In the last few months life has been crazy. I am sorry for the delay. I feel like I say that a lot, but I always start my blogs and then get sidetracked with another item and then I pull up NHRA.com and realize that I never posted it! Oops!
So in October we had a lot going on. We did a match race in Tulsa, OK. It was so much fun. We wanted to get some runs in with the Funny Car and of course try to work on my experience. I was able to make one run in the dragster… I learned so much from that run. At first we were going to decide against it because Terry was worried about it being at night, and he didn’t want me make any mistakes. I don’t have any experience at night, and he wanted us to be able to do a good job. We went up to make my run, and it was a little rushed, which is not part of our normal routine, so it took me a minute to adjust. Then I couldn’t find my ear buds, so I had to use a different set, and they of course didn’t fit my ears, so it was a little uncomfortable. We strapped me in, and it was time to have some fun. I did my burnout, backed up, and here we go. As I am waiting for the signal to pull forward, Terry pushed my visor and instantly it started to fog up. I lifted it a bit to see if it would fix it. I realized that I was more focused on that visor and I should have just put it out of my mind but because I wasn’t expecting it, it flustered me a bit. I rolled into the beams and realized that I laid my foot on the gas pedal just a tad… I heard it and fixed it and the lights came down and there I went. It made it about 300 feet and would have kept going, but it still had the front end in the air so I couldn’t steer it, so I lifted! I was so mad! I got down to the other end and got off the track and I am waiting for the team to come pick me up and I was so mad because I felt like I did an awful job! Then everyone got down there and they were all happy because of the times. It went .840 on the rear tire and 2.19 to the 330, and I was off the gas at 1.85 seconds. I was still mad because I felt like I made mistakes. It was definitely a learning run. I know it will get better but I wanted to do a good job.
After testing we came home and got ready for Vegas. We worked so hard to make sure that we were ready because we fully intended on finishing my last runs at Vegas. Vegas was so much fun! We attended the Fanfest and had a great time. This time we sat next to Erica Enders-Stevens, and she was very friendly. Sometimes we go to those type of events and don’t feel like we belong because we are not one of the heroes, but we had a great time. Some of my hometown friends who live in Arizona came up for the weekend, and we got to spend some time with them. The car did a great job. We went 4.39 then 4.29 then it smoked the tires out by the 660 because we got out of the groove. Then it was time for the final session and it’s us and Densham. Gary had struggled during the weekend, which was very uncharacteristic of his car, and neither of us were in. We went 4.34, and Densham went 4.31, and we were both in. There was only one car left to bump us out and Tasca did it! Dang it! We wanted it so bad, but the car did really well and was responding to everything we had been doing to it.
Between Vegas and Pomona was McKailen’s b-day, so we all went up to Seattle to celebrate with him. He is hilarious! His birthday and Halloween are only a day apart, so we knew it was going to be a great trip. We went trick or treating with our friends up there. This year was interesting because Braiden doesn’t like the scary houses but he loves candy so I would go up there with them and he would hide but then would run like crazy once he had the candy. We decided that we would go to the Great Wolf Lodge because that is the one thing that Kailen loves to do. After school we headed down there and enjoyed the day. We got him a Nook for his birthday, which he loves! He is such a good reader. We had our parent teacher conference while we were there, and she told us he is reading on a middle of the year 3rd grade level, which is amazing! We are so proud of him. The boys have come a long way, and I feel bad when they don’t get to be together. We are really looking forward to Christmas this year!
After our time with Kailen we came home and worked a bit. Unfortunately, when we were visiting with him we found out that Terry’s dad had passed away. We knew it was coming we just didn’t think it would be so soon. Terry and I are planning a trip up that way so that he can pay his respects. He loved his dad, and I feel awful that we weren’t able to get there. We decided that in honor of his dad Terry would do a longer burnout at Pomona.
