APD Member Spotlight Blog: Jeremy McKague (Part 1)
In the Red
My name is Jeremy McKague and I love to race. First off let me start by saying thanks to Thisisbracketracing.com for selecting me to be one of the APD spotlight members. Also a big thanks has to go out to all the great companies for sponsoring such a cool program. I read and enjoyed every blog last year and I hope I can entertain you guys, then you can vote for me and I get even more great prizes. Remember don’t vote for Pedro, vote for me! Before I begin with my background let me throw in a little disclaimer. I am a poor writer. My blog will not be grammatically correct as I tend to type like I speak. Since I will be receiving some great prizes for writing my monthly blog I consider it being paid to speak. Me being paid to speak? Normally everyone runs away when I begin to talk.
My wife is named Celia (who is an RN); she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. We have 3 perfect children. Our first and only daughter Alex is 7years old and in the 1st grade. We also have two sons Max who is 4 years old and Rex who is approaching the terrible twos. Rex’s initials are RPM. It was just a coincidence. Wink wink. He must be the racer. He even likes National Dragster. We live in the giant Metropolis of Chamois Missouri, Population under 400. The closest race track is Gateway Motorsports Park which is nearly 120 miles one way.
Seems strange writing as I normally hate to do it. Perhaps that is why I chose to be a math teacher. I teach Junior High and High school math (remember I suck at writing) as well as coach basketball and Track and Field. Obviously if you’ve seen me you know I have the god given physical attributes to coach these sports. Wait, you have seen me? Well let’s just say that I know more about it than my shape would indicate. That’s not true either. I can’t lie to you guys. No one else wanted to do it. In summary those that can’t do, teach and those that can’t teach, teach gym. Thanks to Jack Black and the School of Rock for that little quote.
Some racing background on me. I have raced for 17 years. My two brothers Jr. and Jason are who got me into racing. I currently race with my brother Jason. We use his Excursion to pull a 32ft trailer that contains our two cars. A 2007 Racecraft swingarm dragster powered by a 582 BBC.
A 2004 Cavalier Roadster that I bought from Todd Senseney at the end of last year. It is powered by a SBC. The kicker is that Jason and I live almost 2 hours apart so there are some logistics problems.
My 3rd race car is a 2001 Chevy Prizm. It is the econo bracket buster. Not only does the massive 1.8 L beast propel my wife to work in Jefferson City 40 miles away but it also is used to tow my best friend Deadmoney Denny’s bracket bike to the track where it will rip off 11-12 second ets. Unfortunately those are 1/8th mile ets. I spent over $1300 in entry fees in the Prizm last year. I know that is some kind of record. Kind of like when Happy Gilmore says he has a record for the only guy that took off his skate and tried to stab someone. I guess all records might not be a good thing. I did manage to win enough last year to cover the entries. Is it strange that last year I was accused of cheating twice and both times were in the Prizm? Jason and I at the July TennTuck race were in 3 finals combined out of 4 races in the dragster and no one said a word. I am racing for $125 dollars in sportsman at Central Illinois Dragway last year and I get tore down in the Prizm in time runs due to my $65 eBay scanner that reads my engine temperature. Yep they caught me. I drove 180 miles one way pulling a 4ft by 8ft trailer with a bike on the back to come here in my Prizm to cheat you out of the $125 first place prize. After I couldn’t use my scanner I got both my entries into the semis of Sportsman only to run into Jimmie Barrett who made me settle for 2nd and 3rd and I won street. Maybe that scanner wasn’t such a good investment after all. I know what you’re thinking and yes I am messed up and yes I will race anything.
Now on to the racing for this year. Ever since we put a new cam in the dragster a while back it has been very hard to start and loves to kick back unless it is over 130 degrees. Nothing like sitting in the staging lanes surrounded by millions, well it feels like millions, when your car clanks, bangs, and grinds. So we decide to put a new cam in it this year. Once the new cam was installed Jason takes the engine to Rolla Competition Engines to have it put of the dyno. Denny and his nephew Robert (he had never seen a dyno pull and this was cheap entertainment for the afternoon) and I met Jason and our friend Mark there. (Remember we live two hours apart) Long story short the dragster now makes 30 hp less than it used to. In now makes 950hp and 1250hp on the spray. Awesome!!! Hopefully it will at least start better.
