APD Member Spotlight Blog: Jeremy McKague (Part 2)

The next weekend comes and we are returning to Gateway for the first bracket race under the new owners. The payouts and classes were just released 3 days earlier and let’s just say that no one is getting rich today. Denny and I leave at 6:00am for Jason’s as I want to reinstall the windshield (the wind in the quarter tires to pull my helmet off) and I also want to wire in some plugs to make the delay box removable. A stop at the high performance headquarters of Wal-Mart for a second week in a row and $44 later we have some trailer plus, connectors etc. We get the windshield installed and get to the box wired up and still get to Gateway in time for the 12:00 open time runs. I take the Cavalier through tech and although I had the same inspector as the week before and he remembered the car he made me remove the hood, scoop, and deck lid again. There are a lot of dzus fasteners on these things. Fortunately I pass and we are racing. While finishing up my jumper plugs for my box they close the lanes for open time runs (which were set to end at 2) doesn’t matter as we are getting 2 time runs per class after this. Well after numerous incidents and for some reason they feel the need to empty the lanes for the open time runs out our one and only time run session begins after 5:00. They are running 10 classes today so I figure I can keep up and enter 4 of them: super pro ¼, super pro 1/8, pro ¼, and pro 1/8th for a check of $220.

First and only time trial in super pro I run 5.807 @ 116mph and 9.218 @ 142mph. When I set my box up for removal I have to shift on time now. I guessed at 2.3 seconds so it must be alright as my numbers seem fine. Time for my pro time run. I elect to not use the transbrake as I am sure that this car will react too quickly for that. I decide to footbrake it at 1800 rpm as that is the spot I used in my old roadster that worked well. I leave and look at the scoreboard and it lights up a nice .009 I have to shift by hand as well with no box so I go with the conservative 6500. I run it through to a 5.83 and 9.26. This all looks in order as my old blue roadster was about 4 hundredths in the 1/8th difference when foot braking.
R1 ¼ super pro 8:38pm I draw Eric Barach and not only is his 63 corvette sharp it is quick with a 7.78 dial in. I dial the conservative 9.21 I was -.003 in my time shot so I add a dime. I am .026 and nine hundredths over. What the hell is that??????????? Eric was a cool triple zero and saving some fuel as he coasted by for the easy win. I proceed to watch many more pairs and there are many cars from 5 hundredths to a tenth off but also many that are right on. It is dark now and last week during the gamblers I slowed down at dark but nothing like this. However last week the runs were much closer together and I did lose 6 hundredths in the eighth over they course of race. I just lost 4 right now. Hmmm????????
R1 ¼ pro 9:56 pm As you can see the night is taking forever. I have a good draw in Dan Smith in his street type car. If you can’t tell the typing sarcasm it is right here. You can check out Dan and his car here. http://www.dragcoverage.com/dc_news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1162881121&archive=&start_from=&ucat=2&
Dan is dialed in at 11.81 I go with a 9.42 My thoughts are these I went 9.26 in my time trial. I just lost a tenth in super pro so that puts me at a 9.36 Let’s just say I don’t have much faith in my car right now and I believe in something Luke told me once. If you are going to hold make sure you are holding so I paid my dial by another 6 Hun. Dan is .052 and I am .012 I get down and start reeling him in and start to kill a little. I then get the feeling of oh crap you isn’t getting there so I go full throttle again, then realize Now I can’t get there so I park it again to 123 mph (18mph down from tt) and it works but just out of dumb luck. Dan is .001 under. Sweet saves me from a $25 bb. My 1000ft time was .085 slower than my time trial. My super pro one was only, did I say only, .067 slower so it looks like I lost a little more.
