2009 DRAGLIST NATIONALS
The 4th annual Draglist Nationals at Eddyville Raceway Park is in the books folks. I am not even sure I am qualified to write about an event that had this many activities and crazy things going on. We had weddings, birthdays, Nitro Funnycars, match racing, nostalgia racing, banner signings, member grudge racing, BBQ dinners, steak dinners, breakfast gatherings, car owner and driver interviews, bench race sessions lasting all night practically. We had perfect weather, killer traction, lots of friends and fans.
When we were loading the SUV for the trip, I did something to screw up my back. Luckily Laura had some pain medicine, and some kind of back patch to put right on it. All I knew was somehow I had to be better by Saturday at 6-PM to race.
Laura drove for the 1st part of the trip on Friday early afternoon. After about ½ hour or so, even with the pain meds, I had enough of being a passenger. I love to drive, and always handle that while she takes care of the important stuff. You know, looking for Wendy's or a Walmart that have something we just have to stop in for! It was sunny and nice, then clouded up as we drove south towards the track. The weather was unseasonably cool with highs in the mid 70's, perfect for hanging around your favorite race track with a bunch of friends.
Friday night after we all gathered at the motel we went to a local Oskaloosa steak house. We pretty much had a big room to ourselves, probably because we were a tad noisy I bet. Gina White was taking photos of everything all weekend long. While we were waiting for the food to come she got on a chair to take a photo of the group. That part was OK, but when she stood up straight she hit her head big time on the threshold to our room. Always a true professional, she still got the shot!
Saturday we all went to breakfast and then headed to the track. As I was pulling onto the 4-lane, I merged with Roger Stanke's group and lead the way to the track. Talk about Iowa hospitality for the Minnesota guys. Once at the track; Gerald had everything ready for us and even had our pit spots reserved and marked out. Early afternoon the crowd started picking up, and more and more cars were coming through the gate. Danny arrived with our funnycar and we parked so that the cars were together in the center. This gave lots of room for fans to come close and check them out. Bill Pratt and Gerald, along with all of the Draglist members have been working on building this race up. It started as a small gathering of friends with a few cars thrown in. We had people and cars from all across the country including our neighbors from the north. We still considered it more of a happening rather than a race. The last 2-years it has been turning into an actual race event with Nitro cars as the headliners. The Eddyville Super Shifters were there, some Super Stockers and a ton of other Nostalgia cars. This year the headliners were the Twin Town Shaker NFC owned by Roger Stanke out of Minn vs Danny Miller's Rear Gears Maverick NFC out of St. Louis. We were set to make to runs beginning around 6-pm, and the 2nd run around 9-pm.
Bill Pratt was doing the announcing for the event. He had both the car owners and the drivers up to the tower for interviews. Mark Warden was driving Roger's car, and you can bet there was some smack talk going on up there. After the interviews we went to inspect the starting line, it was super sticky. Each team was offering lane choice to the other, I asked Mark if he had any preference, as he didn't, I said we would take the right line for 1st round then switch for the 2nd round. After that was decided on, I told the starting line crew to go ahead and oil the left lane!
Right on schedule we came to the head of the lanes. Mark and I were strapped in and the cars fired. I put it on the high side rolled towards the water. I whacked the throttle, pulled her back as the motor revved. The track was so sticky it grabbed the slicks just past the tree. I rolled to a stop, put it in reverse, and dropped back to the low side on the fuel system as I was backing up. Behind the line, check everything and 2-dry hops to the line. Danny was there to guide me into the beams. We waited just a bit for Mark, and both rolled into the beams together. Prestaged, I put the high side on, settled in and rolled into the stage beams. A second or so later Mark came in, a flash of yellow and we were off. He had a .096 reaction time to my .103 light. Our car was making its best ever 60-ft. However before the 330-foot cones both cars were shaking the tires like crazy. I was looking down track feeling like I was in a big paint shaker, everything was blurry. I kept waiting for it to drive itself out of the shake, but it just kept getting worse and finally was moving towards the center line. That part wasn't so bad, but Mark was in the same trouble on his side and came over for a visit to my lane taking out the cones on his way. We both lifted, I got back in it, and it just had more shake, pulled high gear and gave it one more goose of the throttle before giving up. We crossed the finish line together, a 4.40 to a 4.41 with both cars coasting around 135-MPH. In the shut down I asked Mark if he was practicing for his fuel altered ride, as lane marking are only suggestions in Altereds. He responded that he just got a bit lonely and thought he would come over to say “Hi” and see how it was going for me in my lane.
Back to the pits to service the cars, and Roger's son Jim discovered some engine damage and they decided not to make the 2nd run. However, the Minnesota guys were not about to give up. After we left the pits, Mark suited up and grabbed the golf cart to race me with.
We decided to add ½-psi of air to the slicks, rather than pulling clutch out. I was hoping that would allow a little spin and not drive into tire shake again. After the burnout, a couple more of the fun dry hops, I put it in the beams. While I was pre-staged putting it on the high side, the other pre-stage and staged beam came on. I didn't bother looking over, just figured someone was standing there turning them on. I rolled on in, nailed a .090 light and it was on another rocket ship ride, for about 30-40 feet. I felt it going, and lifted as the tires went ahead and spun. I tried to ease back into it but the car was having any part of that. So coasting across again I had 2-wins, really ugly wins, but at least I didn't have to pack the chutes all night long.
Down in the shut down area Mark comes rolling up in the golf cart. He said, “You know, if I would have left on you in this thing, I would have NEVER let you forget it.” Funny, Danny and the crew told me the same thing back in the pits! That was the first I knew I had been a part of the 1st ever Draglist Nats Golf cart VS Nitro Funnycar match race. Everybody was coming up in the pits talking about how the crowd really had some fun with it.
At the Draglist trophy ceremony Danny received best appearing funnycar and I got the funnycar champion trophy. We had a great time racing with Roger and can't wait to be able to do it again. Bill Pratt gave out a bunch of other awards as well.
Greg Green did his usual BBQ deal and had a ton of food there. He fed the whole Draglist gang, the track crew and a ton of other racers. We signed up a few new members to the Draglist crew. One of the new members is Paul, the mechanic from my new work place. If I remember right he went 2-rounds in eliminations also.
It was great to have so many friends there for the weekend. My friend Gary had a killer birthday cake made. You know you are having too many birthdays when the cake lady from an out of town Walmart even remembers your name. She said, “Wow, he is having another birthday, has it been a year already.” We always celebrate my birthday at these events as it is just a few days away.
Everyone is making plans for Draglist V already. Plan on making the trip if you missed this one.
I hope you liked my “What I did Last Weekend Story”
Last edited by Rapid Randy Baker
on Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.