As I sit in the airport heading home from a great weekend with our kids I decided I have waited long enough to write a blog… So the month of January was crazy, and February hasn’t slowed down any. In January, we got news at the last minute that we were going to get to go testing. We had a great time. We were in Phoenix with JFR and a few others and felt like we were making progress with every run. The first two days didn’t go the way we wanted because we didn’t get any runs in, but we sorted out a bunch of problems. We have been using these levers that we couldn’t make work consistently for a year, so we decided to go back to what we knew worked. We also changed how we build our clutch packs, so it took some time getting everyone going. When we finally got to make some runs it was back to the fast car at the 60ft. We have been struggling to make the car 60ft and 330, but then it picks up further out.
One of the many things we did to better our team this off-season was to bring Jim Ermalovich on board. Terry and Jim have worked together on and off over the years, and we feel that his knowledge is a huge asset to our team. It has been a struggle for our team outside the car once Terry is belted in. Jim will be able to see things that I won’t necessarily understand right at the moment. This is a huge confidence booster when you know that there are more knowledgeable people outside the car. We made 5 runs with Terry’s car and were able to make the 60 foot times more consistent. We are not trying to set the world on fire and know that we are not quite ready for that 4.00 pass, but we sure are working hard to move forward.
We also made 1 pass with my car, and while we wanted to make more to make sure that I was ready for my first race of the season, there wasn’t enough time. As most people know my first race is this coming week in Phoenix. We are so excited for it. It has been a long off-season, and we are ready to get back out there and show you what we can do. I have never raced here, so this track will be a first for me. Many people don’t know how nerve wracking that can be. I mean Denver I have a history there and was familiar with how things would work, same as Dallas and Houston because that’s where I earned my license. In testing I was unaware that there was more track, and if I didn’t get it stopped I could have continued to a road course that is attached to it. We are going to go down to the top end on Thursday, which we have done with all of the other tracks I have been at, just to make sure I know what things look like and where we are. It’s nice to know all of the options when you’re going 300 miles per hour.
We have many goals this year with both cars. My first goal of course is to get that 3.-something pass and be 300+ mphs. I think it’s important because I feel like I need that to add to my confidence. The pass I made in testing was going really well. However, it was dark, and I was a little unsure of things, so I shut it off at 650 feet and it coasted to 4.14. I can only believe that we are on the right track and I am going to get that first goal at Phoenix. I also have other goals for this season. I would like to win at least 3 rounds. I know some of you are thinking “3 rounds no problem,” however, for the smaller teams it is much harder to make that happen.
Many people have asked me and Terry what we think about the new oildown rule. I am for the NHRA deciding to do something even though it might end up hurting the car counts later in the year. I, for one, am very worried about it. Being a new driver, there are many things that go through your mind, and while the veterans can slow it down much more and know when something is wrong, I won’t necessarily have that same instinct. We all have radios, and while that is helpful, there are a few things it doesn’t help with. One is when you are past half-track and it puts a cylinder out sometimes it’s hard to see from the starting line; not only that by the time they push the button, yell on the radio, and I react to it the run will be over. The other thing that is concerning is I have not felt what it feels like to lose an engine. At Pomona in the fall on the last pass the panels came off my car, and I didn’t know that’s what it was until I got out of the car at the top end. I am really hoping not to feel it any time soon, but you never know when you are putting nitro in the tank. I don’t know how much my team or some of the other small teams will be able to endure. I keep thinking that if you get 10 oildowns it will have cost you $91,000… That is almost one hundred thousand dollars! Think about that number for a minute. It is more than what Terry ran the Funny Car on all year last year… that puts it into perspective! I do believe that NHRA made a good decision to have a penalization, but I am concerned for my team and others because we can’t afford to have it happen to us. We will be out of business. Now I can say that our team in the last two years has made such an effort to not be that team, but it does take us more time to do the turn around to ensure that all of our extras are done. That, of course, creates another problem, with the live television and shorter turnarounds. I guess we will just have to take it as it comes and figure it out.
