Discouraging Dallas, frustrating ReadingWednesday, October 12, 2011
Posted by: Jenna Haddock

Well it has been awhile since I have sat down at the computer to write a blog. So much has gone on in the last month and it is really hard for me to write this blog. After Indy Terry and I were super excited with how well the Funny Car did at Indy. I know you must be thinking… “But you didn’t qualify,” which is true but the car ran better there then it has all year. Between our camshaft problems and not catching it soon enough we feel that we have not performed to a standard which I believe we are capable of running. We had very high hopes for Dallas.

Since Dallas is so close to home it was the easiest trip of the year. We arrived Thursday morning and set up the circus, got the car teched and were just preparing extra parts. Late Thursday night the guys were looking at the brakes and were turning the wheels and started feeling a tight spot. So they took the wheels off and started looking. They found that the axle was bent. On top of that the spools had broken. So since we knew what the problem was we decided to call it a night. In the morning we started getting the spare rear end ready and removed the other. While we thought this would be an easy switch it became more involved than we would have ever expected.

We missed the first session by 20 minutes. This was disappointing because we have not missed a session all year. From then on we felt like we were 1 lap behind all weekend. It smoked the tires in Q2. Then in Q3 there was a BIG problem but fortunately it wasn’t with our car. It just affected our car. We were lined up against Todd Simpson. Terry was ready to go in and Todd and Terry have a good relationship. They have always agreed to go right in, no games. So they both pre-staged and because Terry is so used to it, he went in first. As most of you know when you pre-stage you pull the fuel pump on and step off the clutch which makes the clutch start to heat up. While we didn’t understand what was taking so long it felt like forever. He finally went in at 6 and ½ seconds…which at 7 you get timed out. So the car launched and went 200 feet and smoked the tires. When we got down to the other end I could see how angry Terry was and so was the rest of the team. We got back to the pit and got to work. Todd came over and apologized and told us that the car wouldn’t move. He said he tried to go forward and back and it just wouldn’t move. So we let it go…On Q4 we were up there and ready and I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what it was. He staged, stepped on the gas and went up in smoke. It was very discouraging. When we got back to the pit Terry said there was something on the track and on the tires. It really stinks to not qualify when you are home.

So we pulled out Sunday night and went home for a day. He wanted to work on a block before we left for Reading. So we did and we left Monday night to head towards reading. While we thought we figured out the problems, Reading continued to plague us and our performance was less than satisfactory. Our whole team is getting so bummed. It seems that the latest batch of clutch discs that we purchased are not what we thought they were. We went up in smoke four times and the only thing different from Indy to Dallas and Reading is the clutch discs. They just won’t wear. It is so frustrating because we thought that now since we found the cam problem that the car would come right back to the car we had in 2008.

So now we are home. Terry went and saw McKailen and they had a great time as usual. McKailen’s birthday is at the end of the month and we are really looking forward to seeing him. Fortunately, it looks like he will be spending his birthday and Halloween with us in Las Vegas. While we know that the last two races were not on the list for us we feel that we need to finish our season on a good note. While I know most of you have looked at the list and have seen that there are 23 Funny Car for Vegas and 20 without us on the list for Pomona. We think that now we can go to them and be successful. I’m not saying it will be easy to qualify but I am confident that we will be able to go down the track and make representative passes.

I have had some emails asking about my license in the Top Fuel car. We originally planned on finishing my license before the summer and then run Dallas as my first event. However, money has been the issue. We then planned that I would finish my license after Dallas but again financially it was not the right decision. So now we have made plans to go down to Houston because it’s close to home in the off-season and finish my license. We are actively looking for a sponsor for four events next year. You only get one first impression and Terry will not let me do it until I am ready. So hopefully we will be able to give you some updates during the off season.

Since we have been home Terry has been working on blocks and getting things ready for customers. We had our first story come out in National DRAGSTER. We are so excited. The only thing that could complete our year is if we could get a story in ND for the race car. Well we are hoping to finalize Terry’s deal for next year early in the off season. I thought it was going to be much harder for Terry this year not going to as many races. However, I have noticed a change in him; he used to want to go to every race no matter what and now he would rather be home or with Kailen. It is good to see but at the same time I feel as though his spirit is breaking. You would think after 18 years of trying to make your dream come true. Someone would see how hard you work and give you a chance to compete with the best at the highest level. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and that the Phoenix race goes well. We will be preparing for Vegas and Pomona.