10/11/12 – In the Lanes with Jared Pennington; “Yes, I Found A New Way to Lose”October 10, 2012 · 1 Comments
Hello again DragCoverage.com viewers. It is time once again for you all to sit back and enjoy reading about the adventures of Big Jed. It has been a wild and crazy few weeks since my last report and man do I have some great stuff to share with you. Before I move on with the results of my racing, I want to say how much I appreciate those of you that have emailed, texted, posted on Facebook or simply approached me “In The Lanes” and had nice words to say about the column. It is very gratifying to hear positive feedback from the folks reading the article and I thank you all for taking the time to let me know you enjoy it. For those who are not enjoying it, don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear from you. Now let’s move on to why we’re here.
As you know if you’ve been following my column, I was supposed to be in Pittsburgh, Pa September 7-9 to announce at Pittsburgh Raceway Park during the Silver Mine 10’s. Unfortunately, the threat of poor weather and some other uncontrollable issues forced the cancellation of the event a few days prior to me flying out so my plans changed … A LOT. Since I wasn’t flying to PRP, I started looking at the race schedule to see where I could go have some fun. I didn’t have to look very hard to see where I wanted to go. My good friend Gaylon Rolison and his partner (for the weekend) Britt Cummings were putting on their world famous Moser Great American Bracket Race in Belle Rose, Louisiana and I wanted to go. I hadn’t had the opportunity to race in La and I know Gaylon puts on events of the highest quality so it was looking like an easy decision. I called him to confirm a rule and when he found out I was available, he told me to get on down there and work in some announcing with my racing and we would have some fun. Since he made me feel so good by pretending I could add value to the event, I had to go. Now all I have to do is figure out when to leave and map out my trip. Since I knew my buddy Todd “Bones” Ewing was going, I figured I would simply follow him down there and insure myself of getting there without the fear of getting lost. Upon calling him to see when he was leaving, Bones informed me that he had room in the trailer for my car and room in the Toter for me to lay my head and I was welcome to go with him. Now, if that ain’t a great friend, I don’t know what is. The only catch was that we had to meet in my hometown of Fultondale, Al at the local Target so Big Red could make the transition from my “rig” to his. I only live 3 miles from the drop spot so I load the Nova on my open trailer and meet Bones at our scheduled time. 20 minutes later (we set a record), we are rolling South to the GABR. The ride down was long but Bones is a knowledgeable guy so I always learn something on trips with him and we eatGOOD so the time passed by quickly.
When we finally roll in to Belle Rose Friday morning (we stopped around the Ms/La line to sleep overnight), you could just tell that Hurricane Isaac had taken its toll on the area and the recovery was going to take some time. However, spirits were high and the racing atmosphere was awesome as we prepared for the day’s event. This was my 1st trip to No Problem Raceway and I was impressed. It’s a nice facility and the staff there obviously tries hard to keep the track in tip top shape. The only problem I have with No Problem is it is HOT. I got so hot one time, I just prayed for one of those GIANT mosquitos to finish me off. They were just walking around the facility with straws in their holster waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. I am obviously and easy target so I was “hit” several times throughout the weekend. I’m running Super Pro and Footbrake so I hope to stay busy and try to forget about the difficult conditions.
After time trials, we roll in the lanes for eliminations. I get through 1st round of Footbrake and roll in for 1st round of Electronics. I get paired up and go the water box ready to race for $7500. I’m all geeked up and get staged last as my opponent awaits and then it happened. I found a new way to lose a race. As I stare into the heart of that top bulb. Heart racing, eyes wide open just waiting on the light to give me the signal to let go of the button, I was hit! Turns out, that exact moment is where one of the 8 Billion birds and other
flying objects in South Louisiana decided to relieve himself right on my windshield. Now I know you’re thinking that’s not a big deal but it dropped perfectly in my line of sight and I let go of the button as a result. Unfortunately, the tree wasn’t on yet so I went Red and failed to advance to “round next”. Apparently, the bird had eaten some of the Jambalaya that was being prepared for the Saturday night party because he destroyed the Nova. I had a pretty lengthy clean-up afterwards and many a laugh to go with it. After a buy back and eventually an early exit in Electronics, I was very fortunate to get the last win light of the night in Footbrake over my buddy and great young racer, Thomas Holley. He is an up and coming talent in Bracket Racing and a name you’ll hear a lot from in the years to come. Bones went some rounds but fell short of the money. However, he made an AWESOME pot of Hamburger Helper which we enjoyed prior to turning in for the night.