On to Pomona… we only ran the Funny Car because it was the smartest decision financially. After testing we really thought we had all the stupid things that could have happened to us done. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The first run Friday it smoked the tires at the hit, so for Q2 we were kind of blind but just wanted it to go down the track. It did… 4.28. However, we weren’t in the top 12. For Q3 we were trying to run a .19 or .20 and knew it was on its way. Once again we were plagued with a malfunction. When Terry did the burnout, he felt the clutch pedal come back and knew something was wrong and said it was going to smoke the tires right away, and sure enough it did just that. When we got to the top end he got off the track, he told us that it blew the clutch line off, and just as he was saying it there was fluid under the car… thank goodness he was off the track. When we got the car back to the pits, we found a broken fitting, which let all the clutch fluid out and is why it smoked the tires. That, of course, was not the worst of our bad luck for the weekend, seeing that the last session rained out. We knew it was going to go down there and run well, but we didn’t even get a chance. The only thing that makes you feel better is when you look at the fact the Beckman didn’t get in either. They have a ton of money, and even money doesn’t ensure that you will qualify. We were disappointed that we didn’t qualify when we would have had we made the top 12 Friday. Oh well on to the next one…
Since the race was over we have been on the gas. I think we have been home a total of 15 hours or so. Terry and I flew home and then we had to go to Indy to pick up our new body. We made the trip and made it home in time to sleep and get up and go to the airport. This was our weekend to have both boys together since they both had half days on Friday and no school on Monday. We had a great time together just as we always do. We did some indoor go-karting, played some football, went swimming at the hotel, went bowling, and played video games. Lastly this morning before we went to the airport we went indoor skydiving! It was so great… the kids’ faces were so funny! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. Even when they tried to keep their legs straight it didn’t work. I have the best videos and photos from it, and it was a first for all of us together. They already want to go back and learn more tricks, but I think it will be a little while. I truly enjoy our time together. It never feels like enough. Now, back home for a few days, and then I will leave for Phoenix. Terry isn’t even coming home; he is flying straight there tomorrow to make sure that we don’t fall behind. We want to have the best first race of the year for me. We will be announcing our schedule for me this week, and I am so glad I can finally talk about it. I know some people have been wondering. I can’t wait to represent Top Fuel and be out there more often with my fellow drivers and all of our fans! Have a great week and come see us!
Good Afternoon to all of our readers, I am so excited to say it has not been 6 months since I have written. Well the last month has been very busy. Braiden started Kindergarten, and McKailen is now in 3rd grade… I feel like the time is going by faster and faster. People always tell you that once you have kids the time will fly by, but you never really think it’s going to be that way. The boys are both enjoying their new teachers and adventures. McKailen has finally started a team sport. We have been hoping for this for a few years, and we are proud to say he is a Blackhawk and loving playing soccer. Braiden is going a thousand miles a minute and is into everything he can be.
Let’s jump into the racing information…. At the track in Rogersville, Mo., we ran both cars and had a great time. The fans and staff there are always so friendly, and we love going there. We were really hoping the Scott Palmer was going to come out since it’s close to his home and he happened to be home that weekend, but he assured me he is not a good spectator. I don’t blame him one bit. The Funny Car made 2 good runs there, and I made 1. Since it’s an 1/8th-mile track we both shut off early. We had a few hiccups while we were there. We hadn’t serviced our blowers, so the cars weren’t making as much power as usual and started scuffing. We haven’t had a scuff problem in a long while, so we were a little stumped to why it was happening. We tried new oil and weren’t sure if that was part of our problem… I don’t believe it was. We packed up and pulled out Saturday night after we were done and then headed home. It was a long drive Sunday, but we got it all done. We parked our truck at the Texas Motorplex knowing that we were going to be there for the race the next week.
