Sudden Impact Racing Update: 08/01/2004
After Delmar we really didn't need to do too much to the cars. Dad's stayed in the trailer and we unloaded the '67 to put some new Hoosier front tires on it during the off weekend.
We left Wednesday afternoon for Numidia Raceway in Numidia, PA. When we rolled in, new owner Phil Blazawski and his track manager Monroe greeted us and showed us to our parking spot.
There was a test and tune on Thursday, but both of us decided to pass on it, Dad electing to clean his car inside and out and I videotaped Regis LePage's runs, who was making some wheelie bar adjustments.
I also got to see the new Dan Page-built car of Al and Jason Kenny and watch them make their first few hits in the car. This car is definitely first class and you can really tell the attention to detail that Dan Page puts into building these cars. Congratulations to the Kenny family also, for being awarded the "Best Engineered Car" award this weekend, also.
The weather looked threatening on Friday, but we got a full day of racing in, nonetheless. After watching a lot of people start off slow in the test session Thursday, I set my car up for about a 10.85 and would let the weather take care of the rest and it got me close, running 10.883 @ 146.22 in a slight tailwind.
We weren't quite as close with dad's car, running 9.961 @ 166.94. For my second time trial, I set the car up for a 10.885, expecting to lose one in the 60', but when it repeated, the car ran, guess what... a 10.885.
I sped dad's car up six hundredths from the prior run and all that netted us was a 9.955 @ 167.25. Since the car had only lost .01 in 60', we took a good look at the data and discovered that while the car was on the stop, it dropped 100 RPM for about a second, then picked it back up, definitely enough to slow it up. Since the stop RPM was at the bottom of the window of what's acceptable for that combination, we decided to turn it up 200 RPM.
The track decided to have a $50 gambler's race so we entered both cars, mine because it was behaving and dad's for another time trial.
First round I set the car up 10.895 in case it lost some 60'. It didn't, and my opponent was red, so I ran it out to a 10.894. Dad raced Pat Dehner in the PC Richards and Sons Corvette. Pat left us no room coupling an .009 reaction time with a 9.909. Ray was .019 on the tree and 9.878 on the brakes a little bit. After the run we looked at the data and discovered that we accomplished what we needed to and that the car behaved perfectly.
Second round I raced Neil Vaccaro and his "Lightning Rod" Pontiac Grand Prix. We were within .003 on the tree and I caught up to him fairly early, so I hung about .008 on his wheel and took it across the stripe. When my win light didn't come on, I just figured I broke out, even though I was dialed pretty honest and had killed a bunch womping. When I got the slip, it showed that he had gotten the stripe by .004. That's when I realized that his car trips the beam with the nose of the car, not the wheel, so when I put myself .008 in front of his tire, I was still .004 behind the tip of his nose in the 10.96 to 10.96 loss. Well, at least I learned something.
Dick Dorr ended up finishing runner-up in Super Comp in the Gamblers race. It's always a good time when the Dorr camp does well.
On Saturday morning's time shot, I set the car up for a .90 and between it picking up .02 in 60' and the 12 MPH tailwind, I somehow ended up on a 10.870 @ 146.41. Dad had a GREAT last time shot, going .001 on the tree and running 9.906, pretty much exactly where we wanted it to be. Looking at the data, it repeated on the throttle stop from Friday night so we were pretty confident that we'd cured the problem.
They screwed with the run order for first round, so Dad actually ran first. There were some really dark clouds approaching from what seemed like every direction. Looking down track, it was almost pitch black. The wind, which earlier in the day had been a 12 MPH cross/tail was now a 22 MPH headwind with gusts of 28 MPH. The weather had dropped about 400 feet of adjusted altitude from the time we left the trailer until the time we got to the starting line. Not wanting to not believe it and end up breaking out, I slowed dad's car down .02. He ended up having to run Jeff Szylagi and his roadster. They were .018 and .019 on the tree and on the big end, Ray was able to use that big speed to push Jeff under the dial, 9.930 @ 166.26 to 9.892 @ 142.76.
They stopped racing about two pairs after Dad had run for lightning and as soon as he got back to the trailer, the skies opened up. We got his car in without getting it too wet, but the '67 Camaro was as soaked as we were by the time it got inside the trailer. It needed a bath anyway, I guess. The rain ended racing for the day and Sunday's schedule was modified to finish what was left on the schedule on Saturday before going into Sunday's schedule.
After watching the remaining Super Gas cars and a bunch of early Super Street cars average out to about .04-.05 over the dial on Sunday morning, for reasons that the weather station couldn't explain, I decided to set my car up on a 10.85 figuring that would get me to about a 10.89-10.90. I pulled a local racer in a '68 Nova first round. I was .007 on the tree to his .047 to give me a little room. On the big end I got on the brakes on the way by and ran 10.929 @ 138 MPH to his 10.923 @ 122 MPH for the win. The car was actually on a 10.894, so I made a good educated guess on the weather on that one.
I ran second round before dad, since we were now into Sunday's schedule. I was paired with Rick Cooper. I dialed off the first run for a 10.900 and got a 10.908 @ 145.11, running it out after his -.008 redlight.
With my car being slow, I decided to set dad's car up for a 9.880 for his second round match-up with Ed Alessi, Sr. in the Pontiac Catalina. Ray also got a time trial, when Alessi went -.001 red. Ray ran it out to a 9.886 @ 166.57. Whatever was affecting my car and slowing it down, definitely wasn't affecting Dad's car on that run.
