Finally – Racing Again

It didn’t all go the way we had planned but I am okay with it. I finally got back in a racecar and down the track thanks to my son, Phil.

The original idea was to hit Richmond Dragway’s Old Dominion Duels event and run the Camaro in the Top ET class. Phil would run the Footbrake class and we would take all of the money home. It didn’t exactly come out that way but I had a good time and got some runs in with the car.

Friday was a TnT session for entrants of the event. Phil made a couple of passes in the car off the foot brake and the car ran consistent numbers so we were set for that part of the program. I had not been in a racecar in about 3+ years and the last passes I made were in the Camaro with a smaller engine and just footbraking it. The Camaro is a completely different beast now and leaving off the transbrake/2-step setup was some kind of fun. I ended up making 3 complete passes and one aborted attempt. On my first shot, I got the burnout right, lined up the car, staged a little bit loose. The problem was I was late getting on the 2-step and extremely late in letting go of the transbrake button. I remember looking at the 2nd amber and saying, “oh I was supposed to have already let go of the button”. On the next shot, I didn’t get a very good burnout and then lined up about 6-8 inches out of the groove. Once again, I was late getting on the hammer and letting go of the button, maybe a smidgen better but being out of the groove, the car went to the left really hard. I got out of the throttle and just drove the car down the track. Come the third attempt, I think I was a bit perplexed. All of this stuff is so easy in my dragster. Click a few buttons, do a burnout, stage and let go. The Camaro has the release button on the shifter, I have to toggle another switch between the roll control unit and the transbrake, my son is taller than I am so I almost feel like I am stretching to push the pedals correctly and it’s really noisy. Seeing around the hoodscoop isn’t a piece of cake either. Anyway on this shot, I still managed to screw up the hit on the tree along with not getting on the hammer soon enough again, but the car made a full pass and was pulling hard at the 660 foot mark. After a short break, I took the car up for a fourth attempt but this time I sat at the back of the staging lanes for a bit, got my safety belts the way I like them, then closed my eyes and went through the entire routine in my mind. With that done, I rolled up, did a great burnout, staged the car really shallow, when my opponent lit his stage bulb I went on the hammer and when that first amber flashed I was off that transbrake button. I was rewarded with a .009 reaction time and a 6.19 at 112+ in the 1/8 mile. That was pure fun! Discussing the run afterwards, the thinking was that I probably either unintentionally pedaled the car a bit or I did not get the carb completely open. The car normally runs in the low 6, high 5 area at 113 mph. Phil took the car out next for a pass off of the transbrake but the tires chattered a bit and he had a 6.10 on that run. With that done, I decided that I needed more hits in the car to have any competitive chance in the Top ET class so I am going to try and run the car in that class at the next regular bracket event we have available. This race was too expensive to take the gamble.

As it turn out they ended up with something in the area of 370 Footbrake cars and probably close to the same number in Top ET. The crew at Richmond did an outstanding job of getting this many race cars down the track in good time on Saturday. Sunday was more of the same although there were more race car delays due to broken bits and pieces. Once again, we had a great time and one of these times we are going to get to the serious money at the end of the day.

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