Hello again everyone. It’s been a busy few weeks, so I’m excited to be back on the blog. We’re taking a few days away from it all before the Western Swing and I’m blogging from northern Wisconsin. Since we missed an update after Joliet, let’s get to work.
We just completed our annual visit to Norwalk, Ohio, one of our favorite tracks on the NHRA circuit and for so many reasons. There’s not a better place to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend than at Norwalk. The Baders are very patriotic and put on a fireworks show like no other. Running nitro cars under the lights and then to see Bob Motz’s jet truck, followed by the spectacular fireworks show is unparalleled. It’s a must see for every NHRA fan. If you visit one new race track in 2015, go to Norwalk.
My favorite element of Norwalk is the pound of ice cream for $1. Like Eric Medlen said, ice cream always makes everything better. You can’t not be happy when eating ice cream. You really can’t not be happy when eating a whole pound of ice cream for just $1. It’s awesome and the line to get your ice cream at Norwalk is long. Really long. Like waiting in line for a ride at Cedar Point long, but it’s so worth it.
Norwalk was another pretty solid race for the DSR teams. All seven cars qualified in the top half of the field for the first time this season. Jack and the Valvoline team got back into the top 10 with a strong semifinal finish. Ron Capps and the beautiful NAPA Auto Parts Intrepid Fallen Heroes Dodge Charger R/T nearly won a fourth straight Funny Car race for DSR. And, Antron and the Matco Tools team won their nitro-best fifth race of 2014. What a year the Matco team is having with five wins in six final rounds this year.
It’s been a phenomenal few weeks for the Matco team. They won at Joliet for the second time in three years, and a day later on June 30, we were thrilled to announce a multi-year extension with Matco Tools through the 2017 NHRA season. That’s awesome news for DSR and the sport of NHRA Mello Yello drag racing. Go Matco!
AB and Matt kept busy in between the two races. Matt flew home from Joliet on Sunday night and flew out again to Detroit on Monday afternoon. I don’t even know if he had time to do laundry. Matt did media in Detroit and Toledo before Norwalk. He visited the Rocky Boots corporate office on Wednesday and had his annual visit to Fin, Feather & Fur on Wednesday evening.
Antron flew to Cleveland on Tuesday after one night at home near Indy. AB did a media tour in Cleveland to preview the Norwalk race and then had his yearly stop at Master Pizza in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. AB’s crew chief Brian owns Master Pizza. Not only does Brian tune race cars really well, he always makes a pretty good pizza pie. It’s even AB approved and he knows pizza being from New Jersey. On Thursday, AB stopped by Matco’s corporate office in Stow, Ohio to spend some time with the employees.
It must have helped with some good karma because AB sent the Wally trophy from Norwalk home to Stow on Sunday with Matco’s president Tim Gilmore. It’s been a pretty perfect two weeks for the Matco team. We’ll see if they can keep rolling along on the Western Swing.
Joliet 2014 was Groundhog Day for the DSR teams, and a good groundhog day. Tony and Matt doubled-up at Route 66 Raceway in 2013 and we were fortunate enough to do it again on June 29 in Joliet. This time with AB and Matt. Matt knocked off TJ in an all-DSR FC final round. It was so good to see Matt, Dickie and the Mopar/Rocky team back in the winner’s circle. They’re really coming around at the right time and I think they’ll be a play in the ’14 championship race. AB edged Brittany Force in a repeat of the Phoenix final from this February. That Castrol Edge dragster is running really well and Britt will get her first win real soon. It was great to be able to celebrate with my friends in the winner’s circle at our home track.
The teams got back to the shop today and are working away to gear up for the grueling Western Swing. The fab shop is busy doing front halves on both the Army and Battery Extender dragsters. The vinyl guys are occupied with getting three wraps done this week for Jack, Matt and Ron’s cars. Matt will sport the awesome Hemi 50th Anniversary paint scheme at Denver. We debuted it at Gainesville with the photo shoot with the elephant on Thursday before the Gatornationals. Jack will bring back out the Infinite Hero Foundation body for the first time since Englishtown before debuting the Valvoline SynPower colors at Sonoma.
Before we know it, it will be July 15 and our team’s will be heading West on I-70 towards Denver and Bandimere Speedway.
Enjoy the rare off weekend this summer and we’ll pick up again after the Mile-High Nationals.
Thanks for reading!