A few weekends later was the Reopening of Gateway with new owners. Jason and I decide that we probably out to get a run on the dragster before the TennTuck race. So I ride with Denny and his bike to Gateway and meet Jason over there. Denny has a new header he made for his bike he wants to test. Honestly the dude made it from a small block Chevy header, some other elbows, an 110v welder and a 4inch grinder. It looks sweet. He has dubbed his shop the scab shop. He says his exhaust looks like it has scabs on it.
Gateway was packed with many changes from the old owners. They did a few things I did not like but I’ll have to say this. Neither the old Gateway nor the new Gateway had/have their ducks in a row. The difference is the new Gateway will actually move their ducks around trying to make it better where as Dover Downs, the previous owners of Gateway, would rather execute their ducks then to take a racer suggestion. Anyhow the back to the racing. The track surface was poor do to having new concrete installed, sitting vacant for over a year, and the tons of street cars. Anyway to my amazement the dragster went right down the groove and ripped of a 4.85 a 4.85? I didn’t think it would be that slow. Oh well it didn’t blow up. I will say I am amazed the car even got down the track. That is a testament to the Mickey Thompson 3186 slicks. Luke turned us on to these and I have to say they are unbelievable. They are not the fastest but they will go down a piece of bacon in July. Denny made two runs on his bike the first was a gear missing 6.39 but the second was a nice 6.29 at 111mph which is one of his best speeds ever(the test and tune was limited to 1/8th mile due to lack of rubber on the new top end surface). His winter time header building and tuning has paid off.
The following weekend the real racing beings. The TennTuck races at Beech bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green Ky. I love Beech bend and the TennTuck. I have had way more than my fair share of success at this track and was looking to add to it. Thursday I had to go to a track meet so we did not get an early start. It finally ended and I meet Jason and we headed off for Bowling Green. We had cancelled our Thursday night hotel room at the luxurious Motel 6 due to our late arrival. We had planned to stay at a hotel along the way. The problem was we needed to be at the track early because Ronnie Maggart was set to install a new set of Hoosier slicks on the roadster for us. We then made the executive decision to just drive it all the way through. We arrived at the track at around 2:00am. We though why pay for a hotel room for 5 hours of sleep. So we saved the 50 bones and slept in the excursion. Fortunately Beech Bend has showers. I went to the shower house only to discover I left my shampoo behind. Here’s a helpful hint though. The track has all the soap you need in little dispensers right by the sink. Problem is that sink is 20 feet from the shower and no one wants to run in on me running back and forth to the sink naked well some of you might(you sick freaks). So I filled my hand with as much soap as I could before I got into the shower. Problem solved. Warning if you wash your hair with this soap it does have a powerful fragrance. I figure the free soap is a small price they pay for the $400 check I wrote them to get into the gate.
Next morning I wake up to the sound of rain, great. Finally the rain stops we get the Cavalier unloaded and get the slicks changed. Thanks Ronnie. Seriously guys it was cheaper than most places and he mounts and balances for the price. Time to unload the dragster. Success it starts with out kicking back, without making noises. Now hopefully not everyone will stare when I start the car in the lanes. Tracks dry finally time to go racing. First run in the Cavalier. All feels well it goes straight, which is an improvement from last year and hence the reason for new slicks, but the scoreboard pops up 5.90 I though the new tires would be slower, due to being larger, but this thing went 5.7’s last time here. We did change carbs but the new carb was one of my money carbs no way that could be the problem. Oh well worry about that later. Time to make a lap in the digger. Get to the water box and it won’t fire. Get out and wiggle the wire on the starter and it starts. Better look at that. First run in the dragster I let go and the scoreboard pops up a beautiful .000 (nice start but nowhere to go from here but down) and follows it up with a 4.828 @ 143.32 so the dragster is a little slower but a small price to pay for something that actually starts. You know the Cinderella song “don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Let me tell you that is true. I forgot how nice it was to have something that actually starts. I think we broke 3 starters last year. Need to get one more time trial in each car. Back up in the Cavalier and it rings off a 5.95 Ok its official something is wrong with this thing. Time trial #2 in dragster 4.83 with a -.006 light. No time to work on Cavy as Rd 1 is starting.
