Spring is in the air, and rubber got put down on the track last weekend at the season opening Southern Outlaw Tour in Montgomery, AL. I had plenty on my mind as we pulled up anchor in Chattanooga and headed south for the weekend. During the off season, my bride and I decided to step it up a bit and acquired a ’94 Holiday Rambler motor home (affectionately known from this point forward as the “Mayflower”), so it was with some apprehension that I hooked my trailer, race car and most of what we own onto it for the very first time and sat out on a 6 hr road trip.
I swear I had more arm pump after that first hour of driving than a professional motocross racer does after a 40 minute moto. Our RV/trailer combo is 65’ + and is susceptible to semi’s, crosswinds, strange noises, etc.…but a couple of hours into the trip everything seemed to ease up a bit. At one point, I glanced back over my shoulder and saw Amber sitting in the captains chair with her feet up, book on a desk, cheese-its, and drink in hand…”I love it” were her exact words. So I guess that’s the official verdict…we’re now RV people.
Upon getting to the track Friday evening we decided that it would be best to sit out the first round of qualifying until we had a chance to test the new combination in some slightly better conditions Saturday afternoon. After an initial shake down pass that was a little on the sketchy side, my good buddy Paul Baxter and I made a couple of adjustments and went up for qualifying. At this point in the day, I must admit I was tired and distracted with everything that it took to get to the track; sponsorship obligations, customer obligations and a race car that wasn’t too friendly on my first pass of the season. Add it all up and what does it mean??? Apparently a knucklehead driving job as I rolled the beams when staging the car and didn’t get an official time for qualifying. Although I felt like a donkey…I took solace in the fact that the car went straight as a string and in two quick passes Paul and I sorted out what took us 10 races to do last season.
Before the next round of qualifying my sweet wife kept my spirits up and Paul calmed my nerves by praying with me in the staging lanes. This time we laid the smack down with a 4.92 at 147 mph, which was a great pass, but unfortunately a little too quick and put us at the bottom end of the qualifying ladder for eliminations.
In the first round, without lane choice, I had a decent (not great) light, and was out on my opponent at half track when the car started a move towards the left wall that I couldn’t pull out of. So I decided to live to fight another day, and clicked the car off coasting through the traps…oh well, there were a lot of firsts this weekend, and after digesting it all for a couple of days, I’m pretty excited about our prospects for the rest of the season. I expect great things this year and feel confident that a solid foundation is in place for some strong results.
April will be a very busy month, as I have the Chattanooga Cruise In (at Coker Tire) on April 6th, Headhunters South in Steele, AL on April 13th, Southern Outlaw Tour in Montgomery, AL on April 20th, and if all goes well…we’re going to try to make it up to the great state of Kentucky for the NOP race on April 27th.
Thanks again to everybody who makes everything possible to race; Coker Tire, M&H, Dart, Comp, TCI, Zex, Lunati, K&N, Amsoil, Holeshot, Hedman Hedders, Texas Jungle Racing and REV Ministries. Thanks again to the almighty God who makes all things possible, period.
Check out our guest appearance on the Hot Rod Live radio show with Dennis Pittsenbarger! We talk about new products from the M&H line, as well as a preview of our 2013 racing season!No Comments »
In the song “Bad Luck” by the iconic Southern California punk rock band, Social Distortion, a couple of the lyrics are – “Thirteen’s my lucky number…to you it means stay inside.” Well, I believe that “13” is my lucky number too and I aint staying inside. After all, I was born on the 13th, my racing number has always been “13”, and I truly believe that 2013 is shaping up to be a great year.