R1 1/8th super pro. 10:56 pm I draw local racer Steve Rodgers in his Olds Omega. Steve is dialed in at 6.05 and I elect to go with a 5.88. My last super pro run I was 5.848 at the 660 and with the little faith I have in this car and the rarity of my being quicker I’m going to go with the driver. After the burnout the car wouldn’t lock in low gear (I have the spring type shifter) No problem I’ll just hold it in low and use my left hand on the transbrake. I don’t really see how I can’t pull this off. I stage and push the button with my off hand and and and and and the tree takes forever to come one (my slip says both staged @ starter go) finally we are off and I think I can get there but it isn’t going to be by much. I think I’m holding although I wouldn’t bet on it so I park it off and ring up a one over for the L. I was .042 he was .038 he is dead on one and I am .020 behind and from the moment we left I was mathematically ineligible. You would think since I’m a math teacher that math wouldn’t just lock the door on me. I also lost 2 more hundredths to the 330. Is this thing broke again? I think it has to be? I check the puke can and it is empty so I guess the head gaskets are holding. Once again Hmmmmmmmmmmmm? At least I found the cause of my shifter not working was a loose wire. Who wired this thing? 
R1 Pro 1/8 11:26 pm I draw Ricky Thomas. If you don’t know Ricky is one of the best racers around. I am not getting good draws tonight. Ricky is dialed in at 7.02 so I pick 5.95 Now I know I’m holding. I am pretty sure Ricky will park me off here as he knows I’m holding. Ricky is .048 and I am .027 as we approach the end not only can I not kill what I think I’m holding(I guess I’m holding but who knows) I can’t even catch him but I know he will drop and I will drop with him and sneak by. All of a sudden Ricky throws the anchor out but I am ready for it and drop with him. I drop to 106 mph but apparently my 4 wheel disc brakes work too good as I am .005 behind. The luck gods shine on me as I am .005 under and Ricky is .031 under. Looking at my last footbrake run I was exactly the same at the 330 so maybe things are looking up.  I got lucky here so I only need two $30 buybacks into super pro but none in pro.
R2 Super Pro ¼ 12:13am I am paired with Leroy Payne’s mustang. Leroy is dialed in at a 9.35 I dial in at a 9.35 also. Why? I can’t say I’m really sure other than I thought I could run at least that. I lost a tenth in round one from a 9.21 time trial plus a few more after that. This tree was long at least 4 seconds (slip says both staged at starter go again, don’t they know that this is bad, side story it happened to my brother the same round, some say it was an 8 second tree, and he was .180 and his opponent Mike Eggleston (Tuffpaw.com check them out) was .220 after bumping over .090 out) so back to my race and I am a cool .087. Apparently Leroy likes long trees is a nice .001. for the easy win. Not to mention my car slows again and this time back fires out the exhaust in the shutdown when I restart the car. I just went 5.900 in the 1/8th and my original time run was 5.807 I don’t know what is going on it sounds fine and feels fine going down the track. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?
R2 Pro ¼ 12:40 am I didn’t really have time to look at the car as pro was in the lanes when I got back from super. I draw a car dialed 11.00 but before I can put my dial on he goes to a 10.99 I like this as I figure he might have game me more room. I am getting a little upset now and am determined to win this round. I have to go with the driver strategy as I can’t be the dialer or spot driver as I can’t predict what the car will run within a tenth. I dial 9.57 as if I can’t run this I know this thing is blown up. My original time run was 9.26 and 5.83 in the eighth. My last footbrake run was about a tenth slower in the 1/8th so I went up 3 tenths in the quarter. Gotta be able to run that unless of course it is blown up. I am .034 my opponent is .059 I take .013 to be 5 above at 121mph and he is 3 over. On the way back this thing is sounding funny out of the right exhaust so I coast it back to the pits.
R2 Super 1/8th I spend this time looking over the car. When I take off the right side valve cover, I find good news and bad news. The bad news is I find 3 rocker arms backed way off. I’m talking .100 loose or more. The good news is the all 3 have the locks loose and all 3 are on different lifters. I guess the locks didn’t get tight when we put the heads back on last weekend. Weird that they could move with the stud girdle on. This must be my problem. I adjust them and fire it back up and it sounds good again. Unfortunately I have missed the round of super pro so I am out of both of those classes.
