News and Observations from the Auto Club Finals
Last weekend my crew chief Rick Klampe and myself took a road trip down to the NHRA Auto Club Finals thanks to our friend Derek Snelson who offered us a pair of tickets. It was a great race, probably the best since the 1975 event once held at the "Big O" in Ontario. We almost didn't make it out of Oregon due to a snow storm that hit. The chains worked for a little ways but started making a big racket and we almost turned around and drove back but the road got better as we drove south.
As always I heard some of the behind the scenes chatter. First everyone knows about Force so I won't go into that other than to say it was nice being at the last race for the 30 year plus Castrol deal. I'm not sure if we'll miss the green Castrol cars or not but everything in this sport is subject to change. I just hope I will keep on pace for keeping my sponsors for years to come and my great teammates. The good news for Duane Shields fans is that the new Peak deal which JFR recently announced won't effect Duane's sponsorship and he will be back in a Peak car in 2015. That's great news for yours truly as well!
Other changes to be noted is that the Taska Funny Car team doesn't have a deal next year and will be going at it on a part time basis as will Dexter Tuttle's Top Fuel team. Parts Plus enjoyed their last race with Tuttle Motorsports and driver Clay Millican at the Finals. Look for a well know driver to get in the Tuttle car next season which will be racing on a schedule that includes mostly southern state events. Millican will drive for a new team to be announced at the PRI Show. The Gumout sponsored Top Fuel car was absent at Pomona after a semi final finish at Vegas race. One has to wonder what the future holds for them. My sources also told me that it was rumored that representatives from Jimmy Johns was shopping their deal around the pits but no word of who if anyone got it.
I came away with a few observations as I always do. The first is that reserved seating is killing NHRA and they would be wise to expand their general admission seating and dump some of their reserved seating. Sitting on the opposite side of the track you could see that their were plenty of reserved seats available but the general admission area was crammed packed! The consumers have spoken and NHRA should listen. They will pay for the cheap general admission seats but fewer want reserve seats. So why not add more general admission seats?
General admission (above) was packed. The reserved section (below) offered plenty of empty seats!
Another observation was a general feeling of growing defeatism among some of the independent fuel teams. Many of the team owners I talked to have given up on finding a sponsor and are just holding on to what they have left. It was reported on Dragracingonline.com that it costs $1000,000 a weekend to race a well funded fuel car. That's crazy and not sustainable.
How about the race itself? Glad you asked. I think the Countdown is working and Pro Stock went down to the final round with Erica Enders taking the event win and the Championship. It couldn't have been any more exciting as was Funny car which was settled in the semi-finals between John Force and Matt Hagan. Hagan came back to win the race against Forcce in the finals. In Top Fuel Tony Schumacher won the World Championship by just qualifying. He then made it to the finals where he lost to Morgan Lucas in a tight race. In Top Alcohol Dragster, Duane Shields topped off his up and down season by winning the event and finishing in 6th place nationally. Local racer Joey Severance finished second nationally in Top Alcohol Dragster.
Perhaps the best part of the race was the legends event where Don Prudhomme, Tom McEwen, Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Kenny Bernstien, TV Tom, and Ed the Ace McCulloch told stories and reflected on their careers. It was great going back in time and listening to some great stories told by the superstars of the sport. I was impressed with Bernstien who looks 20 years younger then he actually is.
Dave McCleland was the MC and was pleasant as always. It was good seeing this nice gentleman back after a bout with some serious health issues. The Snake was very candid and made some interesting revelations. Don Garlits told one of the funniest stories about a guy by the name of "Smokey" who staged an auction to sell off all of his car stuff after he got sick. Smokey didn’t like the prices he was getting for his stuff. So finally he ran up on stage and grabbed the microphone out of the auctioneer’s hand and said “OK you son of a bitches since you aren't spending any money this auction is over!” Later we met Shirley Muldowney and that was a delight as always! Her restored 1977 car was there on display and it’s incredible. You have to see it and maybe you will!
What Every Racer Towing a Trailer on Interstate 5 Through Salem, Oregon Needs to Know!
Many of you might remember when I got nailed 5 minutes from my home for an improper registration and operating a truck and trailer combination over 26,000 GVWR without a CDL. I had no idea I was illegal at the time but after getting in compliance, I downsized and got out of the trucking business after getting a lighter trailer. This summer, in passing I found out that I wasn't the only one as two Central Oregon racers also got whacked towing through Salem.
One of the racers who got written up on the same charges simply went out and got a bigger truck but it was suddenly classified as an RV even with the same trailer and a bigger tractor. Since it had a place to sleep he didn't have to get a CDL like your's truly did. The other racer took the same route I did and wound up paying through the nose, $800 per year for truck plates. No word if he got a CDL or not.
Still Not Out of the Woods
Thinking that my issues with the local Police were over since getting a new trailer proved to be premature. After having my new trailer for only a couple of weeks, I stopped at a Walmart and went across the street to eat lunch at a Panda Express. Sitting in Panda, I saw a cop in a Suburban pull into the parking lot directly across the street from where my trailer was sitting. I figured he would be gone by the time I finished lunch. Instead he sat there just staring straight ahead at my now unmarked trailer. So, I went inside Walmart to get a few things thinking he would be gone when I came out. Nope, he was still sitting there. So, I finally got in my truck and waited him out.
After sitting there for over 45 minutes he finally left. I waited an additional 15 minutes just to be sure he was gone. Even though I was under the limit of a heavy trailer and had the correct registration, why take the chance of having to prove you are legal in court or threatened to be towed again? It was best to avoid bring pulled over and there was nothing he could do as long as I didn't leave the lot and he knew it.
Random Towing Stings
Last summer, a tow truck operator informed me that the local Police set up random sting operations in a parking lot next to a Harbor Freight store near I-5 in North Salem. And you will never guess who their no. 1 target is: pickup trucks, especially dually's towing any trailer that's not a travel trailer.
The Police through a Federal grant has a new truck enforcement team. These zealots include a pair of motorcycle cops who go out on I-5 and look for any truck and trailer combo they think they can shake down. After being pulled over the truck and trailer is escorted to the parking lot where they have portable scales and officers waiting to give a complete inspection and any violation that can be written up.
Obviously they are looking for illegal registrations and trucks and trailers with a combined rating of over 26,000 lbs with an operator that has no CDL. These are the ones that get towed. Of you are in that category you should either get a lighter trailer, pull it with an RV or take that CDL exam. It takes a while to get and it's better to start the process now before racing season begins. I started the process in November but it wasn't until late February before I got my CDL but that's a whole different story.
According to my source several pick ups and trailers have already been towed since this started. And according to two Harbor Freight clerks I talked to today, these operations have been occurring every other month with the latest one happening last Wednesday. I have noticed a lot more pickups with truck plates around town and I believe these stings and other stops by these truck enforcement team members is the reason why.
