Aaron Allison: October Blog
I can’t believe how fast this summer and racing season has gone by. It seems like just yesterday when I made my first pass of the season. It has been a great racing season filled with a ton of great moments and several that I would like to forget. Over the season I traveled thousands of miles, worked many late nights on the cars, and got a lot of help from both friends and competitors. The last month the racing season has been no different and has been an extremely busy. Over the past month I raced 3 weekends that encompassed 5 different events.
My Trusty 1990 SS/BM Cavalier was awesome down the stretch
During the last weekend in September we went back to Columbus for two NHRA races. We got there on Wednesday night because we had to finish the race that was rained out in July. If you remember from my July Blog I was having a lot of trouble running the index at the event and barely snuck by round 1. Well at the rainout the Cavalier was running great and I was a solid .05-.10 under the index. I was doing great until I ran into Jeremy Duncan in the third round and decided to give it back by .0008. So close once again. One of these days I am going to win one of these NHRA races. The remainder of the weekend was Jeg’s Northern Sports Nationals. In this I was not only racing in Super Stock with my Cavalier, I also had the opportunity to race in Stock in my good friend, Ronnie Traupman’s C/SA Camaro. Ronnie’s car was just completely redone, and I was driving it to help figure out the new Fast fuel injection system and hopefully win some rounds. Everything was going okay, and I really thought we were getting it figured out. Then during the last time trial, I noticed that the Camaro sounded funny while I was in the water box. I let go of the brake pedal and almost immediately let off the gas and proceeded to idle down the track. Something just didn’t sound / feel right. The transmission case was literally broke in half! Our great group of friends helped us change the transmission, and then we realized that we had a heads up race first round against a really fast car! Not good for the slower and brand new Camaro. Needless to say, I lost first round in that car. I was racing well in the Cavalier, but missed the tree by a little 3rd round on Sunday and was sent home for the weekend. That weekend my mom, sisters and cousin came (of course my Dad and Misti were there, too) so I was really hoping I could bring home a victory. Maybe next year…
The next weekend I went to Norwalk No Box Nationals with my good friend Alex Miller and raced his dragster. When I worked at GM I had the opportunity to take a Frank Hawley drag racing class free of charge. I took the class in a dragster and I absolutely loved it. Since then any time I get the opportunity to drive a dragster I jump at it. At this race, there were over 300 of the best no-box racers in the Midwest. I arrived at the race early Saturday morning to find a cold and rainy race track. It seems like every time I visit Norwalk it rains. When racing finally got underway in the late afternoon they announced that we would get one time trial and then straight into eliminations with no buy backs. Great for me, I was only driving a car I had not driven in a year, but also trying to hit the bottom bulb in a dragster that 60 foots 1.16. Somehow I had a .017 light first time trial and the car was great. Saturday night I won 5 rounds and got down to about 16 cars when I turned it red. I was also the last dragster standing, which I guess is kind of being like the last door car left in a box race.(at least that’s what the announcer said) There is no curfew at this track, so the race was completed that night. The next day, I went a couple of rounds but lost in a close race just before the rain / split. It was a lot of fun to go to that race and I would definitely do it again next year. Norwalk always does a great job.
Alex’s Dragster was awesome all night
Two weeks after the race at Norwalk, we went to Richmond, VA for the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular National event and Tournament of Champions. I am lucky enough to have qualified in both cars because of my Division 3 championship in Super Stock and Division 3 runner-up in Stock. This is the biggest racing weekend for IHRA competition and I was very excited to make the trip to Virginia to hopefully take home a world title (or two!).
We left at 6am on Thursday morning in order to get to the race track for the test and tune session. Well, the ride down was rather interesting and took forever. First, we got gas in Pennsylvania and my Dad left his credit card at the gas station (not a huge deal—we just picked it up Monday on our way back home). Then, even though we have a GPS we got lost and that added a lot of time to our trip! We finally got to the race track, parked and I made two great runs in my Vega during the test and tune session. After the test session we went out to dinner (Misti, my Dad, Ronnie, Jerry Coblentz and me) and then went to our hotel for the night. When we got to the hotel, I was so tired that I sat down on the bed to watch ESPN and Misti said I fell asleep within 5 minutes, fully clothed, including shoes! It was only 9:30pm and I slept the entire night like that! I was very well rested the next day!
Friday we had time trials and round 1 of eliminations for the National Event. Both of my cars were in good shape, the weather was absolutely perfect and I was feeling good. I won first round in the Vega with a great .017 light. However in Super Stock I had a great light but for some reason my car lost 5 hundredths between the 60 ft and 330 ft mark. After looking the car over we noticed that there was some fluid leaking under my car. We put it up on the lift in Ronnie’s trailer and it appeared to be transmission fluid coming from the cooler lines. We put a diaper on it and tried to tighten up some areas. We didn’t want any problems for the rest of the weekend. Luckily IHRA was having a re-entry round and I was back in line with my hundred bucks. I won a tight double breakout race and was back in and looking good going into round two in both cars.
