VW Racing at Las Vegas, October 4, 2008 This is the last PRA points race of 2008-where has the year gone? I sat out 2 races, both in Sacramento, as the cost of diesel hit $5.50 and the temp were too hot for me. Vegas should be in the 80s, a far cry from the triple digits in the past several months.
4 Cylinder Nationals, March 2, Surprise Az. Eric in his Red Baron put Speedworld on the map and has made it known his VW is the fastest and quickest, blasting a 8,34. It would have been quicker had it not been for some heavy winds. Congrats to Eric and his crew! The other VWs were out in force having won several drag classes over the "other" 4 cylinders i.e. Hondas. I managed a sooo close win over Hobi in the final Pro-Elim class. We both brokeout, his -.192 to my -.170 and we were within a fender or so of each other. 2007 RACES: October 29, 2007, Hot VW's Drag day, Irwindale Ca. I decided to make it 3 races in October and headed to Irwindale. Being an 1/8 mile length track, the racing goes quickly. There were over 150 VWs racing in 6 or so classes. In the Jackpot class, there were about 14 cars in entered. Not having run the '69 full out for 2007, this would be a good test to see what it could do. The 1st time trial, wheels up high, I ran a 7.75, which is about 12.2s in the 1/4. I was happy, but red lighted, as I have been racing on the .5 pro tree all year. After a couple of passes, I managed .565/.577 in eliminations. In the 4th round, as soon as I let the clutch pedal out, I knew I did a no-no, the dreaded red light came on, and I was runner-up--once again. October 21, 4 Cylinder Nationals, Surprise Az. Mother Nature won this race. The side winds and sand reared their ugly heads (reminded me of Palmdale), and the race was run on the 1/8th mile format. Every VW had an issue with traction as the rear end broke lose and was a scary deal. Robert Hemphill pulled a giant wheelie in 1st and 2nd gear and proceeded to go sideways down the 1/8th. I ran an 8.3 on my index of 8.2 and was toasted. Jerry Spearn put on an event that was light on the car count, but he worked hard to make the event a success...only if the winds did not arrive. The Red Baron VW put on some awsome burnouts on Sat and Sunday. Before the sands hit the dragstrip, the bite was real good, I pulled a 1.58 60' time, not bad for a 2,000 pound Bug. October 7, LasVegas Bug-O-Rama I had a very close elimination race with Randy Marindill. On the index of 13.12, adjusted for Vegas elevation in the SuperMod heads-up class, Randy ran 13.132 with a good .044 reaction as compared to my 13.127 on a .015 reaction. The difference at the finish line was very tight. I've raced Randy a couple of times and we always have the closest of races, and he's a great sport. See pic above of us at a previous race. I went into the race in 2nd in points, with nooo chance of grabbing 1st from Russell and the final was Russ with 502 points for the series vs. my 403, a difference of 99 points. Congrats to Russ on a great series.
