Wow, do we have some catching up to do! I’m happy to say that since my
last column I’ve really got some exciting news to share. Let me quickly
get you up to date on my sportsman racing activities so we can get into
the Nitro news.
I had a good time racing with the CIFCA association in Phoenix. I had
not been to Speedworld’s track for almost nine years, and the intense
heat and lack of traction made for some exciting runs. We made it to
the semifinals and moved back into the top-four. The following weekend
I was back in the “Blackbird” racing in Fontana at a SCEDA event. I
gave back the stripe by .001 in the final Saturday, but I was fortunate
enough to make it back into the money round Sunday. This time I took a
“comfortable” margin and was able to turn on the win light. Then,
something really special happened.
As you know, Rodger Comstock of MTS has been working tirelessly since
the end of last year to place me into a competitive nitro ride. Many of
our conversations involved Don Schumacher Racing (DSR)- working on both
a Top Fuel and later a Funny Car ride. Don offered us the ability to
upgrade my license during this season so that if a F/C ride did open, I
would be ready. Phase one began with me flying out to Indy to make two
short “squirts” in Whit Bazemore’s car during the PRO test session one
week prior to the U.S. Nationals. I was able to make 330 and 660-foot
runs and all went well.
However, there is really much more to the story. If you have followed
the racing action, you may have seen Whit’s nasty fire during round-two
of the Memphis race, which was delayed until Monday. Whit actually
jumped from the burning car while it was still rolling, and there
wasn’t much that was salvageable. The crew drove all night to get back
to the shop in Indy to assemble a new car. I watched Whit make two
half-track runs on Tuesday!