Moneymaker Season 2, Article 4


Since my last article (that line feels like sitting in the confessional of the catholic church I grew up going to) things continued to go down hill (like hell in a hand basket). The weekend after my last article I discovered I had broken a 32-element sprag in the TH-350 transmission when the car failed to shift into second gear first round of Pro E.T. at Lebanon Valley Dragway. Out comes the transmission, off to be rebuilt. Five passes after getting the transmission back, at ATCO the weekend before the WFC, while on vacation with my lovely bride and two beautiful girls (Tehya is seven and Sage the three year old), the transmission fails again. This would have been the time to bail from going to the WFC, but that’s what a sane person would do.
I pouted, whined, stomped my feet and then went to find if I could borrow a transmission. One good thing about the TH-350 transmission in my car is if ya can’t find one, you can install a powerglide in the same space. A few minutes after I stopped sulking, my friend Jack Alloway was letting me borrow his spare powerglide. Then Dave Harvey (awesome footbraker and perennial threat for the Pro E.T. track championship at ATCO) had offered me up his garage to change the transmission. Dave also took out the broken transmission and helped get the powerglide ready to go in.
I went and installed the powerglide on Tuesday after two days of camping and going to the beach with my three ladies. My wife went off to the aquarium with the girls for the day, I got the borrowed transmission installed and fired the car up and… found the borrowed piece leaking from the fittings going to the cooling lines! On further examination by Dave and I, we found out the case was cracked due to the fittings being over tightened! Once again good time to bail on going to Bristol, TN, but sometimes when sane folks know they have been beat, I just get pissed and force the issue.
Dave offered up his son’s awesome footbrake ride, a 1980 Pontiac LeMans with a ZZ4 crate motor on pump gas. I contacted Wendy (that’s the wife’s name or as I call her the most understanding, forgiving patient woman alive) explained the circumstances, told her they had a gamblers race @ ATCO in and hour (racing on Tuesday nights is cool) in which I was going to see if I was compatible with Dave’s car, as long as she would tolerate for another night taken away from our vacation (I was supposed to be at the aquarium and movie they where at and bringing them to dinner). She said, “Go for it” and even asked me what kind of grinder (oh yeah, we were in southern Joisey. They call these sandwiches hoagies in that location) I wanted for dinner. It truly is amazing the bride hasn’t made me sleep outside once in the nearly twenty years we have been together, with the amount of time either my racing, business or music (before racing) had changed our plans for us.
Off I go to ATCO, take two time shots in the range that lil Dave (Dave’s son) told me he leaves at and I’m somewhere between dead late and never left. A quick conversation with mentor McNasby and I raise the RPM 400 rpm (Bud told me 600 but I didn’t listen) and I run first round. After hitting the tree I realize whatever the light is, I will adjust the rpm to get a competitive reaction time because I hit the tree. I have a ton of room and my opponent gives me more (thanks Chicken) and I get the win. I get my timeslip to find Bud was right (no, really?) I needed to go higher in rpm to cut a good light but fortunately had gotten the win anyways. BTW to the thousand feet the car I was borrowing repeated all three times.
When I get back to my trailer I see the best sight I had seen that day, my wife and two beautiful girls waiting for me on my open trailer with a grinder (hoagie) for dinner! I go over after writing down the info on my timeslip and am greeted by both girls who are ecstatic to see me. Sage the youngest is jumping on my back as I am sitting on my car trailer and yelling Daddy and then jumping on Wendy’s back who is sitting next to me yelling to her Daddy’s here when she misses jumping on my wife’s back spins around in mid air and lands CRACK right in the middle of the back of her head! She began screaming immediately (which I was told was a good sign but it tore out my guts when I heard it) then began bleeding a lot (again not a terrible sign when you split open your head) I ran and had Bud call for paramedics. The part that almost dropped me on the spot was when I came back and my little comedian (Sage spends a good deal of time trying to make anyone around her laugh) began to pass out in her mother’s arms. That coupled with my oldest daughter crying her eyes out, more scared than she had ever been in her young life and I was left with all I could do was hold on to Tehya and just tell her everything would be ok and pray for the fear she was feeling to go away (because that’s exactly what I was doing). Paramedics got there and checked out Sage (whose nickname for the rest of vacation was Sagee the Staple Head since she got a staple to close up the split in the back of her head at the hospital) and got her in the ambulance. She immediately came around when they gave her a stuffed animal for being a good patient.
