We were looking forward to the Summer Nationals, Brad had had 3 recent big slides in the car so we had taken the car to Hauser race cars for an additional cross brace welding in the chassis to see if this eliminated the loss of traction Brad had been experiencing.
We decided to test the car before the event so we headed to Santa Pod on Thursday night so we could get a full days testing Friday, we set up the awning and equipment and then we were ready to test the car, we also had Brad’s girlfriend Lizz standing in for Natalie as Brad’s back up girl so Lizz was a little bit nervous at first but took to her role really well.
Brad’s first run went very well and Brad reported that the car felt fine and ran down the track feeling a lot smoother, we did however find our recurring engine problem had returned, the data showed we had a poor cylinder on number 8 so Nick and Cristiann reset the injection system. Unfortunately it then decided to rain and it continued to rain all day so that was the extent of our test day.
Saturday morning brought qualifying and in round 1 Brad ran an 8.02 on a 7.70 dial so we knew we still had the gremlins! Again Nick and Cristiann work tirelessly to find a solution and after more adjustments we were ready for the 2nd round of qualifying.
We ran a 7.88 on a 7.70 dial so with the car still not quite right had to settle for 12th place from 19 qualifiers due to a rain shower earlier in the day causing us to run out of time with the noise curfew coming into play.
Sunday morning brought the first round of eliminations, we were still not sure if we had fixed the car and Wayne dialled a 7.78 to give Brad a chance to chase down the very experienced Tom Atkinson , the number 3 qualifier, this tactic worked and Brad took the win against the breakout time of Tom’s.
Brad reported the car the felt fine and the data showed that the car was now back on form.
Wayne was now able to dial a time that we knew the car would run, in the second round of eliminations Brad had his old junior dragster adversary Joe Kellett, Wayne dialled a 7.76 and the car ran a 7.77 but Brad had an uncharacteristic red light and we were out.
Brad was very disappointed with the red light but this is only the second red light he has pulled in competition in the last 3 years of racing so the team told Brad not to beat himself up about it.
We take some positives from the weekend that the car handles a lot better with the cross brace and the fact that we hopefully have eliminated the fuelling gremlins that we have had this year!
We now break for the summer but are already looking forward to the next meeting, the Open Sports Nationals at Shakespeare county raceway on the holiday weekend at the end of August, the car is ready,
Brad is ready and the team are ready!
Bring it on!