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Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:09 pm
by WildcatOne
My pick for Racer of the Week is Danny Schrokosch, from San Diego, California. Danny was recommended to me by our friend from Hawaii, Erik Kollist. Thanks, Erik!

Danny is a Four-Time March Meet Champion. He is the 2017 and 2018 Nostalgia Eliminator 1 champ with his beautiful Front-Engine Dragster. I talked with Danny over the last couple of weeks, and he gave his approval for me to use parts of this blog from Cary's Corvettes for his feature tonight, which details his 2018 championship day at Bakersfield.

Danny has been interested in drag racing since he was 10 years old, when he attended his first race at Carlsbad Raceway in 1969. By the time he was a teenager, Danny was racing instead of watching. He has driven and owned more race cars than you can count. For the past eighteen years Danny has been successfully campaigning a vintage, classic slingshot dragster. Anyone who can strap 1,000 horsepower between their legs and go drag racing with it is a hero! Danny’s house is filled with trophies, including many “Wallys”.

In an era of “celebrity” racing, including NASCAR, NHRA, IMSA, and Formula 1, Danny is an anomaly. Racing on a modest budget, using his own tools and equipment, financed by loyal, local sponsors, doing virtually all the mechanical work himself, and relying on friends and family to do all the race prep and pit work, his success is marvelous.

The March Meet – an historical West Coast drag racing event that draws a large number of the very best competitors and throngs of spectators. Until now, Dan had won the March Meet event in Nostalgia Eliminator 1 three times, including being the defending Champion by virtue of his victory in 2017.

In NE1 the driver has a target time of 7.60 seconds, and getting your car to run as close to, but no faster than, that time is essential for victory. Despite a rain-filled weekend Danny was able to qualify in the field of 31 NE1 cars in 3rd place with an impressive 7.623 time. As qualifying moved through the day other drivers did well and he ended up qualifying 6th in the field. Because it rained all day Saturday, eliminations couldn’t start until Sunday.

Assisting Danny in the pits, and in prepping, towing, staging and retrieving the car were his long-time pit crew members Marcus Havens, and Dan’s wife, Kim. With their help, on Sunday he was victorious over the #22 qualifier in round one. The day grew dark and cold, but by Sunday night Danny was also victorious over the #10 qualifier in Round 2. Unfortunately, Marcus needed to leave Sunday night to return to work, leaving Danny and Kim alone to continue the campaign.

Kim drives the truck, tows the dragster to the staging area, gets Danny settled in his racing suit and strapped into the car, starts the engine, gets him aligned at the starting line, watches him blast off, yells like a cheer-leader, jumps in the truck, races down the track to retrieve Danny and the dragster, and tows him back to the pits. Then she does it again in the next round!

The whole family is involved in the racing program. Kim and Dan's son, Bohdi, age four, is already a drag race fan. He has been joining Mom and Dad at the races since he was born. He now even has his own Junior Dragster.

Danny’s third round was about as perfect as is possible with a reaction time of .004 seconds on the tree and a run of 7.602 – you can’t get much closer than that. Now the field was down to four cars and two rounds to go!

Round 4 proved to be Danny’s best run of the meet. By this time he was matched against last years’ season-long NE1 champion. With nerves of steel Danny beat his opponent by 2 one-hundredths of a second at the line, and ran a remarkable 7.600 dead on! It don't get no better than that!

Continuing the extremely competitive racing of the weekend, the fifth and final round was another nail-biter. Danny shaved his opponent at the light by one one-thousandth of a second, and his time through the course was three one thousandths of a second faster. Victory is always sweet, but to finish a full weekend of racing with such tight competition and in near-perfect driving is surely as sweet as it comes!

Danny’s reward for this amazing, nearly perfect, performance? A “Wally”. It is the most coveted trophy in Drag Racing. The Wally is the image of Jack Jones, a Top Gas Dragster champ from the 1960s. Cast in Bronze, smiling, resting his driving gloves on a drag slick, holding a classic helmet – a perfect image to celebrate a racer like Dan – vintage, old-school, low-tech, filled with grit and determination, and hoping to race dragsters as long as he can hold a steering wheel.

Dan wanted me to be sure to thank his sponsors for their support this season and throughout his career (some of his sponsors have supported him for more than eighteen years):

Mother Earth Brewery, Churchill's Pub and Grill, Curtis Drilling, Chapman's Automotive, Maxima Oil, Kevin Walsh, Helix Mechanical, Crest Water Treatment, Comp Cams, TCI Transmissions, Machine Tech Racing Engines, Cogswell Motorsports, Lyons Muffler, Seaside Rooter, Carb On Tech, RK Fence, Lenard Izbicki, Water Works, San Diego Gear and Axle, Joe the Door Guy, and Jiffy Tite.

