APD Member Spotlight Blog (June): Lindsey Cramsey
Hello and welcome back! I have a decent amount to write about this month! I broke more parts as usual; however, I finally won some MONEY! Woo hoo!
The goal of June was to recoup some of the losses from May. Broken Rear End + Traveling to Great Bend= Livin’ on a prayer! Besides actually being able to use money for food, my real motivation was a big shopping trip I planned for the last week of June. It is the week of the Western Conference Finals for Jr. Dragsters, and my girl Miss Bailey Wooley is coming from Nebraska to race in the 13 year old category. Miss B and I planned to hit the town while she is in Denver, so I know that at the very minimum, I need gas money to get us girls to the mall!
The week after Night of Fire and Thunder was our 3rd super pro race. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, hot and a 20 mile per hour tailwind for the entire day (so, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit on the “gorgeous” part). My first two time runs went well and for first round I was lined up against “Buffalo Bob” Myers. As I was chasing him down, I knew I was not going to cross first, and as Bob crossed the finish line I dumped hard and took the win as Bob broke out and I was .019 over. I was .017 on the tree to Bob’s .043. Second round I was paired up against Bri Bandimere in her super street Camaro. Bri and I go way back, as we raced Jr. Dragsters together. I knew it was going to be a great race. I was .015 off the tree to Bri’s .022 and as I chased her down, I honestly thought I was going to cross first. I let off to go around her and then realized that I wasn’t crossing first as we went through the traps. I sure made myself look good, as I went dead on with a 5 and Bri was 15 thou under. Whew! Running that top end is a lot tougher than I thought it would be. It always seems like those slower cars are practically Flinstoneing it out there, foot pedaling, while I am doing 10,000 mph. (If you haven’t noticed yet, I tend to exaggerate a little) In previous races, I had made it to third round, but had never actually gotten past third round, so I really wanted to win! I was paired up against Randy Cruickshank in his gorgeous M&M dragster. I was in trouble after going .035 on the tree, but luckily Randy was -.006 on the tree and I finally made it through third round, even if it was a lucky one! Going to the ladder round always feels good. Fourth round I was laddered up against Mike Boehner in his orange Camaro. It was a very close race; I was .024 to his .022 and once again, I knew I wasn’t crossing first so I dumped and took the win as Mike broke out by a mere 3 thou. At this point I am pretty proud of myself. No broken parts, going into the fifth round, so this is how it feels! Fifth round I am paired up against Bradley Johnson, my favorite 17 year old super gas driver. He started racing Jr. Dragsters at the same time my brother started racing, and they were instantly best friends. Bradley has a beautiful 67 Camaro roadster and has worked really hard the past year and has done very well. Bradley smoked me on the tree, he is .016 to my .044, but I finally am able to cross by .014 to take the win as Bradley’s car slows and he is 5 hundreths over his dial. When I see my reaction time, I am extremely surprised as I did not feel like that was my light at all and I actually thought it was pretty good (another .015). We cooled down the transmission as it was getting a little too hot and my own personal Austin Coil (my dad) thought the tranny might be the reason my light had slowed. I took a couple out of the box anyway as I hadn’t gone better than .014 all day, and in the 6th round I was paired up against Denver’s own Iron Man, Tony Stark. Tony is a great guy, and is co-owner of OnTrack Performance, our local performance auto parts store. As we prepared to race, I explained to Tony that if he were to lose the race, it is still a win for him, because as I win more money, the chances of me spending it at OnTrack are very high. He clearly did not understand this concept, as he was .002 on the tree and .008 under his dial :-\. I’m not sure if it was me or the cooled down transmission, but I was -.012 on the tree. I was disappointed to have gone red but heck, I made it to the last three cars and a check was coming my way! The next day, I received more good news as Miss Bailey had won money too! $hopping!
