Aaron Allison: August Blog
I can’t believe another month has passed since my last blog. This summer is flying by, and I have really had an interesting month of racing!
It is said that when it rains, it pours. I would have to say this is a fitting phrase to describe this past month, both figuratively and literally.
The weekend following my last blog I went to the NHRA race in Columbus, Ohio. It is only a few hours away from where I live, and we always have a good time here since we know a lot of the other racers. I only race my Super Stock car (the Cavalier) in NHRA and I had been having a lot of problems at times with the car this year. This was also the case at Columbus. I got to the track just in time for the last clean-up run Friday night. Well I am glad I opted to make the run because the car missed all the way down the track and ran a 9.32, which is .12 above the NHRA SS/BM index. Just for clarifications you are not allowed to dial over this index during eliminations. We checked everything on the car we could think of including valve springs, coil, spark plug wires, ignition, distributor phasing, carb jetting, timing, and etc. We didn’t find anything blatantly wrong, but we changed a lot of parts so I figured it would be fine. Well I was wrong, however I was lucky and was able to win first round with a .012 holeshot. It was miserably hot the entire weekend: very humid and over 100 degrees each day. And then it rained. And when it rained, it poured. And after sitting around for the remainder of the weekend, the race was officially “rained out” Sunday evening. This was great for me considering I couldn’t run the index and no matter what we did to my car it we could not find the miss. The race is rescheduled for the Thursday before the NHRA points meet in Columbus this September. I will keep you posted in the next blog on how that all turns out!
Thanks APD for a brand new Dominator (Hopefully it will help my SS Car)
The next weekend we were off to Richmond, Virginia for an IHRA race. After winning the Martin Michigan Pro-Am in Super Stock I felt that I had a shot at winning the division championship if I could go to enough races. My good friend Ronnie Traupman who has a three car hauler let Misti and I ride along with him and his son, Jake.
The Super Stocker got to ride in style to Richmond, VA
We didn’t leave for the race until very late, and we didn’t get to the racetrack until 4am. (Long night) During time trials on Saturday the Cavalier was still missing and I couldn’t figure out why.
Do you ever have reoccurring nightmares about something? About missing out on something important? Or being embarrassed while speaking in front of a large group of people? We’ll, I sure do, and that Saturday at Richmond my reoccurring racing nightmare came true.
Super Stock cars were called down to the staging lanes for 1st round. When I started my car I noticed that I suddenly had no oil pressure. I quickly jumped out of the car to see what was wrong, and noticed that the external oil pump belt had broken. Since I did not ride down in my personal truck and trailer, I did not have any extras with me. I then ran around the pits to try to find somebody who had a spare belt that they could let me use. All this time the announcer is calling my name over the speaker, saying that I had to get to the staging lanes immediately or I would have to forfeit. I found someone with an extra belt, but it wasn’t the right size for my car. And then I hear my opponent going down the track. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced during a race.
Afterwards, many fellow racers helped me diagnose the problem. It turned out that a piece of valve spring had gotten through the oil screen and into the pump. During my investigation, I also found another piece of broke valve spring that could have caused the same problem at a later time. During the thrash I also found my miss. I had previously changed the cap and rotor, but this time I put another distributor in and instantly the miss was gone. I had basically changed everything on my car in an attempt to fix the miss, but I had never thought the distributor could be the problem. Thankfully, Byron Worner had a spare distributor with him at the race and let me borrow it.
The next day, it rained. And when it rained, it poured. The track staff was able to dry off the track by the afternoon. Ronnie and I both lost first round, and then we were on our way back to Ohio and Pennsylvania. It was not a great weekend when you consider round wins, but I did learn a lot about external oil pumps and my car was finally running good. I would like to thank Ronnie Traupman, Byron Worner, Pat Donovan, and Tim Sloan for all their help that weekend. Without their support I would have never fixed my car.