Rd 1 in Cavalier I dial 5.95 vs. my 4 second opponent. I’m 10 and he is 25. I look back and see I’m going to cross more than a car length ahead so I just shut it off around 550 ft and coast across only to see his side light up. Yep I went 5.91 out of it a ton. That confirms it, this thing is broke. Most people would have figured it out after the time trials were 5 hun apart. My guy was one above following me though wide open .063 behind so in my opinion this race should have been a double disqualification.
R1 in the dragster finally something I have some confidence in. The dragster to me is like the Ol' Billy Baroo. You know this one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJPg1Fivmqg
I pull up to see who I’m pair with and next to me is Danny Nelson. Nothing like starting off with a duck. I don’t even know if this guy has ever driven a dragster or won a race. I’m on a 4.83 and Danny is on a 4.51 I don’t mind dialing this as I have nitrous if the dragster does decide to slow down. I leave with a .006 and Danny leaves with a um um let’s just say not a .006. Seems if Danny flinched and had to push the button back in. Immediately after I leave I think to myself get your finger on the button you might want it with the dial I picked. I take a quick peak back and think to myself you don’t want it as Danny was way back there so I shut off early for the win. I do believe this may be the first time I’ve ever beaten Danny. This year is starting off good.
R2 and I find I’m paired with Shawn Langdon. Now I know I’ve got this one in the bag for 3 reasons. #1 He races Top Fuel so I know he won’t drive the strip. #2 In 2010 his average light was only a .052 #3 I don’t see Alan Johnson around so most likely he won’t be able to make it down the track. I dial 4.83 again as I was going low 4.83 the round before against Danny and Shawn dials 4.64 I think I crush it when I leave but Shawn in on me by the 400 ft mark. No surprise he is holding and going to break out as Top Fuel doesn’t lift. Well I guess he dropped a cylinder or something as he held his wheel right in front. I park it at the end and he still only takes .009. I was .029 (so much for crushing it) and he was .008 (so much for his average being .052) I’m one over and he is a safe 2 over.
Time for the little race and another check to Beech Bend, this time for $200
R1 in the Cavalier. I dial 5.90 thinking my one slow run was a fluke, piece of dirt in the needle and seat, something, anything. My opponent is a 4.91 dragster. I’m 16 and his is 13 I rip it twice and take .009 for the nice wi…. Loss Yep I’m .003 under he is dead nine. Torched that hundo fast. Maybe we can do better in the digger.
R1 in dragster. I draw a nice Camaro. Last year Jason beat this guy in the final of a 5k race here. He had also knocked me out of the same race earlier even though I was double o and dead on. He was perfect and one above with a zero so I know I got to be on my game. Strangely enough we just had a conversation during some down time before this and I also found out he makes over 300 runs a year. I dial 4.83 (yep same dial yep I love my dragster) and he dials a 5.35 I leave with a .018 normally not a great light except for the fact that he left almost half a second after me with a .996 and I was spotting him. I found out later he has his delay box with one extra second of crossover. I get back to the pics and start fueling up when someone road up on a scooter and said I don’t know if you know this but your nitrous bottle was standing straight up when you left the line the last run. Quick inspection shows the bottle mount is broke so off comes the bottle. Fortunately for me Jason won first round so he can be the guinea pig of how much the car picks up with no bottle.
R2 dragster I am near the back of the line as Jason ran first. There have been reports of a storm closing in. Even though it is night now you can the dark clouds getting close. There is also a lot of lighting around. I am getting impatient bc I want to get back to the trailer. I don’t want both cars out when the downpour hits. I am in the dragster and it must be loaded first to load the cavy. We back the dragster in and lift it to get the cavalier in. Now we are getting delayed because the prestage light keeps flickering. The finally get that fixed and I am paired with Aaron Vail. Not an easy draw at all. First of all he is good. Secondly his car only goes a little under 100 mph so driving the stripe is difficult. I dial 4.81 (Jason said no bottle on car picked it up about 2 hun + the air was changing rapidly + I was a pansy racing the slow car) and Aaron dials 6.95 I go .006 and Aaron missed it and I am 1 above out of it 5 mph for the win.