June 2nd was my first weekend off from racing since April 7th, and although I thought I was looking forward to it, it was sooo boring! Cheap, but boring! Thank goodness Kyle had a Saturday night high school race otherwise I probably would have started cleaning or something and that’s just sad. My brother’s little Nova is probably one of the best racecars we’ve ever had. It stays together, runs consistent, and looks pretty too. Its only downfall is that the thing eats tires like a road racing car. Kyle goes through a pair of street slicks about as often as I went through Barbie wheels, and his are even more expensive! He had purchased some smaller rims and tires to cut down on costs, but the new tires had a little bigger sidewall, and unfortunately, rubbed against the fenders. My dad tried everything he could think of to get them to work, but eventually we had to put on the old tires and hope this old girl would hook. It turned out to be an interesting night, as Kyle was basically doing two burnouts, one in the burnout box, the other on the starting line. This could have been bad, as his starting line burnouts were not very consistent, however, two weeks before my dad had stolen the NOS off my broken down Trans Am and installed it on little ol’ Nona the Nova. Each round, Kyle would haze the tires, get out of the gas and then right back in to stop the spinning, than hit the juice to get around them. Kyle was killing it at the finish line. The first three rounds he crossed by .011, .020, and .006 getting chased and only going 90 mph. I really thought he was takin this win home, but fourth round he forgot to hit the two step switch and went red by .026. He did extremely well on the finish line though, and we were all really proud of him winning the rounds that he did.
The next weekend was another Super Pro race. I made my first time run and it ran exactly what I thought it was going to run, but as I turned to get back to my pit spot, I could hear a weird kind of vibration or ticking sound coming from the motor. I still had my earplugs and helmet on though, so I thought maybe I was just freaking myself out. I turned the car off and on the right side I heard a little tick tick tick as the motor wound down. I pulled off my helmet, started it back up, and again tick tick tick. I told my dad to listen when he got back to the trailer, and although he didn’t think he heard anything when it was running, the tick tick tick was definitely there when I turned it off. I actually feel bad for my poor valve covers as I’ve pulled them off so many times. We check the valve lash, and the number two exhaust is off a bit when it wasn’t off that morning. As we are turning it over, we can hear it make a noise as it reaches the bottom. Of course, today is the hottest day of racing so far, and working on a hot car in 96 degree weather is such a fun time! We got the intake off and as soon as we pulled the roller lifter out we could see the crack all the way across, but it hadn’t broken all the way. Three pieces of good news here: 1. It hadn’t broke and put all those little needles through the motor again (no cleaning the block in my front yard, win!) 2. It didn’t hurt the cam, and I had extra lifters from the last time she went down 3. After years of blowing stuff up, I have apparently formed a skill! I can hear things as they break! I guess you can consider catching the lifter “lucky” as it didn’t break anything else, but I still wish it hadn’t happened in the first place! We got everything put back together before the second time run, and the car ran fine the second pass, no weird ticking! First round, I pulled into the lanes and jumped out to do my usual routine. Walk down the hill, count cars, hit the bathroom for a nervous tinkle, then head back to the car to check tire pressure. I am standing next to the car, when my dad notices that my transbrake solenoid is smoking, and that my knee had bumped a reverse toggle switch I installed on the dashboard. Now I know most of you air operated kids like me have a switch like this so that you don’t waste $5 dollars in air to back up, but most of you also use a spring loaded switch as to not leave this on. However, even though I am not a short female (5’7), I had to have a large padded seat made so that I can actually reach the dash. However, I have a case of SALR Syndrome, Short Arms Large Rear. I can only have so much padding behind my back before I run out of room to put my rear. So, I can reach buttons at the bottom of the dash, but as they get farther up, I have more trouble reaching them, so it was easier for me to use a toggle vs a spring loaded. Well of course, my SALR got in the way of first round, and leaving the switch on had left me with no transbrake. I was considering powerbreaking it, but I decided to pull out of line to see if I could find someone with a spare to change it to. I walked up and down the staging lanes asking people if they had any spares. I happened to ask Randy Dahlbergh as I was beginning to give up, and his wife Julie was sure that they had one in the trailer. After Randy won first round she rushed back to their trailer with my dad following. There were only about 15 pairs of cars left, so I got in the car and hoped that there was enough time left to change it. My dad was back in no time and was underneath the car changing the solenoid as fast as possible. My dad said it was okay to go and I rolled down and basically right under the tower. We were worried that this solenoid would be a little faster so I added .010 to the box on top of the other .010 I added to the box after going .013 red the second time run. I had Randy Cruickshank, who had redlit to me at the last race. Unfortunately, he was .003 on the tree and 3 hundreths over while I was .042 on the tree and dumped and ran 1 hundreth off. Ouch! That was a rough day, no rounds won, and -$1100 dollars. I still want to thank Randy and Julie Dahlbergh though for getting me to the round and going the extra mile to get me a solenoid. The only good part of the race day was that my boyfriend Michael Brand II won Pro ET in his stocker and picked up his first race win for the year.