SS/BM Cavalier all ready to go for Pittsburgh
Our next racing destination was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for another IHRA race. This time I brought my Vega and Cavalier. Now, on Saturday it rained. And when it rained, it poured. We spent a lot of time waiting around the track, and when it looked like we would start racing, it would start raining again. Once we were able to race, the cars both ran well. I ended up getting down to three cars in both classes. I drove okay, but I have not raced at night much in the last few seasons and I defiantly am a little rusty.
On Sunday, it was a National Event and a Tournament of Champions qualifier. And it rained. And when it rained, it poured. We spent a lot of time waiting around the track, and when it looked like we would start racing, it would start raining again. Finally, it was dry enough to race. I lost third round in the Vega to my good friend, Brent Darroch. In Super Stock, I got runner up to another good friend, Craig Marshall. It was a great race. I was .017 on the tree 1 above to his .015 dead-on 8 run for the .004 margin. I hate losing, but if I had to lose a race, I would always want to lose like that. Leaving Pittsburgh I was in 2nd place in the IHRA Division points in both SS and Stock.
Final in SS (look at all the fans)
The next weekend I did not race. I am fortunate to still have both sets of my grandparents with us, and this weekend was a weekend of celebration. My grandma and grandpa on my mother’s side celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this month. My aunt and uncle came to visit from Virginia and we had an anniversary party for them. It was a great weekend with family, and I hope that Misti and I can have such an accomplishment when we are older.
This past weekend we went to the final DIV 3 IHRA race in Clay City, KY. I would have to say this is my favorite race of the season. Everybody at the racetrack is so friendly, the scenery is beautiful and we usually do very well here. We even acquired a great dog from Clay City last year (a long story I won’t get into right now…).
On Saturday, I didn’t do very well in both cars. I was out 1st round in stock with a .026 thousands package and went way red second round in SS. We were done by 5pm and we decided to go to the Natural Bridge State Park with our friends Ronnie Traupman, Bob Lowry, and Skip Rose. The Natural Bridge is supposed to be an amazing arch made of stone and it is supposedly one of the most beautiful sites in Kentucky. We decided to go to the Natural Bridge before dinner. The sign at the park said that the Natural Bridge was 600 feet away. Well, the ENTRANCE to the path to get to the Natural Bridge was 600 feet away. The Natural Bridge itself was 3/4 mile up a windy, rocky path. It took us about a half hour to get to the top, but it was definitely worth it. The natural bridge is beautiful. You can then climb to over top of it, and you can see probably 30 miles away. We then ate dinner at the Lodge at the park. The service was wonderful and the food was pretty good. If you are ever in that area, I highly recommend visiting. Misti and I are going to try to go to the race a day early next year so we can hike all around the park. It was a lot of fun.
View from the top of the Natural Bridge
On Sunday morning, it rained. And when it rained, it poured. The track was finally dry around 1pm and we were able to race. Many racers left due to the high chance of rain, so there were only about 115 cars that day as opposed to 150 cars on Saturday. The racing went pretty fast. I lost second round in the Cavalier, but that one round gave me enough points to move into first place in the division. There is one more points meet in Darlington, SC where mathematically a few racers could possibly catch me, however the racers that are closest to me in points are all claimed out. I drove the Vega very well on Saturday until I lost in the final to Ricky Clark. The runner-up finish left me two rounds short of the lead in Stock for the Division Championship. Overall it was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun. We then made the seven hour drive back to Ohio. I got back to my apartment around 2am Sunday night. (Another long weekend) As I am writing this blog, I am very tired, but I am also very grateful to be able to have a hobby that I love and family and friends that are supportive of what I do.
Again, I would like to thank Luke for allowing me the opportunity to share my experiences with you. I would also like to express gratitude to my fiancé Misti, my Dad, Ronnie Traupman, Alex Miller, and Jerry Coblenz.
While reading Eric Bowling’s blog (which I think is great), I really appreciated something that he did and I thought that I would try this, too. If anybody has any questions or comments for me about anything I have mentioned in my blogs, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great month!