We were literally home 10 hours, and then I put Terry on a plane to go see McKailen to make sure that we got our time in with him. They had a great time! They are finally getting into a routine for when Terry is there. Kailen called me every hour… it was awesome! He has never wanted to talk to me so much! Terry kept telling me that we (Kailen and I) don’t need him… I think he was a little jealous. After their time together, Terry flew all night Wednesday night and arrived at DFW at 5 a.m. Thursday morning… That makes for a long day.
We thought this was finally going to be our year to qualify at home. On Friday, we ran 4.24, which we were happy with. We thought for sure on Saturday we would be able to go a little faster and would get in the show. However, we weren’t prepared enough to make that happen. The first run it ripped the tires off just like everyone else did. Then on the second run it pushed a head gasket. The head gasket was our fault, but it really stinks that we didn’t make the show. The top 12 rule bit us for that race. Many people have opinions about that rule and sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not. In this case it wasn’t. However, in Seattle it was helpful that we made the top 12 because then we were able to focus on my car and get it qualified Saturday. Sunday we got my car ready for testing. While we only made two laps they were very productive. We put a new fuel system on my car, and we wanted to make sure it was where it was supposed to be. Terry was very happy with the fuel curve after the first run. I too was happy as my reaction time went from .150 to .110. As a new driver I have been told not to worry about my reaction times, so it is not something we focus on. However, now that the car is faster I don’t want to be the weak link. The second run it smoked the tires right at the hit. This is something I don’t have any experience with, so while you might think it’s a bad thing it’s not. Terry showed me on the computer that I got off it quick, and it was good for my first time. The even better part of that run was that my reaction time was .082! Woohoo!!! Better and better! I was very happy with that.
One thing many people don’t see is that with all the time we spend going to Seattle it leaves less time to be prepared. We wouldn’t trade our time with that little guy for the world, but it does show you the cars need more attention. After we came home we made sure that we set aside time every week to work on the cars. We want to go to Vegas and Pomona and do well. We would really like to qualify and run well. However, we have decided that if we can make the car run consistent teens, and we don’t get in we will still be happy. We have serviced the motors, the heads and the blowers. Now with a few weeks left, we will double check all the little things that keep us from being successful. We know we can do this. For Vegas we only ran the Funny Car, but we then tested with the dragster on Monday. We were happy the Funny Car qualified, but we weren’t as happy with its performance. It went 4.29, but it just wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We lost first round to Hagan and that’s ok, but he was so great because he made sure to mention that it was Kailen’s birthday. Back to the dragster… Again we needed to get it closer to going fast. When we put my car together in Vegas we found another problem with one of the lines that helps with the clutch, so we only got to make one run. It shook so hard I had an instant headache. I had never had it shake, and I was glad it was during testing because I was pretty much useless after it happened. When you watch the numbers these cars are putting up its amazing.
Pomona was rather interesting. Since we ran both cars we were trying to make a plan that made the most sense to us. We decided we would run both cars the first run and then the Funny Car would sit out until Saturday. The first run with the Funny Car it smoke the tires almost immediately. We have been working on making our blowers better and sure enough it was so much better that it revved to 8,500 rpm, which is above our target number by a lot. When it revs higher, it needs less weight on the clutch, so we had too much primary because of the change in the rpm. First run with my car, it was going great and then it just stopped, and I wasn’t sure what happened. I got out on the top end and sure enough the blower belt broke. So we turned it around and got it ready for Q2. The bad part for smaller teams is when it gets so cold at the final race we don’t make enough power so the car shook. It was ok I didn’t expect to be in the top 12. Onto Saturday…our amazing sponsor brought out more than 100 people to experience the race. We really wanted to do well. The first run I was so disappointed. When I was staging the car and stepped off the clutch the car broke a brake line, and it rolled right through the beams. I knew that was our best chance of getting in since the sun was still out. I was glad however that it happened at the starting line instead of the finish line. It could have been really bad. SO we move onto the Funny Car. It, unfortunately, didn’t have the best of luck either when we warmed the car up everything was fine and we always rerun the valves to double check. Well unfortunately two of the spark plug wires got crossed up, and as soon as they tried starting it Terry knew something was wrong and he pulled the plug.
