APD Member Spotlight Blog (August): Lindsey Cramsey
I hope you have all had a great end of June and July! I’ve done a lot of racing and even some crew chiefing his month, so I have a lot to write about!
The week after Mile High Nationals we were back to super pro racing. My time runs were great, my lights were .012 and then .013 and the car was predictable. First round I dialed an 8.42 and was chasing a door car dialed in at a 9.79. When I launched I knew my light was good, I got down to the end and womped it, killing 11 mph and taking 14 thou stripe. I got my ticket and I was .000 and ran an 8.447, he was .032 and 9.799. I was lucky to go .000, but I’ll take any wins I can get! Second round I had the guy I raced last super pro race that I let go around me. I was not going to do that again, and I was ready to redeem myself. I was chasing him down again but just by a tenth and a half. I launched and this time, instead of being way far ahead, I was exactly where I should’ve been and about 4 hundreths ahead. I was dialed pretty soft so I waited a little longer than I usually would have and then tapped the brakes, crossing by .0226. I was .002 ran 21 thou off and he was .009 36 thou off. As Jeremy would say, Boom Shaka Laka! Second round was at 6:45 pm, and the meteorologists have said there was a chance of rain. In Colorado, meteorologists pretty much just take a guess; sometimes we aren’t even sure if it’s educated. I guess they were right this time, it rained like crazy, and our next round wasn’t until 11:35 at night! Third round I was paired with an 11 second door car. I dialed down a fair amount, knowing the cooler air and little tail wind we had was going to pick us up. I really struggle with the 11 second cars still; I pass them like they are absolutely standing still and I either let off too soon or not soon enough! This time, I was late on the brakes, but killed a bunch. I still crossed by .042, but I was .013 to his .057 and killed 7 hundreths to take the win. Fourth round we were laddered, I had a 10 second nova. My light felt good when I launched, but at 1000 foot my gut feeling was that I was not going to get there. I was watching him and the finish line, when all of the sudden I felt like ohhhhh nooooooo!! I stomped the brakes because I was going around him fast, and my win light did not come on. I thought maybe the car had picked up more and I broke out, but when I got my ticket, I had let him cross by .0024. I was .008 to his .016. From the 1000 foot time, I was going to be right on the number and probably didn’t need to hit the brakes. Boo! I talked to the guy after we raced, and he said he was on the brakes too. I think what might have happened is that he was on the brakes early, and that’s why I knew that all of the sudden I was going to catch him, and by a lot. I killed 3 hundreths on the brakes, so I was going to cross by a fair amount. I still brought home money, so I was pretty happy, even though it was quite a long day!
The next week we had another super pro race. First round of time trials, I had an .054 light! It didn’t feel that bad at all, and I just chalked it up to a loss of concentration. Second round of time trials, I went .032! I did not know what the heck was going on, but I was too afraid to take much out of the box because the delay I had in there had pushed me into red lights and .000 lights. I wimped out and left the box the same. I was paired up with an 11 second car first round, and when I pulled my finger off the button, I was happy with my performance and didn’t think I needed the bump down. I launched and headed down the track, and it was clear to me I wasn’t going to cross first. I dumped and my win light was not on. Nothin like a first round loss to start August! I got my ticket, I was .020 to his .009 and was 33 thou off and he was 27 thou off. You win some; you lose more, and next time I’ll definitely be more aggressive on the tree.
