Spring Break 2019 was nearly over, after work on Friday I knew I had a limited amount of time before I had to drive two hours to pick up my daughter who spent Spring Break with my in-laws. I rush home and immediately put the front runners on the car in anticipation for Saturday, the first bracket race of the season at the newly christened Alamo City Motorplex, formerly San Antonio Raceway. It was a late night; we got home at about 11:30 p.m. and I got to bed as quick as I could. Saturday morning I was up and got moving. Put the drag radials on the back of the car, get my tire air pressure gauges ready, get my cameras, put my helmet bag by the door, and finally a quick shower and I was gone.
Gates opened at 10:00 am at Alamo City Motorplex. I was on track to be there right before 11:00 a.m. I pull in line at the gate, and I realized I made the biggest mistake a racer can make… I left my dang helmet at home. Thank goodness it’s a 13-minute drive home. I rush home to grab my helmet and rush back to the track. By this time the track is now hot, and other classes are starting to make time trials. I pay my entry and head straight for tech. While in tech I set air pressures so that I could go straight to staging lanes for time shot #1 but tech took too long, and I missed the time shot. Oh well, life goes on. I parked in the pit area with some good friends of mine and began the process of calming down after rushing around like crazy.
For drag racing wheels and tires I am using Race Star 18 x 5’s with a 28 x 6″ M/T Sportsman S/R tire on the front and for the back I have Race Star 17 x 9.5’s with a 305/45 R17 M/T ET Street R Tire (equivalent to 28″ tall per M/T). The SRT 392 is like a Hellcat; it has the six-piston Brembo’s so you have to run an 18″ wheel to clear the massive brakes. I have tire pressure monitors in the front wheels, but I have not installed them on the rear. While sitting in the pits, I went ahead and used the ZAutomotive Tazer to shut up the TPMS warnings for the lack of rear tire sensors. I also took a few minutes to make sure I had my transmission, suspension, and traction settings the way I wanted them. About this time I hear the call to the staging lanes, jump in the car and off I go. In the first time shot I had a terrible reaction time, but a solid 7.82 ET in the 1/8th… well let’s run that as the dial for round 1.
Round 1, I get paired up with a really nice Dart Swinger with an LA small block under the hood. The driver is a young guy who raced junior dragsters out there. Should be a good race. I have a 7.82 dial, and he has an 8.00 dial, so I know it’s going to be a good race. Pull up to the lanes, roll thru the water, and pulled off a good burnout with a nice chirp at the end. Roll up to the beams and stage the car. Watch the lights and go… umm Mike, you need to go. Yeah round 1, I slept like a baby and flat lost. Got my butt kicked. Okay, let’s buy back into this thing and try again.
Round 1 buybacks are allowed, so I make my payment and head back to the lanes when called for Round 2. So now I get paired with a pickup truck. I raised my dial to a 7.87 based on my last run. This time, the pickup has a full 2 second, and change head start coming to him thanks to 10.0 dial. Watch the lights, and I see him red light. Yes! Okay yellow, yellow, yellow, GO! Red! Crap, oh well, I still won because he went red first so on to the next round!
Round 3 call comes, I raised the dial to 7.90, and I get paired with a Trailblazer SS running an 8.30 dial. I got the guy I wanted. Roll up, do my burnout, stage the car, and rev to 2,000 RPM. He goes, alright yellow, yellow yellow, GO! I pull a fantastic 0.08 light, solid launch, catch him by the 330 and then blipped the throttle for a solid win light. Woo Hoo! I needed that. I beat him fair and square myself, not help. I needed that; it had been a rough day so far.
At this point, we are going into the semi-final, and there are only three cars left, a GMC pickup and a friend in a pink 1970 Challenger. Both of them are seasoned drag racers, and I knew either one would be tough to beat. But then I got lucky and drew the by. Woo Hoo, free test pass into the final! Roll up, do my thing and run a solid 8.02, the weather and the track are getting worse.
Finals time! Ok, Mike, you got this. Roll through the water, and then I blew the burnout by slipping my foot off the brake early. Dang, it! Roll up to the line and watch him leave with a 9.XX dial and I see my yellows start. Yellow, yellow, yellow GO!!! RED!!! NO! CRAP!!!! Yep, I beat myself by -0.02. Big fat red light. Spun the tires on launch and still caught him before the line. I would have beat him. Oh well, that is racing. I went back to the staging lanes and was one of the first to congratulate Jim for his well-deserved win. I can’t complain, it was a crazy day… up and down but all around a very good day. I went home happy with a couple of bucks in prize money in my pocket, and a whole lot of points tallied up for the day.
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