Tuesday, March 1st : I'm in the shop, getting things ready to go. This rig hasn't been out of the shop since November,so I'm checking everything one last time. Filling the water tank, checking inspection sticker (expired),license tags,tires etc.. Make a grocery list. Check for plates,cups towels and all that other domestic stuff you have to have. Then, back out to the trailer,just to straighten up a bit, put all the tools away and put stuff away in the trailer attic. To get my stuff up to the attic I'll use the lift. Going down with the lift, all was good. I started back up and , Hmm, this thing sounds kinda weak, I hope the batt- oh no! Oh crap it is. I HATE BATTERIES!!!!! I just checked the water in these batteries a couple of weeks ago, they were fine. Well, they Ain't fine now. This normally would not be a big deal, but these batteries are under a cabinet, way back in a dark corner. You have to crawl completely under this counter with no room to spare, I'm tellin ya it's tight. I told them how I felt," exactly how I felt ". And then crawled myself up under there and got those "witches" out.
There they are... JUST look at em!
I know they're just little helpless chunks of plastic and lead. But I loath these things and there are
seven more of these #$@!$ things in this rig.
Anyway, I owe a thanks to Brandon Bass. He is a technician in our shop and he charged them up,tested them and said they were good and I had better look for another problem.
Turns out, it was the battery charger that had gone bad, that was easy. Back in business! We got everything loaded up.
And we're ready to roll!
On this trip it will be Greg and I and Dale Davis. I'm glad Dale is going, it's always nice to have a third hand and Dale has been with us several times and he knows our program ,which makes things much more fun.
When we came out of the restaurant our friend Brent was waiting by the motorhome. He said "when I saw a rig like this parked illegally in front of a Mexican food restaurant I knew it was y'all."
Then we go over to a trailer repair shop to let the repair man access the damage from a previous encounter with a gas pump. Yes, that's correct. That's another story I will save for later. Now we're finally going down the road. We get to Decatur,this is one of our "cheap gas" stops. A penny saved is a penny earned I guess.
This was a bargain unfortunately.
We got our fuel,some bread,a few bags of ice and no onion. Swell. Another great thing about Dale Davis I forgot to mention is, He will drive the bus!
He are cool.
driving somewhere south of Corsicana and ended at the Cracker barrel in Baytown. Cracker Barrel restaurants have R.V. parking in the back, which is very nice about 3:30 AM. Get a little sleep and roll out for breakfast.
Now, we can have hot dogs. Can't have hot dogs without fresh chopped onion. Now all that we have left to do is fuel again and a truck wash, then to the track. We get to the track and get our credentials, the staff takes us to our parking spot, we open the trailer and geeze, I guess the ride was not so smooth after all.
And filling Judy's new cooler. Which came with two rules, no sitting on the cooler and no standing on the cooler. The funny part is that this cooler cost $150.00. Those of you who know Greg know that's funny! That's real funny.
That's a nice 'en!
With all of the domestic's and car maintenance taken care of it's time for some dinner and a good nights sleep.Qualifying starts in the morning.
Top Sportsman is the class that we are competing in, this class is a qualified field (some classes are all run), but ours is a qualified field. Only 32 cars will be in the race on Sunday, the quickest 32 cars after qualifying.
The race is actually a "bracket" race or "dial-in" race. We have to predict the elapsed time the car is going to run and write that number on the car, that is our dial-in. This is done to make a level playing field. In sportsman racing this is necessary to give each competitor a chance to win. Most of these guy's are just working people, some are small business owners and this is their hobby. Without handicap or dial racing only the richest would win and the rest would be forced to quit. Unlike the professional racers, there is not a lot of corporate sponsorship for these cars. It's backpocket sponsorship for most of these guys. So like it or not shoepolish (dial-in) racing is necessary. Heads- up racing is definitely more exciting to watch but cost prohibitive to most. You wouldn't enjoy golf if you were paired with Phil Mickelson and expected to win.
The announcement is made for Top Sportsman to report to the staging lanes for our first qualifying run.
It's time to qualify and we have drawn the left lane for our first run. During the burnout I was thinking that the engine did not sound great, but sometimes they don't sound as good as other times. To late to do anything anyway. Greg staged the car, the tree came down and boom he is gone, the car is in the middle of the groove which is good but does not make it's usual move in third gear. Usually the car really busts a big move in third gear, sometimes I think it may" hyperspace " but not this time. I thought we may have been light on the clutch but Greg said the clutch felt fine. We tow back to the trailer to check things out. We downloaded the run from our onboard data recorder and see that cylinder #3 was not firing. We checked the plug wire,rocker arm and pushrod and found no problems. Then we changed the spark plug on that cylinder and that fixed it. I have always heard of bad spark plugs but this is the first one I have actually seen myself.
Hmmm, I ponder. After a lot of point- counterpoint discussion we decide to try to dial with the bad plug installed. Engine builders close your eyes and ears. But we tried it and we were not successful. Busted first round. The agony of defeat. Sure weather played a role, but we were all dealt the same hand.
So we loaded up the truck and headed home so we can do it again next week. Remember what I told you before "That's why they call it "Drag Racing". This time it wound up being a drag.