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After everything that’s gone down in the past couple of weeks, it’s been difficult for me to get my mind around the words to put this blog in motion. The 2012 season of racing and season of life have been a journey that I wouldn’t particularly care to travel again anytime soon. Whether it’s been perception or reality, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to repeat the successes of my 2010 and 2011 seasons…after all, I started out the year with a newly refurbished race car, loyal sponsors, and a loving spouse. So what could go wrong??? Pretty much anything race related that you could think of and it seemed like the harder I tried, the worse it got. A late start to the season, freak parts failures, bad weather, bad luck, bad timing, bad circumstances…just bad, bad, bad. Everything hit critical mass a couple of weeks ago in Huntsville, AL when on a very chilly 40 degree morning the engine kicked backed, shot flames through the carburetor, and destroyed the clutch in my starter…sending me on a 4 hr search for a spare. Ultimately nothing I borrowed worked, and we pushed the car on the trailer defeated, embarrassed, and headed back to Tennessee.
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Last weekend I got a chance to blow off a little bit of the figurative ring rust from my 1 month August hiatus and headed down to Holiday Beach Raceway located near “roll tide” country in Tuscaloosa, AL. So what did I do with my late summer vacation from racing? Prepare for more racing, of course….the entire car was nut & bolted front to back, a new vacuum pump, belt/pulley combination was installed, valves adjusted, oil and transmission fluids were changed, carb, filters, lines cleaned from the corrosive Methanol fuel residue…and the on board race computer data reviewed in an effort to establish effective nitrous tune ups for the rest of the season. I also experimented a little further with wing angles and suspension in an effort to create a little more down-force for added down-track stability.No Comments »
We get around to a bunch of different drag strips, and we see all sorts of cool stuff. We live and breathe this stuff, so we check out all of our local drag strips on a regular basis, and visit some bigger venues as well. Anytime we spot a car with M&H tires on it, we try to snap a picture of it, just for the heck of it, so we decided to post them here every once in a while…again, just for the heck of it. Enjoy!No Comments »
At M&H Racemaster, we go the extra mile to make sure our product line covers a wide range of automotive enthusiasts. We have tires for diehard racers, and we also have a product selection for cars that may see plenty of street driving, with the occasional trip to the local drag strip. With a number of different products in the M&H inventory, one of our more popular categories is the sport compact division.No Comments »
Last weekend I got reacquainted with the Camaro at Steele, AL for a test and tune session. After evaluating the finished product and my goals for the season, it became apparent that a shift in racing focus was in order if we were going to have a successful season. Without going into a ton of technical detail, my car is now best set up to run on a 10.5W tire with the Southern Outlaw Tour’s “Extreme 10.5” class which is based around a 5.00 index, and the National Outlaw Professionals series up in KY and OH. So with that in mind, we went to Steele to sort out the best combination for this type of racing.1 Comment »
The Camaro is 95% complete, and with a few minor adjustments we should be ready to test it for the first time on April 15th. For those of you that have been following along since last September when the insanity of this project started, you’ll recognize that not only has the car been turned “Inside Out”, but so have I. There have been so many; people, personalities, deadlines, companies, parts and places involved with putting all this together that at times it was difficult to imagine that it would ever be completed…and I can’t honestly say that I want to do it again anytime soon. BUT (and it’s a big BUTT), I think it will all be worth it when the first little kid comes up at the track and smears cherry slurpee and corn dog grease all down the side of my white paint, gives me a hug, and tells me that he’ll be cheering for me…or the old guy that walks right past all the exotic rigs, trailers, race cars, in the pits and says “Son, I hope you skin ‘em up today”…it’s been a while since I’ve heard these kinds of things, but that’s what I “Hold Fast” – for me it’s not about a bigger and badder race car…it’s about all the people that touch you along the journey.
Thanks to all the companies that have continued to support me through thick and thin; Coker Tire, Dart, Comp Cams, TCI, Zex, Lunati, Holeshot Wheels, Joe Gibbs Oil, Andy McCoy Race Cars, K&N Filters, Farrow Motorsports, Chad Carothers, Dupont Paint, and Lizard Skins. This car is as much theirs as anybody’s and while I’m on that topic – contrary to what society may tell us, none of us really owns anything. We’re all just stewards to what the good Lord has decided to bless us with….so I’m thankful for what I’ve been trusted with and hope that everybody else enjoys it too.
EGNo Comments »