R2 Pro 1/8th 1:25 am I draw the bye car in John Ratulowski in his Camaro. John gets choice and picks the right lane. Works for me as every pass I have made has been in the left. John dials in at a??? Wait where is John going he is backing up. Up next to me pulls Barclay Schmidt. Great out of the frying pan and into the fire. Seems Barclay just pulled up. Barclay is dialed in at a 6.31 and I went with a 5.91 my logic was that my slowest run in pro was a 5.91 so I should be able to at least run that. Adjusting the rockers should have picked it up some. That is got to be why I keep slowing down. My other thought is I am handcuffed to the driver by I could be going dead on or even over so I am taking the stripe at all cost. Luckily for me Barclay missed the tree with a .079 and I was .031 I did get cute at the finish line and only take .005 I was also skating around a little that run. I was 7 over for the win and found out that I picked up 3 hun to the 330 despite skating around. Perhaps my valve adjustment helped.
R3 Pro 1/4th 2:02 am I draw John Ratulowski. No this time I won’t get a reprieve from the governor. I really got to run him. John put two spankings on me last year when I was in the prizm. John dials a 10.86 and I go with a 9.42 Why 9.42? The 330 on my last run was a 3.753 compared to my tt of 3.723 and an et of 9.26. Therefore I picked 9.42 bc basically I was lost and wanted to be able to run the number. Back to the race I am .019 and take .004 at 132 for the L. WTF!!!!!!!! I can’t beat this guy. Now I know how Luke feels when he races us. (Sorry Luke but Second degree burn on that one!!!!!, you will need to put Aloe Vera on that burn)(Sorry Luke I take it back please don’t crush me next time we run.) John was .015 and .001 under. This guy is tough! Fortunately at least I got an accurate 1/8th mile et of 5.91 but I was skating all over the place plus I stuck it into high gear a little early to try and calm it down. Maybe my slowness wasn’t due to the valves lash. I lost the 3 hun back that I had gained in the 330 the run before. However that could be due to me shifting early. It’s official. I am lost. Good thing Columbus wasn’t with me as we would be in Antarctica about now. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?
R3 Pro 1/8th 2:37 am. We are put on the ladder for this round as there are 10 of us left. I get someone I don’t know in a mustang. He dials 7.50   I am now pissed at the car and dial a 5.97 now I know I’m holding plus I can stick it in high right away in case it is loose. I also have lane choice as the faster car so I pick the right lane. It is true I haven’t run the right lane since last week. It is also true I have run 10 runs in a row in the left and it is also true I have never footbraked the car in the right lane. I figured I’m lost anyhow. I was loose the last run and my opponent had just went down the right. Seems like a good choice. I watch my opponent leave and remember saying out loud “that is terrible, DON’T RED LIGHT” My tree comes down and my feet didn’t hear the warning and start moving. I remember thinking “NOOOOOO” only then the green light comes on. He was .101 and I was a conservative .005 Way to execute the strategy Jeremy maybe you should try listening once in a while. I then take a bus like .083 stripe but had shut off way earlier for the 5 over win. Perhaps we should try to take less than 11.44 feet next run. On a positive note the car was straight as a string that run. The down side to that is I picked up .041 in the 330 from the last run but I didn’t get into high gear early. Still very lost but at least the light keeps blinking on my side.
R4 Pro 1/8th 3:21 am. 5 cars left. I glance at the ladder and see I don’t have the bye this round nor will I have it in the semis. I draw Ricky Thomas again. The first time I ran him he dialed a 7.02 and went a 6.98 on the brakes. This time he is dialed 6.92. I bump him to the left and dial a 5.91 which matches my slowest run of the night. Judging by my last run I would guess I was going around a 5.85 but right now I’m lost and very sleepy as if you remember Denny and I left at 6:00 am the previous morning. So I am sure I’m not thinking well. Ricky was .038 and I was .031 I took .026. Not very good but better than last round. It was good enough as Ricky was .027 over and I was dead on 8. I think the left lane may have bit Ricky. I slowed down 3 hun in the 330 but for some unknown reason I stuck it into high gear about 60 ft out. The car isn’t consistent they way it is and now I can’t shift it within 500 rpm.
