What a month! It has gone by so fast I can’t honestly say I remember a lot of it. Terry and I spent a week in Seattle with Kailen and did so much fun stuff. He graduated from Kindergarten and he was amazing. He is also losing teeth, so it’s funny to hear him talk. Then we went to the painting place, and he made me a Molly dog.... when we picked it up we also made some stuff for Terry for Father’s Day! We took him to the Wolf Lodge, and he is finally tall enough to ride most of the rides, so we spent the whole day climbing stairs to ride on slides. We also went downtown and got Kailen and Terry measured for their tuxes... I know it’s a beach wedding, but Terry wanted all the boys dressed up so they are... Super cute! When we came home it was crazy. My 10-year high school reunion was that weekend, so I got to see some of my friends from high school. Then we had Braiden back for the weekend so I played with him every second of every day!
Chicago is the biggest race of the year for us, so we were beyond stressed when we knew it was coming. Both of our boys were away for this one, which is probably best even though we missed them so much. We always want to do well but this one more so than any of them. Our sponsor brings out 100 of his employees. We always have a great time. When we arrived on Wednesday we got the pit all set up and called it an early night. We then worked all day trying to be ready for Friday. Thursday night we hosted an autograph signing with many of the hero drivers! I can’t thank Alexis, Jeff Arend, Matt Hagan, Todd Lesenko, Terry McMillen, and Cory Mac for coming to hang out with us. It was great food and company. Our sponsor had just had his second child and we were so glad that he had a happy and healthy baby girl. This week was only going to get better or so we thought.
Friday it was miserably hot. On Q1 we went out and ran 4.36. We were happy with it because it put us towards the back for Q2. We were really hoping to get a low .20, however, as most of you know, Terry hit the wall! I don’t normally worry about him because I know he can handle just about anything. But the wall is an animal all of its own. So we ended up outside of the top 12. Along with the body damage Terry was very sore. So we started to work at once. Luckily for us, we brought the Toyota. It wasn’t ready, but we mounted it in the pits and got everything ready for Saturday. On Q3 it shook, but we kind of expected it. So on Q4 it went out and ran 4.35, not our best but with the weekend we were having we were happy. Unfortunately, Terry set off the fire bottles on accident. He went to grab the brake and the fire bottles went off too, so there was a clean up after our run. So again we are sorry for that But We were in. We faced John Force Round 1. We lost but it was ok. We were so proud of our team for working so hard and getting the car ready to go.
So after the race, both Terry and I got on planes to different places. I came home to get Braiden and Terry went to Seattle to pick up McKailen. They spent a few days there and went on the crazy big ferris wheel, which is kind of amazing since Terry is afraid of heights. It was our first 10-day break with him out of state for this summer. Our second one is next month. They had so much fun... they played all day every day at the track! Our weekend however didn’t go the way we thought. We thought with as tough of a weekend as we had at Chicago that Norwalk would be better. That is far from the truth. We had a fuel leak in Q1, which we were fine with taking it back. We didn’t want to do anything to get us in trouble. So on Q2 it left hard and was going well, but then it started drifting. Terry said he tried and tried to steer it back and he couldn’t get it so he lifted. It ran 4.51. So we got it back to the pit and started servicing it, and we decided we were going to check everything because it didn’t make sense why it wouldn’t steer back. So they took the steering box out and there it was: the worm gear inside had broken. We believe it must have broken the previous race and then the pieces finally moved around enough that it wouldn’t steer properly. Well we looked everywhere for a replacement, however, most teams have changed their steering boxes and don’t use the same as we do, but the we found the Toyota show car. This car had the same box, so we spoke with the people over there, and they let us use theirs, so we fixed it and we were really looking forward to Q3. We knew it was hot and it wasn’t going to be a good day for fuel cars. On Q3 there was a crew mistake and the breather we have for the rear end was left outside of the puke tank where it belongs and it was leaking, so we were shut off for that. When it shut off it backfired... we didn’t think anything of it. We found the leak and fixed it, then we found there was a problem in the clutch cannon so Terry started to work on that. We were ready and towed back up there, however, in the midst of all of this we didn’t start it because we knew it only had a burnout on it. So he goes to start it, and it is idling too high. He shuts it off and knows that we were done for the weekend.