Onto Q4… I watched as it was going to be the quickest field in history and knew it was going to be hard to get in. Also because it had been cold we don’t have the experience to be fast enough yet. So the car launched hard and then shook. I thought about it and decided to pedal it… boy she was moving… then all the sudden the top panel right in front moved, and I didn’t know what happened. So I lifted. I didn’t qualify and that was ok, but when I got out of the car I realized that two of the body panels had blown off. These cars arch so hard that when I pedaled it we believe it got just enough air under it pull those panels off. I haven’t had a motor break, so I wasn’t sure what I was feeling; I just knew something wasn’t right. When they dropped me off and I headed over to the Funny Car, I knew I was in trouble. I am not supposed to pedal it, but he wasn’t mad at me at all. When I told him I thought about it and decided to do it, he just said well you have to learn sometime. So we went up for the last run with the Funny Car, and it was just so cold… it shook and he lifted. No sense in tearing it up and not make the show. When we got back I was able to spend some time with the kids our sponsor had brought around, and I put them all in my car. That is the best part about being a driver. We looked at the computer, and my car was really moving after I pedaled it. I was also No. 1 to the 60-foot clock with .824… I decided I was the winner for the 60 foot race, and I was happy with that.
Sunday morning Terry and I got up and ran a half marathon at Disneyland. My mom was originally supposed to do it with me, but she got hurt, so Terry offered to go with me. I am so proud of him. We may not have been fast, but we stayed together and made it through the whole thing. Needless to say it was an early night for us. I believe he was asleep at 630 p.m. Monday we went to the banquet and had a great time as usual. It’s always fun dressing up with the people you spend most of your time with.
The words NEXT YEAR are very important words to all teams. When you look at the super teams and that some of them may be going away it’s unbelievable. We have been having meeting after meeting and are so close on a deal we can taste it! We have never been this close to a real deal. Many people have been asking what the plans are for both cars next year, if I will run for ROTY. What it is looking like… well here are a few scenarios. First, it could stay the same with us running 10-12 races with the Funny Car and none with the dragster. Second, we could be running Terry’s normal and doing just as we did this year and run 3 or 4 events to keep me under the rookie cap. Third, we could be running full seasons with one or both cars. I will tell you that if my car is not completely funded it will not run. Terry has been very strategic with my career and will only let my car run if it’s funded. I know that doesn’t really help you to figure out what our plans are, but I assure you we will have a plan shortly, and as soon as we do I will let all you amazing fans know!
For Thanksgiving, we were able to bring McKailen home with us. We had such a great time, and I am thoroughly enjoying how our relationship is going. He is now 8! I can’t believe it. He is such a great kid! I hope everyone is enjoying their off-season, and I will be letting you know shortly what our final plan is for next year. Have a great week, and I’ll write soon!
This blog is a mixture… I started writing this right after Englishtown. Then the month of July hit, and I never had time to send it in or keep up with it. I am leaving the first part of it, which is through Father’s Day. I will then move on to the most amazing month we have had in a long time. Please enjoy!
We went to E-town, and it is always a great time to get to go to Terry’s hometown. We get to see so many people, and while the list of regular attendees that are people from Terry’s past is getting smaller, it is still so much fun to see everyone. In E-town we did pretty well. We ran 4.24, and while it was not the fastest time because the Funny Cars were laying down killer numbers, we are still very happy with our performance. I thought we had a pretty good chance going into Sunday. We knew Cruz was going to want the backup record number, and we just needed to do our thing. When I saw him go up in smoke for a split second I thought we had him. Unfortunately, we then smoked them… it seems like when our car smokes and Terry has to pedal it, it’s all over because it jacks the front end up and makes it hard to steer. So it was close, but Cruz got us.