On my way to the ER with Tehya, I decided we weren’t going to Bristol. When I got with Wendy at the hospital, I told her my thoughts. My bride then informed me that was ridiculous: the lil turkey was fine and as long as the docs gave her a clean bill of health to travel (we’d be leaving late Wednesday if we still went to Bristol, less than twenty four hours from the ER visit) we where going to continue our vacation gone awry and head to Bristol, TN and the WFC. This and so many times my wife had been my strength when all my strength is gone. I love her and the two little people we have together more than life itself.
With the exception of a trip to the ER and a less than stellar performance at the WFC, the girls and I had a great vacation
So the next day, with a real good car in tow, my family and I set off for the World’s Greatest Footbrake Race! From this point on everything goes much smoother, however my driving in the car that ran within a hundredth the entire three days insured I would only get through one round in each of the events contested and not win a nickel (though I did avoid buybacks, a small victory). The last loss was the most bitter when after putting together an eighteen-thousandths package in the first round of the day; I completely choke and don’t pull the trigger and miss the tree A TON (.051 light). When you go to a big money event such as this, it truly is the same as a big dollar card game in that greater risk (entry fees, cost of travel, etc.) gives you the opportunity for greater reward (final round purse during this weekend’s event was $40,000.) However if you don’t perform (at either a big money card game or a big money race) you will not get any of that money.
So should’ve I gone? Well if I was following the template for my season (from the tutorial on Building Your own Empire), no. I had not had success with this combo locally and needed more passes to have confidence in my execution in this car.
What did I learn?
For what I learned alone going to this race WAS worth every loss I had there. I knew it was a long shot and went anyways. For me to be successful at events like this in the future I have to be in a position to take every advantage available to me (double entries).
Since July until this past weekend I parked The Moneymaker project because I was away on vacation with the ladies again (no racing in that vacation), my wife then went to Hawaii one week (I was home watching the two lil turkeys) and I couldn’t afford to go until now due to losing my job again (found out the boss had very little sense of humor about pics I suggested I saw of him with farm animals).
The Moneymaker's first winner circle of 2011
I had Jack Alloway’s case replaced for his glide and picked up my TH- 350 from Michael’s Transmission (Mike Ferrari is the owner and another great Joisey footbraker). I installed the transmission on August 25th and headed to Lebanon Valley Drag way for a rare (had two Friday night shows this season @ The Valley) Friday night Gamblers race. I won! It was a five round affair that didn’t pay a lot, but it was exactly what I needed right now. The game plan (back to using the template in Building you own Empire) is to go back to Lebanon Valley in two weeks for the next point’s race, which they are guaranteeing $2,000 to win in both Pro and Super. The game plan may hit a bump since as of this morning the effects of the east coast hurricane that passed through this week (Hurricane Irene) has the track under water! My thoughts go out to anyone effected by this storm. Here we only lost power for a day, and I am grateful.
Lebanon Valley Dragway definately felt the affect of Hurrican Irene.
The Budget
Well, not racing kept me from getting farther behind, but I did manage to go from
$10,000 in the hole to $11,550 before I took the break. One win netted $130. back after expenses. So right now I am $11,420 in the red. Good times.
In closing I would like to thank Luke for giving me the space to write the column, John Crutchfield of Crutchybilt Performance, Michael Beard of Staging Light Graphics, and Mentor McNasby for their support.
That’s all for now. Good luck wherever you are racing!


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