I would recommend anyone towing a car trailer through Salem on a weekday to take an alternative route or get off at the Keizer exit (going south) and the Kuebler exit (heading north) and then take Cordon Rd around the city. While it's an inconvenience, you will save a lot of stress and money in the event there is a sting. I'm sure the cops like their weekends off so I'd venture to say these are only happening during the week. And whatever you do, don't stop in Salem for food or fuel. Even if there is not a random sting, if you pass by the wrong cop you might be spending more time and money in Salem then you ever anticipated.
New Rules for CDL Physicals
Let's hope Congress doesn't lower the GVWR requirements for CDL's any further. The laws are now so stringent when it comes to passing a CDL physical that many doctors are not doing them anymore which is the case with my doctor. It's so bad now that a friend of mine who works in the front office of a large trucking firm said the industry is concerned that so many drivers are expected to flunk physicals that there will be a truck driver shortage soon. It also means a lot of racers will be out of luck too if they have a truck and trailer combo over 26,000 lbs.
Winter Car Show Kick Off at Burgerville a Success
Besides racing the Capitol Auto Group Dragster we are out there to make people happy and we did a good job of that Saturday at the Burgerville in Albany. We gave away some shirts to some lucky kids and filled up the hero card holder twice as we almost ran out of cards before the end of the day.
In addition to the dragster, five other hot rods join in on the fun so it was a big success in spite of cold and foggy weather. Thanks to Donny Lee, Randi R Lee, and the kids for the help. Thanks also to Burgerville and everyone that brought a car or stopped by including KC and Anna of Salem who came all the way down for a burger.
Capitol Dragster to be Included in 2015 NGK Calendar!
The Capitol Auto Group Dragster was selected to be featured in the 2015 NGK Spark Plugs calendar. This is the second time the car will have been included and quite an honor considering that they sponsor a lot of cars from all types of racing. Many of the racers they sponsor are highly professional so the selection came as a complete surprise. No word on which photo was selected. The popular calendars are distributed all over the United States and beyond.
Race Team Returns in 2015 with Bold New Look to Celebrate 15th Anniversary with Capitol Auto Group
After a great year in 2014, ProMotion Motorsports will celebrate 15 years with Capitol Auto Group. Gone will be the familiar Rocketeer character in favor of a sleek new paint scheme that better represents our title sponsor Capitol Auto Group. We struggled with the decision because of the historical significance of the Rocketeer as the car was originally built for a young boy who was struggling with cancer. However it was difficult to make the Rocketeer work with the Capitol logo but we were able to come up with an idea where we could move on with a new look while preserving the Rocketeer's history.
In a conversation with Richard Lytle, he suggested having some new panels made so the Rocketeer character would be saved. A call to Gary Eickmann echoed Richards idea but he took the idea even farther suggesting that the whole car should be modernized anyway with a complete new body. We are given the choice of a one piece carbon fiber body or the typical aluminum panels. We are leaning towards the carbon fiber body but that may change depending on the final cost and if the body will fit on our chassis. The carbon fiber body is from the same mold that produced the new Warped Speed jet dragster bodies. We should know this week which direction we will go and the job will start right away. We want the panels to be interchangeable so we can switch back to the Rocketeer body for special events.
The car will be painted by Jeff Lewis of Jeff Lewis Paint and Hot Rod Shop and signs by Supervinyl Signs & Banners. Rich Bailey's ProMotion Motorsports Services designed the paint scheme Other logos will be added later but we wanted to showcase the basic design in the initial unveiling of the new design. Click Here to see an enlargement of the design
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Engine: 2.4L I-4 cyl
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Take it for a virtual spin here
Funny Car Legend Raymond Beadle Passes
The Eagles' song "Take it to the Limit" best describes three time NHRA Funny Car Champion and legend Raymond Beadle who passed away at age 70. Beadle did everything to the max before moving on to the next big challenge including owning a NASCAR team and a World of Outlaws team. In fact, Beadle won the NASCAR Cup with then unknown Rusty Wallace driving in 1989.
Raymond drove one of Don Schumacher's Wonder Wagon cars in the early 1970 before joining forces with Harry Schmidt to drive the Blue Max. In 1977 Beadle bought the operation and the car got even more popular racing along side the Hawaiian and others. In 1979 Beadle dethroned Don "the Snake" Prudhomme who had won the every funny car title and just about every national event since 1975. During this time Beadle developed himself as quite the business man selling thousands of Blue Max shirts and bought the Chaparral Trailer Co. among other ventures.
Beadle drove the Blue Max until the mid 80's when he purchaced a NASCAR team driven by the late Tim Richmond. He continued to run the funny car operation with "Lil John Lombardo" and later Ronnie Young at the wheel with funding from Pontiac and Kodiak Tobacco but it just wasn't the same as the maga shows where Beadle really made his mark faded away. Gone were the 64 and 32 car shows in Seattle, Orange County and Portland where the Blue Max was a regular. Soon after Beadle sold everything to begin a quiet life of ranching in Texas.
When the nostalgia funny car craze got popular Beadle built a true replica of his Blue and yellow Blue Max Arrow (seen above). That car has campaigned mostly in Texas and the Midwest and is driven by Young to this day. Beadle will always be remembered as a great driver and one of the sport's true maverics.
Watch the Blue Max in a spectacular crash here
The Rocketeer (or is it Ironman?) Makes Annual Trip to Bauman Farms!
The Capitol Dragster was at Bauman Farms near the Capitol Toyota display both Saturday and Sunday October 12th and 12th. It was crazy busy with very few breaks when someone wasn’t looking at the car. This was the busiest event we have been to this year in terms of interest in the car. The kids, dads and even moms loved looking over the car, asking questions and taking photos. It was busier then the state fair and that’s saying a lot! As always there was some debate if it was the Rocketeer or Iron Man gracing the sides of the car.
I got some help from Todd Carrol at the event. I was very impressed on how professional Todd is in representing our team. We gave away some promo cards, golf tees, key chain clips and other items we had in the trailer. The event was a giant success and the Bauman family could not have been more accommodating in having us there.
A Wild Card NHRA National Event Could Mix it up while introducing More Fans to the Sport of Drag Racing!
Here's an idea that would be beneficial to NHRA in keeping its member tracks while putting an end to the stale Mello Yello series that everyone seems to complain about. Lets say Pacific Raceway is gone since it is curently up for sale. Why not have that date be a rotating race each year in some new market? Make it a full points race, and an 8 car field in every pro class just like they did at some selected events back in the day? This way some secondary markets like Boise, Bakersfield, Salt Lake, Mission, Woodburn and Sacramento could host a wild card national race on a rotating basis.
The benefit would be NHRA would have a new market to introduce for at least 6 years, until all six cities hosted a race. Plus, NHRA would retain these tracks so they wouldn't go to IHRA and these member tracks would surely make some improvements in order to get one of these wild card races.
Best of all, the fans would see a new national event both in person or on TV. And sportsman racers in these markets would have a national at their home track once every six years which might help them get a sponsor while racing in front of their friends and neighbors which is something they can't do now.
NHRA needs to think out of the box and do something exciting and different while encouraging the sport to grow and this would help.