After the race, I had purchased some tickets from a local museum called “Wings of the Rockies” that has a museum full of old airplanes. Every year they raise money by holding a “Hangar Dance” in one of the hangars at Centennial Airport. We hurried home and got ready to go, as the dress code was 1940s wear only! I spent a couple hours the week before teaching myself to get my hair into “victory rolls” (I cannot do hair, AT ALL, the simplest things take me forever!). As I finished getting ready, I doubted that any of the girls in the 40’s had to wash out the smell of exhaust and burnout smoke from their hair, but I do clean up pretty good. It was a pretty amazing site when we walked in. They had the hangar opened up to the outside and a real B-17 behind the band. Everyone was dressed in their 40’s outfits and it really was like a different time! We got to take a tour of the “Aluminum Overcast” B-17 and it was really amazing.
Me and My Date- B-17 Behind Us!
The next day, I called Driskell about the lifter issue, and after some deliberation, I decided to make the leap to Isky Easy Rolls. I only had a couple of days before the divisional so Matt priority shipped them so I could put them in Thursday night. I had taken off Thursday to attend another open house at Guaranty Bank for Bruce Kamada and it was once again a great event. I absolutely love talking to people about drag racing, it never gets old and its awesome how you connect with people on different levels and end up learning and talking about something different every time.
After meeting some great people at the open house, we packed the car back up and headed to Bandimere to replace the lifters. We had put in all the fancy new Isky’s and my dad was just finishing up scraping the silicone off the intake when I hear an Uh-Oh from my dad. I look at him and I ask him, “Did you just drop that razor blade into the motor?” and he shakes his head yes. Of course it fell all the way to the pan so that added an extra 30 minutes to the job but allowed us to change the oil.
The next day I was feeling pretty good about the weekend. The first pass the car was way slow after I put the wrong numbers in the timer, but the second pass I ran a 9.505! I was pretty excited as I had never actually run the index before and I felt like we were finally starting to get the hang of things. The next morning the air was good but we thought the car would only pick up about 5 hundreths. I added some time to the stop and paid my $20 dollars for the Long Motorsports Shootout, feeling pretty confident in my car after the time run the day before. After launching I quickly pulled away from the other car and was really hoping that the other guy was running way slow. I got my ticket and was extremely frustrated to see a 9.35! A nine freaking thirty five? What is that! I live here and I can’t even figure it out! At the last Super Comp race I had a lot of trouble with the car running inconsistent, so I decided it was time to change everything. I still had two runs left, one time run and first round of the jackpot so we just went for it. We changed timing, the RPM on the stop, and we leaned it out. The next pass I was a little slow as the RPM on the stop was a little lower than I thought but first round of the jackpot I went 9.471 for the win after Tom Furches redlit. The jackpot didn’t turn out so good as second round I went .020 on the tree and the Super Street car I was racing had an .019 package. The car had run pretty well but I was still nervous for the next day.
I slept great and I told Michael when I got to the track that I had a good feeling I was going to win my first round at a divisional. (that is literally all I was expecting, I lost first round in Great Bend and I really just wanted to win one round!) First round I was paired with Frank Wilis. We both had less than stellar lights, my .036 to his .037. I started hitting the brakes a little late, but killed 4 hundreths and crossed by thirty thou for the win. Afterwards I checked dragracecentral.com on my phone to see who I was paired up with and noticed I was qualified 12th, my lucky number. I felt pretty good about this, but I knew I had a long way to go. Rustin Mayse was my opponent for second round and it was great meeting him and talking to him before the round. In the couple hours since first round, we had gotten a pretty nasty headwind. One thing that has surprised me about Super Comp is the insane amount of numbers you have to memorize. In the staging lanes, my brain is going 100 mph. I am sitting there like “1.6 times 6 equals 9.6; 1.7 minus .096 equals 1.604; and 9.56-6 equals 9.5, so a 1.604 equals a 9.50. Right?” My dad was teasing me later that it was getting embarrassing for me to be taking my shoes off under the tower so that I could use my toes to add and subtract bigger numbers.
