Rapid's What I did last Weekend-2006 WFAN (1 Viewer)


Nitro Member

Last Friday we were at Eddyville, Iowa for the First ever WFAN. We were greeted by rain. I know, rain in August in Iowa, who would have figured. But that is what we got.

The original deal was a 16-car field with a qualifying run on Friday night and then a 2nd run on Saturday afternoon at 3:00PM. The eliminations were to begin at 5:30PM. Well with the rain and some circumstances that kept a couple of cars from coming at the last minute we ended up with a 14-car field. We decided to change to a 1-qualifier modified Chicago shootout. We settled on 4-cars advancing, then the 2-winners from that going on to the finals.

Almost everyone knew the Nanook and Rat trap were going to come. It ended up being a scheduling problem that kept them from making the trip. Mitch King with the Bone Bucket broke a rear end at Boise the weekend before. Paul Conlon, with the Boston Monkey, burned a piston and had to cancel at the last minute. The Rude Rat had a trailer problem, along with a couple of others who had problems come up to keep them away. Ernie from ET Automotive, and Ron Evans from IL were unable to make the trip. All of these teams tried their best to be able to come to the event. As you can see, over 20 Fuel Altereds were planning on invading Eddyville to see who was the baddest kid on the block.

I first want to thank everyone who was involved in the production of this race. Scott Gaulter, my car owner, was really the guy who got this whole deal put together. Him and I worked very hard to put on the event and make it successful, but he really made it work out. The hours he dedicated to it were way above and beyond. I want to thank the new Eddyville owners and all the track personnel who worked so hard to make the event a reality with all the adverse weather. I am sure I speak for all the racers and fans when I say THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!!!!!

Since our last event we took the engine apart, freshened the heads, installed new valve springs etc. We popped out the pistons and inspected them, pulled all the bearings and checked the crank. We took the fuel system apart to look it over. We serviced the trans, checked the rear end. Our team had a wrench on every single bolt on the car. We needed the car to be in great shape for this race, especially since we were putting it on.

Scott and I went to the track on Friday during the day to help get all the racers parked and set up. It made for a pretty relaxing day with a lot of bench racing in the rain. There is no way to tell you who all was there as I would leave someone out and feel bad about it. We had guys from all over the country come just to watch. Guys from almost every web site that have to do with drag racing. I had a buddy from HRE board who rode 5000-miles to come to the event. He combined his vacation that included a trip to the West Coast with this race. Did I mention he road his Motorcycle the whole way! It was a cool feeling to see everyone there, digging the cars and no-one had even made a pass yet.

Friday night a bunch of us went out to dinner and back to the motel for a trip to the hot tub. Well to be honest it had a problem and was more like a luke warm tub! We had fun just the same Kevin Newburgh and I ended up being the last to leave sometime around 1:00AM. I am pretty sure we were both trying to wear the other one out for some advantage on the tree. Didn’t work, did it Kevin! HA!

Saturday when it seemed like every person I have ever known was there to see us race. That is no added pressure,,,right? I had family there from as far away as Texas, another sister who hadn’t been to the races in years. Everybody on the team had family and friends there to cheer us on. Joy, from the track set a couple us drivers up doing live radio feeds from the track. That was a lot of fun. My brother-in-law said I did a good job. They were able to listen as it was broadcast. I am pretty sure he only said it to score points with my sister since they were going to be alone later with no kids. But, it was nice to hear anyway. You are standing there with no idea what the guy is going to ask you and it is live on the air. Laura sent me up with a few last minute instructions. Don’t say anything dumb. Don’t talk too much. Mention how inexpensive it is go get in, tell them the weather is nice here now. Along with the “don’t cuss” on live radio. Then of course my favorite, don’t pick on the funny car guys. Yeah, I just made the last one up, but it is my story, remember.

Finally it is time to warm the car. A quick check of the weather, and a main pill adjustment then everything is set. Scott primed it, I gave the signal, and Pappy spun the starter. When Scott pulled the wire,,,,,,, nothing, no fire. One more try, just to make sure. Nope, nothing. A quick check and locate the problem, a loose connection by the battery. Didn’t I say we checked everything over? Let’s try it again. Alright, it fires up. We do the normal warm up and everything checks out fine. When I shut if off, I noticed a pretty big crowd gathered. It is funny, when the car is running I am listening to it, testing the trans and throttle response. It is like the rest of the world doesn’t exist at that moment in time. It is just the car, and nothing else. You notice your guys doing their own thing. Pappy and Kelly, {with no nickname yet}, both keep me updated on the engine temp. RC, is watching for any leaks and making sure everything is going as planned. Scott watches over everything, we communicate by hand signals to see if the car needs him to make any adjustments. The real nice thing about having an established team, I know they are doing what they need to do, while I do my deal.

We have decided to be the first car out to test the track. I go looking for a dance partner. It went like this:

Rapid to 1st guy, “Hey you want to run with me?”
1st guy, “Sure.”
Rapid, “Ok, I am going out first pair.”
1st guy, “Ummm, no thanks then!”
Rapid, “Ok, I will get someone else, no problem.”
2nd guy, re-read 1st guys lines.
3rd guy,,,,,see 1st and 2nd guys lines.
Not one to give up, “Hey Kevin, do you want to run with me?”
Kevin, “Sure, what lane?”
Rapid, “I don’t care you pick.”
Kevin, “Alright, left lane then.”
Rapid, “good, I will START in the right lane then. Oh yeah,,,we are out first.”
Kevin,,,”Oh good, rolling eyes.”