- Rich Bailey
Adam's Rib Race Report
Capitol Rocketeer Team Finally Has Great Showing in Woodburn at the Fall Classic!
Photos by Larry and Andi McFarland
The gremlins finally stayed away from our Capitol Rocketeer Dragster this past weekend and we made four very good runs at Woodburn! In fact, in spite of a couple of bad reaction times we went undefeated. We made two hits against Garry Fauble's Patriot on Saturday and two more on Sunday. It was refreshing to finally have everything under control without a lot of stress and most importantly no broken parts other than a heim joint and a battery in which I had spares in the trailer.
Our best pass was a 7.08 at 194 MPH in the opening round of the featured cars on Sunday. I know it wasn't a six but it was close enough. Many don't know this but because of the numerous rod and piston changes last year we inhareted a low compression set up this season and the car has been running far better than the experts ever believed. Next season we'll up the compression, but not breaking a bunch of parts this year has made life easier on all of us and my pocket book. And even with that low compression engine, it has been a very successful year for us after winning the Season Opener race in Medford and finishing second in the Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series. This race was just the cherry on top of a great season.
Besides the on-track action, we had a great time seeing all of the fans that continue to supported us even when we were down in the luck department. On Saturday, we did our warm up and when we were done I heard this applose and when I looked back there must have been twenty people behind the car cheering! It was like the top fuelers warming up at a national event but it was just us a blown Alcohol dragster at the local track. We also sold a lot of Rocketeer shirts and Adam's Rib BBQ sauce which took care of our expenses and made me very happy! I would like to thanks my crew and the Patriot team for a great weekend.
Mistaken Identity Leads to a Free T-Shirt at Mega Foods!
We did this maga 5 hour sale event at Mega Foods for 1430 KYKN and yes it was big and we were swamped most of the time with shoppers checking out the car.
Outside the store was this Monster Energy pop up tent. So, our new team member Donnie Lee and I were about to unload the race car out of the trailer and this young guy walks up and said "I'm a huge fan" And I said "oh of drag racing" And he said "No, of you. Can I get a picture with you". And I said "Sure and yes that deserves a t-shirt!" And then he says "how long are you going to be in town for?" And I said "Well, I live here". And he said "No way I didn't know that!"
So once we get the car unloaded, gave him his shirt and after things finally settled down, I happened to look a little closer at that Monster Energy awning and it said "Kyle Bush" on one side. So the kid comes back from inside the store and I said "You know, I'm not Kyle Bush" and his friend said "Yeah, he saw the awning and thought that's who you were. He just wants to meet someone famous" and I said "If you are looking for someone famous, I'm not it but Tony the Tiger is here and he's famous."
Rattlesnake Makes Presence Known that they are Alive and Well in a Eugene TV Station Parking Lot!
The fact that Rattlers live on the western side of the State of Oregon have always been discounted and sort of a tabu subject as most residence believe they reside only in Eastern Oregon and down near the California border. Well, one Western Pacific Rattlesnake begs to differ and recently found the best location to publicize that they are alive and well west of the Cascades - at a Eugene TV station parking lot! See it here
Blown Alcohol Thunder to introduce 6.75 Index for 2015
The DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series will introduce a 6.75 index in 2015. What that means is that a run quicker than a 6.75 won't count in qualifying or in the final round. In a situation where both cars in the final went under the 6.75 limit, the car closest to the 6.75 ET would win. The reason for the rule change is to level the playing field and to keep the costs of racing in the series down for all racers. This rule change also means that the use of throttle stops, timers and other devices used to accomplish a specific ET will not be allowed.
We tried to keep the series as unlimited as possible but after the outcome was the same in the last three straight events it was obvious that an ET limit had to be put into place so no one particular car would likely win every event. A similar index was introduced in the Pacific ProComp Series and it didn't hurt the show and there were a variety of winners.
Other news and a schedule for 2015 will be announced soon.
New Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Series!
Click on logo or click here: http://www.capracing.com/blown_alcohol_thunder.html
Generator Sales "Flare Up" at Harbor Freight Just Before the Big One is Set to Hit This Weekend!
Soooo, there I am at Harbor Freight looking at generators and this guy and his son came walking up and asked if I'm buying a generator because of the "storm" that's coming on Friday or Saturday night? And I said what storm? It's going to be 80 degrees this weekend! And they said "No, the solar storm that's coming and there are two EMT'S HEADING TWARDS EARTH RIGHT NOW! I said "no I'm buying a generator for my racing team. Mine is on the fritz and the replacement I got on Craig's list isn't much better" I said half joking.
So, the older gent who said to be a scientist proceeded to talk my ear off for 30 minutes about all this solar stuff and he claims to even have some solar discovery named after him! Well, I finally had enough as I feared the store was closing soon and so I asked him point blank the question we would all want to know in this situation: where on earth are these bad boys going to hit? He then informed me that these EMT's are bigger than the earth so everywhere! He also said that some of these are strong enough to burn down telephone poles and make us into crispy critters!
How's that for global warming, Al Gore? Generally, I would say if the one in the picture is heading our way and it's bigger than the earth then that would be a bigger threat to us then the earth warming one degree in 100 years from now. Wouldn't you?
But most likely the worst case scenario is that this one two punch as he called it could bring down the national power grid! At least he was sure enough that he bought a generator while I was standing there and even gave me the discount code to save me an additional 30.00 bucks! That sealed the deal for me and I then bought one too.
After this chance meeting, as I rolled the new Preditor generator out to the parking lot in a rickedy old Harbor Freight shopping cart, I began to wonder if he and his son might have been Harbor Freight employees acting as customers and I was the gullible shopper? Nah. They seemed to know more than anyone would ever want to know about this stuff, especially someone that would work at Harbor Freight.
I later walked into McDonald's just down the street from Harbor Freight beaming with this new found knowledge from my new friend when everything around me seemed so normal. I started thinking I was playing a role in a disaster movie, you know, the Tom Cruise charactor that just learns the truth that nobody else knows just before the big one is set to hit and destroy everything and he has 48 hours to stop it!! Yeah, for a split second in my mind I was that guy! I later came home and told my wife about this chance meeting I had with the scientist on isle 11 at Harbor Freight and she thought I was nuts. Of course I am, but you can't make this stuff up. Can you?
Dane Lachelt Wins First Championship!
The first ever Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Racing Series season is already in the books and the first Champion has been crowned. Dane Lachelt won the series convincingly by winning three races in a row. Hard charging "Lady Elaine" Sellers in her 1967 Nova funny car gave Lachelt a run for his money as she was runner up to him at the same three events he had won.
Lachelt along with his father Neal who reside in British Columbia, clinched the first ever Championship by only having to make one round at the final event held in Spokane at the Jet Car Finals. His big lead made it almost impossible for second place finisher Rich Bailey to catch him. Mike Peck who was also tied for second chose not to compete at the final race.
Lachelt went on to win the event over Sellers in a very close final round. Bailey won the Good Vibrations Best Reaction Time Award with an impressive .004 light. Nine cars competed in the final Spokane event in front of a giant crowd. Two cars had to withdraw at the race due to unexpected engine problems.
