2008 Season off to a fine start!
Saturday June 14th
Beaver Springs Dragway
We were off to our first match race of 2008. Beaver Springs 200mph Summer Thunder show, under the lights at The Beaver.
I drove down to Lake Hiawatha NJ to meet Al and his buddy Billy who would be my trusty crew for this go around. Guest crew
member Chris Masarella, driver of the Total Insanity Monza, decided to go, and we were all excited. After a bout with a generator
@ 6am, I arrived at Chris' house, parked the car and we all proceeded, in the interest saving fuel, to pile into my trusty
We encountered some humidity on the way, the weather report was NOT good, calling for T-storms in the afternoon and showers
all night. But we soldiered on. We arrived at The Beaver at 1pm, finally found a parking spot and saved a space for Rocky
P, who was. a half hour away. Well 2 hours later, Rocky pulls in, something about a bridge being out..lol.. We were just done
prepping the car for the warm up. Chris kept saying boy you guys sure do things differently than us We have our little idiosyncrasies
but it seems to work..lol. I climb in, Chris is manning the squirt bottle, Al the C&A behemoth, Billy is handling cable
and check over duties. Al gives me the nod, Chris gives it a healthy squirt, Al spins over and ungrounds the mag and the Chevy
comes to life. We warm up the fluids, set the launch RPM, check the timing and shut her down before it gets too hot. Something
like 92 degrees and about 1000% humidity! Time for burgers and hot dogs! Rocky fires up The Screamin Eagle around 4pm and
just about then it begins to drizzle. So we wait and we wait and we wait. In between rain drops Beaver Bob is encouraging
everyone to stick around that we WILL get the show in. So we push the cars in and mingle and visit with spectators and other
racers. Around 6pm the drizzle became a steady rain, and I thought we were doomed. Beaver Bob was even quiet on the mike for
an hour or so. But around 8pm there was a clearing, and Beaver Bob comes over and tells us to get ready, we're going racing,
BUT 1/8 mile only. He says, smoky burnouts and loud noise and give the fans a show. We'll do!
Well the Beaver is a neet track, dark , narrow and a lot of fun! BUT there is a nasty bump in the right lane, which I
avoided all last year,lol. Well Rocky put John Headley in the drivers' seat, and we flipped for lane choice. John won the
toss and picks the left lane, no problem, I'll just hang on! Rocky's crew chief, Tom Fox, jokes, that low ET from round one
gets lane choice for round 2. Funny Tom, funny. We get strapped in and head up to the lanes in the HEAVY summer air. John
and I planned to do some battling dry hops, he wanted to go across the starting line, but Rocky reeled him back,lol. We get
fired up, Al lowers the body and removes the sheet from the windshield, we remembered this time! Al guides me in the water
and I ensure I'm in high gear. John and I whack the throttles simultaneously, my car begins to pitch wildly and drift sideways
to the right, ala Bob Rosetty at last years York show. I gather it back up before the grass and whack the throttle one more
time for the show. I bring the car to a stop at the 1/8 mile (finish line) and proceed to back up rather quickly, whacking
the throttle for the fans while backing up. Al pops into view and guides me into the groove. He backs me up to just before
the water. I slam the shifter in low, give the brake a good tug, Whomp!!! John answers back, whomp!!. We go at it again. We
decided on 2, but he puts a 3rd one in there, not to be out done I whack it again. I'm ready! Al rolls me in the prestage,
walks out of site and gives me the thumbs up as he passes. John stages, then I stage,,ahem deep stage by accident. Hit the
trans brake button, floor the throttle, at the first sign of amber, I'm off! Car leaves with a little wiggle, then seems to
pull well. I'm eyeing the shift light and just as I put it into high gear, WHAM, my head slams the ISP pads and I lose sight
of the groove for a second! Man! That must have been the bump! I zero in on the 1/8 mile cones and just as we approach there's
the nose of that Bird! Man that must have been a close race. Well we get slowed down and off the second turn off, and I hit
the fuel and roll to a stop along John. I pop out the hatch and give one of the track crew a hand pushing John further off
the turn off. He asks me when he gets out, is it dark down here to you? No John, it's just The Beaver,lol. Race data, Bits
RT .036/Screamin RT .200 Bits 1/8 mile ET 4.67/Screamin ET 4.50 MOV .006. Al told me when our car hit the bump it picked up
the car and moved it over a car width or better. All I know is that I was steering for dear life!
