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Old 04-06-2020, 11:34 AM   #41
Dennis Petras
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

First Divisional, late 1980's Englishtown when they had the 1st Divisional in May. 1st time through tech and I fail due to the mounting plate for my shoulder harnesses on my cross bar is to high with respect to where the belts pass over the seat. Tech guy says you need to find someone to cut and reweld lower. Totally dejected, I relegated myself to the fact that I have to pack it in and rework at home. Frank Johnson (aka "Deer Slayer") who ran a 70's Mustang in the same class (H/Stick) comes over and asked what's the problem. I explained and he looks in and says, why don't you reposition so the belts run under the cross bar to get the required distance? Called the tech guy over who rejected me and explained "Plan B" and he says "That will work...call me over when its repositioned and I will validate your tech card". Got to race the week end and made my 1st drag racing friend.
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Old 04-06-2020, 06:21 PM   #42
Mike Schwartz
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Gullett View Post
Brainerd points meet 1986. Zenon Kotelko and I were having coffee and he was bugging me to come with him to Brainerd. I'm not a good spectator and was in the process of converting the Nova into a stocker so had no ride. At the time I worked at the local Ford dealer. The had a used 1981 Ford Escort wagon with of all things a stick in it. At the time it fit FF/S. I took the exhaust off it and loaded it up on the trailer and went to Brainerd. Ran the test and tune and was I think 4 tenths over index. New I was going to be a duck. First round drew the A/SA mopar of Marlin Bogner though if I remember someone else was driving the car. We were a few pairs back and some guy walks up to the car and says he bracket races the same car I was driving. I asked him how do I make it go faster? He said when it don't rev no more then shift it. I thought I got nothing to lose. Launched the car and tried it. Thought I had a decent lite. Got to the MPH marker and thought he's not going to catch me. And he didn't. I went a hundredth over the dial in and won my first round. IN A FORD ESCORT STICK CAR! The guy who I beat was pitted close to me so I thought I would go over and talk to him until I saw the helmet and a few other things flying. Figured I'd better keep my distance! LOL. Raced Dave Young in Scott Carlson's car next round and got my butt wooped but still had a great time.
I love how similar to my own story yours was. At my race there was one other FWD car entered. I think it was Ray Cook or someone from the same group. I never thought to ask them for any tips.
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:02 PM   #43
Adam Strang
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

I started racing in '92 and my first divisional was '95 nothing too memorable so I'll share my first race west of the Mississippi in 2015. May of that year Gene Monahan got a new camper and decides he's going to do a bucket list trip and go to Vegas and Pomona at the end of the year and I said I'd go along clear it with work got a whole month off for the trip. Get the bright idea to build a new motor for the trip get it all together go to the dyno spin a rod bearing by that time it's too late to fix that motor for the trip,guess I'm making the trip with my tried and true TRW motor,runs good but nothing to write home about. Gene and I head out the Saturday before the Vegas race ,I'd never been west of the Mississippi before and once you get past Oklahoma City the land starts to change so from there on out my head is swinging all over looking at the landscape and taking pictures.

Make it to Vegas,the first pass the car was pretty slow so I went back took some weight out and turned up the two step for class. It was me and Andy Kimball and he had me covered, figure I'll go up there and get my butt whipped the tree comes down we take off row thru the gears and look up and I'm ahead, look at the score board ,ok no red light, he's at my door and creeping on me but runs out of track and I win class! On to the Eliminator I win first and second round, third round is after dark,I like racing at night that's how I started racing at Napierville on Saturday nights. Have MickeyAlley we both pre stage and I bump in to light the stage bulb and then stare at the bottom bulb, I'm leaving first I'm waiting for the tree to come down and nothing is happening so I look up and the stage bulb is out the car had rolled back when I pushed the clutch all the way in. Too late the red light came on and I was done. Got back to my pit spot and Gene says you just drove 3000 miles with your head swinging all around looking at everything and now you couldn't look up and see the light was out. We laughed,I loaded my stuff up and me,Gene Monahan, Billy Nees and Doug Chervanik went to Fremont St. for Halloween. That's an experience you'll never forget!
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:22 PM   #44
Tom O
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

Just look at what you started Justin! just kidding, I bought my car around July of 95, I told my mom I'd try it for a year, went down to E-town div race in Aug or Sept , all i remember was tossing or breaking alt belt because I was shifting at 6500 , when I should have been shifting at 5500! Surprised I didn't damage engine, got another belt & all was well. Could have sworn guy I bought it from said 65. Any way like what Glen said it's been a hell of a ride.You'll make lifelong friends,& meet the nicest people. Every race event is an adventure, hopefully our paths will cross sometime,we'll have a beer & I'll tell you some more stories. What car do you plan on racing?
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:35 PM   #45
Justin Graham
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

I know Tom O, Im giddier than Charlie getting a GoldenTicket. Im so stoked, at all the names Im reading about, those posting and those included in their stories.

