Hello again DC viewers. I apologize for the delay in reporting my racing adventures to you. It has been a whirlwind couple of months and I’m simply way behind on some things I need to handle (ITL being one of them). So much has happened since we last got together and unfortunately, TJ doesn’t have the time or space, for me write about all of it so I’ll touch on the highlights and let the rough ends drag.
I’d like to mention/suggest one thing before I start writing this article. It seems that racing has gotten way too serious for some and it causes us to be misguided in our approach to such an awesome sport. As I travel around to different types of events, it’s without fail that I see a major uproar about one thing or another at the track. People are bickering with one another about this or that, racers severing relationships with each other over something and so much more that causes conflict. Folks, find a way to make this sport fun again. It has become a job for a lot of you and that is taking the fun out of it. Don’t race the race or class that you’re ‘supposed’ to race every week. Try some different things from time to time. Find a way to enjoy your time at the track and surround yourself with people that do the same. I promise you it will give you the return that you desire in racing and you will enjoy every minute of it. Be silly and skip a time run or pull up on the local hitter 1st rd. Whatever it takes to get you out of that rut is what you have to do to make it fun again. Go to the announcer’s booth and watch the races. Heck, grab a mic and talk a little. You’d be amazed at the therapy that provides. I guarantee you will enjoy the races more if you try some of that stuff. We all want to win and winning is fun but you don’t have to win it all to have a good time. It might even help you Improve on the track.
As most of you know, the 7th annual BTE World Footbrake Challenge was next on my schedule in early July and it was as good as ever. WFC 6 saw a record set for attendance at a Footbrake only event with 434 entries. Well that record only lasted 1 year as WFC 7 reached an amazing 459 entries on Saturday of the 3 day event. This crowd exceeded our wildest dreams and we can’t thank the racers and sponsors enough for all they have done to elevate the WFC to the level it has reached. Before Friday’s action started, we kicked things off with a Thursday TNT and Gambler’s race. Over 300 cars were parked before sunset Thursday so it was obvious that the racers were ready for the WFC. The last racer standing on Thursday was Mark Romeo (Pa) as he took out John Vance (Al) in the final round. The NitroPlate Triple 10’s kicked off Friday with a huge crowd. When all was said and done, Denny Macloskey (NJ) hoisted the winner’s check by defeating David Bell (Ar). We weren’t done yet! The WFC supporters wait all year for this event and they want to race so we gave them what they wanted. We had a $100 entry, no double entry, no buyback Gambler’s race that guaranteed $3K to win and paid 2nd rd winners. David Harvey Jr (NJ) kept New Jersey rolling strong when he defeated Michael Crass (Ky) in the final. Saturday came along with awesome weather and we were blessed with the biggest crowd to ever race a Footbrake only race. The day started with the McCarty Auto Parts Ladies Night Out and Senior Citizen shootouts. The LNO race was a 16 car, ladies only race that showcased some amazing female racers. After all was said and done, the always tough Susan McMillan (Tn) and Jamie Southards (NC) battled for the title with Susan taking the win and being the first ever female winner at the WFC.
The ‘geezer’ race was also filled with 16 of the toughest ‘experienced’ Footbrake racers around. These guys are the men who paved the way for us racers and it was an honor to get to watch them battle one another to the end. Kurt Huntington (NC) took the check from Doug Thompson (Oh) in the final round and Kurt became our first ever Senior Citizen to own the Winner’s Circle at the WFC. The $10K race was just as exciting as the shootouts and it gave us our first EVER no split final round. Mick LeComte (Oh) picked up $10,000 with a victory over Dustin Avondet (Mo) in the last pair down the track. I can’t forget to mention that we had the CARS Protection Plus Racer Appreciation BBQ where my great friends at Gardendale Performance prepared an unbelievable meal that fed over 700 people. Jimmy and Robin Wesson and the supporting staff they bring along did another outstanding job on the meal and if you missed it, you missed a treat. We wrapped up the event on Sunday with another great day of racing that saw a familiar face in the Winner’s Circle. Chris ‘Cougar Daddy’ Plott (NC) picked up his 3rd $10K check from the WFC when he got by another multi time WFC winner in Steve Alford (NC). Again, we can’t thank the racers, Bristol Dragway staff, sponsors and WFC staff enough for making this event what it is. It is truly a team effort and we appreciate each one of you that offer support in one way or another.
Go here http://www.worldfootbrakechallenge.com/wfc7_summary.aspx to see a complete race recap with pictures.
Steve and I are excited about next year already but first, we have big plans to announce about the 2nd BTE Southern Footbrake Challenge at Holly Springs Motorsports in the spring. Look for that info very soon.
The very next week following the WFC, I made the trip to Benton, Illinois and I57 Dragstrip for the JEGS Summer Door Car Shootout. My good friend Luke Bogacki promotes this event with Scott Bailey (owner of I57). This was my first year to get the chance to race along with announce the event and it was a blast. The folks at I57 know how to prep a hot track and Luke does a great job of organizing things and making sure the event is staying on schedule. This event is truly one of the best I’ve been to and you owe it to yourself, if you’re a door car racer, to attend it and see for yourself why the racers love it so much. I didn’t race very well (stop me if you’ve heard me say that this year) but I had fun anyway. I got the chance to stay with my friends Jeremy Jensen and Heather White Thursday night on the way up. It is always good catching up with them and it was especially good seeing Double J take the $7500 Sunday check to cap off a great weekend. Luke had prizes galore from tons of great companies and the race purse was very big so the list of winners is huge. Go here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Summer-Door-Car-Shootout/158353367546841 to get a rundown on all of the action from a great race. Thanks Luke for allowing me to be involved.