We get cooled down and back up to the lanes in less than an hour. We go in the left, John in the right. Let's see how
he likes that bump! We get fired up and roll in the water together. Whack the throttles together and I'm pitchin and sashaying
around and get down around the 1/8 mile mark. Roll back quick as to not hold up John. Get ready for a dry hop, whack the throttle
WHOMP!!. Listen for John, nothing whack it again, nothing. The starter gives me the hold up signal. Then he motions me up.
Al gets me up to the pre stage beams. I roll in, wait for John, and wait..and wait. I missed Al's breakŁ signal with his hands,
so I peer out the right side window, huh, no nose. I'll just stage and see what happens, if he pre stages I'll get ready.
Well he didn't and I was caught off guard, so the light was terrible, but the car made a good move off the line (1.06) good
for us, then about 200' it made a BIG move towards the center, I was reeling it back and just as I hit high gear it slid back
over and just missed the cones and was giving me one helluva ride. It was fun tho'! We ran a 4.57 and with the 1.06 60', that's
pretty darn good for our little lung in the soupy weather.
Back in the pits, I found out that Rocky's car had spit out the #6 spark plug on the burnout. Good job Al! I hid that
hemi spark plug wrench back in your tool bag. But seriously, we had a great time and are looking forward to the York nostalgia
show next month. Thanks for taking the time to read. Hope you enjoyed.
Sunday July 13th
Beaver Springs Dragway
Believe it or not, a couple of hours after this photo was taken, the rains came. York Reunion show was cancelled and it
was on to our next event at Skyview Dragway.
Since we've been dodging raindrops most of the season, here's my second weekend report. Hope you all enjoy!
Saturday, July 19th
Tioga Center, NY
We were invited by The Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit to participate in the Skyview Dragway IHRA Thunder Jam
Show. And that's just what it was, a show! Al met up with me Saturday AM and we picked up John on the way. Being only 3.5
hours this would be a one night turnaround for us. Dennis Salzwimmer, of GLNFCC, said we would be running at 7 and 9pm, so
skipping a motel was in order. We took a nice drive down I88 in NY under hazy, hot and humid skies. Boy, sure glad we're running
at night, it was HOT out! We arrived just after 2pm and Rocky P. in the Screamin' Eagle team followed in just minutes after
us. Rocky and I had already planned to do everything in our powers to make sure bragging rights stayed on the east coast for
this show! [Big Grin]
Now not being to Skyview before, it was an interesting facility, carved out of the side of the mountain. The staging lanes
and return road go right down the center of the pits. Track was smooth and level, shutdown, long enough, but went down hill
for a bit just before climbing back up hill for the turnoff.
We get the car out, fueled up and ready for the warm up. We had to make some minor adjustments from last weekend's tune,
since this was only an 1/8 mile track. Al has the starter duties; John handles the primer bottle giving her a healthy squirt
to start. Spin it over and light it off. Al and John are checking for leaks and measuring head temp. Once we get some heat
in the motor (not long today!) we check the starting line settings. Grab low gear and check the launch RPM and she sings past
5 grand. Still too much, Al makes a couple adjustments, and now even though we're still at 4600, we decide to kill the engine
since it's getting a little toasty. I reach over and hit the fuel shutoff and let the RPM's die before killing the mag. Now
just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat before our 4pm drivers meeting.
Denny goes over all the specifics at the meeting, and we draw stamped washers out of a GLNFCC Frisbee to figure the pairing
for the first 2 rounds. Chicago style, 2 low ET"s will come back for a round 3 runoff and winner. Rocky and I just nod
at each other...we're ready! I get Drew Sweetman in the Sweetman Bros Citation for round 1 and for round 2, I'm teamed up
with Rocky P. Both times we're the 4th pair out. Denny wants us ready and suited up by 6:30pm. We're running after the jet
dragster, but before the jet semi!! This oughta be interesting! They also have The Chevy Rebellion wheelstander on tap and
Benny The Bomb. Like I said, this was pure show.
We get all buttoned up and ready to go and keep an eye on the western skies, it does not look good. Dark clouds rolling
our way. A quick call to our weather girl, Abby Napier, and she informs us the cell is roughly 30 miles long and heading our
Thankfully the brunt of the storm passed north, but just about 7pm we had a brief 30 second downpour, but they still set
off the fireworks to signal the start of the show, and the crazy dude in the wheelstander made a pass! I joke with Rocky,
we should just go out there and pedal fest it down the wet track.
