APD Member Spotlight Blog (May): Lindsey Cramsey
The last time I left you all, I was getting ready for the very first double header weekend of the season. The plan was to go to a Friday day test, race the Friday night jackpot, then race Super Pro Saturday and Sunday without breaking anything. FAIL!
Here’s the play by play. On Friday before the first two races, Bandimere was hosting a day test. The goal of the test and tune was to make a couple of passes to try out the throttle stop ratio before Great Bend and then to switch over to full tree and practice for the two Super Pro races that weekend. I made three passes, everything was great, no issues (yet). Of course, because everything was so great, we decided to go get some lunch and then drop the truck off for new tires to prepare for Great Bend. When my dad and I got back to the track, I made a couple of changes to the stop, jumped in the car, and went to make a pass. We had a wicked head wind that we had been fighting all day, and it seemed to have gotten worse during our lunch break. I made a pass, and when I got my ticket, I had lost 5 mph. The wind was crazy, but did I really lose 5 mph?!? My gut says no, but I don’t listen to it, because I figure it’s clueless about potential mechanical issues too. I chalk it up to a hard gust of wind and the changes I made before the pass and get back in to make another pass. I do a burn out, and when I go to back up, it won’t move. I mess around with the shifter, make sure I’ve got her in “R”, and have all the right buttons pushed, still nothing. I turn the car off to indicate the issue to the staff, I put it in neutral, and when they go to push me back, it still doesn’t move. I decide to start it back up again, and this time, instead of just having it idle to back up, I rev it up and finally she moves and I get her backed off to the side (most likely me forcing a bolt out of the way of the ring gear, $$$$$). As we are towing the car back, I listened for any noises, but I didn’t hear anything and it seemed to be fine. We got up to the trailer, took off the wheels to check a few things, (pretending we actually know what we are doing), and find nothing. I get back in the car and when I go to hit the ignition, nothing happens. It is definitely in neutral, but no ignition until I pull it back into first and then into neutral again. Hmm, so maybe I was in between two gears on the starting line?!?! I start it up, it goes into reverse, backs up just fine; I back up 48 more times to make sure it is definitely working, and decide why not, lets run this baby again. Everything seems fine, I make a pass, get my ticket, and lost ANOTHER 5 MPH! In my mind I am thinking really? I broke it again?? I start to have flashbacks of the Barbie Jeep on fire…. We get back to the trailer and start pulling apart the rear end, thinking that has to be the problem. As the fluid drains, we can already see the large amount of metal chunks.
Hmm.. I think those bolts are in the wrong place….
That’s probably the bolt I backed over…
The bolts on the ring gear had come loose, and it had begun ripping all the bolts out. However, the gears were beat up, but not THAT beat up. So, we high tailed it to Front Range Driveline, our local go-to guys for differentials and rear ends. Brian Percival saved me, as he was able to clean it up, put new bolts in, and get it back together, at least to get me on the track for this weekend. I want to personally thank Brian for staying late and taking care of me, I really appreciate you working to get me back on the track!
Brian working hard, Michael checking out the damage- Thanks Brian!!!!!!
We got everything back together Friday night, I wasn’t able to race the jackpot, but I was ready for the race on Saturday. The night was definitely still a success and extremely busy, as Kyle, my younger brother, is registered for three of the five classes we run on Friday nights. He won the high school category in his Nova, made it to the quarter finals in his 1995 Honda Prelude, and made it to the last 12 in the street class. Even our announcer Bruce Kamada was joking the next day that Kyle races every class at Bandimere except Top Fuel.
