It’s hard to believe that it’s already September and the 2013 Countdown is already here!
I really like the fact that the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown starts here in Charlotte at my home track, zMax Dragway. Unfortunately it does not look like I will be racing at the event but that does not mean that I won’t be really busy this week.
At the Parade of Power
First of all this Thursday is the 6th annual B.R.A.K.E.S. Gala and charity fundraiser event. We have a great event set up and if you are anywhere close to Charlotte, I highly encourage you to join us. We should have about 300 guests this year including many of my NHRA racing friends like Shirley Muldowney, Larry Dixon, Jack Beckman, Steve Johnson, Tony Schumacher, Greg Anderson, Alexis DeJoria, David Grubnic and the Kalitta Motorsports gang, Miss zMAX, and even NASCAR Champ Randy LaJoie and many more!!!
Here is a link to the event.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMax Dragway do quite a bit of promotions leading up to the fall racing events. I had a chance to let NASCAR star David Ragan check out a Top Fuel car up close! This is always a fun event!
Since the Bristol race we have been working really hard to secure sponsorship that will enable me to get back on the track in 2014 and compete for the 2014 Mello Yello NHRA championship. I think we are really close, so stay tuned. I will get an update as soon as things are firmed up.
Also, with help from Kia motors of America we are expanding the B.R.A.K.E.S. program into Florida, Georgia, and new locations in Southern California. Be sure to check the web site out and get your teen signed up.
Thanks for following along! Until next time, keep the shiny side up!
My Bristol wheelstand
Hi race fans! Even though we didn’t do as well as we hoped at Bristol we did have a good race. And we actually made the highlight reels with the wheelstand that we did on the first Friday run.
Unfortunately first round we had a malfunction of the new automatic shut off system mandated by the NHRA. Most of the guys seem to have the system under control but since this was our first race of the year we are just a little bit behind. I was happy that the car ran pretty good, good enough at least to race on Sunday. There was nothing else I wanted more than to turn on a win light on Father’s Day for my boys. I guess that will just have to wait until next year. The team Scott put together to work on the car did a great job and I am hoping to get the car out again at the Charlotte race in September.
My biggest news story is Ginger. She was crowned Mrs. Virginia! I am really proud of her! How does she live in North Carolina and win Mrs. Virginia? That’s a good question… She actually grew up in Midlothian, Va., and she decided that she wanted to represent her home state. She will compete in the Mrs. United States Pageant July 31 in Las Vegas. Stay tuned and I will keep everyone posted of the results!
After the race in Bristol by old buddy and USAF Thunderbirds pilot Rusty “The Shredder” and his family came to visit. I had not seen Rusty in quite some time and his son Jacob had really grown up since the last time they visited! I had fun taking them to one of my favorite places, the Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway. If you ever have a chance this is one place that you would like to visit!
I had a great chance to visit with Robert and Doug Yates during the Hot Rod Power Tour visit here in Charlotte. I’ve been fans of theirs for many years so that was pretty cool!
The guys at Doug Herbert Performance and BRAKES all got together and put together a car to run in the “Chump car” series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The rules are simple; you have to race a car that is worth less than $500 not including safety equipment. It was really fun! I was able to race against my old buddy Cameron Evans, he was lucky that he never got next to me or I might have had to give him a little push! Anyways I started the race in 67th place, after about an hour and a half I pitted to change drivers and fuel up and guess what? A drag racer can make turns! We were 16th when I came into the pits! Anyways it was fun and we ended up finishing 20th place. The next race is in November so we will probably see how we can do again!
Over here in Kannapolis we have a great minor league baseball team, The Intimidators. Named after guess who? The Intimidator #3 Dale Earnhardt. Jessie and our friends had a great time at the game, How could you not? Tickets were just $6 and the fun value was a million! In just 2 weeks On July 27 the Intimidators are hosting a baseball game with the proceeds going to the BRAKES charity! Please go to the BRAKES website t learn more and please come out and join us if you are in the Charlotte area. www.putonthebrakes.org
Speaking of BRAKES, lots of great things happening! We have schools at least one weekend a month at the Zmax Dragway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. This year we have been really blessed to get additional support from Rick Hendrick Cars, Hendrick cars.com and now Kia Motors USA! With this additional support we are adding schools in Georgia, Florida and California! In addition UPS stepped up last week and made a really nice donation to BRAKES that allowed us to add an additional class in Charlotte. If you have a teen please take advantage of this teen driving program. The classes are free and the value is priceless. For dates and information visit the BRAKES website.
The classes are always fun for me; I usually even learn something about driving! The instructors that we have are excellent! Many times my friends show up with their teen drivers. Last week my buddy Don Miller from Penske Racing brought his two grandsons to the school. Don brought a case of his book “Millers Time” and spent the time to personally autograph copies for every one of the BRAKES instructors, how cool! The most rewarding part is that after the school the teens generally all say the same thing, “This is one of the best days of my life.” That makes it all worthwhile.
That’s about all I have for now so until next time, be good!
Hi Fans. I’m excited to say we will be racing at Bristol on Father’s Day weekend!
Thanks to some of my friends support we will be running my B.R.A.K.E.S. car with the picture of Jon & James on it, I figure there is just no way we can lose running that car on Father’s Day and having Jessie with me. And of course I love racing at Bristol. I won my first ever race there, beating Kim LaHaie in the final in 1992 and then managed to win at Bristol every year for the next six years straight, I was also the first to make a four-second run at Bristol and the first to make a 300-mph run at Bristol. So to say it’s one of my favorite tracks would be an understatement!