I was nervous about the headwind, but I knew Rustin and I were both in the same boat. We launched and I could tell I had the better light, but instead of chasing me down like I thought, Rustin was WAY ahead of me. He started womping the throttle at 1/8th mile! When that happened I literally looked down at the oil pressure to see if I had blown up again and the car was slow because I was on fire or something. I waited until the last second and dumped, and was extremely relieved to see the win light on my side. I was .011 to his .031 and I won on a double break out.
Third round I was paired up with the famous Mike Miller. I’ve watched Miller race for a long time, and I know he can be quite the racer, but I felt confident and even a little excited to be racing him. We flipped for lanes and got ready to go quickly. As we launched, I felt like I had the better light but a little after half track Mike was already going around me. I knew I was set up a little fast, and I seen Mike womping the throttle. Right at the last second, I jammed the brakes and let him take it, and was ELATED to see my win light on again. I almost didn’t have a voice because I was screaming in my helmet. I was .015 dead on 5 and he was .018 and broke out by 2 thou, crossing 4 thou ahead.
Fourth round I was paired up against Iron Man Tony Stark again. I was a little excited to get another chance to race Tony since last time I went red. This round was a two round race as the winner had a bye to the semi-finals. We launched and I knew I had the reaction time advantage. Tony has a high mile an hour, so I looked and looked and at the mph hour market jammed the brakes and crossed just .013 ahead. The win light came on again and this round, I actually cried a little bit, because I felt so excited to be going to the semi-finals of my second divisional.
In my bye run, I took some time out of the box and went .006. In the semi-finals I had Brock Green. I was extremely upset when we launched as I knew I got annihilated on tree. Brock was ahead the entire time and I dumped at the finish line, and felt relieved when I won, but when I got the ticket, I honestly felt bad. I was .062 to his .011, and he had broken out by 35 thou. I want to deserve every round I win, and I didn’t feel like I deserved that one at all, and Brock definitely made it worse by stopping by after and being a really nice guy. I prepared for the final though, and I was excited that it was Monte Penetta and I. Monte and I had actually talked on Saturday when I was changing everything and he had said that he felt a little out of the loop too as it had been a while since he had done any index racing. The wind had been really up and down, so again in the staging lanes I was practicing my elementary math skills (1.65=9.50, no wait, 1.67=9.50..). Apparently, Monte was setting his car and delay box on KILL! When we launched I felt like I had seen Montes car move first but I really wasn’t sure. He passed me fast though, and I dumped again at the finish line, but no win light this time. I was definitely disappointed when I got my ticket and seen that I went .055 to Monte’s .002. I guess I missed the tree twice in a row, but neither of them felt like that bad of lights. If you want to see all the finals of the day and see me get beat, click here! http://youtu.be/SBuqcBm6VJI
Although I really wanted to win, I knew I still had a great day and it all started sinking in as I was pointing out what stickers I had and everyone was coming up and congratulating me. I even had some little fans waiting for me at my trailer, and they let me sign their banners. Kyle kept asking me if I was going to take everyone to dinner since I won money, so I told him heck yes! Taco Bell for the whole family!
Holy Crap! I’m popping a wheel!
Not sure who I am racing, but they are apparently chasing me down!
Monte and I doing some wicked burn outs in the final
After the final, filling out paperwork
Overall June has been a great month. I have shopping money! I am also third in points for Super Comp. I want to thank Matt Driskell again for helping me out and getting me parts quick. My family has been such a great help throughout the entire month, and I couldn’t have any of the success I had without them. I have a couple of Super Pro races coming up to write about for the next blog, and I’ll be finishing it up during my first national event! I’m hoping that I saved my final round win for Mile High Nationals ;)
Miss Lindsey Cramsey