Home  Drag Lists  Forum  Blog  Links  Stories  Pictures  RacingJunk  Goyda Collectibles  Movies  Store  Help  More  RSS



Drag Racing Story of the Day!

The Chicken Choker Chronicles

Englishtown Nationals and Maple Grove Divisionals 2002

By Len Cottrell

Englishtown: Monaghan's second race! More career best runs! Out of parts!

Matco Nationals, Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ. It looked like we were going to be rained out on Friday for our first qualifying pass, but NHRA dried up the track quicker than we thought and gave us 45 minutes to come to the starting line. As we were warming the car up, we noticed that there was a shower of fuel spraying out between the supercharger and the manifold. Not good timing as we were the second pair and they were now calling us to the starting line. Our teamwork paid off, as we were able to make the necessary repairs. Thanks to NHRA officials and our qualifying partner, Jason Cannon, we made it to the line in time.

We then made our first pass at a 5.54 @ 250 mph to qualify #5 in the 16-car field. However, during the thrash, we forgot to tape the fuel shut off open and it partially closed which leaned the fuel system out and put the rods out at the 1100-foot mark! Not a problem; we have a spare engine to put in for eliminations. We elected to pass on the remaining qualifying and when qualifying ended, we were only bumped one position to #6 qualifier.

On Saturday's first round of eliminations, we paired up with our NJ "girlfriend" Karen Benkovich. This was a potential conflict of interest as her father Tom just picked up our aluminum engine block to repair for our next race. But then we remembered we are only friends when we are not racing each other, so we promptly beat her with a 5.51 @ 255 mph over her career best (congratulations) at 5.69!

That is when our fun ended! After the finish line while the car was decelerating, it kicked a rod out of #7 and ended our weekend as we were out of parts!

As the Division 1 opener was at Maple Grove the next weekend, this provided us with some challenges. I had to call Mr. Visa and Mr. MasterCard in order to get parts for the next week. But we were determined to make it!

Maple Grove: Problem: fixed! Performance: good! Luck: poor! Outlook: great!

Maple Grove, PA, Division 1 Opener - Preparing for this race was a monumental task for our crew. Four of us took off work on Friday to get a new engine built, to set up and install a new rear end, and to do necessary repairs to the transmission, chassis, etc. The challenge was that as of Thursday night, our crankshaft was in Los Angeles being balanced, our block was in NJ being welded up and machined, and our connecting rods were in Colorado being finished. Not a problem for this team! We arrived in Reading, Pennsylvania, about midnight Friday night with a complete car. What a crew!

As we have been having problems the last couple of races with blacking crankshafts on every run, we had to implement five different fixes to eliminate the problem. Normally, you should try one at a time so that you know what fixed it, but we were out of parts and had to try all solutions at the same time.

We had 15 entries competing for 8 qualifying positions. At 6:00 p.m., we sent the car down the track and ran a 5.52 @253 mph which qualified us in the #2 position. If the crankshaft survived, we planned to sit out the final qualifying lap at 9:00 p.m.

The crank looked so good after the run that we put the same bearings back in the engine and prepared for the first round of eliminations. As it turned out, we were only bumped to # 3 position to race against Dave DeAngelis, who drove for us at the Gainesville Gatornationals race earlier this year.

I was concerned with the first round as DeAngelis had qualified with a 5.63 and he is one of the best drivers in Division 1, based on reaction times. As it turned out, Fran left first with a .458 light to Dave's .473 light. Then our car shook hard. Dave pulled ahead, and then Fran shifted and came back to catch Dave. Then the magneto wire fell off our car and Dave went on to win at a 5.76!

Our nemesis Cliff Bozzelli went on to win the race with times of 5.59, 5.55 and 5.53.

Good time to thank Rich Bozzelli for diverting a new crankshaft he had on order to us and to thank Tom Benkovich for repairing our aluminum block in time for us to race this past weekend.

The positive side is that the crankshaft problem is fixed, the car is serviced and ready for Delmar, Delaware, in two weeks, and we will have a chance to rest up and be ready for the next chapter.

Len Cottrell


Free Homepage Translation

Home  Drag Lists  Forum  Blog  Links  Stories  Pictures  Racing Junk  Goyda Collectibles  Movies  Store  Help  More  RSS

Drag Photos  Drag Blog  Facebook  Twitter  60s Funny Cars  70s Funny Cars  80s Funny Cars  Gasser Madness  Project 1320  Drag Times


Web draglist.com

Copyright 1996-2014 by Bilden Enterprises. All rights reserved.