When we got to Pomona it was on the gas! Our flights had been delayed so we arrived later than we would have liked and then Wednesday I spent a lot of the day at the airports picking up our guys. Thursday came and we were so excited… we were hoping to pick up where we left off. We made some good runs. On Q3 we ran 4.25, which was our best of the year. We were so excited! We thought for sure we were going to dip into the teens. Unfortunately when we took it apart Terry didn’t like the way the heads looked so he changed them. With that we missed the tune up because we forgot to account for the difference in the cc’s. It made the tune up too low and we ran 4.32
We are so proud of our team and the progress that is coming along! Also, all year we had NO OILDOWNS! That was so great for us!
Now that the season is over it’s time to get to work on our customer’s projects and we sure do have a lot of them. Usually we wait until the first of January to get the cars done, but because we are so excited about the coming year, we are unloading and starting on all of it this weekend! Next year is going to be a great year! We can’t wait. Terry is already trying to figure out how to go testing and get more laps. We have been working on a sponsorship deal since April, and it looks like it might actually be coming around. If it does that means “Christmas in the shop” will be arriving earlier than normal. We will have announcements coming by the middle of December, so look out for them!
Hope everyone has a great offseason! Less than 90 days until the season starts again… Woohoo!!!
First day of school for McKailen (above) and Braiden (right)
What a great month it has been. I am going to skip right over the rough parts of the month when we had to work on our parenting plan again. We have been working ridiculous hours, but it has been such a busy month. McKailen has started second grade and is really enjoying it. He started at a new school, so the new schedule has been an adjustment. He is also riding the bus! Which is crazy… he is becoming a little man faster than we want… Braiden is also in pre-k and loving it!
We went to Rogersville, Mo., and did a match race with both of our cars and had a great time! We are super excited that the dragster is so happy. The track we went to is Scott Palmer’s home track, and we had such a good time we are hoping we can return next year.
So then we went to Dallas, which had its good parts and its bad parts! The bad parts included rain on Friday and not qualifying on Saturday. This bums me out really bad because it has always been home for me and I so badly want to do well there. The good part however was on MONDAY when I was able to stay and test the dragster! My guys were so supportive, and we all really wanted to finish my license. I have made a total of 12 runs, and I am so close I can taste it. On my first run of the morning I only went to the 330… Terry was very happy with it. He wanted me to go further, but I wanted to make sure that I was doing the procedure correctly. So then on the second run Terry told me go as far as I was comfortable with… I made it to the 660 and then stepped off and pulled my chutes. (That was supposed to be my first run). Terry wanted to make sure that I made my pass and could find all the switches and felt the pull of the chutes. Then on my third pass of the day I was finally ready to make a full pull. I was on the gas and so excited and then just past half-track the car stopped pulling and I knew I was still on the gas. So I got to the end and turned off. When I got out of the car I turned around and saw that there was no more of a belt! Super bummed! So now we are going to hopefully finish my license in a week or two. Since Dallas and Houston are close to us I have some options. I will tell you, it was the best feeling when Del Worsham came over and wanted to know all about it. His daughters love Braiden so it’s nice that we all talk. Scott Palmer signed off on my half-track pass. I am beyond excited and so proud of my guys! Jeremy Bates, Jeremy Ozga, Ray Williamson, Jim Merlino, and Braiden Reich… I am also super proud of Terry. I am sure that it’s not easy for him to stand outside the car and make sure everyone is doing their jobs. Thank you so much Babe for letting me be part of the team and making me a better person!
After testing we came home and Terry went straight to work. He has been working a lot! He did take three days to see Kailen and then Sunday we went and saw the last home Texas Rangers game! The stadium was so loud! It was amazing! We can’t wait until next year.
Well it looks like the season is coming to a close, which means we are going to be busy! We will be attending Las Vegas and Pomona unless something catastrophic happens. We are also working on a deal for next year so hopefully we will have new and exciting news within the next month or so!
Have a great week!
Good evening to all. As I sit down to write this blog many things have crossed my mind. The main thing is how many ups and downs there are in this sport. It doesn’t just apply to the small teams but to the large teams too.