R5 Pro 1/8th 4:01 am 3 cars left. I draw Lloyd Jennings in his 66 Chevelle. He dialed 6.91 I figured I want to make sure I was holding no matter when I shifted or what else happened so I went with a 5.94. Lloyd was a nice .013 and I was late with a .043. I take .012 and am under with a 5.91 and he was one above and that is that.
We get stuff loaded up and Denny and I get on the road. Luckily for me I always drive to the track and Denny always drives home. By the time we get the 120 mile out of the way, with a stop and White Castle(no one else was open for some reason) where Denny gets to buy as he opened the year with a victory in the no box bike class. (This should have been the first sign I couldn’t finish the deal and win as Denny and I have never managed to both win on the same night) and I get showered and into bed it is 6:15 am of Easter morning. I have now been up for 24 hrs and 30 minutes although I did catch about 8 naps on the way home. I think Denny caught about the same number but I don’t think we were ever sleeping at the same time.
 I’m not quite sure what is wrong with the Cavalier as since I adjusted the valves I don’t think I shifted the car the same way twice. I know it has some traction issues and maybe something else so I called Matt at Tinnin Drag race suspension and he gave me some ideas to try for the following weekend. Also not only did Jason have limited success in the dragster it needs a new starter as the old one we were running finally died. I think it was probably do to all the kickbacks in the past.
Beginning balance - $3061 - $220 entries - $60 bb - $44 Wal-Mart tab + $150 semi money (at least I hope as of writing this I haven’t got a check or been contacted) = - $3235 + plus one car that runs like crap.
The following weekend brought a return trip to Gateway for the NHRA open race as well as the Jeg’s Super Quick race. Let’s just say I don’t want to reap the wrath of the brownie gods again. Friday night I have a track meet late and Celia doesn’t get home from work until almost 9:00. I called her from the school bus and asked her to make brownies. She agreed even though she was just getting home and in the process of getting all the kids to bed. I don’t know if she agreed because she is a loving wife or if it had more to do with the fact that the credit card bill after the TennTuck mess had arrived. Anyway in her busyness of trying to do a million things at once, let’s just say the brownies became overcooked. No big deal except it is the last brownie mix in the house. Oh well guess we’ll have to tempt fate. 
Now back to the racing. I have a theory on the inconsistency of the Cavalier. I guessed at 2.3 seconds for the shift. However I can’t say I ever watched the tach to see when it was shifting. Just like Rainman I’m an excellent driver. However when watching a video of one of my footbrake runs online I timed my shift at 2.7 seconds and on that run I know I was shifting at 6500. I want to shift at 6800 in super pro so perhaps I am way short shifting it. The forecast wasn’t very good but with it being a two day race, the fact that it was supposed to clear out Sat afternoon and be good till late Sunday afternoon, and I am addicted to racing we were going. Since they were not running bikes at this race Denny was not going to attend so I met my friends Curt and Corey Landolt in Hermann MO (30 miles from my house and on the way) and hitched a ride with them the additional 90 miles to Gateway. $110 dollars gets me entered in Super Pro and Pro. It was raining but that was expected. After about 2.5 hours they decided to cancel the entire weekend and reschedule. Why they didn’t either cancel earlier or wait longer I don’t know. I suspect it had something do due with the smaller amount of cars in the pits. This sucks but Hey I-57 drag strip in Benton Illinois is racing with time runs beginning at 4:00pm it is only 11:00am now and I am only about 2 hours or so away. Oh uh problem. I didn’t bring a car here so I can’t take the race cars and trailer bc then Jason won’t have a ride home. It won’t help to talk him into going as then I wouldn’t have a vehicle to get home from his house. I then brainstorm a nice plan. I’ll call Denny and have him load his bike on his trailer behind his van, drive to Hermann, switch the trailer from his fan to the Prizm, drive towards Gateway pick me up, then I’ll back track with him to Benton. Now will he want to go as there are never any bikes there for him to race and they won’t let him race with cars? I call him and he is in or as Denny likes to say “it will make a good story someday.” So after a while I depart with Curt and Corey and head back towards home (which is away from Benton) about halfway home I meet Denny and jump in with him and back to I-57 we go.