After the race we went to NYC and saw the 9/11 Memorial. If you haven’t been able to go I would highly suggest it. Many people forget what is important, and when you go to the memorial there is nothing you can do but remember what happened to our country and our people. You start to remember where you were and what you saw. I was still in high school, and because I grew up next to one of the largest army bases they thought we could potentially be a target and put everyone on lockdown. When you’re in high school you don’t understand everything that is happening, but after being at the memorial I will never forget what happened and everyone that was lost. Terry said that he was working in Jersey and he saw all the cars coming from the city covered in ash and soot… he watched the second plane hit on television. He said it was surreal and can’t believe how long it has been since it happened. After we were done in NYC we went and picked up one of our guys and we all went to the Jersey Shore and had dinner. It was a great time.
We went to Seattle to see McKailen since it was Father’s Day, and we went and saw a Mariner’s game. Then we went to the Shore in Seattle… this was a little chilly, but we all had a great time. We went to the pool in the evening, and it was warm. Kailen made us these great poems and books. He is such an amazing kid. Braiden is with his dad for a couple of weeks and getting to meet his new sister Skylar. He will then be traveling with us in July. All in all, it has been a very great month.
As I sit here and watch Terry working on his newest project I am able to reflect on the amazing summer we have had. There are ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade one second of it with anyone or anything in life. I picked McKailen up for our 6 week summer vacation and the business started. We had a great first week at home, spending some much needed time, just the three of us. Braiden was at his dad’s meeting his new sister, who he loves very much! I think it is a little confusing to him why he wasn’t the center of attention every day, but he is getting used to it and building a bond with her. When we left for Norwalk, we knew that there were going to be some really long days and some great amazing times. Our first stop was Indianapolis to pick up my new canopy dragster from DSR. I can’t believe that we actually made it happen. I can’t thank everyone at DSR and on the Matco team in particular for helping us. I also want to thank Bass and Ashley from Patriot Grading for making this miracle happen. Who would have ever thought that I would have the 5th canopy car… not me! The new car came with its share of problems. When building a car, it would be ideal to take it home and make everything perfect. This, however, wasn’t an option for us. We headed over to Norwalk and had a decent weekend until the end. In Q3 the Funny Car made a good pass (not great but good), and we would have qualified had we not hit the last cones, which DQ’d our run. Then we went up for Q4 and were confident that it would roll right down there and most likely run a little better than the previous run. However, it broke an exhaust, which could have cost us much more than just qualifying, so we were glad it didn’t take out the body. Most of the following week, we stayed in Norwalk and built my car. It was a lot of long hours and days, but we got quite a bit finished on it. On Friday morning we headed over to Canada for the Nitro Nationals. We had a great time, and the car ran pretty good. Let me tell you, I think McKailen could sell ice to an Eskimo… he was selling parts and paper airplanes like crazy! Super proud of him! Terry and I packed up and headed back so that we could be back across the border by morning…. you wouldn’t think it would be that long of a drive, but we had a few stops to make. First we stopped at Dote Racing to work out some deals… then we headed back to Indy because there was an issue with the wingstand that we weren’t sure how to fix. The amazing people in the DSR fabrication shop and more help from the Matco team, and we were all fixed up.
We arrived in Denver Tuesday night, practically Wednesday morning, and that was the start of the most amazing week! We got everything set up and started having all the tech stuff done, which for a new car includes a chassis certification and checking the angles of the wing and the layback on the wing. We also checked all the safety devices to make sure they were working. Thursday morning I went to my first-ever television set. Debbie and Bri Bandimere invited me to be part of the group to raise awareness to fight heart disease in women. We did a segment on channel 9 news on the Colorado and Company show. It was amazing! They made me feel so welcome. I made sure to join the track walk on Saturday morning! The Bandimeres are fantastic people, and I am so lucky that they chose to have me go with them. I will never forget it… Thank you!