Well around 8pm, we're called to head on up. I get all suited up and Al and John get me locked down. We line up next to
Drew, in the left lane, he'll be in the right. I hear the announcer talking up a burnout contest. Many guys are telling us
the shutdown is still wet, so just do a killer burnout and blip the throttle off the line. Now remember, 2 low ET's are to
meet for the chance at bragging rights, and some dough! Rocky P. is running in the pair, just in front of us, so we'll see
what he does. As the funnies are making their passes I hear most of them on and off the gas, just legging it down the track.
The best ET I've heard so far is a 5.15. We get pulled into the water box, which is a chore, since the tower is DIRECTLY behind
the water box! I watch Rocky launch and skate down thru to an early shut off 4.57. OK, a mark I can shoot for IF the car feels
good. We run between high 4.40's and mid 4.50's depending on the track. Al and John, with the assistance from Denny get me
line up in the water box. Since it's a ways away from the starting line, I'll try to get some ground speed up for the burnout,
so the fans can see the show. Al and John get me fired up. John grabs the C&A from Al and the body pole as Al lowers the
shell. He guides me up a few feet, click it in high and he holds me up for Drew. Drew starts rolling and I give the throttle
a quick whack to get the wheel speed up, and instant 8 grand, I begin to feather the throttle and about at the tree, it begins
to haul ass and pick up some ground speed. All the while the shift light is staring at me. I go till I can't see out the windshield,
and grab the brake. Puts the nose at roughly 600'. I slip it in neutral, whack the throttle and slide it into reverse. About
200' John pops into view. Now Al has told me the groove in the left is pretty much dead center. I get behind the line, grab
low and whack the throttle for one WHOMP!..no two dry hops WHOMP! I jump right into the stage beam! Oops, back up real quick
and Al just noses me up. A quick check at the oil pressure, 110 psi. Drew prestages, I prestage. Lower the visor, ease into
the stage, now Drew has a pedal clutch, so he begins to rev it up. I go in, hit the button, mash the throttle, WHAAAA! Man
does that sound high! YELLOW Bam, I'm gone! Wow! , not a hint of chatter and she's going straight and pullin' hard! Around
300' she begins to haze the tires, so I hit high, and it dances a touch, but still smooth and controllable. Reach over for
the chute levers at the first MPH cone, as planned. Push them forward and wait for the tug before trying the brakes. There's
the tug takes a little longer without the speed, now I ease on the brakes just in case it’s slick and roll around
the turn off and slide it into neutral in hit the fuel. I pop up out of the hatch and peel off the gloves, glasses, neck collar,
helmet and jacket, roll off the side of the body. Roll up the chutes to keep the lines straight and we're ready to service
for round 2. Our ET, was an easy 4.65 at only 131 mph. We'll have more for round 2.
Round 2 was at 9:45pm and Denny has given us the news, no time for the 3rd round. So since Rocky P. and I are slated to
run each other anyway, it's close enough to a final for the 2 of us. We get in the lanes, and now the dew has settled in,
and I hear all the funnies pedaling it just to make it down the track. This is gonna be good! Rocky and I get fired up, and
he starts to roll forward WHAAA!!!......side by side smoky high RPM burnouts just what the fans ordered! Now I'm conscious
that Al has told me the groove in the right lane is towards the center a bit, so were lined up appropriately. WHOMP!!...one
dry hop this time and Rocky pre-stages. I look at the oil pressure, prestage, lower the visor and stage the car, just as I
hit the gas, I notice I deepstaged and all of a sudden, Rocky's stage lights go out. Then the tree goes YELLOW and I gotta
go! She launches good, and by about 100' this thing is making some wheel speed and RPM, shift light comes on around 200' (200'
shorter than normal), but still going straight. I don't hear or see Rocky yet, stab high gear and the car begins to sashay
and wash out to the right getting dangerously close to the wall. I ease off the throttle and see the finish line just up ahead.
I blip the throttle real quick, just in case he's close. Hit both chutes and wait for the tug and for Rocky to wheel by me.