We arrive at I-57 at about 4:30 and open time trials are going on. The good thing about I-57 is there are no et breaks and I get to race with the “real” race cars for “real money.” After my second $110 check of the day I am in Footbrake ($600 to win) and Pro (100% payback which turns out to be $400 to win only difference between fb and pro is that pro allows transbrakes). Denny has to settle for tnt. Benton is a cool little 1/8th mile strip run by a wonderful family. The facility isn’t the Bellagio but it is well maintained and they are great to the racer. They have the best concession stand food around and have just installed new air conditioned bathrooms. They are even well known to pay out extra money on the nights they have a decent turnout. If you haven’t race there you should. Any you will have an excellent chance at the Jeg’s Summer Door Car Shootout July 21-22. $7500 to win both days. Yes that was a shameless plug but I got to keep my sugar daddy Luke happy, especially after that earlier burn. Not to mention I love this race as I scored a runner up here last year. Yes that was a shameless brag.
At the end of last year the Prizm wasn’t the most consistent machine. Today I decided to try racing with it hot. As we just arrived I went right up for a time trial I figured it should be good and hot. I unhook the variable valve timer sensor. This throws the car in open loop although I can’t say for sure if it is more consistent this way. I deep stage the prizm and then flat foot it (hold the brake and put the gas on the floor) then release the brake. I am .537 on the tree(500 is perfect here) and it goes 12.144 at 62.16 (Benton’s mph reads about 2 fast for the prizm and about 4 fast on my race cars but the ets seem dead on for the incremental). I drive right back around to the staging lanes and without shutting the car off and go .514 and 12.144 @ 62.16 We might be on to something here. I make one more open time trail this time go to the right land and go .547 and 12.172 @ 61.05 Not bad for the prizm. We then get one final time run in each class. I go back to the left and go .547 (my light is stuck here I think it is from racing the cavalier) 12.214 @ 61.65 This doesn’t seem good. I go make my last hit and go .521(that is better) and go 12.238 @ 61.71 Running it hot it seems to keep slowing down but I assume it will level off somewhere. Scott Bailey the owner of the track comes and tells me I need to wear a helmet. He said he had a racers wife complaining about my prizm saying it wasn’t fair I got to run bc it was so slow. He told her he has asked the racers before and they said they would rather let everyone run so that Scott can afford to pay the whole purse. She then used the argument that it wasn’t safe bc I didn’t have a helmet. The prizm sure draws a lot of heat. I don’t know why it isn’t fair, is it bc of the sweet car seats, the trailer hitch, the 141 thousand on the odometer, or the fact that it has varied almost a tenth already.
R1 FB My opponent is dialed in at 7.01 I choose a dial of 12.25 This thing has slowed down a minimum of 2 the last several runs and being a math teacher I take 12.23 + .02 = 12.25 I leave with a .514 and my opponent is .584    I am going to cross way early so with a lot of brakes I kill what later adds up to be 9 hundredths and 7 mph(7 doesn’t sound like a lot but when you only start out going 62 it is a lot) for the still .026 break out loss. So much for the consistency I was looking for. I did take .105 stripe (15.6 feet) but when your opponent is going almost 46 mph more and closing at a rate of 67.1 ft per second I’m not really comfortable killing more than 9 hundredths. I would hate to give it back and be 2 tenths above. Oh well good thing Benton offers 1st or 2nd round bye backs. Now up to this point I had just been warming the car up a lot but had not been leaving it run so I get the bright idea that maybe it wasn’t hot enough.
