Sudden Impact Racing Update: 06/20/2004

This past weekend Ray and I went down to the NHRA K&N Filters Nationals at Englishtown, New Jersey for our first of five national events this season.

There was no Super Gas (9.90 index) at this race, so we had Dad's car entered in Super Comp (8.90 index), while I ran the '67 Camaro in Super Street (10.90 index).

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were hot, muggy, and pretty much miserable, in terms of weather conditions.

Time trials went well with Dad's car, only getting two on Thursday, the third being cancelled due to curfew. We ran 8.93 and 8.915 on the two runs at over 170 MPH. He was -.002 red with .005 in the delay box, a good sign, considering the N.ational Event tree is about .030 slower than its' divisional counterpart so the pro cars won't red light as easy.

We did some work on the '67 Camaro on Wednesday, having noticed that the Harmonic Damper, also known as the balancer, was wobbling on the front of the crankshaft - some leftover damage from when the crank pulley came off at Epping a few weeks ago. Luckily we had a spare with us, unstalled it and the wobble was gone.

After getting that all set, I made the first time run on Thursday and I was a little slow on the first one, running 10.95 @ 145 and -.007 red on the tree. I missed the second run because of a burned out transbrake solenoid, choosing to go back and fix it, rather than run without a transbrake.

On the third qualifying run, I set the car up on kill on both ends and had my first ever perfect run. I was a perfect .000 on the tree and ran dead-on 10.900 on the 10.90 Super Street index. You don't get anything for doing that, but it's still a nice time slip to hang on the wall.

I ran first round first thing Thursday morning and pulled last years #4 finisher in the division, Jeff Livezy, Jr. The air was a little better than the day before, but nothing major. I was pretty confident in the dial on the car and set it up pretty honest.

I had no shot. Jeff put together a very good run, going .008 on the tree and was on a high 10.90 run. Me on the other hand was .024 and fast. I was probably going to be on a mid to high 10.87 run, which got me there, I caught him, womped about 3 times, cutting it to .005 until he dumped me, giving me an extra .007 stripe. I went across .012 in front of him at 10.887 to his 10.915. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught the buzz saw in the opening stanza.

So my slump continues in the SST car in Divisional/National competition, having lost in the first round at the Maple Grove open, the Maple Grove divisional, and now here at Englishtown, in what will probably be the only National Event I'll run this year in Super Street. The good news is that the car is consistent to 60' now, which was the whole point of swapping it over to a power glide. I had three 60' times within .007, which will make dialing the car a lot easier as the season goes on. All I need is a little luck and some winnable races and I'll get out of round one.

Dad ran first round Friday afternoon. He had to run the injected small-block dragster of Richard Bernier. Dad was .024 to Bernier's .029 and was on an 8.906 before he womped it to an 8.916 @ 163 MPH for the win as Bernier was slow, running 8.954, most likely some of that was in letting Ray go on the top end.

So at least we got 1 car into Saturday's program. I spent the rest of the day Friday and all day Saturday working on the A-Fuel car of Arthur Gallant, lending the guys over there a hand in servicing the car between runs and up on the starting line. After running 5.47 and 5.48 in qualifying, Arthur smoked the tires about 30 feet out on the final qualifying run and again in the first round against Rich McPhillips, ending the Gallant team's efforts on Saturday afternoon. It was very educational for me to work on that car and learned a lot about how they operate and just how much work is involved to run one of those cars.

Saturday night after the Pros were done the call went out for Super Comp round two at about 7:45 PM after not running all day and in some very different air than what we had on Thursday and Friday. We had run first round with the air temperature being 90.6 degrees and an adjuster altitude of 1832 feet, with a vapor pressure of about .740. We were now running in 75 degree air, an adjusted altitude of 1058 feet, with a vapor pressure of about .450.

We were paired up with Maple Grove divisional winner Don Bangs and his small block AMC powered dragster. I slowed the car up a ton, basically setting it up for an 8.925 by going from .800 to .945 in the throttle stop timer. I figured I'd leave myself an .025 cushion for the car picking up more than it should due to the more favorable (and drier) air.

Dad did his, job, leaving the line with .011 in his pocket with an .003 light to Bangs' .014. At the 330' mark, the car was right where I set it up; 8.925. At the 660' mark, the car had sped itself up to an 8.906 and was 2.5 MPH faster than any other pass of the weekend running 134.95. By the time it got to the 1000' it was on about an 8.89 second pass and probably was on an 8.886 on the finish line. Dad womped a couple of times, running 8.891 at 166 MPH, taking .019 stripe when Bangs dumped on the other end. Unfortunately for Ray, by dumping, Bangs slowed to an 8.899 and took the double breakout win ending our weekend before the pay window opened for business.

I did manage to tune Mick Smallridge's Foxwoods Casino-sponsored Grand Am into the fourth round of Super Comp on Sunday morning where he bowed out to Bill Krug, who ran right on the 8.900 index. Mick also received Best Appearing Car this weekend. Congrats to him for that.

It was definitely a weird weekend, with some weird races and upsets galore in every category. It was good to see some of the friends we don't get to see too often like Mike Gruber, Scott Hall, and Gary who is now working the Craftsman display. The food was great as always in the Kenny/Dorr pit area on Saturday night, and although they tried to pass the meat off as squirrel and woodchuck, but I think it was in fact steak. Dick Dorr went on to the finals of Super Comp on Sunday before falling to former world champion Dan Northrop. Great job Dick!

Next weekend will most likely be an off one for the Sudden Impact Racing team and we'll regroup for our trip to Lebanon Valley Dragway in two weeks for the second division one race of the season. I'm just hoping some winable rounds fall my way and that dad's car remains as dialable as it was at Maple Grove a few weeks back.