The next weekend Michael and I were planning on taking his stocker down to race in Cordova, IL for the divisional. Michael’s trailer is only 24 feet long, so I had to leave Black Betty (my dragster) at home. Back in January, Michael bought himself a Dodge truck to tow his baby around (not me, the racecar) and he wanted a manual to maximize on gas mileage. A little secret about me for you all- I never really learned to drive a stick. I know, I know, I need to learn. The Barbie Jeep only had a powerglide and no clutch, and, the first time I tried to learn in a real car, I was 15 and two hours, just got my permit, and we packed the whole family in the Daewoo (for real, we have a Daewoo Lanos) to go out for a little spin. After 15 minutes, I finally got her backed out of the driveway, and was cruising along pretty well, until I shifted her from third to second and about threw the entire family out of the front windshield. This resulted in my dad giving me one of those “I told you blah blah blah” moments and I refused to drive another second in that thing and stuck to cruising the mini-van around with my mom only. So, I told Michael that I would allow him to give me a lesson in his truck (its white, he calls it the White Snake, I call it Snow White) and would help him make the 15 hour trek to Cordova. We decide that Monday night is a fine night for learning, and Professor Michael and I headed to the nearest empty parking lot. I carefully studied him and what he did on the way there, and was feeling very positive about my abilities to learn once and for all. We get to this “empty” parking lot just a few blocks away, and it isn’t really empty, cars are scattered throughout the place and I have one big circle I can work with. I don’t panic yet, and we do a Chinese firedrill and I jump in the driver’s seat. I get in and Michael gives me the rundown: Always shift at 1500 RPM; never hold in the clutch when you’re coming to a stop, just put it in neutral; never force it into gear, just let it find the gears; etc etc. I’m feeling in my head that this is probably a bad idea, but I forge on anyway. I get the E-Brake off, and we start moving. Michael says to just cruise around in first for a little while so I do, and then I feel I’m ready to take the leap so I push the clutch in and feel for second gear. It gets too low of an RPM, and it starts to chug, and it dies. Of course, since I am driving the god forsaken check engine light comes on. WHY ME! WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN! So then I start really panicking, we are supposed to leave for the trip in two days, Michaels leading division points, and I’m breaking down our only tow vehicle!! This really puts both of us on edge, and Professor Michael isn’t so calm anymore. He talks me into trying again though, and as I get going, I successfully get to second, then when I go into third it starts chugging again.. “PUSH IN THE CLUTCH! PUSH IN THE CLUTCH!!!” I do as I am told and come to a stop. Oh boy. By this point and I am extremely flustered, and I decide that he is just going to have to drive Snow White 900 miles by himself. This really ruined my entire plan, because Michael only drives 60 mph to make sure he gets maximum gas mileage. My plan was to get into the driver’s seat, knock him out, and then do 80 the rest of the way there so we could actually get somewhere. So much for that.
Michael used a code reader to see why the check engine light came on and it checked fine. Wednesday after work, we packed all of our stuff in the Snow White and hit the road. Whenever I took trips with my family, towing the trailer, my dad would always drive. He’s one of the crazier people I’ve ever met, and so I’m really used to going 85mph with a 15,000 pound trailer on the back, slowing down to 80 to take big turns and go down 6% grade hills. 60mph was absolutely killing me, but we did end up getting 13 miles to the gallon. 15 hours and miles and miles of corn later, we made our way over the Mississippi river and drove into the town of Cordova.
Making the drive- Michael and this weird peanut butter and jelly in a can thing I found at Wal-Mart…
The weather was extremely nice. We made it in time for the Thursday test and tune, and were very glad we did as we had to make a few adjustments to keep the car from spinning off the starting line. I always kind of laugh to myself when I watch the Blue Swan, currently, the cylinders are out of round, and the thing smokes like a freight train. Even the Burton’s started referring to it as “Smokey”. The car ran very well though, and was fast, so we made 5 runs and decided to get back to our hotel, The Four Seasons, as I like to call his enclosed trailer, because you get to experience all four seasons. I swept out the rocks and got the air mattress set up while Michael cooked us a delicious dinner of Nathan’s beef franks.
Oh look, Michael drove his racecar to our hotel….
It wasn’t a bad night of sleep, a little on the colder side as it got down to under 60 degrees, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever slept, that’s for sure. The next morning I got up late, took an ice cold shower in the Cordova showers (showers are actually very nice, but if you get there late, there is no hot water left), and we started qualifying runs. We only had two runs that day, the car ran fine and Michael was on the tree, so afterwards we made our way over to our fellow stocker friends, the Henderson’s, to share in some fine wine. And by fine wine I mean Keystone Light. We had a great time with them, and a few hours later we headed back to the Four Seasons to get some food going. Turns out, BUZZED GRILLING IS DRUNK GRILLING! Michael gave me the good brat, but he enjoyed a sandy brat after it rolled off the grill onto the ground a few times. He attempted to use a water bottle to rinse the dirt off of it, but that apparently did not do the job. After that we decided to take a nap, as we were hoping to enjoy the fish fry and band that the track was hosting that night. (We still can’t believe that there is a bar onsite at Cordova, we really wish we had that in CO!) Unfortunately, we were still tired from the drive in, and we slept for 14 hours and missed out on cutting the rug at the bar.
