Drag Racing Story of the Day!
The Chicken Choker Chronicles:
Englishtown Part 2
Performance -- Good! Driver -- Good! Luck -- Bad!
By Len Cottrell
Englishtown, NJ -- It is hard to believe the NHRA Division 1 season is completed.
We missed our second qualifying run when our blower burst panel (safety valve) split open in second gear, but we had previously qualified in the original race before the rain out. The race continued this weekend and we ended up # 4 qualifier. The positive side to this was that Bozzelli and Gibson were on the other side of the qualifying ladder and we would not have to run them until the final.
On our side of the ladder, our challenge was to beat #5 qualifier, Steve Cantrell, and #1 qualifier, Rich McPhillips, to get to the finals. McPhillips has a nitro burning A/Fuel Dragster that can run very quick, but is not as consistent.
All four of the top qualifiers advanced to the semi finals with the following times: McPhillips @ 5.47, Slagle @ 5.63, Bozzelli @ 5.65, and Gibson @ 5.65 with Slagle having a competitive .468 reaction time.
We were ready to win this race!
Gibson took out Bozzelli with a holeshot (better reaction time, slower run) when both ran 5.64 ETs. We were on our way to beat McPhillips (who recorded a 5.87 time) when an errant head gasket blew out in second gear. We were already .10 seconds quicker than his entry at the 330 ft mark.
The gasket problem is part of a weak link in the cylinder head design and happened at our first race this year. Bad timing, bad luck!
As Gibson was only one point behind us for #2 in the points, he went to the finals and beat McPhillips with a 5.65 to a 5.80 time to move into #2.
Number 3 standing in the division does have a $2,500 bonus to help the pain!
The only other help is that in three days we will be heading to the Keystone Nationals in Reading, PA, for our final outing for the 2001 season.