We are still hard at work to find sponsorship support to be able to run the car full time, we have been right down to the point of the dotted line a couple times!
Quite a bit has happened since my last blog so let me get you up to date!
We had several great B.R.A.K.E.S. events around the races at ZMax Dragway and the 4 Wide nationals. First was an awesome charity golf tournament that raised enough funding to send about 75 teens through the BRAKES driving program! Many thanks to all our friends that came out and played including Marcus and Anna Lisa Smith from Charlotte Motor Speedway and ZMax Dragway, Pro stock Champ Allen Johnson, Ron Capps, Matt Hagen, Greg Anderson, Clay Millican, Bob Vandergriff, Matt and Angie Smith, Rickie Smith, and my super Hall of Fame buddy Bobby Allison. (I’m sure I forgot about someone, so I apologize in advance).
At the end of the day the golf team led by Johnny Gray’s crew chief Rob Wendland took home the top shot! Thanks to NHRA President, Tom Compton for helping present the cool Wally replica awards that were made for us by the crew at Outcast Customs!
Then on Saturday morning at ZMax we had a pancake breakfast, and as usual John Force charged up the crowd! He and Antron Brown could make millions just being standup comics! Thanks to all the racers that came out to support the BRAKES charity including Allen Johnson, Larry Dixon, Blake Alexander, Leah Pruett, John Force, Antron Brown, Terry McMillen, Bob Tasca and Jason Line. We have the pancake breakfast every Saturday morning during the races at ZMax so if you are coming to the race be sure to not miss the breakfast!
I had a great time throughout the weekend joining Alan Reinhart in the tower and commentating for the Nitro sessions throughout the weekend, Thanks to Alan and Jim Trace for making me feel welcome! I had a great time taking my hero Bobby Allison to the 4 wide race. He said that he had not been to a drag race in over 40 years and that it had changed quite a bit! Thanks to hall of famer Don Schumacher for taking the time to show Bobby all around his compound at the races, Bobby was very impressed.
We had my 23rd annual open house and car show at Doug Herbert Performance Center here in Concord, NC. It was a great day! My buddy, NASCAR guru Don Miller ended up winning the best of show with his incredible Plymouth factory race car.
Last week I was invited to Kyle Busch’s shop for his annual open house and car show, while I was there I ran into my good friends and hero’s the Gwynn’s. Its always great to see them!
Our friend Courtney Hansen came by the shop the other day to say hi To Ginger & I, always great to see her! I think Ginger has her getting on green juice… Oh Yum…
To start off the Summer I had a chance to take Ginger and Jessie to the beach. We had a great time hanging on the beach, catching some fish and relaxing.
Now it’s time to start getting focused on Bristol and getting the fuel car down the track! Have a great summer and I will be back to update the blog again soon, until then keep the shiny side up!
Hi fans! I was hoping to be able to make a big announcement but unfortunately I don't have it yet so I will go ahead and bring everyone up to date with what we do have been doing since my last blog update.
We are continuing to work hard and I am sure that we will be back out racing NHRA Top Fuel soon ... very soon!
Jessie and I had fun going to a Carolina Panthers game while wearing our custom jerseys from my buddy Jason, Stroker Ace Kid. I think our team has potential with Steve Smith and Cam Newton but they just have not shown much of it yet.
We had a great visit here at Doug Herbert Performance from my buddy Rusty Keen and his squadron of T-38 Air Force pilots. Rusty (Shredder) was the guy that flew me in the USAF Thunderbirds F-16 and we have remained friends ever since -- very cool! They did the fly over at the fall NASCAR race here in Charlotte so Jessie and I had a chance to go out and check out the airplanes while they were here. I love airplanes and our US Air Force pilots are just awesome!
With Kyle Petty at Ride to Victory!
One of the things we look forward to every year is going on Kyle Petty's charity ride in memory of my buddy Click Baldwin. It's a great time and always fun to support Kyle, Diane Baldwin and Victory Junction gang.
For the past few months I have been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time with my old buddy Bobby Allison. Bobby had been friends with my dad from way back in the 1950s when Bobby was just a little circle track racer from Miami. My dad was one of Bobby's first sponsors, pretty cool to have such a legend for a friend! Bobby has a Buick V-6 engine that he is building for a project car so we have been trying to help him and get this engine running good before he puts it in the car. We have the Buick running on the dyno and now it’s getting ready to go in Bobby's car. I will keep you posted on this project.
Also had a fun time with Bobby and Judy at his birthday party! Coincidently his favorite place is a place up in Mooresville called "Big Daddy’s" -- no it’s not that “Big Daddy” but it is a fun place to eat.
I was going through some of my dad’s old stuff and found a few pictures from the early 1950s , some of them were my dad and George Barris working on a car that they took to Bonneville in 1952. Those are some cool old photos!
One of the most fun things that we have done over the past few months is put together this fun "Harlem Shake" video at zMax Dragway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVuIhsr4Khw
Today was actually REALLY busy! This morning we were invited to take part in the "Big Show" with John Boy & Billy. It gave us a chance to talk about the four-wide race coming up at zMax Dragway and also to let everyone know about the B.R.A.K.E.S. events that we have going on during the race. The charity golf tournament will be Thursday the 18th and then our pancake breakfast will be in the pits at zMax on Saturday morning. Info on all these events at the website www.putonthebrakes.org This weekend we will be at the Auto fair event over here at the Charlotte Motor Speedway so if you are in town come by to say hello. And if you are coming in town for the 4 wide race be sure to come by and say hi, my shop is less than a mile from Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMax Dragway.
That's about all that I know for now. I will post another blog as soon as I have some good racing info.