9/12 – “In the Lanes with Jared Pennington” – First Official ReportSeptember 10, 2012 · 0 Comments
With Jared Pennington
Hello again DC viewers. Welcome to the first official “In The Lanes” report. It has been an interesting few weeks since my introduction to ITL and I have a lot to tell you about. First and foremost, I hope everyone in the path of Hurricane Isaac stayed safe and avoided damage to their property and/or belongings. It looked like the storm dumped an amazing amount of water on the ground but hopefully, that was the worst for each of you in its path. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone affected by the storm.
As for my racing and travels, boy have I had fun the last few weeks. My 1st “trip” was to the place where it all started for me in 1984. Lassiter Mountain Dragway. George Howard has recently taken over the facility and he’s trying hard to build a good program there. Hopefully, his efforts are rewarded and the program continues to grow. It’s a historical facility and its 3 miles from the house so a good Friday night program there would be awesome for me. This particular night was a Pro Mod night with both Footbrake and Super Pro. I ran my Nova there the week prior and decided to let it rest a little so I brought out the big gun … my 1983 Malibu Station Wagon that is equipped with ONLY 40,000 actual miles and the original V6 bullet under the hood. This was her maiden voyage to the track and I didn’t know what to expect but I certainly didn’t expect what I got. Turns out, the wagon is not ready for Footbrake racing just yet. I could have put about a dozen dial-ins in a bucket and let spectators pick one and put it on the car and got as close as I was getting. My best ET of the night was 13.34 and my worst was 13.64 (yep, she only moved 3 … TENTHS).
Somehow, I ended up in the right place at the right time all night and managed to make it to the final with Allen Reno (aka Jed’s Daddy). Between hitting the tree when I had to and holding enough numbers to cover the dial, I squeaked through the field and earned a runner up to my good friend Allen. I had a slight tree advantage at the start but my car slowing down 2 TENTHS in the final was not in my plans so I got to be the Bride’s Maid that night. I was very lucky to get that far as I had a couple of runs that should have gotten me an early exit but I also made a run or 2 when I needed it and helped my cause a little. My equipment wasn’t good at all but as I mentioned in the first article, its only as good as I make it so apparently, I have a TON of work to do. However, going 13.50’s in the 1/8 and watching your opponent wait 6-7 seconds to take off is cool. It was a fun night and challenged me to drive the car which makes for great practice. It also forced me to use a lot of different strategies which helps keep the mind sharp. I encourage any of you to find a vehicle like that to play around with when you can. It will make you a better racer for sure. On a side note, I got to watch Tim Segars light a winning 3.99 on the left lane scoreboard in the Pro Mod final at the Mountain which is a new track record. Pro Mods are FAST!
The next outing was the following night at I22 Motorsports Park. I22 is a very nice facility about an hour Northwest of B’ham in Eldridge,
Alabama. If you haven’t been there, look at their schedule and find an event to attend. You will love it and they will treat you like family. This night was supposed to be their $15K Saturday night with a $5K race in Dragster, Door Car and Footbrake in the same night. Obviously, I chose to take Big Red (my Nova) to this event as I planned to enter Super Pro Door Car and Footbrake so I figured I had better bring my best piece. The weatherman predicted a beautiful night with only a 10% chance of rain but he missed it just a “touch” and the entire state ended up in danger of getting wet from a huge band of showers moving in from Mississippi. The staff at I22 did all they could do to get the race in but Mother Nature won and I ended up having to settle for eating dinner with my good friends Adam Davis and Bad Brad Ford. We had a blast hanging out for a couple of hours and the food at Jim N Nicks BBQ was off the hook so all in all, it was a good night with great people. Hopefully, they reschedule the race and we can try again later this year.
So on to the Labor Day holiday weekend and what was sure to be an action packed 4 days of racing. Not so much. Friday was a work day for me so no Super 7 Series on that day. I figured I would attend the Friday night program at Lassiter Mountain again and try the “Rocket” one more time just to make sure it is as bad as I think it is. Once again, Mother Nature ruled and forced cancelation of the race so I took that “extra” time and cleaned the garage at home. I don’t have any action photos of that but trust me, it was fun to watch. I had some stuff in there that I forgot about. It was like Christmas all over as I unwrapped some of my long lost treasures. Saturday was the day I had planned to go to Montgomery and run the Super 7’s. Well, I got to thinking the garage is clean so I might as well get the basement next and I’ll be done with my chores for a while so I stayed home and took care of that. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I was a little bit excited about the first night of Alabama Football so that helped make my decision.
Obviously, I was happy with my choice as the Tide rolled (sorry T J .. he’s not a fan).
So it is Sunday morning and I’m now ready to race. Off to MMP I go to hit the top at the Super 7’s. I don’t hit the top much but I do it just enough that I feel like I have a pretty decent program. As I roll up for my new entry time trial, I tell my buddy T J Coleman that I’m going to be .011 and go 5.79. I am .013 and run 5.797. Oh yeah, this is easy. I dial the 79 for run for the money and go -.003 (pulled 5 thou out of the box) and run 5.786. Hmm! Picked up a hundredth and it was just a little hotter but I’m ok. 1st round I get the honor of pairing a former NHRA World Champion in Bryan Robinson. He’s dialed 5.44 so I dial a .79 thinking I will see the finish line well and at most I’m holding a few thou so I’m ready. We both leave green and at the stripe, I kill the little bit I need to and I’m getting there so my win light should shine. NOPE! I take .023 (he fed me some of that but didn’t admit to it) stripe to be 13 thou under. WHAT? The car took off on me and picked up another .015. I buy back and get ready for round 2. I get a good draw in the next round. I get BRYAN ROBINSON! Again? I set up honest this time and he’s -.002 so my win light comes on early. What a feeling! I am .018 and dead on 5 but I have to tighten that up a bit if I want to win. 3rd round is here and I get another good draw. Stop me if you’ve heard this before but I pair a former NHRA World Champion. No, not B Rob. Its Hugh Meeks. He’s in Allen Wickell’s nasty wheelstanding Nova and he’s dialed 6.43. My car has settled down so I make the decision again to dial honest. I have a tight window on the tree so I know where to set the box to be good and my strategy is just be .00 and go dead on. That run is hard to beat. Well, I set it too tight and go -.002 and the race was over. Hugh was .004 and holding so he was going to be a handful either way. Of course, I poured salt in the wound with a dead on run again but you have to perform on both ends and I failed to do that. Hugh went on to runner up the race which was well deserved as he drove great all day. I must say the track at MMP was amazing considering the heat and humidity they were dealing with. Jim and his staff do a great job on the racing surface and the Super 7’s was a lot of fun to be a part of.
That wraps up my racing adventures for this time. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading and learned some stuff in the process. I have had a blast the last couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to the Fall stretch of races which is the best racing of the year. In the next article, we’ll talk about my trip to Pittsburgh to announce and how that turned in to a trip to the Moser Great American Bracket Race in Belle Rose, Louisiana instead. I also hope we talk about me racing Brad Plourd’s Chevy II Stocker in Charlotte which is the plan as I write this. Who knows where the road will take me otherwise? Tune in next time to find out. Until then, race to win and be safe. As always, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
I’m thankful to have the following companies involved in my racing. If not for them, I couldn’t get to the races. Huntsville Engine and Performance , Hoosier/Maggart Tire , Wiseco , NitroPlate , CSR , BTE , Quick Fuel , Gardendale Performance , Hedman Hedders and Jeff Kile Chassis Worx
Debut and Introduction Article: http://www.dragcoverage.com/?p=4749