Now let’s talk about some racing. We missed the first session because the car wasn’t 100%. We decided together that if it’s not perfect it’s not going. We made sure everything was ready, and for the second session I made my Pro debut (which sounds so funny to me considering I have been a fan since I was a little girl). We made a planned shut-off run to make sure that all of the systems were functional and to make sure that I was ready. The best feeling that evening was sitting in the car watching Courtney get in and realizing I was in great company and because of my husband and my sponsors I was getting ready to do something so many people would love to do! As I rolled down the hill I started going through my steps and just kept saying it’s just another test day… Lo and behold it was not just another day! When the car started everything fell into place. I got the most amazing thumbs up from starter Mark Lyle… it’s funny how different it is when normally it’s Terry in the seat. I stood on the gas and away we went.
Now when I turned the corner, it became apparent to me that I had never been down to the other end before my team and my car. This is where it gets a little blurry. We were in such a hurry to get me out of the car that I forgot to turn off the air system and my hand just hit the fire bottle knob as they tried to pull me out… so the bottom of my suit got soaked. It was funny! I couldn’t stop laughing… as they sat me in the chair and gave me a mic the real job started. Many people say it looks so easy… they are wrong! It is harder to do the interviews than it is to drive the car. I think it was rather funny. Terry tried to hijack my interview but it was a lot of fun. I am still learning what and how to say things. I think I got told several times to bring the mic up and to lift my hat because they couldn’t see my face. It was such a great day. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better unless I could have made two runs.
Saturday was another great day. We made an almost full pull when I lined up with Brittany. I had never run with someone else in the other lane. It created its own set of challenges. Even though I knew the procedure, I was so afraid to hold her up or make a mistake. It was great except for the fact that the radio came flying out of my car… I didn’t know it until we got to the top end. We turned the car around and were ready for the last session when we heard that Rob Passey wasn’t going to make the run. This made it to where we had a choice. The team as a group decided that we would skip the last session. For me it was a little disappointing because the only way to get better is to get more seat time, and I knew I was at a disadvantage to start with, seeing that we don’t have the budget many other teams do. Instead, ESPN decided they wanted me to come down to do another interview. It was so much fun sitting there as I have watched so many before me sit at the top of the staging lanes.
I ended up being number 16 and would face Tony “the Sarge” Schumacher… this has many challenges. First, he is number 1 and for a reason. He is a champion and an amazing driver. Oh and let’s throw in that “winningest driver in Top Fuel history!” This, of course, should make you nervous. I tried to stay calm. I knew I wouldn’t win if he went 3.8s or .9s, but I was there in case something happened. Sure enough that something was the hazing of the tires. Many people have asked and/or stated that I should have seen him out front. However, what you don’t realize is that with the capsule your field of vision is less. I never saw him. I kept thinking he should be there… where is he… where is he….then I went to hit the chutes and saw the win light come on. I must have had the highest pitched scream coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t believe it. When I got out of the car and he shook my hand, I knew it was true, so I hurried back to the starting line as my team took the car back to service it. The problem, however, was earlier in the morning our generator blew up, and we had no air tools power. So thank you to Rob Wendland, Steve Chrisman, and all of his guys for helping our team turn it around with no power. I went down to help make sure that we got Terry’s car running and it went. I didn’t figure we would both win, but had we both won I don’t know what we would do. I say I would want his car to go because he has earned it and made it possible for me to do this, but the competitiveness in me would have wanted to try for both cars.
Next round I had Brittany, and the funniest thing happened. We started going to the lanes, and we were kind of following each other back and forth… I had no idea that I had lane choice! I, of course, picked the same lane because I figured it would bring me luck. I think the second round was hardest on Braiden. I am his mom and he wanted me to win, BUT Brittany is Braiden’s “wife,” and she has to win. For those of you who don’t know, Braiden gave Brittany diamonds last year, and they got married in Vegas… Just ask her she will tell you. She and I were talking about it before second round. She is one of the people who I really enjoy talking with. We rolled up, and the car made a good pass. She beat me and that ended my day. I am beyond blessed to have my team, husband and my sponsors… Let me reiterate how amazing they are! Thank you to Patriot Grading, Dipinto international, Clevite, Dj Safety, All Floors & More, Dunn & Rich Investments, Nitro A GoGo, Gilbert Trucking and One Diamond for everything they have done for us!