Congratulations, Danny! You are an inspiration to anyone who ever broke the beams at the starting line and blasted down the track! We wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:37 pm
by Wheelzman
Man that was a good read John. Keep it up. :D :D :D

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:00 pm
by WildcatOne
Thanks, Wheelz! Danny is a great guy!

My pick for Racer of the Week is Ryant Sakamoto from Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Ryant was recommended to me by our friend in Hilo, Michael Baba Balbarino, whose 808_FUEL page is the standard source of information on motorsports in the Garden Isle.

Ryant is a 7th grader at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. He first started Jr. Drag racing at the age of 8 and has achieved tremendous success in his academics and the sport of Drag Racing thus far. He comes from a family with a history of drag racing, as his Dad Ryan and Uncle Kevin were both racing from high school. Two of Ryant's older sisters, T'Ryane & Ryancie, who also race Jr. Dragsters have been past Racers of the Week as well, and were also recommended by Mike.

Ryant has received numerous academic excellence recognitions along with many well-deserved awards. He looks forward to race days and tries his best to help out his fellow racers whenever he can. Ryant not only has a passion for Jr. Drag racing, but he also plays baseball and has a love for the outdoors like fishing, camping & shooting his guns.

In my book, this kid is an All-American Boy. He's definitely headed in the right direction, like his sisters also are. Without me having to say it, Ryant, T'Ryane and Ryancie are the collective product of outstanding parenting by Ryan and Tracie Sakamoto. It shows in everything these kids do. The Sakamoto family is the template I would use for raising good kids. I have no doubt that they are proud of Ryant and his accomplishments, but if I were y'all, I'd take a minute to pat myself on the back, too. You have done a truly great job with your kids.
Ryant, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:42 pm
by WildcatOne
My pick for Racer of the Week is Mick Taylor, from London, United Kingdom. Mick was recommended to me by our friend and former Racer of the Week, Lee Cohen. Thanks, Lee!

Mick and the Banshee Racing Team are a family who are all involved in the race car and the projects they take on. The team consists of Mick, his wife Deb, their sons Joe and Lee, and their grandchildren Frankie and Freddie. The tuneup on the awesome hot rod is overseen by their crew chief, Rob Chiltern.

The Banshee is a 1946 Fordson, we called them Thames, or pie trucks at times. It has a steel body, a 97" wheel base, full moly chassis tagged to SFI 25.1E. The engine is BBC 497cubic incher with Brodix heads, a 1250cfm dominator, built by Peter Knight Racing. It runs a Power Glide trans build by Andy Robinson Racecars, a 4500 stall converter, moly driveshaft, Strange Pro 9" rear end with Pro 3:9 gears and 41 spline shafts. The best ET to date is an 8:41@ 161mph with a 150hp Nitrous plate kit, but this year Mick has gone to an NX fogger kit and fitted a new Neil Chance converter, all so fitted a Racepak logger to keep an eye on things, and Mick's hoping to run a high 7 this year.

Mick runs in a class called Outlaw Anglia, which is for Pops and Thames vans etc. the maximum wheel base allowed is 101"; other than that anything goes. Mick's first full MSA season last year, he got to the final at Dragstalgia, came in as runner up, and he finished 4th in the championship series, which he's quite happy with. Mick's grandson Freddie's junior dragster is a JM 8:90 class. This is his second year with the car. His granddaughter Frankie's is a JMA 7:90 class and this is her first year, and she's taken to it like a duck to water. Freddie is 10 years old and Frankie's 13.

Mick sent me a Banshee Racing t-shirt and I'm proudly wearing it tonight. I love it when a racer appreciates the recognition and reciprocates with a keepsake like this. Thanks, Mick!

We wish the Banshee Racing Team good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:41 am
by Wheelzman
Wow do I like that unit!!! I had an Anglia back in the day and that one is a cousin to mine and the Perfect that Perry Green had some time ago. I remember a Thames panel out of Pennsylvania owned by Dick Shroyer and that thing was outstanding in performance and presentation.

About 3/4 way down the listing at this site. ... st-states/

Thanks again John.

