Nitro Madness VS Metal Mafia (1 Viewer)

RAPID

Nitro Member
MATCH RACE AT US36 DRAGWAY

Saturday, the 22nd of July. We had a match race with the Metal Mafia AA/FA out of Kansas City, Missouri. We were in Osborn, Missouri at the US36 Dragway, owned by Pro-Stock racer Mike Franks. It was a 3-run event with the 1st run set for 8:00PM. Scott Gaulter, the car owner, Pappy the crewman, and my birthday all fall within a few days of each other. We celebrated all 3 together at the track by sharing cake with a few thousand of our fans. After the first round it was announced over the PA system to come visit our pits and enjoy the cake with us. That was a lot of fun and we were lucky enough to have our wives hand it out while we serviced the car.

We were joking on one of the message boards last week about spoiled drivers, Well I think I just got thrown under the bus! The track is only about 2.5 hours from our shop. We knew we would be running late into the night, so we had rooms reserved at a local motel close to the track. We loaded the car and left early in the afternoon arriving at the motel mid-afternoon. The team went for a swim and a long soak in the hot tub. I was laughing and telling the guys, we have officially been spoiled as a team now. I was calling them a bunch of lazy prima-donnas; of course I was doing this while sitting beside them in the hot tub.

RC, one of our regular crew members, has taken this race off and is on the RAGBRI. This is a huge deal here in Iowa. There are about 10,000 bike riders who pedal their way all across the state as a group. It has been going on for quite a few years now. We wish him the best of luck. This moved our crew member, Kelly {with no nickname yet} Baker to the left side engine duties.

We arrived at the track around 5:30PM, located our pit spot next to Sean and crew. I guess him racing close to home does have advantages. He had a group of people running around in his team uniforms that rivaled Force’s camp. Sean and his group are great people and we really enjoy the time we get to race with them. He has his BBC on a big dose of Nitro, man it sounds great when he fires it up! When we were pulling in I saw a dragster team wearing our tee shirts. Later two very cute young girls came over to the trailer. I learned they got them last year when we were here. The girls said, “Dad wore a different race shirt, but is now changing into his Nitro Madness shirt like ours.” That was pretty cool.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Dave Sheelk. He is the Crewchief on the Etterman Racing, Bars Leak TAFC. He is very talented, and for some unknown reason allows me to call him. He is a great guy, who has done this for a long time. He definitely has helped our learning curve for the Hemi go as quickly as it has. He lives close by, so he came out to spend the evening {relaxing?} in the heat with us as we ran our car.

8:00PM we rolled the cars up to the line. Mike, {track owner} had sprayed the track earlier in the day with a new compound he was trying out. He re-sprayed it as Sean and I were suiting up. Our teams had walked the track earlier in the day. It was sticky, but the only groove was the first 30-feet of the track as no high horse power cars were running this weekend other than Sean’s and our car. The rest of the track was shinny looking without any new rubber on it. We fired them up and moved to the water at the same time. If you never have heard two fuel altereds do 1/8 mile full-track screaming burnouts,,,you haven’t lived yet! Sean and I both rolled past the finish line before we got them stopped. I was in the right lane, and it had a lip/bump about 70-feet out. When our car hit that, with the tires smoking, the car was fishtailing and sliding around the rest of the burnout. The black tracks from the slicks looked like I was on a solom course down the track. We backed up side by side with Sean’s car barking in my ear. I was doing the usual wave to the crowd. You should have seen the grins while they were waving back. The crowd doesn’t come to this track until later in the evening. That is why the first run was set for this late. When they start coming in, they really pack the place. They will stay until the last car makes a run. Then, they hang around and talk to the racers and get together in groups to re-count the evening. Mike has a great group of loyal customers the come to watch the racing.

Behind the line the pre-race program attended to, both cars moved into the beams. The track starter really knows his business. The second we were staged, he hit the switch each time all night long. No long delays while ready to run. We were off, the front wheels in the air and both cars right together. I was just edging ahead when we hit the transition bump and the car stated spinning the tires. It kept moving over to the centerline and as it wouldn’t recover, I was forced to lift. I brought it back into my lane and eased it on down the track. At match races, us altered guys don’t let little things like lane markings and timing cone killing, affect the race. It is who crosses the finish line 1st. I was lucky Sean had similar problems and I rolled past the finish line first.

