Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Duck Tape Dominates IHRA Div. 2 Bracket Finals

This past weekend, Oct 8-11, the Duck Tape Volare and I rolled into Darlington Dragway for the IHRA Division 2 East Summit Team Finals, representing Team Pageland Dragway. For those unfamiliar with it, the Team Finals pits the top racers from numerous tracks in a region in what it simultaneously an individual and team competition. Drivers earn points for their home track for each round won, while of course trying to win the race themselves. IHRA's Division 2 East encompassed 12 tracks, from South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. Commonly referred to as the "Bracket Finals", it is basically the SuperBowl for bracket racers.
I opened up the extended weekend with a win in Thursday's Gamblers Race, while feeling the onset of the flu. It just started with a scrathcy throat on Thursday, then a runny nose on Friday. Lost 2nd round in Friday's Gamblers on a -.003 breakout. The Team Finals main event was moved up to Saturday due to the threat of rain (which thankfully never materialized, allowing us to contest yet another Gamblers race on Sunday). Team Pageland jumped out to a 10 point lead, and never looked back. The last three cars remaining in the Super E.T. (No-Box) category were all from Pageland, including veteran Buddy Plyler, young hot shoe Kyle Oliver, and myself. I was walking dead from the flu all day, and got away with four consecutive lights in the .03x's, but finally clicked in the 5th round with a .003 light. I had a .006 in the 1/4-finals, and backed it up with a .006 on the semifinal bye run. Plyler went red to Oliver in the semis. In the finals, I took 1 bump after staging instead of the 2 bumps I'd been taking all week, and came up with an .012 to .014 advantage, good enough to push Oliver into a breakout. Team Pageland celebrated a dominate team championship over the usual steamroller team from Immokalee, FL, 81 to 64, with Carolina Dragway rounding out the Top 3 with 52.
In Sunday's Gamblers Race, I found myself in the winner's circle for the third time in four days. I felt a little bit better, and kept my lights mostly in the 'teens with a couple of .02x's thrown in. The car was particularly deadly on Sunday, and ran nothing but 6.94 or 6.93.
Prior to the weekend, I poured in a fresh batch of 6qts of CAM2 Blue Blood Racing Oil 0w30, run through a K&N Oil Filter. The CAM2 oil seems to contribute to the consistency of the car, as it doesn't move around as much in the late rounds due to temperature variations. I had brought two jugs of Sunoco Blue with me, supplied by Bearden Oil, not being presumptuous enough to figure on making 27 runs during the week. I poured the last drop into the fuel cell Sunday morning, and it made through the day! Along the same line, I had also figured on two good weeks left from the 30x9 M/T radials, which would cover both Bracket Finals before getting some new shoes at the World Finals the following week. Typically, I make 112-115 runs on a set. The finals Saturday night was run #109. Even on their last breath, they never gave up even a little, and in fact had a weekend-best 1.449 60' in the Sunday final round. I did put the 28x9 bias ply M/T's on for this week, though, just to be on the safe side. ;-) That will be a good back-to-back consistency test between the two types of tires anyway. Oh, and the chin strap on my helmet is starting to get worn, so of course it got a dab of Duck Tape to protect it from further wear until I get a new helmet. :-) Thanks to all those wonderful folks, as well as FINISHED, Bradley Auto Parts, Sloan Racing Engines, Macy Motorsports, Billy Nees Race Cars, Matt Zapp, Terry Knott, Johnny Fisher, Randy Larson, Stephen Beard, my wife Jill, and all of Team Pageland Dragway.
I have also qualified for the IHRA Div. 9 Team Finals, for the host track, Rockingham Dragway. Once again, we race from Thursday through Sunday, with several races on the docket and another 12 tracks -- these from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.

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