A sixth race was to be held in the Fall at The Eagle Motorplex in Ashcroft but it was canceled due to onging management problems at the facility.
Final 2014 Point Standings
1. Dane Lachelt 168
2. Rich Bailey 136
3. Elaine Sellers 110
4. Mike Peck 106
5. Brent Jones 80
Kevin McCurdy 60, David Spease 60, Kelly Flansaas 60, Norm Mitchell 60 (tied)
7. John Evans, Todd Miller 40 (tied)
8. Mike Lema 30, Dave Hix 30, Alan Hougardy, Pete Krona 30, Jim Attewell 30, Roger Hansen 30 (tied)
9. Frank Miller 20, Shane Wheatherford 20, George Moore 20 (tied)
10. Jeff Krittenbrink 10 (and one other)
The Capitol Rocketeer car is at the Oregon State Fair!
The Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster is back at the Oregon State Fair for all 11 days. The car will be staffed most of the time thanks to Donnie Lee who will be there daily.
The car is part of the car show which will be happening every day. It is located in the garden area near Columbia Hall. We will have coupons for the Fall Classic Drags and speaking of that, you can get free parking passes for the fair at Capitol Chevrolet!
King Engine Bearings Race Report
Capitol Team Gets Things Turned Around With Second Place Finish in the Blown Alcohol Thunder Series
Photos by Annette Barton
In a dramatic turn around from last season where we were kicked in the shins at every turn mechanically, the Capitol team clinched a second place finish in the Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series final standings. It was a great accomplishment to not only runner up but to successfully promote a new racing series and see it through to the end without too many problems and a happy group of racers.
We were tied with Mike Peck for second place before we drove up to Spokane for the final event so were excited to see how we would do. We originally planned to hit a mid-week race in Yakima but our scheduled opponent from Squim, Washington decided not to go and the forecast looked like possible T-storms so we decided to head straight for Spokane after talking it over with Derek Snelson, the promoter in Yakima and my partner in the race series. It rained out anyway so we made a good call to save our resources for Spokane and Derek was all for that.
There were no problems on the way to Spokane and as usual Brent, Richard and I had fun on the way up. We stopped into our favorite truck stop for some tasty Chesterfried Chicken with a little bit of Frank's Red Hot near the Othello turn off before hitting Ritzville. We then rolled into town around six and set up the pit and kept the awning as far from the trailer as possible.
On race day, we checked some King engine bearings which looked perfect and tightened up the pan. Rick and Cookie were driving up separately and we would fine tune the engine when they arrived. When Rick and Cookie showed up, they blew everyone in the pits away with the trophy that Rick had built out of some stretched connecting rods. It looked so nice that it made me want to win the Championship and the trophy even more but all our opponent, Dane Lachelt, had to do to clinch the Championship was to make just one round.
After taking a flat trailer tire to the tire store, we decided to make a check out pass to see if we could squeeze a little more juce out of the engine. On the burnout, I hit a rough spot on the track and it moved the engine and with it the transmission alignment! Suddenly I only had second gear as I moved up to the line. So, I just lightly drove it through. When we got back to the pit we had an hour before the main event to service the car and fix the alignment problem. We thrashed to get it fixed and even the points leader himself was over at our pit giving us a hand so we could make the call.
At 5:45 we rolled up and ended up being the first pair of cars to fire. So here we are in the burnout box waiting the conclusion of the national anthem to fire it up. Your heart pounds and you pray it's going to start with 8,000 people watching you during the opening ceremonies. It was just like in Top Fuel at an NHRA event. It started right up and this time I made a soft burnout and then I did it.... I had the best light of my career as I had an .004 reaction time! Keep in mind we don't have any electronics in our car! The killer RT gave me the Good Vibrations Best Reaction Time Award which was worth 100.00 in cold hard cash! At the other end of the track my opponent beat me but it was a good side-by side run. I had a 7.38 to his 6.92. After the run Richard stopped the tow truck and Rick climbed the fence and threw out some shirts! The crowd went wild!
In the second stanza, we hopped it up when "the Coach" Dane's dad (now the champ) brought us over a quicker pulley and we leaned the engine out more too. This time it was dark and the tach light was blaring in my eyes but no worries as I still had a good light. At the other end, Dane got me with a mid six to my improved 7.18 at 190 MPH but it was still side by side most of the way.
Sadly, we were not quick enough to go to the final round, but we made two good side by side passes and had the best reaction time of the night! But then every thing came into perspective after we were done racing. A guy from Oregon recognized us and then approached us in the stands while we were watching the jets cars.
He reminded us about a time at Woodburn when he took his mom to see her first race which I had forgotten about. She was in a wheelchair suffering from the cruel effects of cancer. We were reminded how we gave her a bottle of water, let we sit under our awning so she could get some relief from the sun and then how I signed a picture to her. The gentleman then said that his mother has long since passed away but she kept that bottle until she died and that picture that was signed still hangs on his wall to this day.
How could we have wanted or expected anything more than the blessings from God we had already received that day after hearing that? Nope, number two in the points standings, some good racing, our great friends, a car that's still together, and the best reaction time was just fine by me. What a great year this has been!
See our second pass here
Bailey' s Blog
Guitars Under the Stars Concert Turns Out to be Rock-n-Roll Heaven For this Guy
Jeff Rouse and Keith Ash of The Guessing Game spent some time with me while looking over the car.
If there was such a thing as a rock-n-roll heaven, Guitars Under the Stars would be as close as it gets. We were asked to do this event which took place in Lebanon way back in February and I had my doubts about doing it as the event got closer to the day since I had not heard from anyone from the show in recent months. But the promoters came through the week of the event so I took the car down there not sure what to expect. However, it turned out to be one of the best events we have ever done on the enjoyment scale. It couldn't have gone any better. It was an all around great event that included all styles of rock.
Everyone there was very laid back and it was easy getting the car in place. And the location they gave me which was between the concessions and the back of the stage was pefect. In fact, since it was close to the stage Some of the band members would stop by to check out the car before or after they played.
One of the bands was from Seattle and are called "The Guessing Game" (pictured below). It didn't take long before we became fast friends. We exchanged t-shirts, and their new CD for some Adam's Rid BBQ sauce. Then the band got on stage and blew me away with an excellent set that included a powerful new song you must hear called Dear God. Wow! I got chills listening to it live and then on CD as I drove home. LISTEN TO IT HERE This band is going to be big trust me! If you click on the link you'll certainly agree.
The Guessing Game includes: Jeff Rouse Kathy Moore Gary Westlake Keith Ash Shawn Zellar
Later in the day Gary Hoey rocked the house and then Pat Travers took the stage followed by Lita Ford. I had heard a lot about Gary Hoey but never heard his music. After hearing his set I figured out what all the talk was about. Before the night was over I got the pleasure to me meet Pat Travers himself who also played a great set. Since I had an all access pass, I took photos from all over the stage during the Lita Ford show. She was great too and closed the show with one of my faves called Kiss Me Deadly. It was worth the wait before high tailing it out of there to beat the crowd.