On we go to Saturday and the “Big Show”. It is $50K to win on the top and $2K to win on the bottom. It’s obvious that the mood of the crowd has changed. There is a lot of money on the line and the racers are just a little more serious about it today. I managed to make it to 4th round in Electronics before my buddy Stephen “The Shoe” Hughes cracked me with an .012 dead on 8 run to my .018 dead on 7. Although it was a loss, I didn’t feel too bad since I didn’t totally choke. His good run beat mine, end of story. I was rolling along good in Footbrake and got a couple of very lucky breaks and ended up in the final again. This time, I was facing another young and talented racer in Danny Leblanc. I was lucky enough to get the win again and enjoy a cool winner’s circle pic with 2 checks and good friends. Bones got to 17 cars before bowing out in the $50K. Since Footbrake finished a touch earlier than Electronics, I go to announce the last couple of roundsand watched 2 good friends run one another in the final for A LOT of money. Gary “G Dub” “Doughboy” Williams bested Luke “Cool Hand” Bogacki in the final which capped off a great main event. Those two guys are among the best our sport will ever see and they performed like champions on their way to the final.
The plan was for Bones to run in the American Race Cars Dragster shootout Sunday morning and we would head home. I’ve done all I will do for the weekend and decide not to push my luck by racing anymore and Bones was ready to go too so he needs to win this shootout and we’re outta here. Well, Bones makes it to 4 cars in the 32 car shootout and we don’t get gone until 4 PM which means it’s gonna be a late night on the road but we don’t care. We knew that was a possibility when we left Thursday night. After stopping in Meridian, Ms at one of our favorite Outback restaurants, we make it to Fultondale at Midnight so I leave the Nova in Bones’ trailer and kiss it good bye until I can go to his house and get it later in the week. 3 miles later, I’m home and ready for bed. 5:30 AM will be here soon and I’m not getting any younger but it was still worth every minute of the trip.e Phantom Race Cars “Boat Load Of Beer” Party was next along with the OK Motorsports Golf Cart Race. I don’t drink but I like to watch people drink so the party and race, which were being done together if you know what I mean, was a blast and G Dub kept his winning streak alive by winning that too. He’s a Glory Hog! Kidding Gary. G Dub also won the Sunday main event race so it was an unbelievable weekend for my friend and Gary’s car owner, Mitch Clary and the OK Motorsports team. After we were through with pictures and the after party, my main man Bones cooked us up some Chicken Wings and Burgers and we ate like Kings again Saturday night.
My next outing was the Southern Outlaw Tour at Montgomery Motorsports Park. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend any of the SOT events but I’d heard nothing but good about them and was excited to finally get to participate. The SOT didn’t disappoint. The crowd was HUGE and regardless of which class you like to watch, there was something for you at this event. I chose to run Big Red in the Outlaw Bottom Bulb class and 6.0 Heads-Up. Unfortunately for me, I was having “one of those days” as I struggled to buckle my seat belts properly, let alone make good runs against my opponents. I bowed out early in round 2 of Bottom Bulb as I was VERY LATE to my buddy Jeremy Holmes in the Nowling Motorsports S10. Backwoods was .007 and 1 above which had me covered from start to finish. My lack of focus added to Jeremy’s great run was a ticket to the bleachers to wait for 6.0 HU to run. I managed to make it to the 3rd round of 6.0 where my .022 and .026 under was no match against my friend, Buddy Sanders. Buddy was .023 and made a beautiful drop about 40 feet from the stripe to go dead on with a ZERO. I was reeling him in nicely thinking I was doing a good job at the stripe but Buddy showed me that I wasn’t doing anything that he didn’t set me up to do. His plan worked to perfection and I was relieved of duty for the night and headed to Coalburg. With 30 plus Pro Mods on the grounds and over 150 heads-up and bracket cars, the SOT was a blast to be a part of and I certainly plan to make it back to another one real soon.
So that just about wraps up my racing for the last couple of weeks and I must say that I’ve had a lot of fun. The wins are awesome and the losses are educating. Both left me with something to think about as I prepare for the best racing of the year during the Fall months. Next on the schedule is a trip to Gulf Shores with my beautiful bride, Jennifer. A much needed vacation will come at the perfect time and then it’s the $10K Saturday event at I22 and the IHRA Bracket Finals at Memphis where I’ll be a part of Team Montgomery. We were #1 at the Division Finals last year and we plan to retain the title at the “other” MMP. Until then, race to win and I’ll talk to y’all soon. 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.