Day of the Drags, March 10 - 11, 2012

Continued HERE from front page-

Tow back, service the car, everybody pats everybody on the back and we pack up for the night pleased with our days outing.

Sunday morning, the 'band sets up Camp Widow again and set about getting ready for a 12.30pm lap.  As there were 3 fuel dragsters present on the day, we chose the bye run to complete Peter's licensing pass, and if that went well, maybe we would be able to face off against somebody else later on.  As it was a 'Day of the Drags' meeting, there was an abundance of cool cars present, so the team had a break about 10am to take in the sights.  That was short-lived when Annie turns up with FRESHLY homemade Italian Pizza...straight from her oven.  The boys flocked back to the pit.  Damn nice.

After Vinnie, Peter, Fred and I digest the lap from Saturday, we decide that as we don't have a hi-speed leanout on the car and all the fuel is going into the motor and about 1000 to 1100 feet, she puts out a few cylinders and fuels up, so we will only run it to 1100 feet max all weekend.

OK, down to business.  We warm the engine about Noon and set about prepping the old girl for the first lap of the day.  That goes just fine.  Check the lash, check the clutch air gap, change the oil, clean the filter, fill the fuel, dis-arm the chutes, prep the seat belts for Peter to drop in, put some air in the tyres (Joey will drop them down to 10lbs in the lanes) tension the blower belt release the pressure from the blower and put the body back on and we are good to go.  Phew, lucky we have some great guys.

Tow out, we are 3rd pass, so we belt Peter in and move to the frontSD20120310_DOTD_NFD_3433 of the lanes and under the tower.  Get the fire up signal, whir the motor over and she snaps into life.  Same as before, sharp burnout, back up, (take the throttle stop off....we know by now) Vinnie checks the logger and motions for Peter to stage the old girl.  That he does.  Green....gone.  Again, run it to 1000 feet as Peter does feel it nose over with a gut of fuel.  He clicks it and brings it to a stop on the return road.  A 6.8 something to 1050 odd feet. Cool. We trundle down, all is well and hook up and tow back.  Vinnie checks the logger, issues some instructions to change a few jets, does a leak down and decides that we don't need to pull the pan.  Peter and I start thrashing on the clutch as a maintenance deal to replace the front disc and floater and moved the others back one place.  Took some time, but we got it done.  Vinnie added a bit of weight to the clutch, the Officials are around telling us to move on out, so Peter and I pull our head out of the clutch and luckily the boys had the rest of the car together ready to roll.

Tow again, back to the lanes.  We were running another dragster this lap as Peter had been given permission to compete against another car as per his previous lap.  Same again, fire up, sharp burnout, back up, Vinnie blesses her and Peter puts her in the beams.  Again, another 6.8 buttoning off at about the 1100 foot mark, but again nosing over with fuel.  We are happy as we belt down to the braking area, hook up and tow back to see where we are situated.  No problems, except the starter motor decided to jump out of the ring on the blower as I was starting her that lap and twisted the starter bracket.  I was lucky to be able to put the starter back on the ring and lock it in...and I'm saying...'Come on Baby, just turn over'....well, it did.  Tommy and our buddy Jeff Ramsey tore into fixing the bracket so that we could start the 'Widow for the last lap.  We tested it all in the pit before we went out and all seemed fine.  Serviced the car and again the Officials (especially that Ray Treasure guy) were on our ass to get out for the last run as they only had the finals of the event to go.... we tow.

6.57 at only 187mph....Hmmm, that's not bad.

Again, fire her up (and thank golly she actually started), short sharp burnout, back up...yea I know 'Grab the Throttle Stop will ya'...Vinnie gives the all clear and Peter puts her in the beams.  Green....gone.  I forgot to mention that we added a heap of weight to the clutch for this lap (and since then the Yanks have said that was a lot of weight to add for those size fingers but we needed to see what difference that it would make) and the car actually got up on the tyres virtually from the get-go. A reasonable 1.12 60 foot time was returned, but the car just seemed lazy all weekend off the line.  Again, Peter clicked at 1150 feet (actually just a little after by the logger) and she ran a 6.57 at only 187mph....Hmm, that's not bad.

The crew are all smiles.  We zip down to the braking area and it was like we had just won one cared about the time at that stage...we had just reversed all of our fortunes in one day. It was certainly a magic moment for the guys who had thrashed for nearly 2 years on the car.