R1 Pro I start the car a little earlier to make sure it’s hot. I draw Javan Androff and his mustang. Javan is definitely a hitter and I am lost. Things don’t look promising. Historically Javan and I always seem to have a good race so maybe there is hope. Since last run I was back on my 12.14 pace so I go with that dial. Javan dials in at a 6.17 I’m .519 and watch him leave in my mirror and he looks good. Turns out he is .519 also. I can tell it will be close so I leg it and am 12.164 Javan lifts as he gets to me and it .001 under while taking only .025 while closing at over 52 mph. Ok I can live with this I guess the car just wasn’t hot enough the run before
For a reasonable $20 bill I am back in R2 of FB. I dial 12.16 and my opponent is 6.61 I just let the car run between passes to make sure it is hot. I leave .524 and my opponent is .577 As we near the stripe I can see I’m going to be caught and get my foot above the break to park this guy off. He has other plans as it looks and sounds like he is landing a plane over there and comes sliding up to me with the front tires locked and smoking. My win light blinks but my et is 12.23 as my opponent is .001 behind (this is the second time .001 is in my favor, Javan broke out by that much last round). Lucky break for me as I already used my one buyback in fb. So much for the car being consistent.  I decide to hook my scanner back up and run the way I used to by monitoring temp so that it doesn’t get too hot. I felt that if I was going back I had to do it this run as I can still buy back in pro.
R2 Pro I move to the right lane bc it seems to be allot the sharks are in the right lane and I don’t see any reason to jump into the pool just yet. I go with the 12.16 dial again as now my theory is the car slows down too much when hot. My opponent is 6.75 I leave with a .547 and know it but when I watched my opponent he didn’t look good either. Turns out he was .609 I give it two little brake pumps in the lights and take .010(at the time I didn’t know who got there) and was save with a two above and he was 2 under. Ok so that run seemed reasonable.
R3 FB no more buybacks now. Back to the left lane as I hit the tree better in the left. I’m not sure of the reason except maybe the bulbs are angled different in the right. I dial 12.17 and my opponent is 6.88 I leave with a .517 and he is .586 I flat foot it taking .048 (7ft I don’t consider this bad as he is closing at 40mph more) I am 4 over and h is 2 over. I don’t like that it slowed down again but I didn’t get the gas on the floor right away. Did this do it? Not sure but that is my theory for now.
R3 Pro back to the right lane as I still see a lot fins circling. I dial 12.19 and split the difference of my last two runs. I don’t know if the late throttle is why is slowed down so like Mick told Rocky “hit the one in the middle” and that is how I chose my dial. My opponent is 6.71 I try to murder the tree as I’m slower in the right and when I let go I am very happy to see it fall green. I’m .508 and he is .590 I lift the throttle quite early and take .052 for the two over 12.21 win. Judging by the incremental I was on a 16 or 17 pass. These are hard to tell as the prizm being computer controlled can slow down at the first two incremental yet still run quicker.
R4 FB 12 cars remaining and I am pulled for the bye. At the end of the line I can see I will have to run someone. They are setting in the left lane and I have choice as the bye car so I take the left. I like the tree better in the left and might as well bump them. I dial 12.17 and they dial 7.28 I am .521 When I see them leave they look good (.535) It is going to be tight and I leg it and my side lights up with the giant W (Benton’s win lights are cool)
 My dial in doesn’t change on the scoreboard when the win light comes on which means I was dead on. I check my slip I am dead on 1 even though I have 1 hundredth slower to the 330. Guess I was going 16 or 15 last run, whoops. At I-57 the bye caries over. Nice this is the way it should be!
R4 Pro 5 cars left. I don’t earn the bye with my .508 from the previous round as Javan had carried it. What the bye carries? That sucks no track should do it like this! My opponent turns out to be the husband of who was complaining about me earlier. I pull out around the water and he sits back for quite some time. I see something moving next to me and it is him. Why didn’t he do a burnout? He must be broke? Dilemma time Do I make sure not to red light or do I risk it and go for the light and the bye into the final. I decide to squeeze the break hard and pass to the next round. I dial 12.17 and he is 6.10 I am .551 and he is stabs it (what I thought he was broke). Thankfully he shuts off at 60 ft. I lift and take the freebee. After the run the lady is complaining to the track workers. Denny overhears the conversation. She was upset bc they were told I had the bye (which was true for the other class) she was saying they thought they were racing the other car and had their “strategy” set up for him.   That is why they didn’t even try to run me. What strategy would override attempting to win? I have my theory and we’ll just leave it at that. Oh well thanks for the freebee.
