If Dave Roemer ever needs a kick-start in his drag racing career, he can always visit Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio for some good vibes.
In an already remarkable 2012 campaign in both the ADRL and NHRA Pro Mod classes, Roemer has been outstanding at the track just 40 minutes from home.
In his first-ever ¼-mile race in his nitrous-powered “Gladiator” Cavalier, Roemer advanced to the semifinals of the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in July, only to top it last weekend at the ADRL’s Ohio Drags at Summit Motorsports Park.
Roemer beat Pat Musi with a 4.07 at 182.38 mph in the Pro Modified finals, earning his first ADRL win at a track that continues to be extra special.
“Back in July, I couldn’t believe how many people came out that we knew,” Roemer said. “We just try to look at it as a normal race, like we’re racing with our buddies close to home.
“To be able to get this first win at our home track, it’s just amazing. A lot of people talk about the pressure of running at your home track, but I just tried to feed off of it.”
This win meant a great deal to Roemer and his family-based team who enjoyed another big overflow of friends in their pits throughout the weekend.
Roemer made it all worth it for them, even if it took a while.
He wasn’t even qualified until the final qualifying session on Saturday, slipping in with a 3.978. Ultimately, though, he ended up in the penthouse, summing up a season that has served as a coming-out party for the talented Roemer and his team.
He has made two finals appearances in the ADRL in 2012, relying primarily on the wisdom from his father, Ron, and his brothers, Mike and Joe.
“I’ve been racing since 1981 with my dad and brothers. It’s a family thing and we’ve only raced one car at a time,” Roemer said.
Roemer started out running in a 10.90 bracket class before moving to Top Sportsman in IHRA. Since 1999, Roemer has raced in Pro Mod, though his race frequency on the national level – at least until this season – stopped after 2006.
With career changes and twin daughters, Roemer and his Cavalier, purchased in 2007, stayed to the local circuit, but it was those 1-day races near his Cleveland-area home where Roemer honed his skills in the Cavalier.
“We’ve got a pretty good tune-up now. When we would race locally, we worked strictly on 60-foot and 330-foot tune-ups, and we really developed a good approach for it,” Roemer said. “This year, we decided to get after it a little more, and we’re getting a good feel for what it takes to race a whole circuit.”
Roemer made his first appearance in 2012 at the fourth race of the ADRL season and he hasn’t missed one since, advancing to the finals in two of the last three events (Dragstock and the Ohio Drags).
In the process, Roemer has developed even more admiration for the Pro Modified class.
“We really like and we’ve had some really good side-by-side races with guys like Rickie Smith and Todd Tutterow,” Roemer said. “There’s a lot of killers in this class and we have a great time racing them.”
Roemer put together a pair of 3.97s last Saturday and the win gave him even more momentum for 2013.
He also showed poise under pressure, putting together the right set-up and a brilliant run to get into eliminations.
It’s that type of performance that could continue to come in handy in 2013 – even if every race isn’t in Norwalk.
“We’re looking forward to running a whole schedule. That's our plan and we feel like we've got a really good set-up,” Roemer said.
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