The Good 'Ole Days
Hello from the Memphis Airport. I’ve got an hour or so between flights, and figured this would be the perfect time to update the Blog. My apologies for the delay between posts, but things were pretty hectic for us during this year’s Western Swing. For that matter, the schedule seemed to get even busier since then. It got me thinking about the “Good Ol’ Days”…
My first serious aspirations to race in Pro Stock began about ten years ago. At the time, I was racing a C/Econo Dragster for Kenny Lindley in Comp Eliminator. Between races, I was also building engines for other Sportsman racers around NHRA’s Division 4. Given the limited prize money available, I was thankful to have the work. But I can also remember dreaming of being able to focus exclusively on my own racing program. It’s taken some time but I’m finally in that position, and there still aren’t enough hours in the day to cover all the bases.
I figured there might be others out there dreaming of racing Pro Stock on their own like I was a decade ago. If so, here’s a glimpse at how your schedule will likely end up:
It seems like just yesterday that we were rolling out of St. Louis, but it’s been nearly two months. Thankfully, during that time things have started to turn our way, but we were really struggling heading into that race. We’d failed to qualify for two of the previous five races, and barely made the show in the other three. Worse than that, we hadn’t won a round since early-May. Morale was slipping, and we were losing a lot of ground in the points.
But we found something in St. Louis that really helped. We still qualified in the bottom half and were thumped in the first round, but actually ran pretty well. From St. Louis we hustled to Denver to make an open test session at Bandimere, and then back to Bossier City to freshen & dyno-test our primary race engine. A few days later, it was back to Colorado for the Mopar Mile-High’s. Where we stumbled through qualifying, but caught a couple of breaks and made it to the semi-finals.
We spent a day performing routine maintenance & cleaning prior to heading to Seattle. Our good fortune continued there. We qualified 6th and picked-up another round win. After Seattle, we spent a day with our team owners Bart & Donna Price at their place outside San Francisco. Then it was on to Sonoma for the FRAM/Autolite race. This event is a big deal to Bart & Donna because it’s so close to their home. Our pit was full of friends & family, and we were all pretty pumped after qualifying 6th again. (Maybe I was TOO pumped, as I red-lighted by a bunch in round one!)
I flew home from California hoping to complete a new engine prior to this weekend’s race in Brainerd. But due to various supplier issues, that didn’t happen. I’m really disappointed as we’re now looking at two more consecutive national events, plus another test session before the U.S. Nationals. And frankly, Indy is the entire reason we’re building this engine. Ask anyone who’s ever been and they’ll tell you- that race is in a league of its own. We’d love to win it.
But we’re obviously not alone in that. And while I can only hope our vendors can supply the parts we need, and get them to us between the scheduled races and test sessions, many of our competitors are running full-time development programs and machining many of their custom parts in-house. So now I find myself dreaming of CNC machines, a full-time engine shop, and I suppose while I’m at it- my own drag strip and fleet of test cars!
Wait, I’m getting carried away… I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I’m very happy I get to do what I do. On top of that, I’m working with people and suppliers I admire and enjoy working with. In truth, it’s all much more than I dreamed of 10 years ago. But at the same time, the bar keeps getting raised.
Who knows what the next decade holds? The pace of development has been awesome. And there’s no reason to expect it to slow down. It is- and always has been- a lot of work and very expensive. That won’t change. I just hope I’m still out here battling the heavyweights 10 years from now.
It’s time for me to fly (literally). Hope to see you at the track.
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