Aaron Allison: May Blog
When I was writing my last blog I was less than 2 weeks away from completing my MBA. It was a very busy and stressful time for me, and to be honest the last thing on my mind was racing. Over those last two weeks I was able to finish all of my papers, projects, and finals and as of this morning I can officially tell you that I did well in all of my classes and I will be graduating this Thursday. I am extremely excited to be done with school so that I can get back to the real world where I can race and of course get back to work.
As soon as I finished my last final I quickly packed my bags and jumped into a cab with several of my good friends and went to the Boston Logan International Airport. Several months earlier I was given the opportunity to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Warren Buffet is the Chairman and CEO of this company and I jumped at the opportunity to see him speak. Upon arrival at the airport I learned that our flight had been delayed for 4 hours and that we would miss our connection in Milwaukee, WI. Air Tran then informed us that they would not be able to get us on any other flights over the next few days because everything was extremely over sold. They promptly refunded our money and told us to look into buying a flight off another airline. Great Idea, oh wait the cheapest ticket we could find was $1500. Well so much for that idea back to the cabstand.
Later that evening we got the bright idea that we could fly into Kansas City and drive the 3 hours to Omaha by car for almost the same price as our original ticket. Seemed like a great idea. Well many hours and 3 hours of sleep in 2 days later we arrived at the meeting in Omaha. However it was a great experience and I am very glad that I was able to make it. The flight home was uneventful, but by time I arrived back in Boston I was absolutely exhausted.
I didn’t get to meet Warren, but I got a picture with him kind of
Upon arrival back in Boston I repacked my bags, finished up a few things and again was back on an airplane. This time I was headed home to my parent’s house in Ohio. I was given 2.5 weeks off between finals and graduation and I was going to use this time to hopefully do a little racing. My IHRA B/CM Stock Eliminator car was pretty much ready since we had not done anything to it over the winter. I won the final Divisional Race last year so I hoped it would be any easy process getting it back in racing trim. My plan worked almost to perfection. I got the car de-winterized in one afternoon without any problems and got the car loaded on the trailer and ready to go. Thursday afternoon my father and I took off on the 7 hour drive to the IHRA Pro-am at London Dragway in London, Kentucky. For those of you that have never been there, the track is a nice little 1/8 mile track with a great surface and lots of nice parking. To get to the track you actually travel through Daniel Boone National Forest. Definitely wasn’t sure the GPS was taking me the right way.
Since I was not able to test before the event I was a little nervous that I would be rusty and that I might have problems with the car. On the first run I had a .008 light and the car ran 6.392 @ 105 mph, which was good enough for the third qualifying spot. Through the first 3 rounds I had lights of .030, .015, .045 and the car was running the number well. When I left in the semi-finals I thought that I crushed the tree and when it turned green I thought that I was in great shape to go to the final. As the race played out I was not getting there so I dumped and luckily my win light came on. At this point I was feeling pretty good about my first race. I was driving well and I was headed for the final. These thoughts changed when I received my time ticket and noticed that I had a .072 reaction time for the previous round. As I thought to myself “I must have missed it” I quickly prepared for the final. In the final I ran Greg Hill in his beautiful 3rd generation E/SA Camaro. I again missed the tree with a .074 light and amazingly still had a chance to win, but I messed that up by not taking the finish line even though I was on a dead-on run. Still I’ll gladly take a runner-up finish for the first race of the season. On day two of the event I was -.003 red in the 1st round, this was good for a first round runner-up. Overall it was a great weekend and after the event I am sitting in 5th place in the IHRA Division 3 standings.
2011 IHRA Pro-Am Runner-Up
The next race on my schedule was the NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional Race at Norwalk Raceway Park. Norwalk Raceway Park in my opinion is one of the best race tracks in the country and I truly enjoy going their every year. I had planned to take my Super Stock SS/BM Cavalier to the event, but my engine was still not done being freshened. So with the help and persuasion of my good friend Alex Miller I was talked into running my Vega in Super Street. It was a lot more work making the necessary changes that I needed to make than I thought it would be, but it was a lot of fun. Alex gave me all of the throttle stop equipment and I installed a spare super stock transmission in the car so I would have a transmission brake. After completing all of the changes I decided that I should probably go test somewhere before I went to the LODRS Race at Norwalk to get the car dialed in. Good thing I did because let’s just say the learning curve for racing with a throttle stop was a little steeper than I thought it would be. However after a few runs and some good advice from Alex Miller, Damien Hazelton, and Rick Baehr I was able to get it somewhat dialed in.
During my first time trial of the weekend I went 11.04 and backed that up with a 10.856. Saturday morning on my last time trial I went 10.883. Not too bad, I was getting pretty close and the car seemed to be responding well to my timer changes. Going into the first round I was feeling pretty confident. I had the car dialed in and my worst light of the weekend had been a .018. The weather change from the last time trial to the 1st round was very minimal and I figured that I would not change anything with my throttle stop setting and the car should run somewhere around a 10.89. Well I was little off and I learned a very valuable lesson in 10.90 racing, “You must be able to run 10.90.” I was not able to do this and my .019 initiated 10.948 was not good enough for the victory. Overall it was a decent weekend and I learned a ton. I also got to hang out with many of my old friends and I met a lot of new guys that run in the 90 classes.
Vega in S/St Trim
My buddy Alex Miller’s 10.90 Car
Overall this was a pretty good month. I did not get to race as much as I had hoped, but I had a little bit of success and had fun while doing it. In the next month I plan to get my Super Stock Cavalier back together and get it ready for some serious racing. I plan to take the car to 3 NHRA National Events in a four week period starting in mid June. It should be an excited next couple of weeks.