So that is the end of our two week endeavor. There are some really great things that came out of that two race fiasco. First, the announcers and interviewers at Chicago made it sound like because we were a small team that we wouldn’t have the parts and wouldn’t be able to get everything fixed. This in turn didn’t make our sponsor very happy, so he decided he would boost the amount of help we are getting in order to buy new parts. So since the races we have been making deals left and right on new parts. The best part is we are not even going to use this stuff until Indy. The second great thing is that with speaking to some of the other teams and drivers in particular our sponsor is going to make next year our best year yet! We are already making plans for the off-season, including testing, which we have never been able to do! He wants us to be as successful as possible and do it the right way, so I am hoping that we can continue to move forward, which will make next year that much better! I am so excited!
After the races we brought both boys home and we got to hang out with them for almost a week. The trailer didn’t get home until Friday, but that was ok. He stopped off at our chassis builders who finished our new car. So now we have a second car that we are going to start putting together. The future is looking brighter every day.
It really stinks that we had to take McKailen back to Seattle, but we had such a great time. We are planning on attending the Seattle race. Then we are leaving straight from there to go and get married … Hawaii here we come! The stress of planning a wedding has been hard with everything else, but we also were unsure if McKailen was going to get to come. However, it all worked out in our favor, and our family of four will be at the wedding. Kailen is the ring bearer, and he is so excited! It’s going to be a great vacation.
The Western Swing is upon us... so good luck to all the racers running all 3 events.
What a whirlwind... we have finally made it home and thought it was a good time to get started on a blog to keep our fans up to date. So before the Englishtown race many things have been happening. Now that Braiden is 3, he has to spend a long part of the summer with his dad. While I am not against the time I have been very uneasy about how much time it is and how all the changes will affect him. He is such a great kid, and I miss him a ton. So on Wednesday before the race I went and took him to him, and I thought I was going to have a breakdown, but I didn’t cry in front of Braiden, so I thought I was doing well. Thursday morning I left for the race, which turned into an all-day affair to get there. We were going to go see Terry’s oldest son, but because I was late we couldn’t. McKailen is doing really well. He has been losing teeth, which is pretty awesome. He also is almost finished with Kindergarten. I received his class picture, and he is so cute, so I hung it in his room. Next year he will be attending a new school because he moved, and I know he is a little sad about it, but he is such an awesome kid I know he will make friends right away. We are going to see him next week and know it will be a lot of fun. Braiden was home for the weekend and so we made sure to spend every second playing... he is so funny.
So Friday... it always seems like we are behind by one run, so we knew that we weren’t going to be the fast. On Q1 it went out and shook because it was too weak. Then on Q2 it went out and ran a 4.25 the best for our car in the last two seasons. We could see how good the conditions were and knew we were aiming to get our first 4-teen, but we missed. Terry lifted early so it could have been a .23 but it wasn’t. We were so proud of ourselves and our team. We know that every race we are getting better and better. We are being more consistent and getting a grip on this new chassis. Even if we had run a little better we wouldn’t have made the top 12. So we started getting ready for Saturday. On the first run it put a pipe out which slowed it down tremendously. So we were 18, and on the second run of the day there was a crew error therefore we smoked the tires almost immediately. It was so frustrating. When we got back to the pit, we figured it all out, and it made us even more frustrated because according to the computer it was going to be our best run of the weekend. So now it’s back to the shop for the car.
Monday Terry and I stayed and went to NYC. When you live somewhere most of your life you don’t usually do the tourist things, and that is Terry to a T. So I wanted to go to the Empire State Building and Time Square, and, of course, we had to buy so Yankees gear. We had a great day. We finished it off by going back to Hackettstown, NJ, which is where Terry grew up, and we had dinner with his brother and family. It was great to see them.
Now we are back home and working away. The truck arrived last night, so we are unloading today and getting ready to service. Chicago is our next event, and we are really looking forward to doing well there. We will also be hosting an autograph signing at our sponsor’s bar, and we have a lot of great drivers who are going to be attending.
