I've been decompressing for the last couple of days after our first
race with the funny car. What a blast I had! I truly love doing this stuff
and everything about it!
The story begins on Saturday morning at approximately 3:30 AM when we
were en route to Sacramento from Diamond Bar, CA, where the car is
presently kept. We were into about 4 hours of the normally 8 hour drive
when, on my stint of playing truck driver, one of the rear duallie tires
on the truck decided to blow itself apart. We limped the truck and trailer
combo to our nearest truck stop and after a 3-hour delay (we had to get
the tire guy out of bed) got a new tire installed. We were then back on
the road and didn't show up in Sacramento until 8 AM.
The boys dropped me off at the hotel and told me to go to sleep while
they went on to the track and unloaded the trailer. Aside from the recent
sleep deprivation, I had only 3 hours sleep from the night before when I
worked until midnight on Thursday and then reported in for work on Friday
at 7:30 AM so I could get off early and go to the race. When they were
finished unloading they all came back to the hotel and took a quick nap
before we started back to the track to qualify.
When we arrived at the raceway, we had approximately 45 minutes to get
the car together and put it in line. The parachutes got packed and then we
warmed up the car. We had already figured we would use the same tune up we
used at Palmdale the week before when I licensed in the car. We ran in the
7.70s at approximately 175 MPH there and figured that with the altitude
change at Sacramento among other things that we would be in the ballpark
-- so no changes there.
our first qualifying run the car jumped right and out of the groove to the
point I had to peddle the car and abort the run. We later found that the
steering box had gotten loose in the car, possibly contributing to this
situation. We got that fixed and were ready for the second and last round
of qualifying. We run a 7.50 ET index at CIFCA and on our second
qualifying pass, we ran an arrow straight, almost perfect 7.502 ET at
around 185 MPH. This made us #1 qualifier!
Car owner Dave and crew chief Chris were ecstatic about this! This was
only the seventh pass on the car total. Our tach wasn't working properly
and I had to shift the car by ear and feel. We went to Sacto to just give
me some more seat time and hopefully qualify for the race. You can imagine
how happy we were to get the top slot.
During first round of eliminations, we raced the guy who ended up
winning the whole deal. I didn't quite stage the car exactly like I wanted
to but it was okay (a little too fast). When I launched the car it kind of
hopped and moved left out of the groove (possibly from the change on the
tune up). I saw the other guy out of the corner of my eye and stayed on
the throttle. I was about 3 1/2 feet off the guardrail but I was going
straight so I stayed with it.
I kept the car where it was and didn't try to bring it back in the
groove because I was afraid of scrubbing too much speed off from the
friction of the front wheels turning as well as unloading the back end of
the car and getting it loose. It just wasn't enough and he got us anyway.
I received some compliments on my driving which made me feel pretty good
Anyway, that's the story of my first race in the funny car. Sorry it
was so long. Thanks so much to Mike Boersma for those cool pics he took.
It was really nice to see his smiling face there. I really appreciate all