Race blog update
This year for racing we focused heavily on racing the Magnum in the Pacific Street Car Association series. With the reopening of Fontana, we got to test earlier in the season and have more races closer to home. At the first race of the year, we had a mechanical issue on the Magnum that resulted in having to race a friend’s Dodge Charger R/T in the two bracket classes instead. Although we went some rounds, it was disappointing not to race our own car.
We had a couple of cool racing opportunities that came through the Frank Hawley Drag Racing school in the early spring. For the first time Frank’s school ran a Media Day event at Fontana Dragway. Since MoparMax was invited, I got to drive against a number of other automotive journalists in a traditional bracket race. First we were trained how to use the cars, what the basics of bracket racing were, and how the ladder worked. We were racing the super comp dragsters that were detuned to run in the low 10 second range. After a few practice runs in the cars, we were qualified based on reaction time. I was in the middle of the field, but when it came to bracket racing, I was able to go 4 rounds and made it to the final round of the race. In the final I faced fellow Speed Scene Live co-host, Donny Couch, who was able to beat me in his first ever drag race. It was a very fun day, and we got a chance to hang with some pro drivers like Jack Beckman, Jeff Arend, Robert Hight and of course, Frank Hawley.
This was followed by a day at the Dragster Adventure course, where Frank does a condensed version of his Super Comp class. This lets students race side by side without experience or requiring an NHRA license. We got to spend the day with WBO Super Featherweight Champion Mikey Garcia while he learned the ropes in a dragster. It was interesting to hear him compare his experience in the ring with driving a race car. Not only was it fun to watch the racing, but I always love to see a new driver get excited about the sport of drag racing.
I also began racing a new car this year in both the Super Pro class and Super Comp class. Dick Krieger, the owner, asked me to drive his short wheelbase altered last year and I finally got to go to my first race in May. It is a very fun car to drive, and is a totally different racing experience. My first race in the car I went a few rounds and good seat time with a new launch procedure, tree and top end game. I also raced the car in Fallon, Nevada in June, and was able to get a round win on Shawn Langdon’s dad, Chad. It was a pretty cool race!
After taking a huge road trip across the country, (for more info on my trip check out the Alex Blog) we raced at the Street Car Super Nationals Anarchy Under the Arch event in St. Louis, Missouri. It was really amazing to see the track prep and attention that the officials put into making that racing surface as prepped and stuck as possible. The problem though was that the weather was absolutely unbearable. Being used to dry southern California proved to be problematic in the 80% humidity air with 90 degree temperatures. It was difficult to race in these conditions, and we ended up being beat by a couple of local racers. It was a tough loss, but we went to the next race with more data and information about the car.
The PSCA season came down to the last race where we went in tied for first place in one class, and in the number two spot in the other class. When race day came, we needed to turn on six win lights, and we only turned on four. It was very close, but we weren’t able to take the Championship trophy home this year.
The last two races of the season were only a week apart, and both took place in Las Vegas. Although the points season for PSCA was over in October, there was still the Street Car Super Nationals race in Las Vegas that we attended. This race has big purses for all classes, and lots of fast cars including pro mod and out law pro mods show up to this event. And although it’s stressful at times, it’s always fun to sing both the Canadian and American National Anthems before first round on Sunday. From there we went straight into the Thanksgiving Nationals where I raced both the Magnum and the altered for all four days of competition. Because the pro and super pro classes were called so close together, there was very little time between rounds to prepare for the next car I was racing. Since they were different trees and different cars, I had to really focus on the car I was sitting in the present moment, and not think about the next round ahead. It was great experience, and on Sunday I got to race Vincent Nobile in his borrowed Nova. Unfortunately I cut my slowest light of the weekend and the win light was on his side. But it was a thrill to say the least.
We learned a lot of great lessons on the car this year, and we feel very confident that after some changes during the off season we are going to come out swinging at the very beginning of the season. The Magnum has come a long way in the last five years and we are very proud of the progress we made. Our first testing session will take place in mid February and the first PSCA points race of the year will happen two short weeks after that. We will keep you apprised of our progress all year, and hopefully I’ll see you at the races!