Now onto ESPN... this is a little bit of venting, but it is rather aggravating! So I was so excited when we got home yesterday the first thing I wanted to do was watch the race coverage. So I turn it on, and in Q2 they showed the second pair, which was great because Wilkerson ran such a great number, and we were to follow right behind him so I figured we would get some good footage! NOPE....they skipped right over us and Jeff Arend. Jeff ran a 4.06 and we ran a career best and I can’t believe that they would just skip right over us. Then we move on to Q4 and we are second pair, and we again get skipped right over! Now I know that we are not a big name, but how is it fair that they can just eliminate whoever they feel like. Jeff ran amazing and they cut him out... this may seem petty to some but if I can’t get any television time for my sponsors how am I supposed to make them want to increase the program. I just don’t understand. I mean Dave and Mike and Paul always do such a great job, but they take some of the small teams right out of the equation and that just doesn’t make any sense to me. Well then I am done ranting... :)
Chicago is next for us and we will be hosting an autograph signing in downtown Chicago at our sponsor’s bar. It is an amazing place and I can’t wait. Oh and lastly, on the wedding front invitations are going out this week... so there is no backing out now!! LOL... for him I mean. He is stuck with me!
Hope everyone has a great week in Bristol. While we are not running that race we will be working hard to get ready for the next one.
Well it was an eventful weekend in Houston. That much I did not expect. Since it was so close to home we didn’t go down until Thursday morning. Most of the car was finished and so we just needed to set up and get teched... It went rather smoothly. The hard part was that we were shorthanded. A few of our guys couldn’t make it, so it added to the load. We managed our way through it, but it was not our most successful weekend.
On Q1 it went out there and ran a 4.30... this made us happy because it gave us some really great information. We were looking forward to Q2. It had the best 60-foot time in a long time in Q2 and then it smoked... we were so confused. So we took it back and Terry noticed that the fuel pump had lost some gallons. This of course is very bad. It is my understanding that it started going away on the first run and then changed drastically in Q2. So we changed fuel pumps. When we did it put us over center. So on Q3 it went out and smoked the tires but it was getting closer so we were happy with it. Then on Q4 it went out 60 feet and turned left! This was not planned but Terry did an amazing job saving the car. It stayed in his lane and off the wall. While the outcome was that we DNQ and it was not the way we wanted to end the weekend, we also had oil. This makes us mad because we take extra measures to make sure we don’t have oil. So to the fans I apologize for that.
We then decided that we were going to call it a night and go to dinner so we did. While at dinner we were making plans for the next couple of days. Since my car was not able to be finished due to Terry having pneumonia for a month now we decided that I would get to try the Funny Car. Now anyone who knows me, I am die hard for the dragster. I have never wanted to be a Funny Car driver or even wanted to try it. However, it had been awhile since I was in my car and this looked to be my option to get back in. So I did it. We spent all day Sunday getting the car ready and then on Monday we had to get me acquainted with the car. And adjust pretty much everything. I am quite a bit smaller than Terry, so we had to change the seat and make it to where I could fit. Then we had to change all the pedals and levers so that I could reach them comfortably. That took a while. Then we did a warm up and it wasn’t perfect so we did a second one and that one was much better. So we decided it was time. We towed up there and it became real. We let Brittany go ahead of us because we knew it was going to take us some time and they were trying to get in as many runs as possible. So I got in and waited my turn. When the car started all I could think was “Clutch in Brake On” seeing that it has practically been beaten into me for 2 years. As I watched the body close it got very quiet and then it was time to roll. So I did my burnout and backed up. They lifted the body and made sure that I wanted to continue. They finished and lowered it back down and it was my turn... so I staged the car and did my launch. While I don’t believe it was perfect, Terry is very proud and telling everyone. I will say that it is very different then the dragster. It is much harder. After I finished and I was coasting down, I kept drifting to the left because I was looking for the turnoff. At the other end I got out and I could see how happy Terry was. So that was my Funny Car experience. He wants me to try again, and I want to because I think I can do better. Terry did say it was odd being outside of the FC because people were looking at him as to say, “If you’re out here then who’s in there”... and he said that it sounds so different! So I don’t know when but I will try again. I still love the dragster but the Funny Car is so different that it’s fun!