September 1,2, Sacramento Hot, hot, 100+ and track temps of 130-140.In the 12.90 index, I could not slow the VW in time trials and ran 12.5 and 12.7 ETs. So, in the 1st round of eliminations, I decided to let off at half track. What a mistake! I ran 13.1, had a better reaction time but lost the race to Russell and he has all but won the S/M bracket. What a job. The next race is Las Vegas in October. I hope it's cooler than it was at Pinks race September 8th (see racing the V8s page). July 22, Cal Speedway, Fontana, PRA race #3 Only 95 degrees, adjusted elevation of 4400-4800 feet, lots of VWs and no headwinds. On my 3rd qualifing pass in Super Mod, I ran 13.011, which I believe was the #1 qualifier (official results pending). That was the good news. The 1st round of elims, I shot myself in the foot. I had .209 advantage on the tree in reaction time, had 3 or so car lead at the finish line and brokeout by .126, which was more than my opponents .068. Aside from lots of breakage and oil downs, (and mysterious delays in the tower), it was a successful VW Drag-In event put on by Clyde Berg. We all hope he did well as we want another event next year. July 14, Las Vegas NHRA I decided to sit out this race as the temps in Vegas were 110 degrees and it never really cools down after sunset. Also, I plan to race at Fontana July 22 at the Bug-In. Congrats to Larry Kelly on his win in Quick 16 as he outran the non-VW guys in his VW Bug. Not to be outdone, Scott, his son, won the All Motor class in his non-VW ummmm a Toyota. Good job guys. June 9, Barona Ca. VW Paradise put on an event the weekend of the VW Classic at Barona, an 1/8 mile track. While there were only about 30 cars racing, there were several super fast turbo machines. VW Paradise established a Barona 1/8 mile speed & ET time of 4.73, 157.79 mph in their twin turbo VW powered dragster, breaking a record previously held by a Hemi powered machine. The money bracket had 10 or so entries and my '69 managed times of 7.86-7.96 ET passes. As the photo shows (above left), there was a bunch of traction. I went out in the 2nd round as my 60' time was off .1 on the launch, too much to makeup in only 660'. May 27, Sacramento, BUGORAMA The 2nd points race of the year and a full 8 car field in Super Mod as well as 100 other VWs racing. I did a qualfiying pass Saturday evening, but ran 12.85, which was too fast for the 12.90 bracket--but very close to the desired number. Sunday morning another qualfying pass netted me a 12.905 run which heldup as the top qualfying time.
In the semifinal round, the car stubbled, surged, stumbled..you get the picture. I ran 13.298 and that was all for this race. It turned out the tall jet carrier somehow was coming loose and was not fully seated. It was enough to cause the terrible pass and do me in. What a stupid thing for me not to precheck. Roger Crawford of Heads-Up managed to run a 9.99 in his Super Street Blue Ghia, the fastest ever in this class. Doug Gonzalez took his Green D&A car to his record low of 10.11, his best ever. These guys are flying. April 15, 2007, Firebird BUGORAMA, Chandler Az I decided to try (again) running my '69 in the Super Mod 12.90 heads-up PRA bracket which is run on a pro .500 tree. I tried this bracket last year but decided I was a poor sandbagger and could not run the 12.90 number, but never say never. The first time trial pass, letting off close to the finish line I ran 12.40, a 1/2 second too quick. Adjusting shift points, tire pressure and going from an 8,000 RPM launch to 7,400 RPM, I was able to slow down to 13.3, way too slow. The long and short of it, I managed to win the bracket running 12.794 as compared to my opponent who ran 12.789, both of us breaking out. The difference was .005 in my favor! This was some close race! At the 60' mark he ran 1.622 to my 1.611, at the 330' mark we both did exactly 5.070 and at the 1/8 he pulled a 7.958 to my 7.955. Whew.
March 25, Speedworld Az, 2nd Airkewld VW Natl's For this race, I decided to try my '65 in the 11.90 index heads-up on a Pro .400 tree. I haven't raced on this tree for many years, and it showed. 6 VWs ran the bracket and cars from Cal, NM, & Az duked it out. On my 1st time trial I ran 11.903, which was great but I had a .155 light. On the 1st qualifing pass I slowed to 12.06. The 2nd pass, against John Schuerger, aka the Sugarman, we both ran identical 11.968 runs! Can we sandbag or what! They gave us a 3rd qualifing pass and I ran 11.907, putting me #1 qualifier, but thats only half the battle-my lights were still suffering. In the final elimination run it came down to me and John, a racer that thrives in the PRA in this class and possibly has more wins than any other racer in the 11.90 index class. I ran 11.874 (.026 under) and gave up .095 on the tree to John. Congrats to John on his $1k payout. Not all was lost for me tho, I got $500 and a great trophy.
Past Races, 2006
November 12, 2006 Fontana (Cal Speedway) PRA Finals
The last PRA race of 2006 and I'm in 3rd for the points, 30 behind 2nd and getting to 1st is out of the question. In hindsight when I switched classes at Bakersfield, I pretty much took myself out of the race for 1st place.