Early August was upon me and unfortunately, I had a little break coming due to the fact that Big Red was tired and needed a freshen up. As always, I chose Huntsville Engine to perform the work. I couldn’t imagine letting anyone else work on my hot rod. The guys at HEPC know what it takes to make a winning combination and they have tested nearly every set up you can dream of so they never let you get out of bounds with a bad decision that you’ll regret. As much as I rib Bones about ‘stuff’, he knows what makes power and offers longevity and my car has been very reliable since I started using HEPC in 2003. Andy and the boys in the shop are as talented as they come and I’m thankful for all of the great things they have helped me accomplish. If you’re looking for an engine builder, it would be foolish to choose anyone else in my opinion. That being said, Bones hates alky in a race motor and he talked me into switching mine over to gas as a result of what alky had done to my parts. Let’s just say it is rougher than gas. I made the switch to a QFT 1050 (4150 baseplate) gas carb and I must say that I was impressed. QFT builds great products and this gas carb didn’t disappoint. The SloNova popped out a 5.80 on the track at Holiday Raceway the 1st time out so I was very pleased with those numbers. I did struggle a bit with the heat that gas creates and I feel that I’m going to have to use alky in the extreme heat but I feel very good about my QFT gas set up and I’m confident that a little tuning will yield even better results.
I’ll skip ahead past a trip to Lassiter Mountain (where it all started for me in 1984) and another to I22 and talk about the ‘new ride’. Steve Stites and I have purchased the N/SA Malibu Wagon formerly owned/driven by Adam Davis. This 3600 pound monster is powered by a 305 SBC and fuel is delivered through a Quadrajet carb. Yes, they are still around. This is a dedicated NHRA/IHRA Stocker and it offers the chance to compete in a different kind of event against other factory rated and strictly regulated cars. If you remember my last article, I talked about driving Bones’ E/SA Camaro in Bowling Green where I took a severe beating. Well, I guess that wasn’t enough for me so I’ve decided to jump in with both feet and try it again in something quite a bit slower. The Wagon trips the ¼ mile timers at roughly 12.7 seconds at 100 mph. Remember the 3600 lbs I mentioned? Well that doesn’t get moving very easily so hitting the tree is a challenge (no deep staging in NHRA). I took the car and tested it and the results were less than desirable. My 1st run produced a stellar .046 rt dead shallow and leaving on the crack of the 3rd bulb. I felt like I got it all and that, in this case, was not a good feeling. Next, I tried to bump in a little harder and didn’t feel like I ‘mowed’ it but it felt good and I was .044. Uh oh! Houston, we have a problem! I wanted to make one more run prior to dark. 99% of Stocker racing happens in daylight hours so data from runs in the dark is near useless. On my last run, instead of bumping in like normal, I dragged the brakes and let it slide firmly into the beams. I knew I was deeper than I would typically get but I also knew I needed to be. That gave me a .026 rt which made me feel slightly better. However, the spot I hit doesn’t really exist (bottom bulbers understand) so I can’t say I feel good yet. Basically, had the track staff unscrewed the 3rd bulb without me knowing, I would have left in the same spot (bottom bulbers understand part 2). Either way, I am going to Charlotte, NC for the NHRA event September 13-15 and give it my best. Hopefully, I’ll be good when I need to and I’ll be lucky a lot. Jennifer and JJ are going with me so I am excited to share a fun weekend with the family and do some class racing. We will be celebrating Jennifer’s 40th birthday with lots of great friend in Charlotte. I’ll be sure to take a pic or two of our celebration.
That’ll just about do it for my time at the track this summer. When I get with you again, I’ll talk about the Moser Great American Bracket Race in Memphis and the great time I had there. I’ll also update you on how it turned out in Charlotte as well as the big $10K to win S/Pro race to be held at I22 Motorsports Park September 21st. I’ll be doing double duty there as well so I’ll have a lot to talk about. I was able to pick up JJ’s Jr Dragster chassis in Memphis. My friend Rick Taylor of Rick’s Powder Coating did an amazing job coating the chassis and other parts and I can’t wait to share pics of his beautiful Jeff Kile built chassis all decked out in Silver Vein coating. A future article will have more pics and detail on my main man’s ride. On a side note, I am not one to brag about anything but I’m very thankful to John Dibartolomeo at Drag Racing Action magazine for allowing me to be featured in the latest issue with Big Red. It is an honor to be chosen by such a great publication and it’s something I will cherish always. Thank you Johnny D and DRA! Until we talk again, enjoy life, love your family, have fun in everything you do and as always, race to win.
I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
I’m thankful to have the following companies involved in my racing program. 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, K&N Filters, OK Motorsports and Jeff Kile Chassis Worx.
- Jared Pennington
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