R5 FB 6 cars left and I’m sitting on the bye. I won’t get it now but it carries so this is a two for one special round. I draw Dustin Bryant and his Monza. I dial a 12.15 which I think at the time is conservative. He is in at a 6.75. I am .539 and he is .520 I break out by .035 and he breaks out by .034 so much for the one thou going my way all night. After he light came on his carb must have been running in as he has to rip the throttle several times in the shutdown. Yeah Dustin I saw the light too. Guess he was more excited about it since he got a closer look at it than me. FB pays $600 to win and $200 Ru. My quarter finals got me $50. That thou was costly. Not to mention I guess the car likes going fast. Although it is getting cooler and a tail wind picking up.
R5 Pro 3 cars left. I draw Javan again. I dial 12.11 and his 6.13(he run 6.169 earlier so I guess I’m not the only one picking up. I go .524 and he actually missed it a little for once, .541   I tap the brakes one time and take .007(lucky) and run 12.14 for the win. Javan was 2 over. On the way back I stop and watch my opponent run his bye. He dialed a 6.15 and ran a 6.12
R6 Pro final. I raise my dial to a 12.13 and my opponent is 6.12 Its $400 to win and $150 to ru. This is the difference between breaking even and making a little. I leave and totally miss it and know it when I left. I was .570 While cussing myself going down the track I watch my opponent leave and my exact thought was that was worse than me. (watching is no way an exact science as when he leaves I am roughly 250 ft down the track and going 40 mph while watching the back side of the tree in my side mirror.) I was right and he was .640 I have a hard time deciding what is going to happen as he runs big speed (116mph). Next thing I know I realize I am getting there first by a lot and not only have I not lifted any yet I panic slam the brakes and ram the nose into the light. You guessed it I took .097 (16.6 ft) and go 12.07 for the L. Consistent she is not. My opponent goes 6.08; he picked up 7 the last two runs, for the W. I don’t know which part sucks worse, that I choked on the tree or the fact that I still could have won and dummied it up again.
All in all a good night. I got to race, made one final and won a little money. Granted there wasn’t a ton of cars, maybe 35 in fb and 20 in pro. Plus I got some of the natives stirred up. While at the gate getting paid someone called the track and wanted to know if they were a strip club. I guess bc they are listed as a drag strip. So the next question is were they looking for a strip club for people in drag. Denny and I (the two founding members of Dead money racing, dead money are the people in poker tournaments that have no chance of winning) then make the 209 mile ride home with a stop at White Castle again where I reward him for being my savior with some fish and cheese (neither one of us like the burgers) and a shake. I guess the brownie gods let us skate this time. 
 I guess I can’t complain about the consistency too much. It is a $3000 12 sec 18th mile car and it did get us home without breaking down. Plus it is much cheaper to race it a long way from home vs. taking all the race operation. I guess racing the prizm and all my theories boil down to this quote from Tin cup “That perfection is unobtainable.” We arrive home at 2:00am which is much better than the previous weekend.
-$3235 begging balance -$110 entry gateway -$130 entries and buy backs to I-57 - $65 gas + $200 winnings = -$3340
That ends this month’s tale. I’m sorry it got to be so long but the truth must be known. Hopefully next month’s will be shorter but with more success and with a lot of luck I can crawl out of this hole some. I would like to thank some people who have helped me out: Tuffpaw.com, BTE, and most of all my wife for putting up with this insanity. Also thanks once again to Advanced Product Design (APD), K&N Engineering, Nitroplate, J&J Performance, ThisIsBracketRacing.com, Wiseco Performance, Milodon, Huntsville Engine & Performance, Dedenbear, and the JEGS U.S. Open Bracket Championships for letting me be a part of this great program.

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