I hurry back to the trailer and we load both cars even though they are calling round 3 to the lanes. After about 2 minutes the skies open up and we are done for the night. They chop the money up and I get $350. Pretty good for winning 2 rounds. Jason only went 1 for 5 today and his four loses were to Kenny Underwood (Jason 2 red Underwood Perfect 1 above, Scotty Richardson (Jason in cavy breaks out 2 thou), Lester Adkins (Lester takes 2 thou) and Edmond Richardson (Edmond 12 and dead on 2 out of it 7mph, Jason 14 and dead 7 out of it 3 mph) He needs to learn to pull into the lanes better.
Saturday starts out nice and sunny. I have been bothered by the windshield on the cavalier. It is directly in my line of site where I either have to stretch my neck to look over it or duck my head to look under it. Therefore I made the decision to cut it out with a hacksaw. We stopped at a parts store in the morning bc seriously who else works on their race car with a hacksaw. It doesn’t look as good but I sure do enjoy driving it more. I then set in to search what was wrong with the Cavalier. After some diagnosis we discover it has a vacuum leak. We take off the carb to fix the leak. We need a new gasket. Fortunate we park next to the staging lanes and fortunately Mike Eggelston was next to us and hooked us up. Those that don’t know Mike and Tami Eggelston need to look them up not only are they great people but they own, manage, and operate Tuffpaw.com and can make any aluminum trailer accessory you need. After reinstalling the carb Jason noticed the throttle stop linkage on the base plate was loose. So off comes the carb again along with the throttle stop. A few attempts later we have it back to running only with a shorter spacer underneath it. For the second time this weekend we also notice that the car is low on water and there is some in the overflow. Hmmm don’t like this considering the header had a little antifreeze in it after it set the winter. But the exhaust doesn’t smell like antifreeze. So we top off the water and now the car acts normal, it idles good and doesn’t heat up fast like it was the day before. Great this thing is fixed. Go and make a time run and it goes 5.95 @110 Great we now have slowed it down about 2 or 3 mph. Must be the short spacer. No time to fix it right now bc while in the water box for my time trial Jason made a hit in the dragster in which I seen him pull to the side and get towed back.
The dragster has broken something in the drive train. Jason suspects it to be an input shaft or pump as the dragster will not move in any gear. We dive into the trans as they are getting ready to call first round. Nick Folk shows up to offer us a hand as well as lend us an impact to speed the process. (Thanks Nick!) While lifting the trans out the converter begins to fall probably due to the broken input shaft it had and just misses landing on Jason’s foot. A lucky break but he cannot avoid the trans fluid that comes out and pours down his shorts, leg, sock and into his shoe. We go into the trailer to steal the input shaft from the spare trans and realize that we have preformed that robbery before as there is no input shaft. John Labbous Jr. to the rescue to provide us with a spare shaft. We have the trans set back in just need to button it up. By now first round has started to we need to hustle as I need to run the cavalier and we both need to run the dragster so we just can’t be the last car in line. And then it happens. It begins to sprinkle. Great the cavalier is out and the dragster is half bolted together. No big deal will get it loaded up before anything gets to wet. Then it really started to rain. We were scrambling when Brandon Jarrell and John Labbous Jr. (thanks guys) came to the rescue. The helped Jason push the dragster in while I tarped the Cavalier. While the rain fell Jason finished the dragster in the trailer. After a couple hours it quit raining the track was dried and sprayed. A few more sprinkles and we were on hold again Finally the rain has ended, the radar on my phone is clear, blue skies start popping out all around us when the announces comes back on the call round 1 back to the lanes. This is going to work out great for us as now we can get the dragster to the front of the line. Only he doesn’t call first round he says rainout. Rainout! you made us sit around 3 hours till the rain actually stopped, the sky cleared up, and the radar looks great. The forecast is for clear weather the rest of the night and now you rained it out.