Kyle’s 1964 Nova
Saturday was a beautiful day at the track. During time trials the car ran great and I wasn’t too bad on the tree either, and first round I was lined up with one of our long time Bandimere racers. We were dialed within a tenth of each other, and I knew this was going to be a close race! I was nervous as I got into the car, but I was thinking back to a lot of the information I had read in Luke’s blogs. As I started the car, just like Luke said, I found comfort in my routine and I didn’t feel as nervous. I ripped my finger off the button and it felt good, we launched and I started looking over and I was already going around him. At 1000 foot I already had him by at least half a car and I started womping the throttle. I looked up as we crossed the finish line and my win light was on! I was so relieved and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all the way up the hill and to my pit. I went .012 on the tree to his .019 and crossed by too much (.039) but I killed 5 hundredths. Second round I was getting chased by one of our “Fast 16” class drivers. I was calm this round and still running off a high from winning my very first round. I staged, and let my finger off the button, and as the RPM’s came up, the car died, right there on the starting line. My heart sank as I tried to push the gas but it was already on the floor as everything I have is air operated. The car bobbled through the stage beams and I watched him take off. I don’t like wishing bad things on anyone, but as I watched him scream down the track I was saying please break out, please break out!!! As the scoreboards came on, he had run a 7.259 on a 7.35. I’m not going to lie, I screamed. I took the win with a 1.375 reaction time and ran a 10.006; how’s that for a great package huh?? For third round I was lined up against one of the guys that races in our delay and non-delay classes. When I let my finger off the button, I knew I had missed the tree a bit, and I hit the bump down, thinking I had just helped myself out .005. As I was lifting my finger off the button, I remembered that I had just read Luke’s article about using the bump down, agreed with his theory, and changed it from .005 to .025. My guess was that I had gone around .030, and I wanted at that time an “un-bump down” button. The car revved, I basically closed my eyes, thinking it was going to be red, and when I took off it was green! Whew! However, I came up so fast on him (he was was going 130) that at one point as I was catching him I thought he was broken and was stopping on the track! I’m not sure I’ve ever chased someone by 30 mph, but it was insane. I let off as I was going around him, got on the brakes, and still broke out by 19 thousandths. I got my ticket, and I see that he had went .000 perfect on the tree, and I went .001. Haha, I love it when I make mistakes and it makes me look good! I was done for the day but felt decent about my performance. I still had a lot of learning to do when it came to the top end, but I felt I was getting some great experience and learning fast.
The next weekend was Great Bend, my very first divisional. Front Range Driveline got me some nice, shiny new gears that week and it was as good as new. Not planning this in the racing budget, I was forced to give up all hope of any shoe shopping this month and have been fine dining on Ramen noodles for every meal since. As I mentioned before, Kyle races 3 classes in our Friday night events, and of course there was a race the night before Great Bend. So, we decided that we would stay and race, then drive all night to GB. Well, I wish we could say Kyle won the race and I beat everyone in the Jackpot class, but that would be a lie. Kyle went a couple rounds and had some great races but just didn’t turn on the win light, and for me, I had my worst light since I bought the car, and went .040 second round. We meant to do that though, we wanted an early start for Kansas…..
We packed up everything and headed out. My mom and dad were awesome and let me sleep while they drove, and we got to the track around 7:00am. We parked about 15 minutes away from the starting line, and if you’ve ever been to Great Bend, you know that’s true. The first two passes I was fast, ran 8.89 and 8.92, and yes Luke, I was aware the index was 9.05! Before the third time trial I went to find Luke to introduce myself. My mom walked with me and we stopped to talk to some friends of ours and Luke’s car was right in front of him. I whispered to my mom, “That’s Luke right there”. And she says, “Ohh yah that guy with the beard??” And I’m like “No mom, the guy wearing the ‘This is Bracket Racing’ shirt…” and she says “No that’s not him!! I swear, I’ve seen pictures.” So we are standing there talking about if it’s him or not and she says “Well that guy isn’t wearing fire pants, I think it’s someone from his crew. Maybe I’ll go look and see if there are race pants in his car”. By now, my mom has me all weirded out that I am wrong and it’s not Luke, so I tell her to go ahead and look. Embarrassingly enough, she walks by trying to look all casual as Luke is checking tire pressure, then peeks into his car right as he looks up. I shake my head, and she comes back over and says, “Told you! There are no pants in that car! That is his crew!” We stand there for two seconds longer, then Luke walks over and grabs his firepants out of the car, I look at her, shake my head again, then go introduce myself to Luke. Oh the joys of only knowing people via the internet.