Third round I raced Dave Bergfeld and his "Super Chick" Firebird. I had an .013 advantage on the tree and used that to push him under to a 10.870. I let him go a little bit on the top end and ran 10.900 @ 144.92. I didn't kill much, as the car was on a 10.898.
Ray got another break third round when Bob Fast rolled through the beams. Ray lost a couple in 60' and ran it out to a 9.958 @ 165.95. The car was just slow all around. After looking quickly at the data from the run and not seeing anything funny with it, we just decided to take out chances and throw that run away.
What made that decision easier was the fact that in my fourth round match up with Tommy Dee, my car decided to pick up .02 inexplicably, and I survived a double breakout 10.874 to 10.866.
In Ray's fourth round he was paired with the '67 Camaro of local racer Tom Hoover. Ray was .011 on the tree to Hoover's .016. Hoover must not have thought Ray was coming because he dumped big, letting Ray around for the 9.914 @ 166.20 to 9.96 @ 127.69 victory.
In my fifth round match-up, I got a second chance at Neil Vaccaro from Friday night. I slowed the car up .02 from the round before. Off the line, I took a .006 to .047 advantage. I caught him earlier than I did on Friday night. This time I made sure I was on in front of his nose, aiming to take .008 stripe, and ending up taking .009 for the 10.972 @ 141 to 10.940 @ 143.41 victory.
This put both Dad and I both into the semi finals. With Super Gas running last in the order and Super Street running first, I was doing a LOT of running around getting numbers for dad's car, going up to the starting line with him, and then sprinting back to my car to get strapped in just in time to make it into the water box.
Dad ran against the '27 Ford Roadster of Butch Zelinsky in his 5th round semi final. Ray was good on the tree with an .014, but Butch was a little bit better with an .009. We sped dad's car up a couple of thousandths from his 9.91 in the previous round and it was a good thing, because he lost .015 in 60' so our 9.924 @ 166.48 was enough to push the little roadster under the dial.
With Dad doing his part, I ran back to the car to face Englishtown National Event winner Johnny Smith and his '68 Chevelle. I sped the car up a little from the prior round, and figured that the 60 foot couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. It dropped another .02 in 60' and ran a 10.924 @ 145.48. Luckily for me, Johnny was real fast, like on a 10.82 fast, and he figured he had killed enough, but still broke out with a 10.893.
With us both in the finals, I just kind of didn't get in my car so that they could run Super Gas first so that I could be up there with Dad. He had to race #4 man in the world last year Jim Smulligan and his deadly '63 Vette Roadster.
It should've been all over on the starting line. Jim was .015 and Dad was .046. I didn't think I had enough in Dad's car to push him under. All I gave him was a 9.91 in case the thing picked the '60 back up. It didn't, and all Ray could run was a 9.925. All that didn't matter, though, when Jim went under at 9.897, turning the win light on in Ray's lane giving him his third career divisional win.
I had to race Ray Balian and his '66 Chevelle in my final. Ray and I are pretty close in speed. I ran back to my car and strapped in, took a couple numbers out of the stop to speed it up from the round before by about .01. I got all set, just as they were running the Super Stock final, in time to pull into the water. Off the line, I thought I had hit the tree pretty good, but came up .058 to Ray's .032. I don't know if it was all the running around that finally caught up with me, or the extra pressure that I had put on myself to try and come through for the double that caused the late light, but I didn't think I was anywhere near that bad.
Coming up to the top end, I was going to get there by maybe .001 or .002 and Balian dumped hard. I caught his dump and stomped my brake pedal, but that's when the excitement started. I use the term brake pedal loosely, because there really wasn't one when I pressed it down. Instead I got a whole bunch of floorboard. We crossed the line and my win light didn't come on. About 4 pumps of the pedal later, I finally got a pedal back and was able to get the car stopped just in time to make the turn at Numidia's notoriously short shutdown area.
I broke out with a 10.895 at 144.64 to Balian's 10.971 @ 129 (he was running about 142 when he dumped if that gives you any idea how hard he dumped.)
So we had the family double within our grasp, but it was not to be today.
The good news is how it helps us both out in the points. The win will move dad into first place of Division 1 Super Gas and closer to Ken Bowers in the All Stars points. My runner-up will put me somewhere in the Top 10 and close to the top of the list for the All Stars points. We only have 2 races left for All Stars, Englishtown and Cecil County. For Division 1 Points, we also have the race at Atco in October and Dad will be using the Las Vegas Divisional in November as his 8th and final race. I'm only doing 7 this year, since I'm bringing the dragster out west with me.
Next weekend we're going to Atco Raceway for the AA Auto Salvage Super Bucks weekend, $700 to enter for three $20,000 to win races. We're bringing the dragster for sure, and might bring the '67 Camaro, also, but have some work to do to that car first. In addition to the brake issue, the display drivers in the Mega 400 box are starting to go out on me. On Sunday I ran .064 in the delay box all day long, for the reason that I couldn't see enough of the number on the screen to feel safe in changing it anymore. So I need to take that out and send it back for repair.
The weekend after Atco is the Englishtown points meet, and that will be the next time we bring dad's car out.
Thanks for reading and special thanks to Phil, Monroe, and the Numidia Raceway staff for putting on a great race!