Blue Swan, ready for action!
Saturday was another gorgeous day of weather. We had one qualifying run and then first round. The car ran great, and we were paired with Rosalyn Gresens in her O/S Mustang. Rosalyn and her husband are some of the nicest people we’ve met on the road, and we had a great time talking to her before the race. Michael really wanted to get this round win under his belt, as we drove down here to improve on a couple of 30 point races from earlier in the year and as soon as he wins first round, he would begin accumulating points. Michael had the better light and pushed Rosalyn into a break out, giving him the first round win. We had checked the ladder before first round, and knew that if Michael won, and Keri Findell won, it would be a heads up race second round, and since Keri was already running 93 under, we knew we would have to really hop the Blue Swan up. Luckily, we didn’t have to make any changes as Nathan Botten took Findell out, and we were relieved. Nathan Botten has a 73 Mustang running 11.50’s. They both had terrible lights, Michael going .075 and Botten .091, but the Blue Swan ran well and Michael was able to womp it and take the win in a double break out. Third round we were paired with Nick Seibert. Nick is right behind Michael in division 5 points, so it was an important round. When Michael launched, I put my hands over my eyes. It wasn’t a good light. I was trying to think positively, when I seen puffs of smoke coming out of the already smokey Blue Swan, and then I heard a BANG BANG BANG. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty good at detecting broken stuff, and I was pretty positive something was broken. When we got back to the pits, I asked him if he had forgotten the shift, and he said no, and that he heard something coming from the right side. We pulled the valve cover and viewed the carnage. It had broken two rocker arms, and the push rod was stuck. (I swear I didn’t drive the Blue Swan, so the fact that it was broken was not from the Curse of Lindsey Cramsey! I am so relieved!) We pulled the intake (I am an expert at pulling intakes, it’s the 4th time I’ve done it this year) and got the pushrod out. After comparing it to the other pushrods, we noticed right away that about an inch and a half of it was missing! We were planning on leaving Michael’s trailer at the Henderson’s, and flying out of Kansas Ciry back to the big CO. With a push rod stuck in the pan, Michael and I both agreed that it would be best to take the Swan back home, fix her up, and then drive back out to Topeka and eventually to Earlville. We thought it would be best to leave that night, so we could at least split the drive up a little bit and not just drive 15 hours straight.
Hmm.. That one there doesn’t look right!
We are only missing a two inch piece of it, that’s not that bad, right?
The Henderson’s helped us push the car into the trailer, and we waved good bye to the Mississippi. We made it to Colfax, Iowa, before having to stop and sleep. We backed up to a corn field and slept for about four hours. We got up, bought a couple of energy drinks, and hit the road. The trip was pretty uneventful, but extremely long. Since we had planned to fly back, we had only brought enough food for the weekend. All we had left was half a box of Chicken in a Biscuit, a few sunflower seeds, and some raisins, so we couldn’t even snack to keep away the boredom! About 200 miles from home, we actually passed someone! (See, I told you it was uneventful) Finally, we pulled into Michael’s house, and it felt so good to be home! A real bed, and a heated house. Despite the issues we had, the trip was still a success. Michael gained 20 points, the weather was gorgeous, and we did have a great time.
Well that’s about it for my August Blog! In next month’s blog I’ll tell you about our Super Chevy Show, I’ll be wrapping up super pro points, and doing more crew chiefing in Topeka. I am really hoping I’ll be talking about a final round win!
One last thing! I am sure a lot of you know, but Jeryka Lobner and family are going through some tough times. Jeremy Maples and friends have put together a T-Shirt that they are selling to help off-set some of the medical costs and show their support for Jeryka. They are $20 dollars apiece, and come in any size you need. Please contact Jeremy at Jmaplespainting@hotmail.comand order a shirt to support a local division 5 racer that needs our support! I have never actually met Jeryka, and I have ordered a shirt, so please don’t feel like you need to know her to help support her in this fight!
The Awesome T-Shirt Design for Jeryka! I love it!