Just before 6:00PM we all roll up into the staging lanes. Kevin Newburgh and I finish suiting up and get into the cars. Then we are pulled out onto the track and pushed back into the starting area. The national anthem plays. The flag is right in front of us, waving in the breeze. Yes, sitting there strapped into the hot rod, LIFE IS GOOD! At the end of the song we get the fire them up signal from Scott Gardner. Both engines come to life, and we hit the water box in high gear and kill the tires for almost the whole 1/8 mile. The shift light never came on, so the valve springs still are my friends at this point. It rolls to a stop right at the finish line. Backing up, waving at the crowd, I was moving at a pretty good clip until I caught up with Kevin. Then we backed up side by side.

Behind the line, clear the boost memory, stick it in low, get the signal from Pappy, and roll into the pre-stage beam at exactly the same time. I then went on in. Kevin’s car has a clutch, so he is a bit longer coming in. A flash of yellow and we are off. Let the record show, I treed him. I have to bring that up, because that was the last of the good things to happen on that run. The car felt like it left good. Then it fell back into its’ new habit of spinning the tires 15-20 feet off the line. I pedaled it, stuck it into 2nd, nothing worked. The car was moving to the center-line as Kevin came around me. I had the wheel cranked back to the right, pedaled again, and managed to head back towards my lane spinning the tires like a set of A78-14’s. {old small tires for you younger readers}. It still is spinning and decides to slide sideways, not ready to give up just yet I left my foot in it and we went the rest of the track pretty much out of shape. I think the crowd liked it, my guys said they were going nuts. I suppose that it was an appropriate way to start off a fuel altered show, but it sure wasn’t what I had in mind. I knew right then we were done. There was no way the caliber of cars we had here would let a run like that one make the top four. It didn’t!

Back in the pits we decided since we didn’t make the cut we would just go up after the guys who did and make another hit. I softened up the fuel more. We took 4-more degrees of timing out, and slowed the opening speed of the throttle controller. I felt sure this would at least go down the track.

We ran after the others. Sean Belt with the Metal Mafia wanted another shot at the track also. We both did pretty short burnouts. On the launch our car pulled a big wheelie as the throttle just rolled on. Then in the middle of the wheelie,,,,yep, you guessed it, it knocked the tires off again. The video should be pretty cool, but it was another loose trip down the 1/8 mile. Kenny from John Dunn’s crew sent me a photo of the car on 3-wheels. I would say it was to have less rolling resistance, but since the car is sideways, I doubt I could make that claim stick. I bet one of the Texas boys could work it into a conversation though. We only ran a 4.61 at 158 mph. It was time to put the car away and just have fun with everyone else there. We didn’t make the show but had a great time.

These are just some random thoughts:

Doug Dunphy’s “boogie man” yellow altered is a very nice car. Great looking and well engineered.

John Dunn loves to drive his heap. I got to watch his run after our pass. He did a great burnout, dry hops, a wheelie on the launch. The angle I had looked like he bounced off the wall. I saw the flames go out, and thought dang. Then he STANDS BACK ON THE GAS!!! That is a typical Fuel altered driver for you. He said he lifted just as it got close, scraped his bead lock on the wall, yanked it back into the lane and back in it. Way to go Big John!

Travis Bouchey from Texas, has a mean old hot rod. Travis from Texas, is a rowdy fuel altered guy. Note to self, don’t ask Travis to help set up your awning.

Tim Hay, who won the event with a Chevy on Nitro, is funny as hell. Being a Texan, he tells good stories. Tim’s wife, needs a pay raise for putting up with him and his buddies.

Jack Heslink has a great looking car, probably is the quietest guy from Texas I have ever met. He is also one good racer.

Kevin Newburgh, has a great group that comes with him. I will feel bad when I whip him next time we race,,,but not that bad! He also has one fast old heap for a racecar. How about a 3.95 in the 2nd round.

If I wasn’t driving my roadster, I would have a body just like the Tangerine Coupe of the Shaffer boys. That car looks way cool just sitting there. Add in the self made Fuel Injection and the car just rocks.

Rick Wilson’s car runs better each time out. It is very sinister looking painted black the way it is. Check out his tin work in the car if you get the chance. It is pretty trick.

Gary Wheeler, another Texan. Great looking car that runs hard. Just don’t ask Gary to help unload. In Tulsa he unloaded the car, and caught his foot with the header. He drove all weekend after that, but couldn’t take his shoe off due to the swelling. That is pretty hard core.

Sean Belt, he is one of my favorite match race partners. I think I enjoy his header flames when we run more than anyone there. I know I enjoy them more than his awning material. I believe he is on the 3rd one as his warm ups burn the awning off from the header flames. This team knows how to have a good time and his car hauls with the Chevy on a big load of Nitro.

Howard Knowles has let his wife get a blown motor for her pipe rack {dragster} that she races. I saw her a number of times in Howard’s cockpit. I think she is eyeing his roadster and he doesn’t know it yet.
For enough brownies,,,I could keep quiet about it Mel.

Adam Leigh has a good looking car and is just getting his feet wet. Wait until they get a few more laps in. The have nice equipment and a good looking program going.

J. McDonald, he is a hard running good racer. With another shot at the track he would have been going rounds.

I hope you enjoyed my “What I did last Weekend” story. There was a ton of stuff to cover. I know I left out a lot of things that happened. Next time you should be there!


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