RUPERT TESTS THE BOUNDARIES FOR THRILL OF VICTORY, AGONY OF DEFEAT
The look on Jason Rupert's face told the story. His oil soaked-shirt and the molten pieces of aluminum on the rag in his hand provided the gory details.
On this day, Rupert, the six-time AA/FC champion had scored a pyrrhic victory; a victory at too high of a cost.
Rupert ran a 5.654 elapsed time, 248.43, a pass which secured victory at the rain-delayed Heritage Series event from Boise, Idaho, over Ryan Hodgson. The run would also have been second quickest in the field, but because his wounded engine laid oil down on the racing surface, it was disallowed leaving him with no qualifying run despite three consecutive top three performances.
Such is life for Rupert, who seemingly has caught all the breaks for the last six seasons. On this weekend at the California Hot Rod Reunion, the second-generation drag racing had butterfingers when it came to catching one.
"Aw man. To tear up three motors in three runs, I’ve never even come close to doing that," Rupert admitted. "Especially to be disqualified. We wouldn’t have been able to come back anyway, I mean that’s all the parts we have. Basically, the car ran well, it e.t.’d well. Every single one of our runs we would have been in the top half of the show.
"It’s just when you spill a little oil on the track, the rules are rules. I’m going to have to work a little bit better. I have a really good containment device on my car but I’m going to make it better to where if this ever happens again, I won’t spill anything on the track. I don’t want to say that there wasn’t a ton of oil on the track."
Rupert wouldn't say the punishment didn't fit the crime. He felt bad for the issues his problem caused.
"I felt bad for the guys that clean up the track, I felt bad for the fans," Rupert said. "You know, we’ll fix it and we’ll be back. I’ve got a gremlin going on somewhere, I’ll find it."
In the midst of a weekend full of plague, the victory from Boise provided a silver lining.
"That was good. I wish we could have won the Boise race in Boise," Rupert said, mustering a smile. "But you know, what do you do? It just gives us something to shoot harder for next year. I mean we’ve won six championships in a row, I can’t really cry about it. Gosh. We had a couple of problems this year. But I mean my team’s doing a great job. I mean, they’re out there working right now. They’re all hopped up for next year already. So we’re going to hit it as hard as we can again and try to win another one."