Since then we have come home and been busy in the shop trying to get all of our customers’ work caught up. With Terry being out for so long it has made it very hard to keep up with all the demands. We unloaded the car yesterday because we want to make sure that it is very prepared for the next race. We have a few weeks but we are coming into our busy season... we are going to be running a lot in the summer. Not all but a lot!
Hope everyone has a great week, and I will write again soon.
Hey everyone...sorry again for the delay...So let’s get this party started!
So Vegas... it was a great trip! I am so excited to be writing about this race. First it was my birthday so we always have fun. We started off by flying in on Wednesday. Terry and I never both get to fly. It was great not having to be in the truck for what always seems like forever! Thursday we got teched in and then started working to make sure that we were ready for qualifying. Then Thursday night we went down to NY NY and did the autograph signing. It was such a beautiful day and it was out on the Brooklyn Bridge! It was the Terry show... both Terry and Terry McMillen were sitting together, and it is always a great time when they are together. Since they both came from the IHRA they have known each other for a long time and it is always great to see people away from the track. There were so many fans.
Friday was a crazy busy day. There was one point in the day where I thought we were going to pack up and leave. While this may sound bad it is actually Terry being a grown up. He has been racing for so long and we always do whatever we have to to make sure that he can race. In the last few years his priorities have changed. He was having a problem getting in and out of the car, and he said that if he couldn’t safely get out he was not going to run the car. So the guys worked down to the wire making sure that the car was perfect. I got to do the warm up, which is always fun and it gets you into the mood! LOL...
So for Q1 we planned to go out a few hundred feet and make sure that it did everything it was supposed to. With it being a brand new chassis Terry wanted to make sure there were no mistakes. We also decided that we would run the Impala body instead of the Toyota. There were some things that just weren’t perfect with it so we have decided to wait. We are hoping that in Houston we will take it with us and if Friday goes well then we will try it on Saturday. So then there was Q2. It was so great to see. At first I was upset because they kept saying that he hit the wall. It did get close at the top end and I don’t even like to think that something happened. Then they finally said the 4.28 was good! We were all so excited. I think it took us a good 45 mins to get back to work in the pit. It was such a great way to start the weekend. We ended up being number 12 for the day. So we got ready for Q3. It went up there and smoked the tires. We were in line for Q4, and as we watched pair after pair not make it down the track, we started thinking that we would pull out if at all possible. So Jeff Arend and Jon Capps were in front of us and we waited... Jeff made it down and Jon didn’t so we were in. We chose to pull out and save it for Sunday.
So on Sunday we went to driver intros and then got ready for E1. I think it was a total of 3 times that Hight’s team switched lanes. So we were waiting and we saw them changing tires. So Terry made some changes. It was a little too hopped up and we lost. It was on a pretty good pass, but when he saw Robert pulling away he stepped off and at the same time the belt broke. The good thing was there were no hurt parts so we packed up and we all headed out.
We have been home working on all of the stuff and getting ready for Houston. We moved the dragster into the big shop, and I started getting it ready for testing. I am so excited. Now all day I go over procedure so that I am not behind the curve ball when its time. I don’t have as much time with the Tree like most of the drivers, so I am a slower on my lights. Terry keeps telling me not to worry about it, but I can’t help wanting to do a good job.
On Easter Sunday it was also Braiden’s birthday. I can’t believe my little man is 3. He is getting so big. So we did an Easter egg hunt on Saturday and went to the zoo on Sunday. We had a lot of fun. This weekend we are having Braiden’s party and I am so excited to see everyone.
Houston will be our next event and I know we are all in a good place and are getting ready for this race. With it being at sea level we know it’s going to be a pretty fast field. I know it will be warm, but we are really looking forward to improving. Like I said in the last blog it’s been like Christmas and parts showing up all the time. Now our new crankshafts are on their way. That is exciting because we have never owned a new one.
Hope everyone has a great week...