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:03 pm
by WildcatOne
Thanks, Wheelz! Mick recommended our next Racer of the Week to me, Sam Freeman, and Sam had 4 recommendations as well! The Outlaws in the UK have it goin' on! Would love to see some pics of your Anglia if you have 'em! Best, Cat

My pick for Racer of the Week is Lauren Small, from South Berwick, Maine. Lauren was recommended to me by our friend Deb Bixby, who is on the Cultrera Racing Team in Division 1. Thanks, Deb!

Lauren Small is 32 and a newlywed of almost 6 months, married to Tyler Small, who is a pro stock snowmobile champion. She has a miniature pincher named Oaklee who is the light of their life. She is most definitely from a racing family...Cultrera Racing is one of the most respected and professionally-run teams in the nation...her Mom, Dad and Brother Kyle all race while her Sister races a fire truck and is a nurse.

Lauren works for her family business, selling VP Racing Fuel to Maine, New Hampshire and North of Boston. She also works at a local hospital as a medical assistant which is what she went to college for. She has 2 of the cutest nieces you will ever meet. When she's not racing, she loves to travel with her husband, ride on their side-by-side and go on adventures with their amazing group of friends.

She pilots a 2004 undercover dragster with a 565 big block Chevy engine, running in Top Dragster and Super Pro ET classes depending on the event she goes to.

Lauren's accomplishments are that she won best appearing at a national event, and it was well-deserved; the car is gorgeous, she won a points meet in her first year running the points series at New England Dragway and made the top 10 that same year. She qualified for the bracket finals 3 times and went twice. Her fastest pass is a 6.93 at 190mph.

Her goals are to have fun and go fast! And to hopefully get her nieces into junior dragster racing.

Lauren thanks her Mom, Dad, Brother Kyle (who was Racer of the Week in October of 2014), Jess, Tyler, Deb, Hailey and Adeline. All of her amazing sponsors, it’s not possible without any of them!

Lauren, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon May 07, 2018 6:59 pm
by WildcatOne
My pick for Racer of the Week is Sam Freeman, from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. Sam was recommended to me by our friend and former Racer of the Week Mick Taylor. Thanks, Mick!

Sam is the pilot of the 1923 Model T Fuel Altered, "Double Density". He bought the altered in Pensacola in early 2005. The car went a best of 8.001 on a single four barrel carb and gas. (Petrol not nos) and has run in the high 7’s and low 8’s on injected alky. He took it to the Isle of man last year and reset the track record 4 times in 4 runs.

Sam used to live about 5 miles from Santa Pod, started going in the early 70’s and got conscripted into helping out one one of the Top Fuel cars of that era. First Clive Skilton; after a couple of years he worked for Trevor Young who had bought a Top Fuel car in the UK. That car under Sam's care ran the first ever sub 7 second run in Sweden. Sam stopped racing for a few years (family and finance concerns) and did a bit of circuit racing in sports cars. Lack of money was a major problem; by this time Sam's first daughter had arrived and there was another one on the way...he spent time and any spare cash he could raise to rebuild his Centaur sports car into something a bit more competitive. It went really well until he had a coming together with the wall at Donnington Park due to a steering rack failure...about the only part that hadn't been replaced. The car ended up five feet shorter on one side!

One good thing about the circuit car was that it got Sam a job with Aston Martin Tickford, which doubled his income overnight! He worked in several positions, including engine build, dyno test, airflow, and several years as track support engineer in F3000, and he traveled quite extensively.

When Sam was living in Hemel Hempstead and working on contract to Ford Motor Company at their Dunton Technical Centre, from which he recently retired, he was helping Vic Hammond to locate, purchase and import the Speed Demon front-engine dragster, with the idea being that Vic would drive and Sam would get an occasional go, but Vic came down with health concerns and Sam ended up driving the car for nearly 4 years. They were in the top 3 or 4 Supercharged Outlaws Championship and they won the title in 2012. Vic passed away in 2013 and the car was sold to Bob Hawkins, who has been very successful with it.

A conversation with an old friend led to Sam researching the availability of Comp Altereds...unfinished business from the 1970s, and he ended up importing Double Density, which was another learning curve. He ran the car for a while but his partner Linsey came down with breast cancer and that slowed things up a bit, but she is 10 years clear now and Sam still has the Breast Cancer Awareness and Movember decals on the side of the car. Sam said there is much more in the car; it's now fitted with a new cooking motor, so they can go and play with it whenever they want.
In 2012 Sam decided to build his own dragster. He did a lot of research and he had a vision in his mind of what he wanted: a 225" wheelbase front-engine car. Where he ended up was that he would purchase a complete rolling chassis from Neil and Parks Racing in Burlingame, Kansas. It came in a box...all the chrome moly tubing, some of it pre-bent, with all the fixings. A normal person would call in someone to sort all that out for them but Sam was undeterred and he did what he always does and took it all on himself.

