Hello again. I’m back in Florida gearing up for another week of school in Boca.
We just wrapped up our penultimate – or next to last - race of the season in Las Vegas. It’s been a rough countdown for Team DSR, but it’s crazy to believe that 10 days from now we will be back in Pomona, Calif. to end the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello season.
Vegas is always busy, but fun. I flew into Las Vegas on Wednesday and was able to have girl’s night out or #GNO with my friends Sarah, Courtney and Brittany from JFR. Rivals on the track, but friends off it. It was fun to enjoy a night off with some of my best friends before the race weekend began. We had dinner at Lavo and a fun night in Las Vegas.
On Thursday morning, Matt and John Force did a press tour with radio and TV stations to promote the race and the point’s battle. That afternoon, Spencer joined them and a few other drivers at the NHRA presser at the top of the Stratosphere. I went to lunch and walked around the Las Vegas strip with my Mom and Don before we met up with all of our drivers at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino – the long home of DSR in Las Vegas – for the pre-race DSR autograph session. The New York New York always takes such good care of us and offers some great amenities for our crews. There are plenty of dining and entertainment options. We had a great turnout at the autograph signing, so thank you to everyone who came out to visit. Las Vegas does an amazing job of supporting the Fan Fests. It’s so impressive to see so many NHRA supporters come out to these events.
Tony and Jack led qualifying efforts for DSR after Friday. The U.S. Army showed they were ARMY Strong by running a 3.78 to earn the number two spot after day one. The Valvoline Max Life team also captured the number two spot after day one by running a 4.052. Shawn Langdon and Courtney Force led the fields after day one at The Strip at LVMS.
My Saturday began early in the morning, an early wake-up call and early trip with Don to the track. I was at the track working on homework at 8 a.m. The early trip to the track allows me to catch up on homework in a quiet environment before the 10,000 hp engines roared to life. I did homework while Don attended a PRO board meeting. On the track, we saw some adjusting in the fields, which was a little surprising given the 80-degree temps and sun on the track. I’d say John Force’s 4.01-second pass in Q4 was pretty impressive. We were happy to see all seven DSR teams qualified without any DSR vs. DSR match-ups in the first round on Sunday.
We had an exciting start to our Sunday morning in the DSR pits. We announced that Tommy Johnson, Jr. will be taking the seat being vacated by Johnny Gray in the Pitch Energy car at the end of the season. TJ will be driving a charity-sponsored car for DSR and Johnny’s sister, Terry Chandler. The charity will be named in the future. All of us are so excited for TJ to be driving that car. TJ has always been a close member of our DSR family and it is exciting to see him get the opportunity to race under our umbrella. There were a lot of viable candidates and we thank everyone for showing interest in DSR. If you don’t follow TJ on Twitter, be sure to do so at @TJJR33.
Race day conditions on Sunday set up much like the conditions we had on Friday and Saturday. Antron, Tony, Jack, and Ron were able to advance without a problem. Unfortunately, the same did not go for title contenders Spencer and Matt. It was tough to see both Matt and Spencer’s teams smoke the tires, which pretty-much ended their title hopes. Johnny also lost traction in the Pitch Energy car.
Following the second round, we only had Jack and Antron remaining in competition and Antron led us straight to the winner’s circle for the fourth time this season. It was great to see the pink Matco Tools “Tools for the Cause” dragster turn on the win light four times on Sunday. Breast cancer awareness is a cause close to our hearts so it was great to see their win bring even more exposure to the cause and Susan G. Komen. It was win No. 218 for DSR and Antron moved into second place in the standings and still remains alive with slim hopes for another Top Fuel title.
Joining Antron in the winner’s circle was our former Pro Stock Bike rider Matt Smith, who along with John Force clinched 2013 NHRA Mello Yello championships. Both Matt and John are great guys, congrats to both of them and their teams on their well-deserved championships. Also in the winner circle was another part of our DSR family, Shane Gray. After a long winless drought it was great to see Shane back in the winner’s circle. Shane has been running really well this year and it was a well-deserved win for the Gray Motorsports Pro Stock team.
Today, some of our teams are back at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway testing and gearing up for 2014. Following testing, our guys will fly back to Indy before coming back to Vegas and driving to Pomona next Wednesday on Nov. 6. It is crazy how fast this season went and we’ll be testing in Jan. 2014 just two months after the completion of the Finals in a few weeks. It’s like NHRA Groundhog Day.
Have a great week everyone.
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