The long awaited day had finally arrived. We had made it to Eddyville Raceway Park in Eddyville, Iowa for the 2nd Annual Draglist.com Nationals. I got the car unloaded and ready with the help of my Mid-west crew chief, Steve Lippoldt, otherwise known as Lippy. I placed one of the nitrous bottles in the heater, and put the other one at the end of the trailer sitting in the heat of the Sun. After 15 minutes, the bottle that was in the Sunlight was done cooking before the one in the heater. Naturally that is the one that got installed in the car.
Our first pass wasn't going to be made until 4:00 in the afternoon, so there was plenty of time to meet up with some of the forum members that I have only typed to over the past year or so. The group of people from the Draglist forum, and our own Casella Racing forum are simply the most friendliest people anyone would want to meet. Some new faces, and the return of many that were there last year, just made the day fly by way too fast.
We were given the signal that it was time to go racing, and with the additional help of Rapid Randy Baker's cousin Kelly, we got towed into the staging lanes for our first pass of the day. After getting strapped in, I headed for the water box for a short tire heating burnout. After getting guided back to the starting line by Lippy, my brain went into neutral. I forgot just about everything I was supposed to do like purge the nitrous, and set the tranny brake. When i finally woke up, there was a big green light staring at me so I ended up launching from an idle.
This first pass was more of a test for me and the car. The first stage only had a 150hp shot in it, and the second stage was set up with a 300hp shot. Before leaving home, I also installed an electric shifter, so Eddyville was going to be the first time I was going to use it. Unfortunately for me, it neglected to activate the shifter, but with my head on straight I was able to realize it in time to bump second gear. The second it shifted, the second stage came on and the car came alive. As you all know, this is an 1/8th mile track, and shortly after the car woke up, it was time to shut down. I passed the lights with a rather disappointing 6.51 time slip.
Back to the pits for some between rounds maintenance, and more socializing. Then the light in my head went on, and I remembered that this track hooks incredibly. It was then decided to make it so both stages activated on launch. At 6:45 we got the call to head to the staging lanes for our final round. This time I was paired up with the 1958 Corvette of Rapid Randy Baker. After having a group picture taken at the starting line, it was time to make some noise.
This time my head was on straight, and I remembered everything I had forgotten the last time. After the burnout, a quick purge of the nitrous, I was brought into the beams and got ready. The whine from the supercharger in the next lane didn't bother me in the least, I had raced blue cars before, and this was just another one. Besides, I was concentrating so much on my own deal, there could have been a jet car over there and I wouldn't have known it. As soon as I saw yellow lights, I let her rip and away I went headed for the finish line. The engine was misfiring all the way down the track, but knowing the noise was coming from the exhaust let me know it was running rich rather than lean and I wasn't worried. The clocks stopped at 5.87 and I was done. A far cry from my best ET but everything was still inside the engine block, and I crossed the finish line before the other guy.
What I didn't know was that Randy's Corvette deposited it's pinion gear on the starting line. Tough break for the Rapid one. (no pun intended) Randy had two of his crew members waiting for me on the return road, and attacked my car for the tow back to the pits before I had a chance to open the door! WOW! Thank you very much for that.
Back in the pits, I was greeted by Eric Bru who offered to bring over his ignition tester to see if there was a problem. A few things showed up, a few suggestions were made, and in a week I should have my very own ignition tester. The remainder of the afternoon was spent socializing with the gang, and then it was time for the "see ya next year" words. I know I'm leaving out many things, but I'm trying my best to keep this story a little short.
I couldn't possibly name everyone that lent us a hand this weekend, but I'd like to mention one on particular, Steve Lippoldt for being such a great friend and taking on the duty of crew chief for us. I'd also like to mention Randy Baker for the road guidance, otherwise we may still be riding around in the corn fields of Iowa. And to everyone else, a very heartfelt Thank you, we really enjoyed ourselves.
Mike & Margie Casella (and Vicky too)
p.s. Stay tuned for "Part 3, The Trip Home"
Last edited by Mike-Casella
on Mon Jul 23, 2007 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.