The only word I have to describe our weekend at the WINSTON SHOWDOWN
is: INCREDIBLE! We arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway Thursday evening and
the atmosphere was INCREDIBLE. After we parked the truck and trailer, we
went to dinner then came back to the track and saw an INCREDIBLE fireworks
show to kick off the entire weekend. Friday morning dawned and additional
trailers and trucks were still filing in. Unfortunately, not many Federal
Mogul Funny Cars came in. A total of four was all that showed up.
With a new set of Goodyear tires mounted and a soft tune up, the War
Horse trotted to a decent 6.34 @ 221 mph. Pretty close to what I had
planned. That put our team third after the first session. Now it was time
to step on it. A couple of adjustments and the Mustang blasted off to a
6.14 @ 228.96. Incredible, because the corrected altitude was over 4300
feet above sea level. (For those who don't understand, higher corrected
altitudes make it harder to make power because of the thinner air.)
That run moved us past friend and nemesis Mike Preslar into the number
two spot. The only problem was that the number one spot was held by Frank
Manzo! Need I say more? Eliminations started about noon on Sunday and we
had to face Mike for first round. I gained a slight starting line
advantage and ran a 6.13 @ 229.69 mph to win the round and move into my
first NHRA National event final round. Who would I face? None other than
the world champ himself, Frank Manzo.
As I climbed out of the car -- out of breath from excitement from
winning the first round -- I encountered a new hurdle: a television crew
led by Jason Bafree from ESPN! Hopefully, I did a decent interview. (You
all can see it on ESPN2 on July 22 at 2:30 p.m.) Then while we were
servicing the car for the final, Jason and the TV crew stopped by the pit
area for another segment.
Now it was time to tow up for our final round. Since I was at a slight
E.T. disadvantage, I took a gamble on the starting line but came up with a
red light. Unfortunately, a perfect light still would not have won it for
me because my 6.16 was no match for the champ's 5.86. I still felt I was
on top of the world! I had achieved a position many people only dream
about, and unfortunately, only few experience. Doing as well as we did was
especially gratifying because ENGINE WORKS sponsored us for the race. I
hope we did a good job for them.
I also can't say enough about the way we were treated by everyone from
NHRA to all the competitors at the track. Just INCREDIBLE! And to everyone
who has supported us over the years to make this dream real – THANKS!
And to those I didn't mention in the interviews, I apologize. You have
to forgive me; I'm new at the TV part. I'll try to mention everyone in
the next interview because hopefully there will be many more interviews to
come. THANKS AGAIN from everybody at Bruce Mullins Racing!