Lita Ford and Gary Hoey closing out the three day concert
As for the crowd, everyone was well behaved and very friendly and there was no visible drug use or over consumption of alcohol even though there was a beer garden. Everyone was very approachable and the security was really relaxed which made for a great event. I have never seen anything like this as long as I have been going to concerts which made Guitars Under the Stars Rock-n-Roll Heaven!
Capitol Car Fires Up at Keizer River Fair
Paul Finister invited us to bring the Capitol Auto Group Rocketeer Dragster to the River Fair Car Show. I told him we would but it was a work day for us and we would be putting part of the engine back together. He said that's fine bring it. So, Richard and I unloaded the car at 10:30 and went to work.
By 2:30 and after taking a break for lunch, driving home because I forgot the intake gaskets, we fired the up car not sure if it would start right up or not. It did! The reason I was some what surprised at all is sometimes when you pull the mag there is some trial and error that happens to get the engine to start and that's nothing you want to do in front of a group of people waiting and watching.
The rest of the day we let the kids sit in it after enjoying an ice cold Mello Yello. It's always a good day when Richard is there to help me. It was a great day in Keizer and people stayed an hour after the event was scheduled to end which is the mark of a good car show!
Good Marketing Pays off at Seattle NHRA Event
NHRA had a very good event in Seattle. Consider that the city's beloved hydroplane race landed on the same weekend, the Blue Angels were their half time show and the Seattle media for the most part ignored the NHRA event in favor of the boats. Still, the stands were 90 percent filled during the second round with hundreds more lined up along the fence.
The pits and the stands were packed all weekend in Seattle. Reasonable prices and marketing helped.
I think part of the successful turnout in spite of the competition accross the lake was a ticket promo with O'Reilly Auto Parts where a fan could get a reserved seat for 45.00 and a kids ticket was only 10.00. You just had to go to the parts store to buy them at any location in the Northwest. How easy is that? When you include free parking and pit access I think it was value priced for a family of four living on the ropes these days. So, congrats to NHRA on a marketing plan that worked even when the odds were against them!
This was the last time Force traveled down the Seattle track in a Castrol sponsored car. Is Peak next?
As far as the race went, wow the final in funny car was the way it should have been: two old rivals from the 64 funny car days. Gary Densham who is just about as low buck as they come took on John Force in his last race in Seattle behind the wheel of a Castrol sponsored funny car. Force blew Densham's doors off but Densham did not luck out and back into the win as he took down some of the toughest most well financed cars in the sport. Before the big final local favorite Joey Severance won the top alcohol dragster final convincingly.
Is it just me or does the DSR car (far lane) look a smaller and swoopier with the canopy?
Reportedly, the car count was down in the sportsman classes and in pro stock. There were full fields in the pro classes but not by much. It's obvious that the cost of racing and the economy is having an effect whether it's a Super Comp dragster out of division seven or a Top Alcohol dragster team that can't afford to race like they use too. Over all, it was a great race but I miss the single car independent operations, the characters and the dry hops of days gone by.
Capitol Team Back at it Starting This Weekend
After a short vaction up to Seattle, the Capitol team is back at it starting this weekend. First, the car will be at the Keizer River Fair Car Show on Saturday at School House Square on River Road from 10 AM to 3 PM. The team will be puting the engine back together from the manifold up after we had some additional work done by Gary Eichmann after the Night of Fire race where the mag got loose and lost fire.
Then on Sunday, it's for those about to Rock! The car will be displayed at "Guitars Under the Stars" in Lebanon, Oregon featuring rockers Pat Travers and Lita Ford among many other big rock acts.
On Wednesday, the car leaves again for Yakima to do a special match race against Jeff Krittenbrink's funny car from Squim, WA at Renegade Raceway. From there, we move on to Spokane for the final event in the Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series where we are second place in points. A lot going on in a short ten day period but that's the way we like it.
Jet Car Finals Event Up Next For Blown Alcohol Thunder
The final event in the "Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Pro Comp Racing Series" will be coming up August 16th in Spokane. If you were at the first event in Spokane, the Fox Hunt, you know just how good the track is and how many spectators fill the stands. This is the big one, the grand finale. If you race in Blown Alcohol Thunder and are not yet pre-entered call the track as soon as possible at 509-244-3333 to get on the list for free entry. There's still time!
KYKN Race Report by Rich Bailey
Capitol Team Slides to Second Place in Spokane
The Capitol team had mixed results in Spokane but we landed on our feet on the second pass. This year's trip to Spokane was a big improvement over last year when I had kidney stones and brakes that all the sudden stopped working. Going into the event we were tied with Dane Lachelt and Mike Peck for first place but by the end of the weekend we had slipped to second place after Dane went to the finals at the event. The race had a good turn out for our Blown Alcohol Thunder Series as ten blown alcohol cars showed up and all of the cars made their expected run during each session.
The Bend Knecht's display I had to part with three shirts for my Royal Purple and NGK promotion where customers got a free shirt for buying product. Not bad since we were there for just three hours.
We started the weekend by doing a car display at Knecht's Auto Parts in Bend until 2 PM on Friday. We then got on the road for the long trip to Spokane. On the way through we stopped and filled up with bio diesel at a Shell station. The fuel was 40 cents a gallon cheaper then the regular stuff. I'm all the sudden green! As I've said before if it pencils out I'm in and the truck liked it too!
While we were on the road we checked out Shaniko, an old ghost town. This old western town is just off US97 in Central Oregon and is complete with an old hotel, wooden sidewalks, an ice cream parlor and of course a little shop that sells Sarsaparilla. It was a pretty neat place to stop and let the truck cool down. Back on the road and we finally got into Spokane at 11 PM.
On race day, we got the car prepped including installing a new set of plug wires. It was hot and windy and the wind was so strong it wrecked the awning and put a nice crease and scratch on the side of our new trailer. That was the frustrating part of the trip. I have already started to fix it and should be painted by the end of the week.
Here is the pop-up just before the wind dismantled it and ruined the side of my new trailer. Needless to say I was more than a little pissed.
On the first hit, we were too soft in the high altitude and the car took it's sweet time going down the track. The only good thing about the run was that I treed my opponent but he got around me on the top end. It turned out that everyone during that session was off of their game. As I was just hanging around waiting to make the second round an attractive girl came up and took my picture and said "I was just too cool for school". That was a moral booster since a kid in Spokane last year told me I was "too old". We remember these things but I guess I still got it what ever "it" is.
In round two, our crew chief Rick Klampe and his assistant Richard Lytle hopped the car up big time and we got down the track with a 7.28 at over 5,500 feet corrected altitude! An altitude that high is what you would expect in Denver. But what I liked best about the run was that I had a good 0.18 light and beat my second opponent on both ends of the track. However, we were not quick enough to make the final round.
There's "Fuelie" a new crew member filling up the tank before starting it up at Madras Raceway.