Denver... oh Denver, how great you were to us! When we arrived at Denver, it was a little different than normal. Usually when we get there me and Terry get everything set up and ready for tech. This time the truck arrived and got parked and then Terry flew to Seattle to see McKailen. The way our plan is laid out we can only leave the state for 10 days at a time, so in order to get as much time as possible we have to roll our visits together. So he took an in-state visit for a few days and rolled it with our out of state. So Friday morning Terry and McKailen got on an airplane and came to Denver! Everyone else, including myself, arrived on Thursday, so we all did as much as we could to be prepared without our fearless leader there to make sure we all were doing what we were supposed to. Denver also was the first race that the new latching and tethering systems were required. It is hard to handle a technical problem when Terry isn’t there, but luckily it was pretty easy because we followed all the directions that the NHRA had given us.
Our weekend in Denver went pretty well. We progressed every lap, and we qualified. Most people don't realize how important it is to a small team to qualify. On our final lap of qualifying, we went 4.43, which wasn’t too bad, and it made us #15. So we had to face our friend Jack Beckman first round. Jack is always so funny. He makes everyone laugh but always tries to do right by the small teams. We lost to him first round but it was a great race. He went 4.24, and we went 4.37. That was our best pass of the weekend. It is said that the “mountain” is worth 2 tenths of a second. Needless to say we were really looking forward to Seattle.
But before Seattle could happen we came home with the boys and let them be crazy! We did so much stuff in that short amount of time. We went and saw the movie Turbo, which they both loved! We went to the beach for the day. The boys played so hard that they crashed out in the car on the way home. We went to my parents, and the boys played there while Terry and I went on a date! Most importantly, we spent time together every day! As the boys are getting bigger they are getting braver... as all little boys do. I think it’s hard for them to only get to be together short periods of time because they just start to figure out their places and then they have to separate again. McKailen is getting ridiculously good at reading. He reads every day and enjoys it. Braiden tries to copy him but isn’t quite there yet!
After our time at home we took a road trip and picked up the truck and then continued on to Seattle. We, of course, run Seattle because of McKailen. I don't think we would have gone up there if it wasn’t for him. So we went to the Great Wolf Lodge while we were there before we were allowed to set up on Wednesday. It really bummed us out we had to return McKailen on Wednesday and then we weren’t allowed to see him the whole week we were there. His mother got married on Thursday (Congrats to Bambee and Ed), and we were glad that he got to be part of that, but it really stunk the rest of the weekend that he was there and we never got to see him. But it’s all good because we get to bring him home next week for another 10 days! How awesome is that!
So many people have asked us what happened. The car has been running so well and then this national event seemed to work against us. Usually we are ok with a rainout on one of the days, but this time it worked against us. Since we didn’t get to run Friday, we only got the two chances on Saturday, and by the time we figured out the problem, it was too late. The clutch is the heart of these cars, and there were a couple of problems. It was more of a communication error than anything. One person that it was being done one way and a change was made and none of us thought it would be that critical. We have been getting some help from one of the larger teams, and they are trying to teach us to run fast. We can run 4.30 and some 4.2s, but they want to skip right over that and go for a teen or a 4.0... unfortunately they don't know how to back up, and we aren’t there yet, but it's going in the right direction. In the same breath I must say that this sport has so many ups and downs... you could be like Ron Capps, who won in Sonoma and then didn’t qualify in Seattle. I am sure that is harder than what we go through! When this car finally decides to make a full pass under power it’s going to be fast. I think she (the car) is being temperamental. (Like most women, myself included)....We are giving it the attention it wants and needs, and she is going to pay us back...we know it! Oh and one more amazing bit of information: Congrats to Shawn and Taylor Cowie! Their story is amazing, and it is so great that he was able to come back and do it big for his first national event back. I don't know them but Terry does and he was so excited to hear that Shawn had won. His story is unbelievable! Congrats again!