Making a time run in Great Bend
I had the opportunity to meet both Luke and Willie Burnett, last year’s TIBR Member Spotlight winner. They were both great guys and I really enjoyed meeting them both! I think that turned out to be the highlight of my weekend, as first round didn’t quite go as planned. It was just as everyone had said it would be, headwind on Saturday, 412 mph tailwind on Sunday. I was racing Kyle Fickler. As we launched, I could tell I had the reaction time advantage, and as I got down to the finish line, I couldn’t see him. I womped the throttle and he came into my line of vision for a split second until I seen him go backwards as he dumped and I crossed the finish line. My win light did not come on, and I was definitely disappointed. I went .017 to his .027, but I had crossed by way too much and lost on a double break out. It was a great experience though, and I know that the finish line is something that is going to take some time to figure out. It is nothing like racing a 14 second street car, that is for sure!
My new sticker. People are always asking me if my dad bought the car so I wanted to clear that up!
My other sweet addition- TIBR Stickers!!!!
The week after we got back, I was invited to Guaranty Bank for an open house they were hosting. I took off work a little early and my dad and I made the trek to Greeley with the truck and trailer. I had an awesome time talking to everyone about my racing and my car. I really want to thank Bruce Kamada for inviting me, it was a great experience.
Backed into a parking spot at Guaranty Bank!
This last weekend was the Night of Fire and Thunder. In typical Colorado fashion, it was 80 degree weather all week and then 45 degrees and rainy on the day of the event. There were over 6,500 kids that were given wristbands to the event in coordination with the Race to Read program. That is a lot of reading!! Many of them showed up and even though the rain didn’t quit until around 5:30, Bandimere got the fans started with nostalgia funny cars and jet cars. All the sportsman racers made one time run before Bandimere decided to delay our race for Sunday, and finish the night with another round of the exhibition cars. They still put on a great event despite the weather, and I think the fans were impressed. The next day we all came back for the “Day of Fire and Thunder”. We got one time trial and went right to first round. I had decided to run Super Comp as well as the bracket class. My car was all over the place on Sunday. In Super Comp, I had made a change to the timer, hoping to slow it down about 4 hundredths. I made a pass, and I picked up a hundredth.. Nice. I made more changes and went to first round of the bracket class. I was paired up against a friend of mine and was chasing him by a couple of tenths. It was a good race, I went .011 to his .029 and let off as I went around him, still crossing by too much but taking the win. I figured out that I would have run a 9.53 full out, so I took a little out of the timer, hoping to run a 9.49 in Super Comp. I was feeling confident that I had finally got my car dialed in to run the 9.50 index. We launched and I knew I had the reaction time advantage. He was chasing me down and right as we got to 1000 foot I started womping the throttle. I hit the brakes right before the finish line, and was disappointed as the win light was on, but not in my lane. I had went .008 to his .024 but the car was going to run a 9.42 and I had only been able to kill 6 hundredths and broke out, again. Second round of the bracket class I was paired up against an altered and didn’t have the best light but was able to take the win with as the other guy had a problem on the starting line. Third round I hit the tree, and surprisingly went -.003, my first redlight in competition. I was disappointed but I decided to practice some of my finish line skills and crossed by .012. Turns out, when I need to cross by a hundredth I can’t, but when I red light, I can easily do it. Go figure.
Day of Night of Fire and Thunder or whatever
Focused on the tree- Glad that fire extinguisher is close
My cousin Evan and his favorite girl Kenzie trying out the driver’s seat!
The next couple of weeks should be fun as I will have a couple more Super Pro races as well as the Bandimere divisional June 13-15th. I am really hoping my little car stays together but heck, what would I have to write about if it wasn’t constantly giving me issues?!
I want to thank my family again for being so supportive and helping me out. I couldn’t have done it without you all! Thank you to Steve Carlton who gave me a couple of shots of the car at Night of Fire and Thunder to use and I also want to thank the people that had given me some feedback on my last blog, I really appreciate your kind words. Again, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I would love to hear from everyone!
-Miss Lindsey Cramsey