We thought we may have hurt the engine on the last pass so we put the car away in preparation for the long ride home. Rick came up with an idea of making a surprise visit to Madras Raceway on the way home to go through the valves and double check everything to see how bad we may have hurt the engine or if we had hurt it at all. So we pulled in as everyone was leaving but still turned some heads from those wondering what we were doing there at the end of the day. We went through the engine looking for clues and finally fired it up and the engine sounded strong so there was nothing to be concerned about. Since nothing was hurt and he car came home in one piece, the trip to Spokane a good one.
Dane Lachelt Wins in Repeat Final at Spokane
Once again it was a classic Pro Comp final of funny car vs. dragster at the Dragparts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder race held in Spokane during the Fox Hunt Drags. Dane Lachelt ended up in the winner's circle for the second time this season after defeating "Lady Elaine" Sellers in a repeat of the Yakima event.
While many in the grandstands were hoping for a funny car win it wasn't to be as "Lady Elaine" was unable to stage her car in time and the auto start timing system automatically timed out giving the win to Lachelt who had staged first. Lachelt of British Columbia now takes command of first place while Mike Peck and Rich Bailey are now tied for second going into the final race of the series to also be held in Spokane, August 15-16 during the Jet Car Finals.
Ten cars competed in the Drag Parts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder class. The track had a great crowd and the racing surface was excellent in spite of the 5,800 foot corrected altitude.
Capitol Dragster is at Marion County Fair after Big July 4 Weekend in Independence and Woodburn
The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster will be on display at the Marion County Fair, July 10th-13th. The following week the car will be back into racing mode as we will be in Spokane for the Fox Hunt Drags which is also a points meet for us. Readers may wonder why we continue to not participate at the NHRA event at Woodburn and there are two simple reasons. First, we don't have a golf cart and the car is not self starting which is required at NHRA regional and national events. The other reason is since we have a points race the following weekend, we don't want to break the car a week prior and not make the trip to Spokane. We are tied for first place in a three way tie so why take chances?
The car was a big hit as usual in the Western Days Parade and then at the fireworks display and festival grounds on both days, the 4th and 5th of July. This was by far the best show in the valley and thousands saw the car between the parade and the display. A lot of people came by particularly on the 4th and we sold quite a few shirts and bottles of Adam's Rib BBQ Sauce. If that wasn't enough, the dragster also was at the Jet Car Nationals in Woodburn on the 3rd of July and made a full run under the lights. Abig thanks to Richard Lytle and Brent Sanford for all of their help!
It Wasn't All That Fast but it Was Sure Spectacular!
The Capitol team was a little short handed but everything went well at the Jet Car Nationals. Brent and Richard took care of things and the car responded well. The team decided to make one pass and by the time we were ready it was getting dark. We have never had the chance to make a pass here at night but it had been on my bucket list for a while. It was a solo run and when I let go of the button the front end came up and there was at least 18 inches of air between the tire and the pavement! We didn't now how much air until Dan Kaplan, one of the photographers came over and showed us the spectacular picture (above) while we were loading up. The car ran a 7.29 at 187 MPH. A photo to follow.
Incredible Fuel Altered Crash at Champion
While we don't like to make light of a crash this is one you really have to see to believe.
CLICK HERE TO SEE A SPECTACULAR FUEL ALTERED CRASH
Read Yakima Race Coverage on Drag Racing Online
Check out the great story on ProComp and the recent Blown Alcohol Thunder event on Drag Racing Online. They have it right, we are renegades doing it our way. When you don't have a class, make your own. To read coverage of the race go to: Drag Racing Online
The Salem Geeks Race Report
"Air Capitol" Stays Tied for First After Yakima
It was a great weekend to be in the "Palm Springs of the Northwest" since it was raining everywhere else. The wind blew but that was about all. The good news for us was that our new trailer is quite a fuel savor and we saved as much as a half of a tank of diesel compared to the other trailer and a full tank if we were pulling the old trailer with the old gas powered truck. The only thing that went wrong on the way over to Yakima was that the CD player quit working and we got the bird flipped at us twice on US97. But this is nothing new as it always happens to us on the way to Yakima.
Once we arrived and got set up, Rick showed up with his friend John Marshall and we fine tuned the car. We tried a couple of thing that didn't work as the car was briefly shooting flames out the pipes. We then went back and increased the timing and re-adjusted the barrel valve and the car sounded like it's old self again without getting too hot. Our neighbors Dane and Neil "the coach" Lachelt along with Mike Peck were a lot of help and we learned some new things hanging around those guys. At midnight, we went to Miner Burger (the In-N-Out of Yakima) and then went to the track house and crashed. Unfortunately, there wasn't as many places to sleep as I had hoped and we ended up sleeping on the floor. Poor drag racers and travelling rock mucians are a lot a like.
On Saturday, we went in to town for coffee and supplies and then returned to the track and got ready for round one. On the way in, a guy doing irrigation work near the track got his truck to far into the ditch so I pulled him out with the dually for some good karma. After a pre-race parade where the announcer introduced each team we were in the lanes and ready to go. Our first opponent was Kelly Flansaas in the Rocky Mountain Thunder Corvette Funny Car from Montana. At the hit, Kelly was out of the gate first but I sailed right by him with the front wheels in the air to take the win and a 4.73 which was the 5th best ET out of the eleven cars but obviously it was not good enough to go to the final.
After we got the car turned around in the pits we were ready for the second stanza and one more shot to go to the final round. This time I took on my buddy Brent Jones in the "Lawless" funny car. As we both fired up Brent discovered something was wrong with his car and shut it off. It turned out he sucked a valve. After doing my burnout I was backing up the engine shut itself off from fuel sloshing around in the fuel tank creating air that leaned the engine out. We quickly re-fired to make the pass. At the hit, the car shook very violently but not before doing a big wheelstand which broke the wheelie bar and the blowback tubes! By then my chance for a ticket to the final were done and idled it down the track. But since we got ten points per round and ten for showing up we are now in a three way tie with the Canada winner Mike Peck and the Yakima winner Dane Lachelt.
Dane invited us to stand in the winner circle with him which was cool and then we went back to Miner Burger at midnight. On Sunday, when I got up I was a zombie. My head was hurting from the shake (or the floor) and I didn't get much sleep for obvious reasons. But once I got my coffee I was ready for the drive home with Richard at the wheel. Once I got back into town, I took the car to Gary Eickmann's to get the damage fixed caused by this weekend's racing.
It was another eventful weekend and one I will never forget!
To read coverage of the race go to: Drag Racing Online
Friday the 13th and a Full Moon Stuck Around Our Pits at Rose Festival Drags in Rainy Woodburn
It was the first Friday the 13th and a full moon happening together on the same night since 1927. Don't believe in Friday the 13th? Well, try this, everything from rain to some minnor carnage stuck around for much of the weekend at the Rose Festival Drags. This was the third major race in a row where the race completely rained out on Sunday.