So here is the low down.

Saturday, a good strong burnout, backup and launch with the throttle stop on....then came back in the afternoon and ran a solid 800 foot half lap.

Sunday, 2 x 6.8 times to 1100 odd feet and the last pass, just past the 1150 foot mark for a 6.5 at only 187.

WE DID NOT HAVE THE HEADS OFF ONCE!  SAME BEARINGS!  Same everything for the whole 2 days.  We replaced a clutch disc and floater for maintenance purposes only.

Now, where we had been for the last 18 months and to many people that was possibly not an impressive weekend.  But we had virtually been to the scrap yard and back.  The problems that had besotted our team for the past 18 months were finally gone.  The monkey had been well and truly given its marching orders!

To see guys like Vinnie, Tommy, Joey, Wendy and I smiling like an alligator with a chicken in its mouth was something to see.  All of us were there in the hard times and now we were enjoying the fruits of the lessons learned.  It was a special moment. Needless to say we didn't tear down 'Camp Widow' that quickly....

Now to the new guys who had lost their virginity to Nitro at this race Garry, Brett and Fred could now also sample what it is like to get one of these beasts to the bottom of the one piece.  It was a gracious baptism of fire for them.  Well done guys.

As we were a happy pit for the weekend, we had a large army of supporters come past and holler abuse (you have to know our team to understand that bit) and congratulations.  We had Jeff Ramsey, supercharger guru park his butt in our cantina, and it was a pleasure to have him around, a true gentleman.... (unlike Dudek).  'Junior' Norm Stewart may have found himself addicted to the lure of these cars.  He traveled down from the Central Coast as well for the day and stayed right till the 'Widow was in the box.  I think he enjoyed himself as he is turning up to the next maintenance day..and will assume left hand head duties.  Bad luck Junior, but welcome!

Peter fitted in like an old pair of gym boots.  He was clearly annoyed by his faux-par on Saturday, but made up for it with a very polished performance of the Sunday.  I have not seen a more professional debut of somebody in one of these cars.  It justified the decision that Joey, Tommy, Vinnie, Wendy and I made to put him in the seat.  As a team, we will all take the credit for that decision. Thanks Pete.

He even brought along his own cheer squad.

He even brought along his own cheer squad.  Ryan Newman and Peter's brothers Marty and Ross kept the cantina ticking over all weekend, but they jumped in when they had to.  Marty as usual made himself busy all weekend (we don't know what he does but he looks busy all the time doing it!) Ross works professionally in TV, so he videoed some of the pit scenes and the last lap, and you can view it here:

Ryan made himself busy with his camera and you can see a heap of his photos as well as Steve Thomas's race and Wendy's pit shots here in the DOTD Gallery, a link is listed below.

While all the team (-1...the dreaded Queenslander-Ed) had the opportunity to sample this day, another guy who was there from the start as our token Queenslander, Buddy DOTD-Minova-March2012 259could not get down, as he chose the Grand Prix weekend over our event.... see, he missed our most satisfying weekend ever.  Bud, NEXT TIME!

Another bunch of Kudos must go out to Annie and Wendy.  These gals not only have the cantina stocked with all the best food and beverage ever available at a race pit, they put in all day, throw the food at the guys who are usually too busy to eat, sell shirts, harass customers and give out our sample packs to the kiddies..... plus they look pretty glamorous and sexy while doing this too.

The companies that help us with our addiction:

Again, it's no secret that we could not do it without their input.

Tony Thomas Engineering

Rocket Industries

Ramsey Engineering

Duncan Foster

Teng Tools

Total Sales and Distribution


Angel Signs

Tomcat Print

Transport Today

Coach and Bus Today

Della Choppa Scrap Alloy

Copping Dirty-Worx

Dizzi Fix

Brett's Awsum Upholstery

Zammit Roofing (hey Joey)

Surf City Customs

Buddy's Web Dezines

Annette's Pizza Kitchen

Wendy's Seeing-Eye Co.


Thank you to the Sydney Dragway Start Line Crew, the Waterboy and 'His' Apprentices, Braking Area Dudes, Pit Officials and that pesky Ray Treasure dude.

Steve and Wendy Turner...

For the event photos, click here to check the Photo Gallery Day Of The Drags - March 10 - 11, 2012


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