Now how can we entertain ourselves it’s not even 4:00. So we jump into the truck and take the short 118 miles trip to Evansville for some Casino action. Jason and I play No limit holdem. We get on the list for 1-3 blinds nl game and after a short wait we’re in. I am involved in two interested hands in the night. First hand I have Ad Qd (this stands for ace of diamonds and queen of diamonds) I raise preflop to 15 and get 4 callers (action was loose) Flop comes Qc 3h 6h. First player leads out for 20 into a pot of 75. This bet reeks of weakness so I min raise to 40. I want to find out if someone yet to act is lying in the weeds. A third opponent thinks and looks very indecisive. He calls so I put him on a draw. With any good made hand he would have to raise me due to the flush and straight draws on board. Original better also calls. Turn card is the 10s so a complete brick unless someone had Q10(also known as the Gardner due to my #1 gambling degenerate friend Brian Gardner(and Racecraft dealer) since it is his favorite hand, we go to Vegas almost every summer for the wsop). First better checks so now I think I got him for sure. I bet 90 into the pot of 195 leaving myself with 105 still in my stack. Now the guy who I think is on a draw looks real uncomfortable but he calls and the first guy to bet the flop folds. Heads up to the river and it is the beautiful 9s. This card couldn’t change anything. I check to him to induce a bluff. I feel that he has missed a flush or straight and has nothing so he can’t call me so there is no value in betting but if I check maybe he bluffs. The guy makes a gesture with his hands which I didn’t recognize and I ask the dealer did he check. The guy says no I’m all in. Normally I hate calling all my money with one pair, even top pair and top kicker, but I snapped called her for two reasons. #1 the pot was now large, $480 and I only had to call $105 for pot odds of 4.57 to 1 I would be a crime to fold getting those odds. I would only need to win about 18% of the time to break even. #2 I checked so he would bluff it would be stupid to fold now. When I called the guy didn’t turn his hand over, a good sign he was bluffing. I showed mine and he folded. The second hand of interest had me making a bad call $120 on the turn with an open ended straight draw and flush draw. I didn’t have the odds even if he had one pair and I definitely didn’t have the odds since I found out at showdown that he had a straight. I missed and lost all my profit. After playing a few more hours I was down $165 and we decided to call it a night and made the 112 mile drive back to our Mecca of Motel 6 in Bowling Green.
Sunday comes and they announce they are going to run a Big race and Little race. This could put a damper in my day as I have an 8 hour drive home and have to be at school on Monday morning. I give Beech Bend another $400 to get into the big race. I never buy the little race entries till later as I want to make sure everything goes well first, in this case a very good decision. We decide to change carbs on the cavalier and put the right height spacers on. We figure this would eliminate the unknown of my carb on it. Time for time trials the dragster does exactly what it should with a 4.84. It now has the nitrous bottle back on thanks to a little help from a ratchet strap. I have seen Jason Lynch do it to his radiator before, with the exact same ratchet strap as we loaned it to him. If it’s good enough for Racin’ Jason than it is definitely good enough for me. The Cavalier puts down a nice 5.83 at 115. A 12 hundredths and 5 mph improvement since yesterday nice! Finally maybe it is back. Brian Robinson of BTE hooks me up with two new input shafts. (Brian is the man and our BTE converter is money) One to replace John Labbous Jr’s and another to replace the one that we had previously stole from the spare.
R1 in Cavalier. I watch Jason run the dragster in front of my and he drops a double breakout taking .001 When he gets back he informs me that the dragster is broke. A quick inspection shows a tooth missing off of the pinion. So I change the car number on the cavy to my dragster number in an attempt to earn points on my good entry. Even though I went 5.83 in tt I don’t really trust the car yet. I draw a Chevy II dialed 6.40 so I decide since the cavy showed me it would slow down five on Friday I dialed a 5.87 My guy is red, I’m .004 and 5.82 Maybe this thing is fixed.
R1 in the dragster is forfeited. Due to the rear end being broke. I guess they don’t make things like they used to as that rear end probably has only about 1100 runs on it.