I file in after him on the turnoff and shut it down. We ran a 4.88, not stellar, but I believe a good run considering the
conditions and apparently won the round1! Rocky accidentally rolled the beams and went right up in smoke off the line. Ahhhh
a time when an underpowered Chevy is the way to go! One of the only times.
Back in the pits, while cleaning up, Rocky's crew had brought some beers and we all shared in a few cold ones as the fireworks
were going off. Michelle Hohnensee came over and told us of a wine and cheese party, complete with campfire at Jerry Streb's
trailer after the clean up, cool! Wine and cheese, and Rocky, being from Philly, brought beer and pretzels! All in all a great
event, despite being a little damp. Neat little track with a great show and great guys to race with.
Thanks again Denny for the invite.. Thanks to Rocky and his entire crew for being great to work with and a pleasure to
be around! Denny worked his ass off to make sure everything went smoothly. From backing up fellow racers, to helping us get
lined up in the water box! Two thumbs up Denny, great job! We were truly impressed. Great meeting new racers, Scott and Michelle
Hohnensee, Jerry Streb, Jeff and John Decort, plus visiting with old ones like Denny, Johnny and Chris, Drew and Lance.
Hope you enjoyed the read.
Saturday August 1st
Dunn Tire Raceway
The Screamin' Eagle and Bits And Pieces team were scheduled to run 3 match races over Saturday and Sunday. We actually
left Friday evening. Al, John Napoli and I left, BLT's in hand), and made it to Buffalo around midnight. Parked the trailer
and off to bed. Saturday dawned sunny and warm. After a trip for breakfast at Al's favorite eatery, Cracker Barrel, we headed
for the track. Once unloaded we prepped and warmed the car and walked the track to see what it was like. The same, bite wise
as last year, but the tarmac seemed a little rougher. At least according to Al, he's my Lanny Miglizzi. We picked up a volunteer
crew member for the day, with help from local Dick Cardash. Also met Jim Didio, owner of the Howard Haight driven nitro FED,
great guy and a lot of fun to talk with! We were scheduled to run at 3pm, and Al and I decided to take the right lane. Well
Fox and Pirrone come over, this time with a "single" sided coin, and we flip for lane choice. We win, and still
pick the right lane. There is a dip around 200' out in the left lane that is ov concern. We get lined up in the water box.
Al gets the signal from Fox that they're ready, and we fire up. I square the car, whack the throttle and ease on and off the
throttle trying to get past the tree still smokin' the hides. The water box is like a 100' before the tree! I stay in to it
until I can no longer see and ease off the throttle and roll to a stop. Loooky there, its the first MPH cone of the finish
line! I back up rather quick, not to hold up John Headly, and once I get my John back into view slow up and we back up together.
We do a couple dry hops, and Al guides me into the beams. I prestage, go to stage and the stage light flickers, and I bump
it in ever so slightly, and all of a sudden the tree's flashing amber, I hit the button, floor the throttle and release in
one felt swoop! Car launches, and seems to be going alright, but by 100', John is ahead, and I hit the bump from the transition
of the concrete to asphalt and it upsets the car a little, straighten it out and drive it past the finish and throw out the
chutes. Now this is an 1/8 mile track with only 1000' of shut down. More on this later. We ran a 4.73 to Rocky/Headley's 4.36.
We only had a 1.12 60' (normall we're in the 1.05 range) so that explains it. Wow! Headly how a .980 60'
We get back to the pits, put in 2 more degrees, or was it 4 ??? Go up 500 RPM on the launch and we're ready. But mother
nature wasn't! A quick moving storm blew thru and even though it was sunny an hour later, they cancelled the rest of the day's
racing. In the box and off to dinner. But first we stop by the infield to check out the new KS Pittman ride that Rocky P and
the gang, just completed. WOW! what a great piece of history! Very nicely done. No pictures can do this car justice, you have
to see it in person. Especially in the late evening setting sun!
Sunday was cool and sunny, a perfect day for racing. We get the car unloaded and we are scheduled to run at 2pm. We visit
with Jim Didio and his crew, sniff some nitro fumes while they warm it up. We're in the lanes at 2pm.
We swapped lanes, and we're in the left, John Headley in the right. I told John to be careful of the bump at the transition.
We do our burnouts, this time side by side, and as I roll off the throttle, he's right along side. That must have looked cool!
