My dad is a race car driver – at least on the weekends. Since he was 16 years old, he has raced in one form or another. He is now racing NHRA and IHRA Pro Modified. His car is a replica Viper and he races a nitrous oxide system (NOS). Last year he came in 8th place in the points (yeah!). More about his racing here. I don’t get to see him race very often, but it is always fun. The last time Wade and I saw him it was in the fall in North Carolina – and it was very cold. This time, we saw him in Huntsville, Al and it was hot!
One of our friends from GaTech, Daniel Chandler, lives in Madison, Alabama so we begged a place to stay and invited him to the races with us. Saturday is three rounds of qualifying and Sunday is a single elimination bracket. The sweltering heat plays havoc with the cars and with the track – but that works in my dad’s (and the other NOS cars) favor. There were not many cars in his class this weekend so everyone made it to the elimination rounds, but their order was determined by the qualifying times. My dad was near the bottom, but his crew finally realized what was wrong and spent the evening switching out the clutch and the transmission.
Sunday morning Daniel cooked us breakfast and then it was back to the track. Dad won his first round – both cars had some trouble, but Dad made it to the end of the track first. The guys on his crew now knew exactly what was wrong this time- too much weight on the clutch. His next race was against the No. 1 guy – Shannon Jenkins (the only other NOS car). Dad had an ETA of 4.17, but Shannon had a 4.13 (this is on a 1/8 mile track). Oh well, you win some and you lose some – but we had a blast.
Drag races are interesting places – kind of like redneck central. The announcer uses phrases like “He brought a pocketknife to a gunfight” to describe a car that isn’t as fast as it’s opponent. The people all around us in the stands were exactly what the stereotype would imply. We mostly hung out in the pit area with everyone else that came to see my dad race – Laura’s family and some friends. We had awesome snacks and goodies (Starne’s BBQ) and electric fans – sadly the AC was out in the trailer. They do put on an awesome firework show on Saturday night – I can’t wait to see what Atlanta does this year for the 4th.