After three solid days of retrofitting our new trailer, we headed out to our home track to see what the car would do in preparation for the Yakima event at the end of the month. After lots of compliments on the new trailer and work getting the car ready, we fired it up. Everything started out OK and the engine sounded very good. However, a little bit of smoke from the number three cylinder began to appear. The engine also got hot rather quickly.
This made us decided to error on the side of caution and not make a pass until we were sure everything was alright. The last thing any of us wanted to do was to oil down the track or destroy our engine. We did a leak down test and a compression check and some how the numbers from the compression check had changed dramatically from when we checked each cylinder at home three weeks ago. We then decided to dissassemble the engine and keep digging until we could figure out what the heck was wrong.
It turned out that our heads had gotten so hot that the sharp shape around the cylinder had began to change in the number one and number two cylinders. The piston to wall clearence had also been compromised by the heat. There was also heat cracks in two spots. Obviously, that ended any hope we had of making any passes.
On Sunday, there were a few light rain drops when we left home but by the time we got to the track it was sloppy wet from an unexpected rain storm. The rain continued to fall until mid day when Jay Livingston decided to cancel the event. The good news in all of this is that we discovered this problem at Woodburn and not in Canada where we would have gone had the trailer been done on time. We have a game plan to get the heads fixed and the engine back together by the next Blown Alcohol Thunder event in two weeks.
Our New Trailer has Arrived and Worth the Wait!
The long wait is finally over for the Capitol Team as the new home for the Rocketeer has finally arrived! On Tuesday the 30 foot trailer was released from the factory and not a minute too soon. On the way back to Salem the trailer was weighed and then the floor was painted once we arrived at home. Once the floor is no longer tacky the car will be loaded for the Rose Festival Drags at Woodburn this weekend.
Sometimes less is more and the new trailer is light weight and has everything the old trailer had but without all of the weight and headaches. A big thanks to Ron Papple and Cascade Truck Body and Trailer for all of his help in getting the trailer custom built as quickly as possible. The trailer was built in neighboring Independence in an effort to help support the local economy with good paying jobs.
Next Stop for DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder is Yakima where the Resurgence in Pro Comp Began!
One of the premier races on the DragParts.com Blown Alcohol Thunder Series tour is the upcoming event at Renegade Raceway in Yakima called "Nitro Nights Under The Lights" scheduled for June 27-28. In fact, this is the race that started it all five years ago. At that time Derek Snelson took a risk and brought back Pro Comp, a popular racing class in the 70's that included dragsters, funny cars and roadsters all racing together. NHRA later abandoned the class and spit the alcohol dragsters and funny cars into two separate classes.
The format at Renegade was a big hit and Snelson has promoted the pro comp race every year since. This year may be the biggest Pro Comp field so far for Yakima! Currently, ten blown alcohol cars from six states and Canada have already pre-entered including six funny cars, four dragsters and one altered. There is still room for six more entries.
On Thursday, there will be a pre-view night downtown where racers can display their cars. On Friday, will be an optional test and tune and then on Saturday is the big event.
There is still time to pre-enter and be a part of the resurgence at Renegade Raceway!
Politically Correct or Not, the Term to Describe What Racers Do Needs to be Changed!
OK here is my late night rant so forgive me if I'm not thinking clearly but this is something I have thought about for years. Nothing has changed and if anything the problem has gotten worse. The problem I am referring to is the term "drag racing". It needs to be left behind. It's obvious that what we do is much different than the illegal speed contests being conducted on the street which often have deadly consequences. So, in other words "drag racing" is simultaneously used to describe two very different activities and one is highly negative and often results in tragic circumstances and death unrelated to what we do as racers.
The governing bodies of our sport, the NHRA, IHRA and SEMA, if nothing but for their own good should put the spotlight on themselves and call a news conference at the SEMA meeting in November and proclaim that they are no longer going to recognize the term "drag racing" in their tag line, media, etc. when describing the sport and instead will now call our sport "Championship Speed Racing". Explain to the world that in spite of ongoing education, the term "drag racing" is far to often used to describe the cause of deadly highway crashes and not what happens on the track.
Some will think this is a stupid idea but if you follow Google news and follow the term drag racing to find racing stories, more often than not the stories that turn up describe some one charged with "drag racing" or a local teen in some town is killed "drag racing". Why do we want to continue to be associated with such a term when all efforts have failed to describe to the pubic that street racing is not drag racing? The sad fact is that the term drag racing has been a PR disaster in every town in the USA where a high school kid has been killed street racing.
NHRA, IHRA and SEMA have the power to remedy the problem while getting themselves in the media spotlight and while the old timers might disagree it will be beneficial in the long run. Such a move will better describe what we do and lead to more sponsors.
Granted, I know most people know the difference but our sport has changed dramatically from what it was a long time ago and yet we still call it what it isn't. There is no law that says we must continue to use a specific term and a name such as "speed racing" better describes what we do.
Let the media and law enforcement continue to use the term "drag racing" to describe illegal street racing and we'll move on to something better and more exciting to describe our sport to the public.
New Column: Trailer Talk
After my brouhaha with the local Police I have discovered that after years of fair treatment to racers many jurisdictions are putting the hammer down on anyone hauling a race car trailer and putting them in the same category as long haul truckers.
The stories from around the country including mine will make any racer sweat the minute they pull out of the driveway. This new column is an education tool so you at least know what's out there and what's coming next.
As was mentioned in the current issue of National Dragster by Ernie Saxton, even a modest pick up and tandem axle trailer are swept up into the trucking rules depending on the officer who decides to pull you over. The lowest common denominator is that the car in the trailer can get paid either through sponsors, prize money, or booked in shows so you are now a commercial enterprise.
For some, that ideology is okay if you treat your racing as a business anyway. After all you have to be consisitant and not be a hobby in one instance and a business in another. But puting a pick up truck and trailer under the same regulations as a Kenworth transporting goods across the country is over kill.
And if your truck and trailer combo weighs over 10,000 lbs (and you all do) you need a DOT number especially if you race in other states like we do. I'm cool with that if you have a million dollar plus sponsorship and a big payroll but the unintended consequences to the little guy can be financially devastating and why the sanctioning bodies need to step in and lobby Washington to give sportsman racing an exemption.
HERE ARE A COUPLE DID YOU KNOWS:
Did you know that an RV pulling a race car is an illegal combination? How's that you ask? If you go down to the lowest common denominator as I mentioned earlier, if the RV is pulling a car that makes money then that RV becomes a commercial vehicle and then it's illegally registered. RV's can not be used for business or it has to be registered as one. Again, it depends on the officer and so far most have not stooped that low yet. But a few have. One racer that had a Toyota sponsorship and it said "Toyota" all over the motorhome. It was ticketed in Oregon on I-5 for having an illegal combination simply because the officer saw a Toyota logo on the side of the motorhome or the trailer being pulled.
The second did you know has to do with Washington State. Did you know that if just your trailer has a MFG gross weight rating of 10,001 and over you need to have a CDL unless it's towed behind an RV (with no advertisers of course)? In Oregon if a combination of the truck and trailer are over 26,001.