We back up and do our dry hops! Love 'em! And Al guides me up. This time I'm ready, no distractions! Pre stage, stage, amber
and I'm off! Seemed like a good light, and the car seems to be making a good move. Still no Headley. around 400', hit high
and I can hear him coming. Eye the finish cones and just as we cross, I see his nose poke out it front! Man! that must have
been close! Well I go for the chute, levers, only get one. Go for the second, and miss the lever again! Uh oh! better get
on the brake, the turn is coming up REAL quick! Grab the brake, too much brake! Car bounces once, then it's quiet, I mean
too quiet. The car is in the air! Crashes down on the right front and begins to wander into John's lane. I turn the wheel
left, nothing. Oh boy, this is gonna hurt! I'm fighting the wheel and waiting for the impact. The car, now with a mind of
it's own, crosses over the lane to the right and into the grass! I'm pumping the brake to try and slow it down, while trying
to keep the wheel to the left. I look up and see one of the track officials waving me back onto the pavement. Dude, you better
move, cause this thing is NOT going back up on the pavement! He gets out of the way, and the car grinds to a stop. I hit the
fuel and kill the mag, then there's smoke. Lots of smoke. Grab the fire bottle lever and squeeze, unbuckle and open the escape
hatch and roll out. All within the span of a few seconds. The track dude is poking his head in the side window as I'm coming
out the top! "Are you all right?" he asks. Yep, just a little upset right now! John did a great job to avoid what
could have been a very ugly situation. The track guy said he was whiter than I was when he got out. He asked if I was OK,
and said, "man that was a wild ride!"
We get the car loaded on the roll back and back to the pits to asses the damage. Broken front axle and grass, EVERYWHERE!
Also discover the rear body tree is broken, and the tranny cooler is destroyed and there is tranny fluid all over the rear
third of the car. Al, sit's me down, and asks, "are we going to E-town?" I respond "Hell yes!" We formulate
a plan! But not before watching Headly spank that nitro FED, 4.28 to 4.35. That was COOL! We're off back home to Ballston
I plan to take the day, strip the car and clean as much as possible, check for damage, and simple, order a new 3"
dropped front axle and fresh set of spindles. Once the car is deemed still relatively in tact, I order parts. Except, nobody
has a 3" dropped axle in stock! I make the call to Al, obviously dis-appointed. He simply states, "can you and Deb
put it in the box?" Why yes we can, and we did, and it was off to Central CT Monday evening! The rest, Al will have to
fill in, but between anything and everything, that could go wrong, going wrong. AND in between tornadoes and thunder storms,
he put on a fresh set of tri-pods with adjustable spindles, and lots of other adjustments! I kept the body at my house to
clean and try to repair some damaged trees, remount the chute handles, etc.
Saturday August 8th
John, Jim and I are off to Central CT, with Derek's trailer, scales, fuel, body, etc. We leave Al's at 3:30pm and arrive
at the meet and great dinner at Raceway Park at 7pm. After dinner, we need to set the toe, check a few things and finish up
Sunday AM. Well the drag link wound up being too long. Rocky R., offered to go back to his shop and shorten the drag link.
One helluva guy. Here's a guy who just got to the track and is now on his way back to his shop to help us out.
Sunday August 9th
Rocky had to make a whole new drag link! We installed it, unloaded the car and went to work. A crew of at least 5 guys
worked from 9a to 12:30pm to finish it up. When they made the call for us to the lanes, the body, chutes, diaper and belly
pan were still off the car! We worked together as a team, and as Rocky P. went under the tower, we began to roll up. But,
the rains came and put a halt to the show for the day. Well, at least we're ready for our next outing at Maple Grove!
See ya there!
Hope you enjoyed the read!
Sunday August 24th
Dawned all sunny, but don't they all.
lol. I was loaded up from Sat. nite and headed for my first pass on the hot rod with the new front end. I arrived bright and
early, 8am, promptly called Al to see how many where on the way. "Just two" he says (Al and Billy). John is meeting us there,
Derek and his whole family and crew will also be there to lend helping hands. We pit in the grass where it will be cooler,
get unloaded. Al and all arrive and we decide to warm up the car before swapping out the center link with the new and improved
one, the second one since our little mishap. I hop in, pull the fuel on, John removes the fire bottle pins, Al loads up the
starter. John gives it a healthy squirt and Al begins to spin it over. We unground the mag and she roars to life. Al, Billy
and John are all busy checking for leaks, temps and so forth. I run it thru the gears and get the fluids warmed up. Al gives
me the OK sign after a couple of minutes, I check the starting line controller...Whaaaaaa!!! 4700RPM...PERFECT! I kill the
fuel and let it wind down. We're ready for the first test session.
