First of all, as of May 8th, I’m now a married man! My beautiful bride Amber and I decided to get it done Tennessee style, so we ran off to the mountains and eloped. We’ve been together for a little over a year, and I truly believe that our marriage is a testimony to the abundant life that God intends for all of us to have. Married life really is the good life, and nothing makes me happier than to know that I have a lifetime commitment to my sweet heart.
So after a couple of days up in the hills, it was time to come back down to reality and get on with the business of working and racing.
Since ORSCA went belly up at the end of last season, it’s been tough to find consistent 5.30 class racing, and after a pep talk or two, it was decided that I would step it up and try a couple of 5.0 races. Three tenths of a second doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re talking about 1/8th mile drag racing, it’s an eternity. Despite having the very best parts in racing; DART engine, COMP Cams valve train, TCI transmission, ZEX nitrous, Holeshot wheels/Phoenix tires, Royal Purple Oil….my car, with its all steel body is still at a distinct disadvantage, weighing approximately 500 lbs or so more than the competition. Also, with its stock frame rails and standard 4-link suspension, the chassis adjustment options are also limited. Having said that, the only way to know if we’d be competitive was to throw some more ZEX nitrous at it and go testing….
Insert nighttime 5.0 testing video
Testing would be limited to one nighttime pass on a dew soaked track at 11 p.m. the week before the first race. Not exactly ideal preparation, but it would have to do. The net result was a 5.19 pass and a go-pro camera that didn’t like the stresses of 140 mph on a car hood.
After adding up all the data, I knew that we’d be hard-pressed to run the 5.0 class with the kind of consistency that we’ve enjoyed in 5.30…but I figured we could at least get close enough to make it tough on a couple of guys. So on Friday it was off to Alabama with a banjo on my knee and a race car in the trailer. Unfortunately it was a wasted effort as Friday night’s qualifying was rained out, further whittling into our test time. Race day came around and it was tough going. My buddy Eric Boyd and I worked on the engine/chassis set-up virtually non-stop from the time we unloaded the car all the way until we faced two-time ORSCA 4.70 Class World Champion, Scott Underwood in the first round of eliminations. Scott is a great guy, and it was an honor to line up beside him…only problem was that our best time of 5.17 was way short of his “on the brakes” 5.03 pass. Although the day didn’t go our way, I probably learned more about door-slammer-race-car-set-up in that single day than at any other point in my short career…very valuable information to have, plus it was a challenge.
In the past, I’ve been fortunate enough to win some races and it’s an awesome feeling. However, regardless of the end result, this season I’ve really grown to enjoy the process and preparation more and more each time I go out. I’m so lucky, blessed, however you want to look at it, to be in a position to race and just be competitive, that the minor struggles/challenges really are minor and they truly help to make the good times taste that much sweeter.
After getting home and unloading, it was time to load up again, this time on an aeroplane for my first trip back to California since I’d moved to Tennessee over 3 years ago. My good buddy Alex was getting married Saturday and Amber and I thought it would be a great opportunity to go out there a little early and visit some old friends while getting to look at CA for the first time through TN eyes.
We started the week out staying with my friends Sam & Susan Gasowski just north of LA where we got to spend some time with their little 2 yr old, Otto. Great to see them, and Otto is a true gem. Next on the list was seeing my buddies Chad Sell and Baby Ray….aka “the bomb squad”.
Later that evening it was dinner with my old neighbors and former surrogate family, Brian and Michelle Cullen, along with Chad and his wife Jennifer. It was short but sweet…I miss that crew.
The next day it was on to the OC for lunch with my buddies Heath and Bobby from Lucky 13, who took Amber and I out to lunch at a sweet old diner that used to be a car dealership back in the day. Later on it was a short hang in Laguna Beach with my good friend Chad Carothers…who’s working on some amazing art and cars these days.
Later that night it was time to catch up with my dysfunctional brother from a different mother, Jimmy Shine of So-Cal Speed Shop. Who was fresh back from his El Mirage, CA land speed race the week before and on top-form with tales from the track.
I miss all of my CA posse, but Jimmy’s my best buddy and we’ve just been close from the git-go….although I couldn’t help but to notice a sense of relief from each of our respective spouses that we’re no longer located within the same area code.
Finally it was on down to San Diego to see my friend Steve Zoumaras and his miniature Schnauzer, “Buster.”, where we would hold up for the last couple of days before the wedding.
Wedding day arrived and a great time was had by all…congrats to Alex and Karen Moriau!!
This week it’s back to reality with a change of office space and another Montgomery, AL challenge, this time in the form of a 5.30 class race. I’ve spent the past couple of nights trying to undo the 5.0 tune-up/set-up…and I’m really looking forward to getting back in the class that brought us so much success last season. Who knows if I’ll ever win a race again, but I can tell you that I sure am enjoying the ride!
Proverbs Ch.3 v. 5-6
Tags: 1969 camaro, California, comp cams, dart block, dart heads, drag race tires, drag racing, dragracetires.com, el mirage, eric gullett, heads up, holeshot wheels, index, jimmy shine, nitrous, ORSCA, outlaw racing, phoenix, power glide, race tires, racing tires, royal purple, so-cal, speed shop, TCI transmission, tennessee, zex