We just wrapped up a grueling four-race swing to begin the 2013 NHRA Countdown to the Championship. It was our second four-in-a-row this season. Having four weeks in a row is great for us nitro addicts, but also exhausting for all of our hardworking crews, both on the race and hospitality side.
Leading up to the start of the race weekend our drivers kept busy as usual. Johnny was running the Alex’s Lemonade Stand body again. They ran it at Denver and this is the third straight season that the team has run it at Reading. The relationship with Alex’s developed through our partnership with Service Central.
Johnny flew in early to attend the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a visit with the patients. It’s very similar to our team visit to Riley Hospital in Indy during the U.S. Nationals. Following the visit in Philly, Johnny joined Tony and Matt at Classic Harley-Davidson in Reading for an autograph signing benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand. We had three of our drivers there, along with Johnny’s Alex’s Funny Car. They were raffling off a yellow Harley with all proceeds going to Alex’s. Jack and the Odyssey Battery Funny Car made an appearance at the Odyssey Battery headquarters and Antron had a Matco customer dinner at the track. So, it was a busy Thursday for the DSR drivers.
We had two other new paint schemes this weekend for DSR. Jack ran a new black and red body supporting Odyssey Battery, the official battery of DSR. The Odyssey batteries are made close to the track at Reading at Enersys. For the second year in a row, we had a pink Matco Tools dragster supporting Matco’s “Tools for the Cause” campaign, which benefits the Susan G. Komen foundation. It was great to see Matco Tools and many of our competitors running pink cars to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
We saw blue skies and warm temperatures in the 80s all three days in Reading. Usually when we come here its chilly, cloudy and wet, so it was quite a difference for everyone. After two qualifying sessions on Friday, Tony and Jack led the way for our teams. Jack and the Odyssey Battery team ran a 4.03-second pass. Tony ran a 3.778 second run. Both Jack and Tony left the track Friday night as number three qualifiers.
Until Friday, Matt and his Mopar/Rocky Boots team held the sole possession of the top spot in Funny Car for the last 13 events. John Force joined the three-second club on Friday with the first three-second pass for JFR taking the number one spot away from Matt and the Mopar team. The good thing is that Matt now got to play the role of the hunter and not the hunted.
On Saturday, we saw some consistent passes by our DSR teams. It was a very hit or miss day on the track. Teams would either run well or go up in tire smoke. Our teams focused on finding their race day tune-up since we knew conditions would be similar to race day conditions. Antron ran 3.79 in the first session and Spencer 3.81 in the final session and our floppers made some solid laps as all seven DSR cars made the quick fields at Reading.
We awoke to cloudy skies and fog in Reading, PA., on Sunday which excited the crews that were hopeful to run low numbers during first round. Plans changed for the teams during driver introductions when we saw the clouds break up and the sun start peaking up, warming up the race track.
It was a relatively successful first round for DSR. Both Antron and Spencer won their races with hole shots, Tony and the U.S. Army team advanced as well. Also noteworthy, was the match-up between the DSR teammates, Johnny and Ron with Ron and the NAPA team turning on the win light.
For the third race in a row, Jack met up with Alexis DeJoria in the first round, unfortunately for our team, third time was Alexis’ charm and she got the win light. Matt and his MOPAR/ Rocky Boots team also advanced.
We saw it really heat up during the second round at Maple Grove, which lead to lots of tire smoking, which is what ended the U.S. Army teams race day. Spencer and Antron were able to advance which led to a race between the two teams in the semis.
In Funny Car, it was another DSR team match-up with Ron and the NAPA team keeping their countdown hopes alive by taking out Matt. In the semis, the NAPA team had John Force and his Castrol GTX team, it was a close race until about half track when the NAPA car smoked the tires. The Funny Car final round was between rookie Chad Head and Force.
Spencer and Antron met up in the semifinals, it was a close race between the teammates with Antron and the Matco Tools team turning on the win light heading to the final round for the second week in a row. We knew we had a tough match-up with Shawn Langdon, and unfortunately we lost in a close race.
Today, our teams are heading back to Indy. It has been a busy and exhausting few weeks for us all, the next two weekends will be a nice chance for everyone to get some time at home and regroup before our final two races of the season.
I hope you all have a great week.
Thanks for reading,
Keep up with me on social media:
Twitter (@MeganFessSchu): www.Twitter.com/MeganFessSchu
Instagram (@MeganFessSchu): www.Instagram.com/MeganFessSchu