R2 in the Cavalier. I am feeling a little more confident in the car. My guy dials 5.97 and I’m 5.83. He is 15 and I am a conservative 25. He is dead on 7 and I drop to dead on 2 for the L. On the way back from the run the Cavalier decides to get to 210 degrees. I guess it is low on water again. This isn’t looking good. We declare the cavy broke and load up without running the little race. All in all not a great weekend. We didn’t really win anything and both cars are going home broke. It’s all because of the brownies. My wife always sends brownies and somewhere along the line we decided they were lucky bc one time I broke the cover to the pan on a trip and we got beat up. This weekend my wife didn’t make any bc she got home late and I told her not to worry about it. From now on she will be slaving away in the kitchen even if its midnight. After the totals from this weekend I doubt she will object.
Totals for weekend
$1000(entries) + $90(alcohol) + $165(tow vehicle gas) + $660(slicks cavy) + $280(input shafts) + $165(casino) +$100(hotel) = $2460 expenses
$350 (payout from little race on Friday)
Total $350 - $2460 = negative $2110 not counting the repairs both cars need yet
And now I think we all realize why I chose the title I did.
The following week was a car diagnosis week. Fortunately for me the cars live at Jason’s house which means he gets stuck doing the majority of the work. The dragster was found to have a pinion tooth broke off. We were thinking the Cavalier must have a blown head gasket to keep pushing out the water. I thought that if Jason started it with the radiator cap off that he could see it bubble. Well that isn’t quite true. With the cap off and just cranking the engine over it would spray water out roughly 3 feet above the engine. Great apparently it is worse than we thought. After some surfing on Summit’s site. I now have a new ring gear and pinion, rotors, brake pads, 2 sets of seat belts, and a bill for $1038. Jason ordered some head gaskets, intake gaskets from Rolla Competition Engines. I normally pay for car expenses and Jason normally pays for engine expenses. We find out that Gateway has added a test and tune for sat March 31. Yep 6 days after the TennTuck. We make a plan that if the gaskets show up on Friday that Denny and I will go to Jason’s early and put the Cavalier back together, take it and his bike to Gateway. This would allow us to test before the following weekend which is scheduled to be Gateway’s first bracket race. I was much more excited about it since I heard Gateway was having a gamblers race as well. Now I hate test and tunes but I love racing so I’m in. Denny and I depart home at 6:00 am sat morning. We stop along the way at Wal-Mart (who doesn’t do performance shopping at Wal-Mart?) for some silicone, sandpaper, and brake cleaner. We arrive at Jason’s about 8:00am to the following site.
Test and Tune begins at 1:00 pm and Jason lives about 1 hour away. We have our work cut out for us. We get the car assembled, crank it over and no water blows out of the radiator. Good sign. We get the car and bike loaded up. Before we can go Jason and I decide to lower the hitch a little on the truck as now with the new air bags he installed on the back the trailer drags going into his driveway. This 10 minute job turns into much longer due to the tightness and corrosion on the bolts. Finally we arrive at gateway around 1:30 pm. I go make the first pass in the car. I know it is going to fly bc it had blown head gaskets, and a partially sucked intake gasket. Not to mention that when the car was disassembled we found that instead of all the 1.6 rockers being on the intake and the 1.5 rockers being on the exhaust that the left bank had 6 of the 1.6’s and 2 of the 1.5’s with the opposite taking place on the other bank. The first pass the car leaves and I shut it off quicker than Gary Williams shuts off on a red light. Why did I shut it off? Seemed like the safest option since the steering wheel was in my lap. Ok let’s try this again. Run #2. The car runs a 5.82 which is within about 6 thou of my last pass in bowling green. So much for a performance improvement. I run it though the quarter to a 9.26. You know with no windshield there is a lot of wind at 141 mph. I may have to rethink taking that out. My first two complete runs side by side 1.255 1.255, 3.714 3.714, 5.824 5.823, 115.78 115.84, 7.673 7.670, 9.260 9.253, 141.47 141.65 I could get used to this.
Time for the gamblers. It is not what you would call a high rollers. It is an all run $20 entry with $5 first round buybacks and 100% payback. I wish it paid more but I’m here and I’m racing. We do this for fun right?