So after the race, Braiden flew home with my mom so that he could spend a few weeks with his dad. (Speaking of, I had someone ask me if Braiden was Terry’s son this weekend, and I would have thought that after this long everyone knew.... Braiden is from my previous marriage just as McKailen is from Terry’s. However, Terry treats both boys the same and would do anything for either of them.) McKailen was, of course, staying there, so it was just me and Terry. We decided that we would swing through Vegas on our way home because it was only 100 miles out of the way. Our first anniversary was on the 11th, so we thought it would be a good couple of days just us. Of course, our trips never really go as planned. So on the way down to Vegas the big truck blew a water hose, and it added a nice 6 hours on to our trip. So we arrived in Vegas late. After the first day of catching up on some much-needed rest we took to the strip. Terry and I are not very big gamblers, but I will say that they have the Deal or No Deal games and I really enjoyed those! We always picked a case with little to nothing in it, so it was short lived! We also won tickets to see the Blue Man group show, and it was pretty cool! On our last night there Terry finally agreed to go on the NY NY roller coaster. Now let me explain Terry is deathly afraid of heights, and I am not! I love coasters... I would go on them every day if I could. This was a big step for him, and I appreciate his willingness to go with me! He even said he would do it again. Woot! Woot!
So now we are home, and we are on the gas like there is no tomorrow! We are working on engines all day every day. We need to get caught up for our customers and that’s what we are doing. We will not be racing again until Dallas. As many of you have figured out I still don't have a license and we thought that Dallas was going to be the big debut, but we are going to again push it back. However, it is already set that all of our guys will be staying after the Dallas event so that I can complete my license. Super excited! There will be another female Top Fuel driver… Woohoo! Really looking forward to competing with Leah she is a great friend of mine. Go buy her shirts in the NitroMall!
On the last note of this blog I would just like to say thank you to my husband, Terry, for being the person he is. If it wasn’t for him I don't think life would be as great as it is. Looking forward to the next 50 years — I love you babe! Happy one year wedding anniversary!
A father’s love is always there whether you can see it and feel it or not. This year we tried to make a point to show our kids how important fathers were. As many of you know we have a son who lives in Seattle with his mother and we don’t get to see him near as often as we would like. Some may ask why, and there are many reasons that go along with that. We are only allotted so many days out of each month, sometimes it has to do with money or time or both. You don’t realize how much time it actually is away from work. Usually there is a day traveling to him where you miss most of the day then the 3 or 4 days we get with him and then usually we lose the next day because of the traveling. It is super important to us to get our time with him, and while financially it has been really tough the last few months, we have still made it up there to see him. The last few months Terry has only been able to go once, so we made sure that for the month of June Terry and I both went. It has been since October last year that I have been able to come. While I wish I could go more, it is more important for Terry to go.
So we knew this week was going to be special, but we couldn’t have imagined that it would go as well as it did. McKailen and I have had a pretty good relationship, but there have been its bumps. Being a step parent is harder than they tell you, and when you only get a limited time it’s even worse. This time couldn’t have been any better… he was super affectionate, he listened and wanted to help with everything. Kailen and I had been planning things for us to do with Terry for weeks. He really wanted to go to the Great Wolf Lodge, and while I know it was more for him than it was for Terry I was really excited to get to take him. So we had a great time playing in the water and just hanging out. The only person missing was Bman… he spent the time with his dad, and I am sure they had a great time. We took Kailen to the dentist while we were there. We went to Gentle Dental, and they were the nicest people. The staff was great. It had been a long while since he had been there, so I was a little concerned, but the people made it so easy. We had such a great time with him. I can’t wait to spend more time with him.
After we saw him we flew home and worked for a few days. We then left for a match race. SALT LAKE CITY here we come… Talk about amazing fans! We were so excited! We ran both of our cars, and they did such a good job. Our guys did amazing turning two cars around in 2 and ½ hours… couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with the cars! After our match race we decided that we would go to Chicago. We know it was last minute, but we really wanted to go.
We know we didn’t qualify, but the car is really showing it wants to go. We just need to speed it up a little, but we are doing it in steps. But I can say that we are not even on NHRA’s radar… we have had no oil all year and still have our freebie! Speaking of NHRA, we are now required to run a new latching system as of Denver and we are trying like crazy to get it on the car, but it is super difficult. There are now tethers that go from the firewall to the front two latches… that’s right I said it two latches!
Since we have been home we have been working like crazy on both the cars and in the shop. I think every day Terry and I have been here until 10 pm or later. I need a vacation! What a crazy month it has been and is going to be! Well, have a great week, and I will be back at it soon to write you more. I do believe I have an On the Run story at the end of the month, so hopefully there will be some really cool stories in that one!