Even though our race day was done, our day was just getting started! We had to get everything packed up and get to the airport. We just barely made our flights! Disneyworld, here we come… My parents, the kids, Terry and I had a great week! We had so much fun! We then flew back to Colorado to pick up my car and headed to Washington. As our time was coming to an end as a complete family you could see all of us realize how much we would miss being together. So as our last hurrah we took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge… the waterpark is always so much fun. We then got to the track and business started. I took Kailen over to see his papa because I knew he missed him. We had a great talk, then it was time to start working.
The Seattle race is always a great time because we are used to being there. We spend so much time in Seattle it really is our second home. I made the first pass on Friday and was in the top 12. We knew it wouldn’t stay, but we had already made the decision that Terry should run the second session for two reasons… One I don’t have the experience going into the sun. I tried several times and days to see if I could see and we felt it was better to let him run. Two we didn’t think I would be ready to run fast enough to get in the top 12. So it was Funny Car time! And Boom…. 4.19 career best…We were so excited! We have been waiting for the “teen” number for a long time! We both qualified, which made us so happy and excited. Sunday morning was a whirlwind… I made it to driver intros just in time to down my Mello Yello and walk out, then I raced back to make sure the car was ready. I lost first round … it made me sad my day was over early, but I had such a great month there was no way to have asked for a better July-Aug. Terry also lost first round. So then we just packed up and tried to spend time with Kailen. We knew we were having to return him at the end of the day, and it was so sad. We miss him so much and wish we could see him.
We flew home for a week or so and then we came back and picked up the truck and headed over to Spokane. We had such a great time. The fans were awesome, and they have made so many upgrades since the last time Terry had been there. I ran 4.98 to the quarter-mile, but I was off the gas right at the 1,000-foot marker. I was a little concerned since smaller tracks don’t have the automatic shutoffs, I didn’t want to be late on the chutes. I was told that it was the first 4-second run at that track. The track told us there had been one other run many years ago but that there was something messed up with the clocks. However, if someone ran in the 4s I don’t want to take that away from them… I am just happy I did my job. Terry’s car ran 5.65. He was off way early because the car was drifting, plus he said he couldn’t outrun me and ruin my day.
Now we are home and getting ready for the last few events of the year. We are so excited! Dallas is our next national event. We haven’t been able to qualify the Funny Car at that track, so that is our goal… We want to race on Sunday at our home track. We are also going to stay on Monday so I can get some more laps. We know that Pomona will be very fast, and we need to make me ready for it. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and we will see you soon!
Well hello! Hope everyone is having as great of a month as I have been having. We have been really busy in the shop and things are really starting to look up for us. We are still working on finalizing our sponsor, and that is why it has not been announced just yet. We are hoping in the coming weeks everything will finally be done and when it is it’s going to be big! (Or at least its how we feel)
For the weeks leading up to Houston, we all worked our tails off, and it feels like we have been running at full speed. No down time… We added a new member to our team: Scott French. He is helping with the consistency in our clutch program. It seems like we have a very good engine program, and our clutch has been where we have been lacking. He has a lot of experience and is very meticulous, which is something we need. We feel like we are moving forward in every direction and are really looking forward to the future.
Let’s talk about Houston… We worked right up until it was time to leave. Luckily this race is close to us, and we left a little later than we would have liked, but it’s so close it didn’t matter. Friday Q1 we thought we were ready, and the car shook. It shook hard! Then on Q2 it went down there… not fast but it went. I believe we went 4.47… When we got back to the pit, we knew something was wrong, and unfortunately, it had a parts failure and hurt our new block. We weren’t in the top 12, but we knew we were heading in the right direction. Q3 it went out and ran 4.38 It wasn’t the fastest, but it put us in the #14 spot. Then on Q4, it decided to carry the front, which made it very hard to drive. It got out of the groove and was all over the place. However, our 4.38 kept us in the show. We even got an interview with Jamie at the top end. Super excited and proud of our guys. Going into eliminations we knew we needed to stand on it. We had Beckman first round. After we stripped the blower before round one, we thought it was going to be our day to win a round. The car was on a run and doing great and then the blower snout broke. Unfortunately because we are not highly funded the harder we run the car the more it shows which pieces are the weakest links. It wasn’t our day, but we were happy with our performance at home.