R1 and I draw Mark Buttrum. While Mark and I were talking earlier he had shown me his time slip and he went 4.799. Mark dials 4.80 in his very sharp American Dragster. I decide why try to out fox the Xerox machine the cavalier has become and dial the cavalier in at 5.82 In my two time trials I was -.019 and .025 I don’t think it is a rollout issue as my sixty foot times were identical. I decide to leave the box alone as I’m lost and it is a $5 buyback. When I complete my burnout I seen Mark has pulled to the side of the track. The starter signals me for a single. I stage and wait on the tree forever and it doesn’t come one. Not really a surprise as all the help as Gateway is new and still learning. I back out and look over at the starter. Now I see Mark’s dad approaching me and said he had the car fixed (throttle cable fell off) and asked if I would run. I was more than happy to run as I would have wanted them to do the same for me. Well I proceed to go .018 red and run a 4.774. No that isn’t a typo my slip read -.018 .200 2.663 4.774 @ 115.83 Now the crazy thing is if you add 1.050 to all those numbers my slip would have been 1.250, 3.713, 5.824. Look familiar? I don’t know if this is accurate but I’m starting to like this car.
R2 I decide to switch to the left lane. I made my first time trial in the left but made my second one and r1 in the right. Why did I switch? Let’s just say I wasn’t entirely confident in the timers in the right lane. Although I don’t think it could be a timer malfunction. I also don’t think it could be a hanging beam or lazy eye as my light appears accurate. I get paired with Don Rausch and his Challenger. Don is a local pro racer who races without a delay box. I covered my red light and set up on a conservative .012 light. Don is dialed a 6.41 and I dial 5.83 Don goes red and I go .025 and 5.844 on a 5.83. My sixty has fell off to a 1.265 It moved around a little when it left so I attributed it all to traction. Plus we had been following more and more streetcars as the majority of the slick cars that weren’t in the gamblers were done running.
R3 Right Lane again I draw Ron Nilges in his Pinto. Ron is dialed in at 6.40 so I dial 5.88 I decided after the last run that I was going with the driver approach. We stage and the tree takes forever to come on I double pump and then triple pump the button before the top amber lights. Finally when it comes one I think to myself that I still got it. My very next thought is every time you think that you are late. So I bump it twice -.010 per bump. Ron goes red and I am a smooth .065 so I let go .085 before the bumps and still think I got it (I’m the best). The slip said the dreaded “both lanes staged @ starter go” I go 5.863 on my 5.88 and Ron goes 6.38 on his 6.40. If he was anything green I am definitely going to have to park behind and unless he screws up the stripe I’m done. The car once again slowed in the sixty but we did follow a ton of street cars and only one dragster ran in front of me. The car was loose all the way down. After the run Denny comes back and said they mopped the line behind me. Great, am I leaking again? Hope this thing isn’t pushing out the water again. Denny and inspect the car and find it to be dry and no water in the overflow. Sweet I’m going to assume it was someone else.
Rd 4 Semi final. When I pull up for the semis I am the second car to arrive. The guy running the staging lanes came and asked how I wanted to chop the massive $415 purse. I told him that I would do whatever everyone else wanted to do bc it wasn’t enough money to worry about. He joked well that guy wants to race for winner take all. I told him I was fine with that. The other guy then protested that he was just kidding? I told him I wasn’t. I was thinking of this when I said it although I was joking and am in no way this arrogant. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfbAFgD2mLo
After the others arrived they decided on the payout of $150, $105, $80, $80. I was fine with this considering no one was going to get rich no matter the split and everyone basically got to have fun for free. No to mention I’ve luck boxed my way this far and my Xerox machine has run out of toner many runs ago. I draw Mark Holloran. Mark drives a very fast late model Camaro and won last week’s gamblers. I have been racing Mark since I’m 16 and I do not hold a winning record against him. Mark has lane choice and puts me in the right lane. I tell Mark I’m going to dial 5.86 but end up changing my mind (being a pansy) and telling him 5.85 I figured I was in some fluid last run and this one would be a little quicker plus I suck at driving the stripe from in front. Mark dials 5.06 I am 15 and he is 20 I run 5.863 and he is 4 thou under.
Rd 5 Final By now it is dark and the only ones left running are some street motorcycles.