Well the plan is, if it's OK on the burnout, I'll
launch the car. If the launch is good, I'll run out to the 1/8 mile. Well we get up to the water box, fire it up. Al lowers
and latches the body. I slide it into high. Al rolls me into the water box and gives me the light 'em up sign. I give it a
quick whack and roll on the throttle. Whaaaaa...!!! Wow this thing is trucking right along. I ease off the throttle as the
smoke rolls in. Feels good to do a big burnout again! Well I begin to slow down, and realize the idle is a little too high.
I have to put it into neutral to stop. Backing up is a little quick, with a firm grip on the brake as to not go too fast and
wobble the tires! I get back behind the line and Al motions me to do a dry hop. Womp!! Well I was busy watching Al and did
not realize I was already prestaged. He moves out of the way, and I roll forward thinking I have a ways to go! Well I deep
stage before I realize what's going on, and then decide, since the tree has come down, just to go with it. I hit the transbrake
and the car rolls the beams and now the times are no good. Well I launch the car, feels good. Hit high gear at 400', still
feels good. Well there goes the 1/8 mile cones! I'll go a little more. Car begins to bounce a little, I roll off the throttle
and coast through the traps at 130mph. I reach for the chutes and then go for the brake handle. Whoa! the newly relocated
chute handle is directly in the way of the brake handle! Well no problem, that's why it was a check out pass. I just push
the lever out of the way and ease on the brakes. Make the first turn off and no more drama.
We ran 155mph to the 1/8,
so it was on a 7.0 pass
We get back to the pits, cool it down, lower the idle, relocate the chute handle and pack
the chutes. Time for my first 1/4 mile pass since May!
We get fire up and the burnout is still crazy like the first.
This time much easier to stop and control backing up. This time I pay attention, and prestage and stage the car properly.
On the transbrake, on the gas. Waaaaa.....Waaaaa....Waaaaa..!!! 4700RPM for what seemed like FOREVER. Where is the TREE??!!
I get off the throttle and the tree comes down! Get back on the gas, launch the car. Nice and straight and smooth. We've put
7 pounds in the slicks, since the track is so good. Hit high gear. Begins to bounce a little around 700-800' about 900-1000'
the shift light comes on. Oh boy! this usually means she's making some steam! Cross the stripe, hit the chutes and grab the
brake. Sniff....sniff... whats that awful smell? Smells like rotten eggs. Maybe just some oil residue? Get the car stopped
and I climb out. The smell is pretty bad. We get back to the pits, cool it down and check it out.
Well it appears
the manual starter button broke on the track starter and the tree had to be activated from the tower! We check all over the
car. Al and Billy have to get going. I contemplate making another pass with 20% in the tank, but decide since the car is in
one piece, better not push my luck. John and I decide to pack it up.
Tuesday Sept. 26th
I decide to check out
the sulfur odor some more. Since it's now overpowering my garage. I discover that the tranny fluid was severely overheated!
Wednesday Sept. 27th
I get a chance to drain the tranny and check the fluid. It's burnt, but no chunks or metal
trails in the fluid. Man it stinks tho'!
Thursday Sept. 28th (5am)
I decide to pull the tranny pan off. FULL OF
BRASS!! Arghhhh!!! THIS HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD YEAR
I pull the tranny out on my lunch hour. Overnight the converter to the
tranny company. Bring the tranny to the local rebuilder.
Wait to see what happens.
We will be ready for the Geezers
event. This black cloud HAS to pass.
Thanks for taking the time to read
Next report from Maple Grove.
BTW, the pass was 7.05 @ 191. If it had not ate the converter it would have been a low 6.90 I'm sure. Corrected air was 3000'
Geezers At The Grove
Eight nostalgia funny cars invaded Maple Grove Dragway for the annual Geezers At The Grove. Rocky Pirrone
brought out his Screamin’ Eagle ’77 Trans Am, Keith Davidson had the Bits And Pieces ’77 Monza back together.