I plan on running something in a slower class. I dont want to jinx myself, but I do have an eye on a few affordable rides right now. Im busting my butt working OT, to make a reasonable offer. Once that happens, Ill certainly be here sharing that moment. I hope we do cross paths, share some stories, and definitely enjoy a round of beer((s))

Im going to continuing thanking you guys. I really hope yall are enjoying these as much as I am. Lets keep this rolling!!
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Old 04-06-2020, 11:07 PM   #46
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

After helping my brother-in-law with his c/sa mustang for a few years I decided to get a "real race car". I made a deal for a car I had seen at the Mile High Nationals a couple of years before. A Shelby pilot and I make the trip to Denver to trade a Triple black 69 RS Camaro and cash (Never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer) for what was at the time the record holding e/s car owned by John Dusenbery. At that time the first division race was at Pueblo Colorado, so off to the races I go, it was only 550 miles one way. After spending the night in Denver at a friends house it was on to my first points race. Get in line for tech not really knowing what to expect having a new car but feeling like it should be fairly easy. Ever one in Division 5 knows Dick the tech guy who I get and he looks the car over and says I need to fix the vent hose in the trunk. I say something like I had just got the car from John and Dick said John doesn't own it any more and it needs fixed. So now begins the ordeal of ever time I go to the races something needs fixed. Get the line fixed, on to qualifying where I can't get the car to leave as it bogs ever time. I call the Shelby pilot and ask for help. The answer was slam you hand in the door and drive it like that. Ended up qualifying top half of the field and went out in the third round. All with the help of our friends.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:07 AM   #47
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

2000 first national event Englishtown. Won class and after the scales and fuel check
Bruce (we all know him) invited me to the dance. Tear down! I had 5 runs on a fresh Tom
Boucher motor. I had to walk all the way around to the other side of the pits to get my tools. Started to take the valve covers off, I hear a scooter drive up behind me, It's Tom, telling me to get away from his engine. He took the head off and walked in and Bruce ( you remember Bruce) said "Oh It's Tom's motor work" and laughed. I learned that in this sport your friends and engine builder's help doesn't end at motor pickup or anywhere else. I have made great friends through drag racing. Thanks to all.
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Old 04-07-2020, 07:12 PM   #48
Justin Graham
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

ONLY because I saw Adam Strang! post a comment I had to share this. I snapped this pic at the '19 AutoClub Finals.

I really wish budgets would make it possible to see more racers make cross country trips.
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Old 04-08-2020, 09:12 AM   #49
ALMACK
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

My first event in NHRA Stock was a National Open in May 2013.

I bought my '86 T-Bird Turbo Coupe in Dec. 2012 from Marty Buth ( turnkey)

I agreed to pay him his asking price in exchange he would help me thru tech teardown when I attempted to set the National Record in Q/SA the following May at the 2013 Sportsnationals. He kept his word and showed up at Bowling Green the day before.

The pics below are of the very first pass I ever made in the T-Bird class racing it. ( 2 photographers)
This was after 30 years of waiting to race with NHRA.

The T-Bird ran it's quickest pass ever at that weight.( 3290 lbs) 12.36 on a 13.80 index.
So I went 1.438 under and was the # 2 qualifier for the event on my first pass.

The backup run was 12.5x so it set the record and the car passed tech just like Marty said it would.

For me it was a great experience after waiting 30 years.

Within a 30 month span from May 2013-Oct. 2015, the T-Bird set 8 national records for both e.t. and mph and in May 2014 became the first 4 cylinder Stocker to run in the 11.80's





The car
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Old 04-08-2020, 11:38 AM   #50
jim powers
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Default Re: First Divisional or National event stories

First national event with my stocker,69 camaro, lost first round and was "invited to the party" on the return road at etown i think it was 90 0r 91 spent rest of the day tearing down , great fun
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