Back in the pits Mike the track owner is right there when we return apologizing to us about the track. He has been working it over and over trying to make it better for us. How many times does that happen?? The track owner telling you he is sorry, and trying every trick he knows to make it work. I can tell you, never! All track owners want their track to work well but, it is pretty rare to have a track owner come out and admit it just isn’t there. Since Mike runs his Pro-Stock car, he knows how hard race teams work to run well. He is really a class act, and we enjoy doing events for him. We all agree the starting line is good, but down track there is no hook. He says he will spray the track again only leave the line area alone.

We all discussed how to soften our car up. We put a ton more barrel valve in trying to soften the hit, pulled 6-degrees timing out, and decided to short shift it. We also found our temp gun may not be accurate on getting the engine temp readings before the run. This is something we need to investigate further.

It is time for 2nd round. It is around 10:00PM now. Sean and I both do side by side burnouts way down the track. Sean was a bit faster backing up, and as I got close to the line, my visor is fogged over. Pappy, who backs me up, can’t see out his glasses due to them being fogged over from the humidity, and all the nitro fumes. He is just trying to get me close. Luckily, Dave and Scott can see, and Dave moved me over a bit as I roll ahead to stage. Sean was pre-staged; we both lit the staged beams together. With a bleary flash of yellow, remember the fogged over visor, I launch. Just as I feel it drive into tire spin I hit the air shifter button for 2nd gear. I wanted to catch it before it spun but I wasn’t quick enough. With the tires spinning, the car moved towards the centerline and I again had to get out of it. As soon as I came back into my lane, I fed it some more fuel, but it was just set on spinning the tires. Sean was in the same condition, plus one. His transmission line broke sending fluid into his lap and belly pan of the car. It didn’t oil the track much more that a wisp, but his day was done. He didn’t have enough materials to replace it.

The guys serviced the car, Dave, Scott and I decided to leave it alone for the final as it was to be a single anyway. As we were leaving the pit spot, Sean came over and said he was going to cry foul, if I claimed victory for this freebie single. I told him to read the “what I did last weekend” story to find out. That is the nice thing about getting to write these for you. It is my story and I am sticking to it! Ha!

Around Midnight we went up for the final run. I had the fuel so rich it was really wetting the pipes, blowing fuel into the night air. I rolled thru the water and let it go. The car was moving around, fish tailing all thru the burnout. I could see the crowd, waving back at me as I backed into the tire smoke. The starting line was fogged in from tire smoke, and nitro fumes. I made a couple of last minute adjustments to the car placement, then staged. When I launched the car I immediately hit 2nd hoping to lug the converter to keep it from locking up, all to no avail. It was up on the tire and spinning as I shifted. I pedaled it, eased back on the throttle, resulting in more tire spin. I stuck it in 3rd for the first time of the night, but was just too loose out there. I was sliding around, in and out of the throttle. I felt if the crowd stayed this late it was my job to make it run as quick as I could and not give up. I don’t have the time-slips with me as I write this. Both Sean and I ran in the 4’s, even with all the tire spinning. Judging on crowd that came to see us, tee shirts sold, and hand out cards signed, I think they liked our efforts. One of my guys said, “It looked like you had it sideways across the finish line!” I said, “Well I kind of lost track, but it was sideways at half track and it didn’t get any better on down there, so is it possible.”

I hope you enjoyed reading “What I did Last Weekend”.

Rapid
 

Just Paul

Nitro Member
Thanks man, I enjoyed as always.

I really want to go to the Fuel Alterd Nationals....Looks like a fun time, and not toooooo far away from me....
 

hellfirejim

Nitro Member
Thanks Randy,
I have been doing this long enough to use your story and my experience and I can visualize the entire deal. Thanks again
jim
 

RAPID

Nitro Member
Thanks guys!! I appreciate the comments. :)

The World Fuel Altered Nationals is going to be a great event! You do need to come down for it.

Rapid
 

Suzanne

Nitro Member
I always look forward to reading your recaps! Ive been to so few races in the last few years, thanks for sharing the experience here! By the way, the purple works for me!
 
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