Whew! What a whirlwind of four consecutive races with highs lows and everything in between. After four races in four weeks, there is a lot to cover in this blog.
Starting off in Bristol, Tenn., for Father's Day weekend the Mopar Express Lane team was confident coming in and started out good in qualifying going down the track in tricky conditions and qualifying 8th, heading into eliminations we had our lucky charm with us once again our buddy Nolan Lopez was back and things where looking good.
With a first round match up against Chad Head we went right down Broadway as they say and got a much needed round win and lane choice for our 2nd round match up against Del Worsham. We got that one in a close race decided upon by a hole shot. Our driver got us another round win.
Heading into the semis we faced a tough opponent in our teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team. With another great race this time we had come up short. TJ advanced to the final and ended up winning the event. A big congratulations to the entire Make-A-Wish team.
Then we moved onto Epping N,H. The car was running strong once again with great runs in the heat we were excited for race day. And low and behold who would we face once again? John Force, big time first round match up. We came up short first round as the car ran slower than we anticipated and lost a very close race. Hey we win some and lose some.
Heading to Chicago where things get good! Our car comes out and runs 2nd low elapsed time of the first session and we were happy. Our night session struggles continued as we didn't make a full pull q2 but for q3 the car was right back where it should be and was the fastest of the session.
After qualifying was said and done we were 10th facing our teammate Jack Beckman in the first round. This was an important race as we are in a heated battle for the 10th spot in the Countdown. With a very nice opening run on race day we advanced onto the 2nd round to face Bob Bode. Dickie and Stretch (Mike Knudsen) making the right calls once again we went right down the track to another round win.
Then we faced teammate Ron Capps in the semis. With a great drag race our driver got the team another round win on a hole shot. Now heading to the final, our first on since the Winternationals, our team was pumped and the pressure was on. With live television coverage, the service time cut to 55 minutes. No room for error!! With a planned engine swap and a little help from our teammates on Spencer Massey’s Schumacher Electric team and some of the guys from Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army car.
The service went flawless and we were warmed up and ready in less than 40 minutes. It was one of the best team efforts and services I had personally been a part of in my racing career. Onto to the final we go facing TJ and that Make-A-Wish team once again. With a great drag race once again, we FINALLY got our first win of the season!! I believe it was also the first time a DSR Funny Car beat all three of his teammates en route to a win, so that’s pretty cool. Our teammates are the toughest competition out there so to get wins over them is pretty satisfying.
The nerves and feelings don't go away as the day goes on until you've seen that final win light of the day! It's a feeling hard to put into words. It's relief, joy, pride, and sheer happiness all combined into one feeling. The team celebrated with cheers and hugs on the starting line.
Our body and tire specialist MUDD (Brian Antrim) finally got his first win as well! And whenever a first time winner is around this special group of guys in the Winners Circle he has the celebratory Mello Yello bath! Lead by Dickie we surrounded him with ice cold cans of Mello Yello and proceeded to drench him. Which at first was probably pretty cooling on that particularly warm day. But soon after the stickiness of the Mello Yello set in for him. That's all part of the fun for us as we all know from experience.
After a great team dinner that night we focused on Norwalk the following weekend. Heading into that race we had some momentum and a race car that would cooperate. Running great once again in qualifying we ended up 4th, which was one of our better starting spots of the season. Eliminations came and the car was there again low elapsed time of first round and then running into teammate Ron Capps second round. But then we had a driver error as Matt red lit which is very uncommon for him as he is one of the best leavers in the business.
But as he said his foot said it was time to go. All drivers have those miscues from time to time. We win and lose as a team. Four races in four weeks is done and what a whirlwind it was with a lot of hard work and traveling.
We took last weekend off but were busy throughout the week preparing for the Western Swing that starts in Denver, then to Sonoma, Calif., and then Seattle.
As the season is over halfway thru now we are building our confidence lap after lap and making some ground in the points moving to 8th as of now. The swing is a crucial three races at this point.
Heading into Denver we are confident in going rounds and gaining points.
Stay tuned folks it’s starting to get good!
Thanks for reading,