We can’t thank the people enough that keep us going. We are really looking forward to the future with the new sponsor, but the people who have been with us when it’s good and when its bad are what keep us going. There were some concerns from our sponsors that when Terry announces this deal that they would lose their spot, and that will never happen. Not only will they stay on the car, but they will also be added to my car at its first race.
Speaking of first races… I am so excited to finally say that I am a licensed Top Fuel driver. It has been a long time coming. I was ecstatic when Brad Littlefield called and wanted to speak to me. Terry stood next to me to make sure I said everything I was supposed to. For those who don’t know, Monday after the race we stayed and made three runs to complete my license. It was amazing. I have the greatest group of guys working on my car. They really want to do well and keep me safe. It is looking more and more every day that my first event will be the Denver race. I also plan on running Seattle. If all goes well we will run Pomona at the end, but that one is still up in the air. Many people have asked if Terry is going to lose his driving job, and I ensure you that he will not. He is why we do this, and even if it never becomes full time for me, I want him to have the chance at doing it the right way. He has waited a very long time I feel like he has paid his dues, and it’s important that he gets to do this. For many people they have the passion for racing but not always the determination to keep going. I am always proud of him for fighting for the things he loves most. Between racing and making the time to see Kailen I couldn’t ask for a more determined person.
As the years go on they seem to be going faster and faster. Kailen is getting ready for a concert at school. They are singing songs from The Sound of Music. One of the days he was playing the triangle, but I am not sure he gets to play it at the concert. Terry can’t wait to see him. Along with his concert he has told us he is training for a 5K, which I think is awesome for him. He says it’s not his favorite activity, but he gets to do it with his mom, which makes her happy. As far as running is concerned, Kailen and I have been working out my costume for the Avengers half marathon that I am doing in November, and I think we have agreed to green, black and silver with a tutu and a cape. I am sure there will be many interesting costumes, and I can only be glad that both of our boys are trying to add input on what they think it should be. Braiden has been so busy with t-ball. He is on the Yankees, and the coach says he is a star player. I think at 5 if they learn the basics we are doing well. We are now getting ready for his pre-kindergarten graduation. It is so cute, they have caps and gowns and will be in an auditorium. It’s a big deal around here. Braiden is also getting ready to welcome his new sister. She will be here in June. His dad and step mom are super excited, and they are trying to keep B involved, which I think is great. He is very protective over her already and she is not even here yet.
We also welcomed a new member to our family. My brother and sister-in-law have a happy and healthy baby girl. It is all very exciting. We couldn’t be happier for them and everyone else we know that is having a baby. Just the other morning the announcement came that Eric (Hopsing) and Kelly Lane have welcomed a baby girl into their family. This is important to us seeing that our full-time guy is Kelly’s brother and we are really good friends with them. A lot of babies coming into this world….
Our next race will be Englishtown. As most of you know that is Terry’s home track and where he grew up. We are looking forward to going there and doing well. Terry and I always laugh because I love when we go back there. His voice changes and all his hometown people come by and say hello. I am not sure if we are going to NYC or to the shore, but I think the shore may be the option for this year. We always stay a day to hang out.
This weekend is Mother’s Day. I wish we would have both boys, but Kailen will be with his mom. He did tell Terry that he is working on a gift for me, which means a lot. Terry said I will love it. I got one from Braiden this afternoon. It’s his favorite color (green)… My mom and I are going to the ballet, which is something we always do as a mother-daughter outing. This year we are adding my sister-in-law and her mother. Then I believe Terry has something up his sleeve, but he won’t tell me. That is the worst… So Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there and I hope you have a great day!