It was a very busy week for all of us at DSR leading up to the biggest race of our season in Indianapolis, the U.S. Nationals. Last Monday, I started fall classes at Lynn University. I am currently pursuing an MBA in business. While I was in the classroom, everyone at the shop was busy preparing for the U.S. Nationals and our 8th annual DSR Open House on Aug. 30.
We opened our doors on Friday morning for the DSR Open House to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. The Open House is such a neat event. There’s a lot going on at all times from our drivers mingling in the crowd to a blower dyno demo to food trucks with great munchies to the silent auction with all proceeds going to Riley. The Open House runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and we see more than 3,000 guests visit the shop. It was another fantastic event and we raised nearly $26,000 for Riley.
Following a great open house, we all headed to Lucas Oil Raceway to kick off day one of qualifying for the 59th annual U.S. Nationals. Our Funny Cars ran decent and Spencer was the best of our bunch in Top Fuel in a session that saw many of the top cars smoke the tires.
Saturday was another hot day in the Midwest. In a week of 90-degree temperatures, that continued most of the weekend. After the first round of the Traxxas Shootout, Mother Nature paid her regular visit to an NHRA race and it rained and poured and even hailed. After a lengthy delay that forced NHRA officials to move the remainder of the Top Fuel Traxxas Nitro Shootout to Sunday. We finally had a window to complete Q2 of Funny Car and it was a fantastic show for the fans that stuck around. Matt Hagan raced to the pole at 4.00 and Johnny Gray wasn’t far behind for DSR at 4.01.
As a result of the weather, Sunday turned into a busier day than planned. We raced the last two runs of the Traxxas Top Fuel Shootout, along with the Funny Car Traxxas Shootout and two runs of qualifying for the cars not in the Shootout. It turned out to be a drama-filled day.
Both Spencer and Antron lost in the semis of the Shootout, but thankfully Jack and the Valvoline Max Life team did DSR proud. Facing off against veteran Cruz Pedregon for the $100,000 pay day, Jack used a hole shot at the starting line to score the narrow win over Cruz in spectacular fashion as the red and white Max Life Dodge exploded in the lights. Jack walked away after the boomer to hoist the beautiful Traxxas Shootout trophy. After Ron’s grenade at Brainerd, our fab shop boys will be busy mounting Funny Car bodies.
After the Traxxas Shootout victory, it was nervous time for our dragsters. Tony and the U.S. Army team entered their last run in the No. 17 spot. Only 16 cars make race day. Like a machine, the Sarge went to the top of the order at 3.81. That moved Antron to the No. 16 spot and a potential round one match-up with Tony. The Matco team also stepped up at 3.811 to take the top spot at Indy. We breathed a sigh of relief as all seven DSR cars would be racing on Monday for the Indy Wally trophy.
After a long day at the track, my Mom, Don and I headed to downtown Indy to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to celebrate my Mom’s 50th birthday with close friends and family. It was a great dinner and a fun way for my mom to celebrate her birthday, which is actually today, Sept. 3. Happy birthday Mom!
We are always excited for race day, but it was an oddly, interesting day for DSR. All three dragsters lost in the first round, which has never happened. The last time DSR dragsters all exited in round one was in 2009 at Joliet when Tony and Cory lost. Antron was with Mike Ashley Racing and Spencer was driving for Don Prudhomme Racing. Spencer actually beat Antron in the final round at that race. How’s that for some history.
Matt Hagan had to pedal his Magneti Marelli Dodge and also fell in round one from the No. 1 spot. Ron, Johnny and Jack were all able to score win lights for our flopper contingent and advance to E2. Jack was the only DSR Dodge to advance to the semis and then a rough day on the track got worse off of it. Something real life puts racing into perspective.
Before the semifinals one of our crew guys saw that our rental car had a smashed window and had been broken into. We went to check the car to find nearly all of our luggage was stolen. It was heartbreaking, especially so close to my Mom’s birthday. They also took some of her birthday gifts, along with five pieces of luggage. It’s a helpless, violating feeling and still very shocking.
In between dealing with police reports and figure out what was happening, we ran up to watch the Valvoline team make their semifinal run. We were so grateful to see a win light and the chance to double-up at Indy for Jack. Between rounds we had to deal with the police report and fingerprints.
The FC final didn’t go the way we had hoped, but it does happen. You lose more races than you win, but at the end of the day, being safe and with family is more important. We’re lucky to have a great group of employees and friends who rallied around to support my mom and our family.
I would like to say thank you to all of our amazing fans for their endless support, you all are also a big part of the DSR family!
After a rough weekend in Indy, we are all excited to regroup and set our focus on our next race in Concord, N.C. at zMax Dragway, September 13-15. We race on Friday the 13th and hope to begin the Countdown just as strong as we did at the spring race at Charlotte with Matt and Spencer doubling up.
I hope everyone has a good week!
Thanks for reading,
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