A Long Frustrating Weekend for Everyone
Lucas Oil Woodburn Regional
July 11-13, 2014
Long. Hot. Frustrating. These could be just a few of the adjectives to describe the recent Lucas Oil Woodburn Regional at Woodburn Dragstrip. We were pleased at our last race in Montana but we knew we had to switch to a different clutch set-up in order to be more competitive, especially at our home track in front of our family and friends.
We planned to make both test runs on Friday, but due to some unforeseen electrical issues with the Christmas Tree, we only got one run late Friday afternoon which resulted in instant tire smoke. We knew we had to back down the clutch after that and would’ve liked to have had the second test pass but that was just not in the cards.
We headed out to the track early Saturday morning as we had three qualifying attempts slated for 12, 2, and 4pm. Q1 was almost a repeat of the run from Friday afternoon with instant tire smoke. We had Gary Eickmann in our pit over the weekend and he gave us some pointers in the hopes of getting down the track in Q2. The unfortunate electrical issues with the Christmas tree returned Saturday which delayed racing quite a bit. I do have to give praise to the wonderful Woodburn track personnel who worked relentlessly to solve the issues to be able to continue qualifying.
Q2 was scheduled for around 2pm but we didn’t run until early evening. Temperatures on Saturday were also very hot, upper 90’s, which made for a long, hot day. We did manage to not smoke the tires at the hit in Q2 but had some ignition issues and only ran a 6.080 at 229.24, which put us 9th in an 8 car show. We thought we were done for the weekend but thankfully the alcohol cars were going to run Q3 about 9:30 Sunday morning before first round. We hurt some stuff in Q2 so it made for a very long day with the guys not leaving the track until almost 10:30pm.
The guys got to the track around 7am and were greeted by something we hadn’t seen for a while; cloud cover and cooler temps. The forecast called for temps in the upper 80’s with high humidity and possible thunderstorms late in the day, but the air temp was in the mid 60’s and thunderstorms started mid- morning. We were concerned they might cancel Q3 but glad they didn’t. The light sprinkles stopped, ran Q3, and were able to improve slightly to a 5.980 at 225.79, but driver Jeff Ashwell and team didn’t make the top 8. Dejected, we started in tear down mode until we received word that the number 8 qualifier broke and couldn’t make the call for first round.
So tear down mode quickly became repair mode as we had those frustrating ignition problems again and had to change motors before E1. Big thanks to Gary Eickmann for helping us get ready. We thought we only had less than an hour but those pesky thundershowers came back and we had more than enough time to get ready. After about a 5 hour delay we pulled into the lanes against Don St. Arnaud who laid down a great 5.33 at 278mph to take the win. Even though the weekend was very frustrating for us in terms of the cars performance we are optimistic that with a few more runs the crew can get it sorted out. Thank you to the great Woodburn fans who stopped by to cheer us on.
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