Fontana is a new track located on the grounds of the Cal Speedway NASCAR track (much like Las Vegas) however it has no lights for night races and with the winds and dust, it's much like LACR in Palmdale. (ugh). I recall in the mid 60s racing at the original Fontana track and when one thought they were staged, the car would roll backwards. At least that's not a problem now.
And by the way, twice they didn't have a time slip for my run, and that's a real bummer. After many delays the races started and it came down to the finals in the Pro-Elim class with me and Clyde Berg left to battle it out. I was looking forward to this match up as I had lost to him twice this year. But guess who won---the darkness! The race was called as it was dark and too dangerous to run and we agreed to be "co-winners" for this race. I managed to "advance" to 2nd place in the points and Mr. Berge was the clear winner for the year. Good job! My best ET was 11.80 at 112, and only 12.11 with that zillion mile per hour head wind. I;m still picking dirt from my teeth as it was super dusty and windythis track. October 21-22, Pomona, NHRA
Lots of racers for the last big Sport Compact race of the year and the last chance for a Wally. A .02 cent part did me in.They were pulling the cars for the 2nd round, I hit the start button, and nothing happens. A push start didn't get the VW fired and I had to sit at the head of the staging lanes watching . As it turned out, the nut holding the main cable to the starter "fell" off and there was no juice. Strange how such things happen. I drove to the lanes without any hint there would be a problem. Drats!
October 7, Firebird Phoenix, IDRC
Finally, a short tow and only 90 degree weather in Arizona. The IDRC has always been one of my favorite race programs, however, over the past few years it has not drawn many racers to it's races. I made 2 times trials and ran 11.837 & 11.831 with reaction times of .055 & .056. Not a bad way to start off.
In the final I raced a Honda (what else) & on my dial of 11.86 ran 12.05 letting off at 103.8 MPH as compared to his dial of 12.0 on a 12.44 run. He dialed way too low in this round. Therefore, I won Super Comp and received a nice plaque along with some more money for diesel fuel for the trip to Pomona in a few weeks.
September 24, Yellowstone Dragstrip, Acton Mt. (Billings)
I decided to race at a track in a State I have never raced at and towed 1,230 miles to Acton Montana about 17 miles from Billings. Now this track is truely in the middle of nowhere and what a surprise when I arrived at the track. This is a first class small dragstrip! The elevation ranged from 4,000 feet to 4,900 feet at a very nice 68 degrees.
It sits in the middle of a plateau of rolling farm land, and rivals any small drag strip ( & some of the larger big budget operations), complete with some of the most friendly racers I have met. I entered the Sport Compact class which included a couple of Hondas, a Dodge Neon and a couple of others, but no VW. My '65 ran within .07 of it's dial, which saved me, as I could not cut a good light. In the final I ran a 12.044 on a 12.00 dial chasing my opponet who brokeout big time (about 1/2 second). I received a nice trophy and a little cash for more diesel fuel to make the trip back to hot Arizona. (103 degrees when I arrived)
For the runoff of track champ, I drew a slick Chevy Nova with a low 11 second dial, and I red light! I ran 12.05 on my 11.99 dial and that was that! Now, if Yellowstone was not so far from Arizona, I would love to race there more often. As the name implies, it's close to Yellowstone, another reason to race there.
8000 RPM launch & results
clean 360 degree broken case
October 23/24, 2004, NHRA/Summit Sport Compact race at Pomona. My second time trial detected a slipping clutch so I sat out the remainder of time trials. This was a great day for the Honda guys, and many got in 8 passes before eliminations. In the semis, 2 Bugs and a Honda were left. Unfortunately the Honda won due to the Bug breaking out by less than .02 and had a single pass. In the final, the Honda could not run his number. I got my first elusive Wally trophy. This NHRA/Mazda Import Race was a makeup race from last year as the race was called off due to the heavy brush fires in So Cal. http://nhrasportcompact.com/2004/news/may/052301