Dave Sano had his gorgeous Screamin’ Insanity ’72 Grand Am. Bob Rosetty brought out Tweety’s Rat ’74
Vega, with Bobby Toth at the wheel. Chris Masarella had his ’77 Monza called Total Insanity. Lance Good came across
the state of PA to campaign his Sharky’s Machine ’80 Omni. Drew Sweetman showed up from the state of Delaware
with his lowslung ’80 Citation, and Mark Giovanazzo rounded out the 8 car field with his ’79 Arrow, called Nightmare.
Originally scheduled for Saturday evening, tropical storm Hanna, put a damper on that idea. But Sunday morning dawned
sunny and not a cloud in the sky. Round 1 was scheduled for 2pm. After the ritual of warm ups, the first pair hit the track.
It would be Chris Masarella’s Total Insanity vs. The Nightmare Arrow of Mark G. Chris took the lead at the tree and
never looked back, with a winning ET of 7.437 @ 181.08 MPH. Mark G. shook hard in the right lane and had the mag kill switch
activate. The second pair out, was Rocky Pirrone vs. Drew Sweetman. Rocky left with a .113 RT and sped away to low ET and
top speed of the funnies @ 6.563 @ 212.83 MPH! Drew posted a 7.703 @ 173.41. The third pair out saw Lance Good up against
Bob Rosetty’s beautiful Tweety’s Rat Vega. Bobby was out of the gate too early with a -.070 red light. Lance ran
his carrer best ET on his way to victory, with a 7.440 @ 179.88 MPH. Bobby shook and shut off early. The last pair up saw
Dave Sano take on the Bits And Pieces Monza, of Keith Davidson. Davidson was a little too trigger happy, and turned on the
red eye, with a -007. But sped away to second lowest ET of round 1 with a 7.022 @ 191.81 MPH. Dave Sano encountered severe
tire shake and had to lift. A scenario that seemed to plague the right lane.
Round two would have the 2 low ET’s
from round 1 face off for bragging rights. Rocky Pirrone and Keith Davidson would square off in a repeat of last years final.
First out in round 2 was Chris Masarella and Drew Sweetman. Chris, with bracket car consistency, ran a winning 7.478 @179.95
over a trouble plagued Drew in the Sweetman Bros. Citation. Second up, was Bobby Toth and Dave Sano. Bobby took the victory
with a 7.755 @ 176.26 pedaling run, to Dave Sano’s tire shake plagued shut off pass. The 3rd pairing was Lance Good
and Mark G. Lance, once again sped away to a personal best ET of 7.336 @ 177.28 victory over a shutting off Mark G.
final, for bragging rights, was over at the hit, as Davidson’s hopped up Monza went into immediate tire shake at the
hit, and Rocky Pirrone put on a show for the crowd with a skating, pedaling 6.728 @ 192.17 victory.
and great fun made this another great Geezers event. Rocky Pirrone once again
the man to beat at one of the East coasts biggest nostalgia events.
Lebanon Valley Dragway
Saturday October 4th
Drags With Monza Madness Match Race
Chris Masarella, with his Total Insanity and The Bits And Pieces team were invited
to Lebanon Valley Dragway to put down a couple of passes on their rescheduled Nostalgia Drags.
Saturday began cold,
with the temps in the high 30’s, by the time we arrived at the track at 9am, it was a “balmy” 44 degrees.
With the rain from the previous week and an initial track temp of 47 degrees, it was sure to be a fun event! We, Jim and John,
began to unload the car, we met Derek “Hollywood” Lobban at the track, and Al “wheat toast” Napier
and Ron “biscuit” Dunlap would meet us at the track later in the morning.
Since the car was just recently
put back together after the Maple Grove carnage, we had some minor stuff left to do. John slapped the oil pan heater on, we
tightened the blower belt, set the mag and went over everything again. Chris arrived at 10am, and we were just about ready
to warm up the car. I don my firepants and climb in. Jim and Al lock the starter on, Jim manning the squirt bottle and Al
the starter button. Jim gives the Chevy a healty squirt, Al spins the starter, we unground the mag it fires to life. I watch
as the oil pressure goes up to 120psi. With the new oil pump gears, it’s about 10psi higher. I run thru the gears, Jim
checks the timing, Al and John check for leaks. Al keeps a watchful eye on head temp as I warm the driveline fluids. The cold
crisp mornings really make this thing thump. We’re trying a slight tune up change today, so we’re all excited
and hope the track co-operates. Al gives me the “OK” sign, I put the shifter in low and check the starting line
RPM, 4500, just where we want it. I hit the fuel and wait for the engine to die. With the ever present clouds rolling by,
it’s struggling to get up to 50 degrees. Derek has walked the starting line and warns us, “there’s not much
there”. This could be interesting. We hear Chris warm up, sounds strong, says he’s hopped it up for us this weekend!
