Drag Racing Story of the Day!
The Chicken Choker Chronicles: Maple Grove 2001
Three engines! Three career best runs!
Three cheers for the crew!
By Len Cottrell
Wow, what a race!
With the minimal breakage we have had this year, we have been able to focus on refining the tune up. With ideal track conditions the results of our first qualifying pass was a 5.53 @ 252 mph for a career best. The only problem was that this was the 4th season on the crankshaft and we found a crack in it after the run. We missed the second qualifying pass as we installing our spare engine, which has been sitting idle for three years.
The third qualifying pass was cancelled due to rain so we went into eliminations against Bruce Insinger (with the former Exide entry). Just after the 330-foot mark (approximately 1/3 the distance of the quarter mile run), a cam lifter seized and broke an intake push rod, which closed off # 2 cylinder. We ran on seven cylinders until 1/2 track when we burnt the #7 piston and smoked across the finish line on 6 cylinders with a 5.57 @ 244 mph for the win and our second career best time. As we were unable to fix the seized lifter, we had to call one of our friends, Chris Myers, at our shop to bring us a brand new third engine, which had just been completed the previous week.
After our crew stayed up all night installing the new engine, our real challenge faced us. We had to meet the 3-time defending world champion, Rick Santos from California, in the next round. We did not lean on it because we knew that if the engine did not break any parts we could run much better. But to win, Santos would have to make a mistake and we would be right there to take him. As it turned out, it was one of the few times I was still ecstatic after we lost. Santos did not make any mistakes and set a new national record and the fastest time ever recorded at a 5.27 but we also did not break any parts and ran a 5.38 ET at 259 mph to become the first blown alcohol car on the east coast to break into the 5.30s!
This was also a breakthrough for our driver Tim Slagle as all of his reaction times were in the .479 to .494 range!
The two most important reasons for our success this season are attributed directly to the commitment and dedication of our crew chief, Marc Hall, and to the able talents of John Davis, who drives from Pennsylvania to support us at all the events. Also of special note is the support of Gilbert Derry, when his business permits him to attend.
We also appreciate the support of Dennis Taylor (Taylor Motor sports), Jay Payne (BAE, Inc.), Tom Braksator (VP Fuels), Mike Guber (Valvoline oil), Devin Battley (Rockville Harley), Bob Rizzoli (RCD) and Mike, Scott & Shawn Bowen.
Looking forward to 2002 season! God bless America!