July 29, 2013

After completing seven of our ten scheduled races for this season we are #15 in the National point standings and #7 in the Divisional points. This is not what we had expected, we ended last year on such a high note it was just assumed we would pick up where we left off. Things did start out on a positive note but as of late it has all turned south for us.

The Columbus Ohio Divisional event started out with a Paul and I visiting the Newark Axle Assembly plant of Meritor for a  day of meeting the employees and showing off the car. It was a great experience that reinforced the value Meritor Motor Sports brings to the brand. Over 500 tickets we distributed between the Newark and Florence facilities and if the weather cooperated the turn out at the track would be great.

After packing up Paul and I headed out to the track where NHRA had saved us a great pit space which would give all the Meritor people who attended the race easy access to us. As I mentioned before it was now up to the weather to make this a great weekend for everyone connected to Meritor Motor Sports. Unfortunately mother nature was not really looking to make this anything but a weather weekend.  Hot and humid along with intense thunderstorms was what we got and only the truly committed fan was willing to come out. We finally got our first of two (rain shortened) qualifiers in Friday night. We were in second place when it was all over posting a 5.85 second elapsed time at 252 m.p.h. We knew that that would not be good enough to keep us in the top half of the field but with the rain settling, in a second shot at the track was a long shot and having all three session next to impossible.

The rain let up enough on Saturday to get a second session in but this did not help us as the right lane could not hold all our power. We missed on the setup of the car and the resulting shake forced Paul to abort the run. When it was all said and done our Friday number got us the #6 spot and because of it we did not have lane choice. On the bright side the car did not suffer any major injury and our evening service was very routine.

Sunday rolled around again with changing weather conditions and that big question mark of could we get down the right lane. Very few good times were made in the right lane and we knew that was where we would be put by our first round opponent. Lance Van Hallen did indeed put us in the right lane, I’m sure he wanted every advantage he could get on us because if we got the tune up right, Paul and his starting line ability makes the Meritor Hotrod a tough race. Paul did his job and left first with a .023 reaction time to Lance’s .119 and for 200 feet the race was ours. 200 ft. is not a full drag race, again the car shook so hard that it deployed the fire bottles, popped the chutes and shut the car down. Another miss on the tune up, our race was over.  Back to the computer to find out just what we are missing and then pack everything up for that long drive home.

On a positive note Marty Hetherington (marketing manager) of Meritor joined us for the weekend and had a fine experience at the track. It was not what we wanted for his first time but now he has a very good understanding of the sport, commitment necessary and the thrillers it offers. Andy Bohl the #1 qualifier at the event ended up the winner posting the lowest elapsed time of each round of eliminations as he scored his second event win of the season. He has a firm hold on the #1 position in the North Central Division for this year.

Our next event is Bowling Green Kentucky Aug 23-25 and by then we will have our answers.


Jay Johnston