We go up to the lanes at 12:30 and look to put on a show. We go up and walk the first half of the track during some
down time, and the starting line is pretty bare, but 100’ out it gets a little better and they’ve sprayed the
track well. Chris and I get suited up, as we’ll follow the NETO cars out. We’re in the left lane, we let Chris
get fired up first. Al lowers the body and guides me up to the water box, I slide the shifter into hi and wait for his signal.
He motions me to lite em up! I hear Chris and I ease into the throttle, shift light comes on instantly, I back off a little
and get some bite and ground speed and just hold the throttle steady, past the 60’, past the 330’, past the 660’
and roll to a stop just before the 1000’ cone. I love burnouts! But it also gave me an idea of the track condition.
The slicks never bit into the pavement! I start backing up rather fast, and at about 300’, John pops into view. Jim
is back at the line sending signals to John. I told the guys, I’m going to do one dry hop, so bring me back far enough.
I get behind the line, whack the throttle “Whomp!” Feels OK, Jim walks up, checks for any icing on the hat, latches
the escape hatch and gives me the tap on the tin that he always does. Al guides me up, Chris is prestaged. I lower the visor,
check the oil pressure and roll in. Al disappears and I stage, hit the button and floor it, yellow lights, I wait just a little
longer (I’ve been redlighting) release the button. The car shoots forward 20’ or so, begins to chatter the tires
and makes a move to the left. I ease off the throttle, try to ease back into it, remembering that I ought to put it into high.
I hit high gear and roll back into the groove at about 600’. I ease back into the throttle and the rear end washes out.
I’m done with this pass, and begin to plan for the shut down. “Bwaap!...Bwaap!” what the… there goes
Chris past me just as the stripe came up! I guess he wasn’t giving up that easy! Well now I have to get even, I take
the first turnoff, while Chris goes to the end. I roll to a stop and hit the fuel and hop out the hatch, awaiting my crew.
We made some changes that, combined with the track conditions, just did not work! We’ll fix it for round 2.
I see Chris over there taking out some mag, he’s gotta big grin, “I wasn’t gonna let you win that one”
he states as he saw me just chuggin’ along. I guess he became fairly sideways and put on a good show, well at least
it was an exciting run for the crowd! He’s got some in-car footage, that should be fun to watch!
Round 2 was
at 2:30pm, and I think the track was even colder! We keep the same lanes, Chris fires up first. We roll into the water box,
and I let Chris start first. This time the tires start to bite at about 300’ and I ease out of it, while Chris “John
Force” Masarella goes to the 1000’ mark! Looks like he’s having fun! We back up and I do my dry hop, “Whomp!”
I stage and still a little gun shy, take a little extra time reacting. As the car launches it begins to shake a little, nothing
like round 1, so I try to hit high gear. But I was easing off the throttle, so when I get back on it, the tires are hazing
and I ease back off, hit high again and ease back into the throttle. Yep! I’m in high gear. Well I just motor on down,
stuck in the center of the groove and it begins to spin the tires at about 800’, but the car is going straight, I stay
with it, put my right hand up to the chute lever and hit the chutes just as I cross the stripe. “Wham!” with the
headwind, they hit real nice! I ease into the brake and see Chris pass me out of my right side window, both chutes blossomed.
“Cool!” I think, he made a full pass too! I file in behind him as we head for the far turnoff. We swing wide to
the right to make the left hand turn and kill our motors. We both pop out with grins of satisfaction that we made it down
the track. Once the crew gets there, they tell Chris he ran a 7.42. I was VERY surprised and pleased to hear, I ran a 7.13,
with all the activity of the run. A great way to end the season!
The fans and the track were happy, Chris and I had
a lot of fun, despite the cold. Hopefully we can have more events with funny cars up here in ’09.
taking the time to read,, and I hope you enjoyed my weekend report.
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