis) I had the B/NSS Buick of Jim Netherland. Frankly, I had a brain fart and was caught by surprise when my light was counting down before he left. I guess I was expecting him to leave first. Technically he should have — but he had a poor .10X light. However my 1.3X light was even worst. That and my car only being able to muster a 9.78 put me on the trailer. Jim went on to best Joe Midile (who had a Bye in the Semis) in the Finals to get the Wally.
We left the track at 8PM Sunday and Dallas drove until 1:30 AM (just south of Louisville). I drove from 1:30AM to 2:30PM (to Texarkana), and Dallas finished the last 6 hours to the shop.
I was 110 points behind the Kurt Neighbor in first, and 30 behind Doug Duell in 2nd. I went two rounds more than Doug and one round plus a much better qualifying position than Kurt — so I believe I might be in first for points race when they get around to publishing them. Sadly, I think Dallas lost ground and might be knocked down to about 7th. The next and last race of the year for NMCA/NHRA is Indy in early October. It is a double Point race and there are maybe 8 drivers that can win the Championship as the points race is just that close.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.