Sunday, January 27, 2008

Update....A phooey!!!

Ok, time for another update!

This fall has brought a busy time for the team. In September, we headed out to Sacramento Raceway’s Governor’s Cup race. It was a two day race, but the jets were scheduled only to make runs on Saturday.

We dropped off the car and trailer on Friday afternoon, and just hung out watching the Nostalgia Dragsters and the CIFCA funny cars make their qualifying passes.

We came out to the track at 10 AM on Sunday, with light sprinkles and overhead clouds crammed in the sky. By noon the race was called, and rescheduled for Sunday.

On Sunday, we were all set to run and were put on a short hold due to sprinkles again, but only a short time. Finally, the sun came out and we were off to the races….

This year we face Jeff Atamian in his J-34 Westinghouse powered Beast jet dragster. Jeff’s Beast puts out one HUGE fire show, and we turned up the heat to try and match him. As the cars staged, the rainy weather was evident due to the lack of ability to stage these monsters. Not being able to bring the INVADER up to power, I had to hold back to keep her from sliding!! Launching on Jeff’s go, we were on for the chase, still behind at the 660 ft mark, neck and neck at the 1000 ft cone, and able to slide her by at the traps… Win one for the INVADER.

For the second round we tried a couple of tricks to keep the INVADER from sliding, but again I had to throttle back to keep from red lighting and handing over the win to Jeff. Almost a repeat of round one, except by 1000 ft the INVADER was ahead to take the win and the Governor’s Cup win!!

As soon as the round was over, we loaded up, headed to the airport to have my brothers catch their flight back to Phoenix. (They had to work the next day.)

After returning to Phoenix, we had a few little tweaks to do for the next weekend’s Jet Car Nationals at Tucson’s Southwestern International Raceway. This is almost the home track for the INVADER as at this race, we have the most amount of family show up!!

Friday had my dad and brother towing the car down early, and I had to work. They were going to get the INVADER set up, and I would meet up with them in time for the autograph session. Fortunately, my brother left me his Corvette, to make the drive from Phoenix to Tucson a little faster!!

With the autograph session scheduled for 5 PM, I pulled into the track at 4:45 PM. Boy that one was close! After the meet and great, all the jets were to make a qualifying pass. Let’s do a quick rundown of the cars…. The INVADER, Jeff Atamian’s The Beast, Terminal Velocity, Earthflight, Blu-By-U jet dragsters, Rocky Mountain Thunder, The Interceptor, Warped Speed jet funny cars, and the Inferno jet truck.

Everyone make a single pass on Friday, but the INVADER had a problem. As we were bringing the engine up to speed, we had a fuel leak!! The starter signaled for us to shut down, and we quickly towed back to the pits. There we found a damaged bleed line, replaced the line, and refueled the car. With the INVADER relit, a small fire show and a blast down the track gain us the number two position of the cars.

We then returned to the pits and relaxed in a forty foot long tow hauler of my cousin’s, who came to the races.

Waking up at the track, we went over the INVADER and prepped her for the night’s big event. First round had us paired up against the Blu-By-U. With the track prepped and the car adjusted just right, the INVADER was barely able to stage, but the Blu-By-U wasn’t. After the red light, the INVADER blasted down the track taking the win but no time slip.

Second round paired us up with Darrin Bay’s Warped Speed J-60 powered jet funny car. With the cars staged, the Warped Speed jumped the gun and red lighting, with the INVADER chasing her down by the finish line.

Sunday morning we were back in Phoenix packing for a vacation with the family!! Six days of Disneyland and California Adventure, to include a special event at DCA, Mickey’s Halloween. One the first day, after we checked in we made a special trip first. We went to see a fire house. Not just any fire house, but the actual one used in some of the filming of the television show, “Emergency!” We were able to see the fire engines, the locker room, the sleeping area, and even the kitchen. It was just like the TV show!! (As some of you may know, our first jet car was named and modeled after the show, The Emergency 1.)

We came home and it was back to the grind for a week or two, then on my daughter’s 8th birthday, I climbed up into one of my unit’s KC-135R Stratotankers for a TDY to Geilenkirchen, Germany to support the NATO mission there.

Germany, Ah Germany!!! Worked hard and played harder! On our free time tour all over Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium looking at all the history! Not to mention the beer!!

I came home just in time to head out down to Southwestern International Raceway to do a PINKS Television show down on November 16th. We had a lengthy interview with the folks from PINKS and met a bunch of street guys with some really cool cars!

We had one run heads up against Jeff Atamian’s Beast, then later a single pass. Since this was going to be on television in the spring, we turned up the afterburner pressure trying for a larger fire show, to match up with the volume of flame that the monster flame a Westinghouse puts out. While we did that, I think Jeff tuned his car up a little more, trying to get the best ET he could. The small engine cars seem to launch a little better due to the lighter overall weight, so I planned to leave a little slow on the lights. But the best laid plans went up in a flash, when I saw the glint of yellow, all the practice I have done to improve my reactions just took over. I was off in a flash, with The Beast trying to keep up.

After apologizing to Jeff, we readied the Invader for the next run. It was a single pass, while afterwards Jeff would do his trademark car burn.


video
The single was very interesting to say the least. I have run for cameras before, even the Lexus commercial, but this was nuts. Something like 9 cameras, with them all over!! The real crazy one was the one on the boom, just floating in front of me going all over! With the 5 second pass in the books, as predicted we were the low ET & high mph of the event!

After Thanksgiving, I headed down to Florida for a few days to meet with the Larsen’s. I met with them and a couple other jet racers over some very exciting plans. Stay tuned; I am sure the Larsen’s will be making some BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS soon!

After flying home, I was there long enough to pack for a TDY to Guam. I was there in support of the B-2’s and returned home just before Christmas. Lots of wonderful weather there, but if you don’t scuba dive or golf, there is not a whole lot to do but relax.

But I am ever the racer!! What did I find but a very nice small town ¼ mile drag strip!!! I took some photos but unfortunately they were closed the day I went.

Upon return home, the pace never stopped, Christmas, Birthday, New Years, Work, more trips, honey do’s and working on the Deist Jet car. In between all that, trying to get the Invader prepared for 2008, book some dates, figure out when I might be home to race and now TDY, and even squeak in another Disney trip with the family!!

Will try to update more often.

Curt