August 26, 2013

This report is a double update, first covering the Meritor Family Day/Woodward Dream Cruise weekend August 15th through the 17th and the Bowling Green Kentucky division three final pints race August 24/25th.  Last year was our first time in attendance at the Troy Michigan headquarters of Meritor for their annual employee classic car show (preview to the Woodward Dream Cruise) and the Habitat For Humanity wall building event. This year the event had grown into a family day for all employees along with all the high points from the previous year. Again Paul and I were made to feel part of the team and were over whelmed with the greetings for those we met last year and the new friends we have made at our racing events this year. The event was a great success, everyone have a fine time looking at cars, eating good food and just enjoying each others company. With a little persuasion we were able to get Pedro into the car for the annual warm up session. Many smiling faces followed what was the loudest point of the event which made all the effort worthwhile for Paul and I. Meritor did another great job of contributing to the community, the whole work force and the family that we all are.

We packed up the car and headed over to Woodward Avenue to get our first taste of the cruise. All the buildup we had had did not prepare us for what we were about to be part of. Take the biggest car show/cruise I had ever been to and multiply it by 1000 and you might have Woodward. As far as the eye could see there were classic cars/ hot rods and all manner of displays and people. Fort the next two days Paul and I lived the cruise, meeting all those who dropped by the Meritor reception Friday night at Duggan’s and Saturday at the Normandy Plaza. We were very impressed with the event and look forward to repeating next year.

Racing in Bowling Green was again a new experience for me, Paul had raced their before so he knew what to expect. Hot and humid was what it was, low 90 degree highs along with 90% humidity made for a very uncomfortable conditions. Tuning the cars was also a challenge since the engines do not respond well to this type of air. At least we were not alone as everyone had the same challenges. The track and facility is very unique with in the NHRA circuit with an amusement park attached and covered grand stands that reminded me of the old days of the Kentucky Derby.

Our first effort on the track let us know just what we were up against, not the best traction and air combination. We ran a disappointing 6.23 second et @ 253 mph. the speed was good because Paul peddled the car ( on and off the throttle quickly) but that hurt our time. Back to our pit to see what had to be changed allow us to improve from our #5 spot in a 7 car field. We found a few things in the tune up that could be improved and out for session two we went.  This time the elapsed time was better, not what we needed to get to # 1 but enough to get into the top half of the field. We finished # 4 with a s 5.83 et @ 255 mph. again a high mile per hour because Paul had to peddle the car to get it down the track. Our first round opponent was Wayne Butler in the Royal Purple Oil car and with Paul’s record against Wayne we felt very good about our chances on Sunday.

The # 1 and #2 car in the points race for our division were pitted against each other in round one. The winner would go on to be the Champion. We were the last pair in the first round so we were able to watch the race between Andy Bohl and Christ Foster. Andy had qualified # 7 for the event and Chris #2 so on paper it was Chris’ race to win. Drag racing can be a funny sport, Andy struggled to get down the track during qualifying. Running way off the pace of the rest of the field. On Race day it was a different story with Andy getting the tune up correct and Chris missing the mark. Andy took the win and the Championship in fine style and finished his weekend off with the event win. We on the other had missed the mark, Paul did not have one of his best days on the starting line leaving at .120 of a second vs. Wayne’s .075. All our horsepower did not help and we went down to defeat with a 5.877 @ 253 to Wayne’s quicker but slower 5.789 @ 249.  After a very hot weekend coupled with a 13 hour drive to get there all that was left to do was pack up and go home.

Next race is Indy on the Labour Day weekend.  Hope some of you can make it out, it has been very rewarding meeting all the Meritor people, customers and their families this season. We have had a great following at all the events we have attended and will continue to entertain where ever we can. There are a few tricks that have not been tried, the Meritor Hot Rod still has two races left to get to the top.