July 10, 2013

Our return to Summit Motorsport Park the site of our three explosions in three passes race in June turned out to be wet, hot and fast. The field of competitors was stacked with many solid contenders, the likes of Tony Bartone (points leader) Frank Manzo (15 time champion) Chris Foster (with his tuner to the stars Will Hana) and 15 other capable teams meant this was going  be hard work. Nineteen teams fighting for one of sixteen spots in the elimination rounds. The weather was threatening rain and if this show was going to take place it would be under the gun for time. Our normal three qualifying sessions were cut back to two by the skies which rained at least twice each day.

Round one of qualifying saw us again struck by racing gremlins as our Grid system (computer that controls the engine) went into burnout mode during the run and shut us down. Back in the pits we got this sorted out and were crossing our fingers that our final session would not be rained out. We were #17 of a 16 car field with only one chance to improve. The rain held off just long enough to get our session in, we were the first pair up against Chris Foster who also had not made the field. We knew he would be fast and ready to make the show so we gave it everything we had. Paul left hard, the Meritor hot rod went right down the center of the lane and when the win light came on we were #3 running 5.66 at 257 to Chris’s 5.68 at 256. Now it was sit and watch to see if we would hold on to that spot.

When the session ended we ended up #4 as Kris Hool topped our time by .041 of a second. Back in the pits it was a standard service ( no broken parts) and a very pleased Meritor team, feeling like the monkey was off our back.

Round #1 of eliminations took place Saturday afternoon at 5pm. Weather conditions were still iffy but, it looked like the skies would hold. We chose to be the third pair, facing the always tough Todd Venny in the Permatex Follow a dream entry. The racing Gods looked down on us as Todd’s car malfunctioned during staging and the Meritor/Euclid hotrod left hard, shook the tires at about 300 ft. and Paul shut it off and coasted to the victory. We would not get lane choice in round two but also knew that no parts were hurt and our final service of the day would be very straight forward. Saturday night and we were not going to be up to the wee hours of the morning working!

Sunday’s weather was a carbon copy of Saturday and again NHRA went into accelerated schedule in an effort to get the show in before the rain hit. Round #2 saw us up against Andy Bohl who qualified #5  .014 of a second behind us. Paul as he always does was off the line first with a reaction time of .021 seconds to Andy’s .058. At the finish line the Meritor hotrod was there first running 5.79 @ 254 to Andy’s 8.53 @ 87 mph. Andy exploded his supercharger at about 800’ ( like we had the last time we were here) and we were on our way to the semifinals.

When the car came back to our pit it was covered in engine oil, where it had come from was not obvious and under the watch full eye of NHRA Tech officials we serviced the car, cleaned up all the sticky 70 weight oil and tried to find the leak. It was decided that it must have been an over full situation as no source could be found. With the hurried up schedule there was [no] time to start the engine and confirm all was sound. With our fingers crossed we headed to the starting line. When we were given the start them up signal we found our oil leak ( burst hose to the filter) and our weekend came to an end. Kris Hool went on the win the event against our semi-final opponent  Fred Tigges running 5.658 at 256 mph.

The Meritor team was pleased with our outing, having gotten back on track with our tune up and not hurting the car or engine all weekend. Next up is the Divisional Race in Columbus Ohio July 19 through 21. This will be a Meritor weekend with over 500 Meritor people invited to attend and Paul and I at the Factory in Dayton on Thursday. If you’re in the area and want some great entertainment stop by and check us out.