I freaked when I read that but luckily my new trailer is rated just under 10,000. Thank Goodness, I don't want to go through that CDL groundhog's day again. More on that next time.
Power Punch Team Wins Opener in Yakima:
A big crowd came out to see the funny cars at Renegade Raceway in Yakima in what is hoped to be the warm up for Nitro Nights Under the Lights. The race included Mark Hinges in his Arrow bodied Power Punch nitro funny car, Chris Davis' Nitro Vega, Yakima favorite Lady Elane and all the way from Montana Brent Jones in the Lawless Funny car. The G man was there too but broke early in the show. Taking the win was Hinges with a 4.10 at 182 MPH in the eighth. Chris Davis was runner up with a 4.50. Other performance standouts included Lady Elaine's 4.22 and Brent Jones' 4.50.
1430 KYKN Race Report
Capitol Rocketeer Team Wins First Blown Alcohol Thunder Race Series at Champion Raceway
As many who have read our past Medford post-race stories know, our trips to Medford always involve an incident or two and our win at the inaugural Blown Alcohol Thunder event this past weekend was no exception.
When you are towing a 44 foot trailer on a long trip it's always a good idea to leave a day early, and good thing we did! As we were heading down the freeway on Friday a guy drove us by honking and signaling to us that something was wrong with our trailer and unfortunately a wheel bearing basically started a fire and burned the center brake assembly and the bearings to a crisp. We were lucky this happened near Albany as the Tire Factory and McKay's trailer parts store had everything needed to fix the trailer. The damage was so bad they needed a torch to remove the old parts but the guys at the Tire Factory did a great job getting it fixed quickly and we were back on the road before noon.
This made us late for our solo car display at Sherm's Food For Less in Medford but we decided to do the dispaly anyway and not be a no-show. It was a big hit as a lot of people stopped by to look at the car. We gave out all the coupons we had for the race and I signed a lot of pictures. But, what really made it all worth it was a guy from a group home who came up to look at the car with his care taker. He was wearing a black Chevelle t-shirt so I had to give him one of our shirts. It was a memorable moment as it really made his day. We then went to the hotel and I went through the wrong door and ended up walking through a stand up comedian's routine with my bags and all. Luckily I didn't become the butt of one of his off color jokes.
On Saturday, it was race day and it was sloppy wet outside when we got up but the forecast looked like it was going to clear off by the afternoon. We headed to the track and were ready to go by the start of Blown Alcohol Thunder at 5 PM. On my first run, I lost my concentration at the starting line and Mike Lema beat me handily but since this was Chicago-style racing, I had one more chance to make it to the final round.
In the second round we raced against Kevin McCurdy in the Executioner. I was ready this time and the car launched off the line like a striking Mohave Green Rattlesnake. The wheels were in the air a foot high and it got down the track with a sizzling 7.15 to get by McCurdy. The run was good for low ET of the meet which earned us a trip to the final round! But there was one problem, I had no brakes and the track's shut down is up a hill so how would we get the car back to the pits without wrecking it? Our crew chief Rick Klampe came up with a brilliant idea. He hooked the back of the dragster to the front of the truck and the truck followed the car down the hill. And it worked!
Once we got back to the pits we discovered that a brake line had broke. So Dave "Cookie" Cookman went looking for a brake line but I had my doubts he would find one. But low and behold Frank Miller and the Bee Line Express team had one. Then we needed some DOT Brake Fluid. One guy had some in his truck but he locked his keys inside the truck so this all started to sound like bad dream! However, our opponents in the final round, Todd Miller and Donn Hosford, loaned us a bottle so we lucked out again. The whole crew worked their tails off to get the car serviced and the brakes fixed and bled in time for the final round. But the track promoter moved the final up to 7 PM as the track was getting cold and the conditions were rapidly getting slick. Meanwhile, the no. 3 qualifier Mike Lema was patiently waiting to take our spot if we couldn't get the car serviced in time.
In the nick of time, we rolled up to the starting line and we were ready for the final round. I could tell that the track conditions had gone south as my burnout was nearly sideways. At the hit, Todd Miller in the Survivor funny car was out in front of me as I experienced some bad tire shake. I got off the throttle and back in it while shreading a blower belt! Meanwhile, Todd windowed his block causing oil to get under his tires and then crossed the centerline and hit the wall! My concern was for Todd and I didn't consider the fact that we had just won the race since he crossed over the center line. Todd was OK and Donn's car only suffered minor damage. It could have been a lot worse.
I didn't like winning that
way but we had not won a race in a while and scored low ET of the event, so after a difficult season in 2013, we'll take it. The next morning we had an uneventful trip back home and then gave up our familiar gooseneck trailer to its new owner later that afternoon. Now we wait for our new trailer so we can continue this great new season we are having.
Capitol Car at Showbiz
The Capitol Dragster showed well at Showbiz presented by the Salem Chamber on May 8th. This was a great opportunity for the Salem business community to see the car and several marketing contacts were made and rekindled. We gave out our new handout cards and discount family coupons for Woodburn Dragstrip as well Capitol Auto Group information cards.
Rocketeer Displayed at Capitol West Valley Store
The Capitol Dragster was displayed at the new Capitol West Valley store in Dallas on Saturday. The cold weather had an effect on the turnout but people still stopped by to spin the wheel for prizes, get a hot dog and see the dragster. We had our new cards featuring the wheelstand caught in the lens of Andi McFarland. The cards were printed by Competition Printing of Tempe Az.
The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster Launches Season Literally at Woodburn Dragstrip Tulip Festival
The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster launched the season at Woodburn Dragstrip's Tulip Festival Drags literally! At noon we ran behind the Pro Nostalgia cars and the conditions were perfect! At the hit, I did a giant wheelstand that even our old friend Ed Jones would be proud of! The car carried the wheels 100 feet out and I stayed in it to the finish line. The car ran a 7.47 at 178 MPH but that was OK with us as it gave us a base line to start from.
After the run at the end of the track, I heard an air leak as the air actuator line had some how slit open and later Larry McFarland, a photographer who was shooting down track told my guys that the butterflies had barely opened (due to the leak) so it would have been a much quicker run. Since the air Actuator didn't work that may have explained the wheelstand since the actuator softens the launch. It was tested prior to the run and worked at that time.
By the time we got the car serviced and back into the lanes for the second session, it started to rain and all the cars were sent back to the pits which ended racing for the day. Now the car is ready to go for Medford and we expect a great outing for our first Blown Alcohol Thunder race. Here is a picture of that run captured by the best photographers to ever to shoot a photograph at Woodburn...Larry and Andi McFarland.
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DRAG RACER Magazine
Action at it's finest as Shirley Muldowney takes on another competitor at Pomona in a stunning comeback after she nearly lost her life in a crash. Photo by Jim M. White.
Cap Racing is showcasing the photography of Jim M. White. We certainly hope you enjoy his work as much as we do. Thanks Jim for sharing! Keep checking back daily to see who's next! To purchase a photo contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org