Waiting for me in the final is Kevin Corzine. Kevin is driving a Camaro without the help of a delay box. I do not take any opponent lightly especially one that is in the final and has already dispatched of several delay box cars. I rolled a nickel out of the box. Kevin dials in at a 5.89 and I dial a 5.88 in the right lane. I figure the track can’t be much worse and even though the humidity is coming up I got to be able to run this. Kevin is red and I go .008 and leg it out to dead on 2. Kevin is dead on 6. Normally I would lift in this situation but I am still trying to get this car figured out.
Now I know that this race only had 18 cars. I know it only paid $150 to win. I know some of the cars didn’t have delay boxes. I know I only actually only won 4 rounds and 3 of those guys red lighted and the other broke out but I won and to quote Cal Naughton Jr from Talladega Nights when he won “if you try to take this thing away from me I’ll sock you straight in the face.” Howard Stern said in his movie “a kill is a kill is a kill” Well I say a win is a win is a win.
What a difference 8 hours makes!
Is been a good night. I don’t think the cavy is blown up anymore. I managed to pull out he first of hopefully many wins of the year and Denny’s bike, after another exhaust and jet change, ran back to back 9.89’s @ 135.5mph which ties his career best. When Denny bought this bike it went 11.17 @123mph. He has changed nothing internal in the engine. Just a lot of tuning. Sometime when I go to Denny’s house I find him in his garage staring at his bike trying to think of things to do to it. By the time Denny and I get everything loaded up and back to Jason’s it is around 9:00pm. Denny puts his bike back behind the prizm and we head out for the drive home from there with only one more stop in mind. It’s a tradition of ours that if one of us wins that they buy supper on the way home and were we ready to eat. We hadn’t eaten since 6:30am. I had ding dongs and Denny had a small can of Pringles. No wonder we are such physical specimens with our solid dietary habits. After a quick call to Imo’s in Washington MO there was an extra-large pepperoni and bacon waiting for us. What? Two people don’t need an extra large. Well I did take home about 5 pieces.
Beginning balance -$2110 - $1038(summit bill) - $13 (Wal-Mart silicone etc) - $25(tnt entry) - $25(gamblers entry and bb.) + $150 = -$3061 hopefully we are on the right track now. Since the gas in the truck and alcohol were done paid for as well as I consider the parts breakage on the TennTuck bill I actually turned a profit. Not much of one but a profit none the less. I did like that my share of fixing the cavalier was $13. I wish all racing expenses were like this.
How did I spend my massive windfall? On Sunday Celia and I took our 3 kids to the circus at the Family Arena in St. Charles MO (90 miles one way, when you live in Chamois you drive everywhere.). After a nice lunch at Cracker Barrel we hit the circus for a 1:00pm show. After $76 in tickets and $23 in “souvenirs”, which is code for bright flashing toys that won’t last a week, both the “big ones”(Alex 7yo and Max 4yo are the big ones, Rex at 18 months doesn’t get a vote yet) were ready to go at intermission so we bailed. We head home at I get home at 4:30pm. This was just in time to head to see some buddies of my for a Wrestlemania party. Now we haven’t watched wrestling together for 10 years. But it seemed like a good reason to throw some steaks on the grill and tell some lies. I had a great time despite playing wing roulette. What is wing roulette you ask? Well one of the guys works at a local pizza joint and brought 30 buffalo chicken wings for the party. The catch is 20 of the wings are regular and 10 of the wings had 6 drops of capsaicin extract. Little quick science lesson. Hot things are measured on the scoville scale. A jalapeño is at most 8000 on the scale. A habanero is around 300,000. Law enforcement pepper spray is 2,000,000 and capsaicin extract can be as hot as 16,000,000. Yes that is 8 times worse than pepper spray. So they game goes like this everyone takes a wing and eats. Then we do it again till they are all gone.
R1 I get my first wing and dig in and think this is a little warm but quite good. I see some people around me start yelling and sweating. There is a run for the sink as well as other beverages or basically anything liquid. It looked a lot like this.
R2. I get my second wing and it was just like the first one until about 20 seconds in and then it was on. The pain is unbelievable. I went straight for the fridge and drank roughly a quart of milk. I’m no dummy, well yes I am bc I am playing this game, I know water doesn’t help. At one point I have my lips and tongue submerged in milk. Let’s just say that after losing in Rd 2 that this was one time I was not buying back in.
Read part 2 of Jeremy's blog here.