Building the car himself with a friend helping him occasionally, there were unavoidable setbacks. Sam had a health issue in 2015 and he has an ongoing condition but he's receiving the best care in the country at this time and he is able to race and work on the car. Progress has been slow, but steady. Sam says it will be finished when it's finished; meanwhile the work continues and Sam told me last week that the car is very near completion. The photos I've seen of it are breathtaking, and the illustration by Darren West of Power Race Graphics is fantastic. He named it "Long Time Dead" and decided on a black with red trim and flames paint job.

Sam thanks Frank and Scott; Parks N & P Race Cars; Duane Carr (RIP); Mark Rapp of Rapp Racing Engines; Chris Dafoe, Paul Shaw, Kevin Catling, KC Autos, Lindsey Walsh (without whom it wasn't going to happen), and Vic Hammond (RIP) who let him drive his front-engined dragster in the first place.

Double Density is still out there racing and setting records, so I expect to see Sam Freeman the drag racer lighting them up for a long time to come.

Sam, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:15 pm
by WildcatOne
My pick for Racer of the Week is Deane Hinton, from Waikanae, New Zealand. I found Deane on Facebook in one of our 27 mutual friends and former Racer of the Week Ross Whelan's Friends List. Deane is self-employed and is a true do-it-yourselfer, as this story will bear that out.

Deane has owned his 1964 XM Falcon Coupe for about 12 years. It had been sitting at a panel beaters shop for about ten years as the owner left the country and didn't come back. Deane's neighbor purchased it but his wife wanted a new kitchen so Deane bought it. He'd never touched a car and 16 months later it was on the road as a driver.

About 6 years ago Deane was introduced to drag racing and he was hooked. He's done 240 quarter mile runs down the drag strip in this time and he has always driven to the tracks around the North Island and top of the South Island of New Zealand. She's an awesome street car that's looked after him for years. Go the Mighty Falcon! In the NZDRA, all you need for Super Street class is a street legal car.

Deane has raced with the teardrop camper he made in tow. He was the first racer at Masterton to make a pass towing it! At the beginning he'd run low profile street tyres on the camper and once at the track he'd change them to the Falcon. He's since got dot rated 225/50/15 drag tyres. In between his rounds he tows other race cars like door slammers, etc. to fill in time before he races again. He drove five hours to a track and won the New Zealand Super street Nationals, then drove home and also drove to the South Island of New Zealand and won the Southern Nationals in Super Street. In 2015 Deane came second in the points series for Super Street and third in 2016. This series involves driving around four or five tracks around NZ where he always drives the Falcon while the other racers trailered theirs. To keep costs down Deane would sleep in his camper at the tracks.

The Falcon runs a 302 Windsor with original crank and rods. It has alloy heads and a 600 vacuum secondaries Holley carbuerator. It runs a C-4 transmission straight out of a mustang, never rebuilt, and a Borg Warner LSD out of a late 1980' s Falcon Ute.

One of Deane's proudest moments was when his son drove the Mighty Falcon down the track three days after he got his restricted drivers license, which is a minimum requirement to race an NZDRA track. Deane told him that after he gets his restricted car license that he'd pay for him to race. The next race meeting was a few days days later so Deane was true to his word. In the NZDRA, you are able to have passengers on the qualifying day so Mike passengered for Deane on our first run and then Deane passengered for him. He had driven the Falcon only once down the road when he got his learner's licence a year earlier, so this was a huge step and he rocked it. On race day you can't passenger so Deane got to stand on the wall and watch his car go down the track for the first time ever without him in it. It was such a huge proud moment for Deane. His son was 17 years old.

Deane is running 13.2 seconds at 102 miles per hour which he's stoked with for a street car that is driven to and from the track!

Deane, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 6:26 pm
by WildcatOne
I'd like to take a moment to say that our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters on the island of Kauai. May Pele protect you all from the angry Kilauea and keep you safe throughout this ordeal.

To all the members of the Garden Isle Racing Association and all of the people of Hawaii, you are a blessing for me to know.

E mālama i koʻu mau hoaaloha! (Be safe my friends).

Re: Racin' and Rockin'..."JB's Take"

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:45 pm
by Wheelzman
May our brothers and sisters be safe.
What a cool looking unit that Falcon is that Dean has.
Now that's the backbone of a true racer. Good story John. :D