1st Round action from the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular
On Saturday, I lost 2nd round in Stock to David Latino in a great race. I had the tree but I thought I was holding more than I was and dumped to two above, while he dumped to dead on zero. I was upset, but at least I was still in it in Super Stock and I felt I was driving both cars really well. The diaper seemed to be working, too. I was driving well in Super Stock and beat Doug Hobgood, Pete D’agnolo, Mark Faul, and Scotty Richardson, on my way to the finals against Anthony Bertozzi. In the final I was dialed pretty honest and after I crossed first and my win light did not appear I was pretty bummed. I was .022 taking .006 and was under by almost .04. I went a 9.02, which is the fastest I have gone all season. Of course it did not help that Anthony was .001. Of course I was disappointed, but I had bigger problems to handle at this time. As I was crossing the finish line, I heard something pop and then my car started making these awful sounds. I honestly thought I blew up my motor, I mean, it sounded really bad. And the Tournament of Champions was the next morning and time trials for TOC were tonight! I was very worried. The crew came to tow me to the starting line since I had to get my picture taken and get my contingency paperwork filled out for getting runner up. We took the hood off at the starting line and put it on top of the car so we could hopefully see what the problem was. Luckily, we just broke another rocker arm (the same place where I broke the other rocker arm earlier in the season). It seemed like we could be able to fix it, and I had brought a kit that had everything we would need in the trailer. Just then, something else bad happened! I forgot to mention that it was extremely windy the entire time we were in Richmond. Extremely windy. Well, remember the hood that we put on top of the car in order to see what was wrong? It went flying off the top of the car and came crashing to the ground. And the wind had caught it and it continued to roll. Luckily, Misti has great reflexes and is pretty fast. She caught the hood before it hit anybody, or damaged another car. The hood is now pretty beat up, though. What a disaster. We were able to fix the Cavalier pretty quickly, thanks to all the help we received from our race family. I was able to make the time trials and everything seemed too been running fine (Thankfully!!!). I was ready for the TOC.
Remember if it is windy never put your hood on the roof of your car (especially during winner circle pictures in front of tons of people)
Sunday was the Tournament of Champions. The winner in each class would be the world champion. My best record ever received was 4th in the world in Stock in 2005, and I was hoping to get a new personal record. I was driving well in both cars. I was driving great and I had both cars into the third round. This is where my championship hopes got derailed. I had to race my friend Brent Darroch during Stock round 3. The winner of this round would get a bye into the World Finals. Brent had some issues with his car and was driving Ronnie Traupman’s stock car. I knew that Brent was tough and that I would have to be decent on the tree. I had been .006 and .015 in the first two rounds and I saw no reason to back off. Well bad move. I red lighted by two-thousandths of a second. I was so mad at myself. I immediately after I had to race Pete D’Agnolo in Super Stock. I beat Pete on Saturday on my way to the Super Stock finals and I was hoping I would beat him again. I didn’t. I was .030 running dead-on and was completely in his way. Pete was a stellar .006 on the tree. Well in about a 10 minute period I went from a couple rounds away from a double world championship to loading up the trailer, but hey it’s been a great year and I guess I will have to wait until next year.
After the race, there was an IHRA banquet to recap the season. It was announced at the banquet that I was 5th in the world in both Stock and Super Stock. Although I was aiming for the number 1 spot in both classes, I am still proud of all that I accomplished this year. I think that I have really grown a lot as a racer, competitor and individual during this racing season. I won my 4th IHRA Divisional Title, 1 Pro-Am, 2 Pro-AM Runner-ups, and 2 National Event Runner-ups. All in all I won 58 rounds of competition in IHRA and NHRA at over a 70% W-L ratio.
I am so grateful I have been able to share my stories with you this racing season. I would like to thank Luke for giving me the opportunity to have this outlet as a voice. 2011 has been a big year for me: I got engaged, graduated from Harvard Business School, started my new job at Matco, and now am 5th in the world in two IHRA classes. I couldn’t have any achieved any of my successes without the endless support from my family and friends. I am so blessed to have all of you in my life. There are numerous people I would like to thank that have made this racing season (and the year in general!) as successful as it has been: my parents, Misti, Ronnie Traupman, Ron Traupman, Alex Miller (Miller Racing Transmissions), Jerry Coblentz, Pat Donovan, Bryan Worner, Bob Lowry, Skip Rose, Bob Marshall, Craig Marshall, Kevin Marshall, Leonard Wych, Jason Eckard from Bullet Racing Engines, Faron from Hoosier Tires, Bert Dawson, Billy Kell from Bill Kell Racing Engines, Mark Hersh, Frank Jenkins from Jenkins Fabrication, and Raymond Smega.
Racing is truly such a unique sport because although you are competitors on the track, off the track there are always numerous racers to help you fix your car or to just hang out and share a good laugh. The racing community is the epitome of sportsmanship and I am so fortunate to be part of this great group of people.
I hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs just as much as I have enjoyed sharing my monthly adventures. Please, if you have any racing questions or just want to say hello, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Some racers have approached me at the races to say that have been reading the blogs each month. It has been a great experience getting to meet new people due to these blogs. This is Aaron Allison saying farewell. Take Care and God Bless!