Sudden Impact Racing Update: 07/05/2004

The weekend after Englishtown, I took the dragster out to Lebanon Valley for a Super Comp race on Saturday and to bracket race on Sunday. We got a late start because of some rain the night before, so we were cut back to one qualifying run.

First round I was paired with Steve Miller and took a relatively easy win, when I couldn't even get within a car length of him because he was under so far.

After defeating Mike Robilotto in the second round, I raced Rich Dorr in the semis. I thought I was pretty good with a .002 light, but Rich was just as good with a .004. On the other end, Rich didn't get slowed quite as much in the headwind and took an 8.913 to 8.923 win.

They added Super Comp for Sunday, so I entered the bracket program and Super Comp and got four time trials between the two classes. I shut the stop off for the bracket race, and put the settings back in for Super Comp. To let you know how much a good headwind affects the car, my first run was a 7.99 and the second one was an 8.05, with the air only slowing the car .005 of it.

I survived first round of the bracket race when my opponent went red, and my .003 light was good enough to earn me the second round bye if there was one. After being pulled aside, I ended up having to run the last car in line, a dragster dialed 9.38 to my 8.03. I then added a couple thousandths to the delay box and pulled into the water.

When the car left, I came up red, and this time, my opponent wasn't. After getting the slip it said I was -.098 red. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why. I had the dial-ins entered in the box correctly so that wasn't it. The car couldn't have pulled the wheels out of the beams because the 60' was still normal. Then, starting to think about it, I did get there about a tenth earlier than I should have. I looked at the delay setting and found the problem. When I added in those two thousandths, I set the delay box at 1.030 seconds, instead of 1.130 seconds. If I had the right numbers in the box, I would've been .002 green. Oh well. Operator error on that one...

In Super Comp, I got by first round with a slight advantage on the tree. Second round I raced Bill Krug and took the win when he was way under. In the semis, I got the chance to face off with Rich Dorr again. This time, the outcome was the other way around. I still owe him one from last year, too. In the final I raced John Maggulli, Jr. who made the trip up from New Jersey. I was .008 on the tree, he was .021 and I took .013 stripe for an 8.870 to 8.870 double breakout win. This was my first win with the dragster, so now I've won in every car I've owned ('67 Camaro, '67 Nova, Dragster).

After going home for a few days, we headed back out to the Valley for the NHRA Division 1 Divisional the following weekend. Dad was running his car in Super Gas (9.90) and I was running the '67 Camaro in Super Street.

I ended up testing on Thursday, making four runs for the $70 test and tune fee. I could've made more, but really didn't want to beat on the car too bad. The main purpose of testing was to get some delay box settings with the powerglide in the car with the Divisional tree. My last run I was .002 and 10.904 @ 146 so I was pretty happy with the results.

Ray got two time trials on Friday with his car, the first being a 9.96 and the second being a 9.85. The car coughed a little on the stop on the first run and we overcompensated for it on the second run. I ran 10.896 on my only run, our second run being bumped because of time constraints.

Saturday we were both just scheduled for one run. I ran 10.892 on my only shot and Ray was again slow at 9.947. I spent the rest of the day again working on Arthur Gallant's A/Fuel car to help take a little of the workload off of Gene and Bobby.

Saturday night we went to the annual cookout put on by Chuck and Deb Rothermel and Eddie Iannotti. Good times were had and lots of false truths were told, as per usual.

On Sunday morning, Super Gas was first out for eliminations. I revisited some of dad's old runs from Maple Grove and here at Lebanon Valley in May and came up with a better ratio of throttle stop time to actual ET for his car. After watching almost every pair of the round duke it out in double breakouts, I dumped some extra time in his car over what I had figured out originally. The plan worked as Ray ran 9.926 to his opponents 9.885. Ray had a .013 to .034 starting line advantage to help his cause. If I'd actually stayed with what I originally had in the stop, we would've been a low 9.90 run.

I had to race Vinnie Cicerale first round of Super Street. I set the box up conservatively and dialed the car pretty honest, and figured if the car picked up more that it should from being cloudy out, that I could fix it on the other end. Turns out I didn't need to as Vinnie was -.001 red. I was .019 on the tree and 10.871 on the other end so it was .03 faster than I thought it would be.

Second round Ray raced a '69 Camaro, who went -.008 red. Ray didn't see the red light (because of his hoodscoop) and pedaled to a 9.931 @ 157 on the other end. If he had kept his foot in it, he would've been a 9.907.

Second round I raced Steve Harwood and his yellow Dodge truck, "Pick 'Em Up and Go". I got another time trial, as he was -.005 red to my .015. I ran it through at a 10.880 @ 146.18, picking up some MPH with a tailwind, and about .015 of a second.

Third round, Ray faced Canadian-based J.C. Frappier and his 161 MPH Grand Prix. Frappier killed his car pretty dead off the line, so he should've caught up to Ray when his top turned of. Well, he got about as close as Ray's back bumper when the stop came off and Ray just feathered the throttle for a 9.997 to 10.025 win at 151 MPH. Ray did a good job with this one, because sometimes the hardest races are the easy ones like this, when weird things happen.

I had to face my nemesis, Mike Giuliano, in the third round. I can't remember ever beating Mike in competition. Somehow, whenever we run, it's a really good race, every time. This was no exception, and the result was the same. I was .014 to Mike's .013 off the line. I had him cut to about .007 on the stripe when he fed me .004 more letting me go. I ended up taking .011 stripe and lost a double breakout, 10.881 to 10.893. I had the car dialed pretty honest on that one, only holding a couple thousandths in case it lost some 60', and it was on a 10.867. The car basically was picking up .005 more than it should have at every interval on the way down the track. Judging by my half-track mile per hour, I was going to run pretty close to 147 MPH on this run, so the wind must've really kicked up. Oh well, third round is better than the first round exits I've had at the last three races.

Fourth round Ray had to face Tommy Stalba, who beat him in the final at Maple Grove. This was kind of a big points battle, at least early in the season. Ray got his revenge this time, using a .004 light and 9.912 to Tommy's 9.884 to take the win. If Ray had kept his foot in it, he would've been 9.903.

This gave him this fifth round bye run. The car blew the tire away at the hit, dropping .04 in 60' and running 9.95.

In the semi-finals Ray had to run Ken Bowers. After his bye, he moved from the left lane to the right, to hopefully help the car hook better. Unfortunately, that didn't matter too much, when Bowers cut a .001 light on Ray's .023. Bower's ran 9.941, giving us enough room to get under, but Ray accidentally gave the stripe back by a few thousandths of a second ending the day.

So Ray is off to a pretty good start this year, with a runner-up and a semi-final finish to his credit. That should leave him second in points to Tommy Stalba who had started his season with a runner-up in Orlando at an out of Division points meet.

Next weekend is an off weekend for us. I'm actually flying out to LA to visit with Brian and see his band (Roughed Up Folk) play at the Dragonfly on Saturday night. The following weekend we leave for Delmar, DE and the third Division 1 race of the season.