The end of the yearMonday, November 28, 2011
Posted by: Terry Haddock

Over the last month we have had some very trying times. The last time I wrote a blog we were getting ready for Las Vegas. As most of you know we go to Seattle all the time. We had been planning for McKailen to come to the Vegas race seeing that it was the same weekend as his birthday. So Terry and I made the drive out to Las Vegas, along the way we hit a few bumps with blowing tires and being over-weight at the scale. We finally made it there and got everything set up. We were so excited about the race because we were really hoping that we were going to have a good week.

Unfortunately, the weekend definitely didn’t go as planned. On the first pass the car went out and shook. So we had a base line and thought that we were just going to make it roll down the track. On the second one it didn’t even make it to the tree. So we went back to the pit and starting thinking there has to be something else going on. Over the last three races we kept smoking the tires and thought that it was because the clutch discs were too hard. The Rockwell or hardness of a disk determines how much it wears and how fast the car goes. We have been getting help from another team to make sure that we are making the right choices based on weather and the track.

All of the sudden it was like a light came on and everyone went out to the car. The tire pressure is a very critical part of the tune up. We started to release the air out of the tires as though it was launching off the line. If you notice the tires tend to wad up and make wrinkles. So we lowered it until it started wrinkling. By this time the body was sitting on the ground. We then had one of our guys jump up and down on the wheelie bar and you could hear the body hitting the ground. As most of you know when you hit the gas on one of these cars the motor and everything roll to the right. So we went and looked at 2 other teams and measured their bodies. Our body is longer by 1 and ¼ inch.

We spent the next couple of hours figuring out how to make the body be able to move when the car squats. Now that we figured that out we were ready for Q3. On Q3 it was making a pretty good pass and then it dropped a hole. It started drifting to the right so terry made it about 800 feet and lifted. When he lifted there was an explosion. When we got down there we found that an oil fitting broke and sprayed oil on the headers so when he lifted the fire went under the car and ruptured the fuel tanks. It was a pretty big fire and while most people didn’t know what happened we got back to the pit and got to work. We changed everything and were so proud of our team. Then Densham’s team came over to help us fix the latch on the body. It was so close we didn’t know if we were going to make it. So while the body had damage and we didn’t have time to fix the vinyl we towed it back up there burnt paint and all. Terry did his burnout and backed up…I don’t usually get nervous but when he has fire it usually makes the next pass harder on me. So it left well and then…a fuel line burst when the slide valve closed. It had 600 pounds of pressure and broke. This caused another fire. It wasn’t near as bad and we didn’t get charged for an oil down but we didn’t make the show.

SO we packed up and hung out on Sunday. Since we had McKailen for the weekend we planned a party for him. We had cake and opened presents and let him work on the car so that he felt like he was part of the team. We also took the boys trick or treating at the track with all the other kids. It was so much fun. Then on Monday we took him to the rainforest café for a special birthday lunch. We were so sad that he had to go but really enjoyed having him there.

So we drove over to Pomona and parked the truck and then headed home. We came home to finish some work and deliver it at the race. Seeing that we always go to Seattle, we always have to rent cars. So we decided it would be the best choice to drive my truck out to the race and use it so we don’t have to rent a car.

That brings us to Pomona… now that we found our problems we thought we would be able to run with the best of them. On Q1 we wanted to do a check out pass and make sure that we replumbed the car correctly. After the fires in Las Vegas we had every hose remade and we had all of the safety equipment redone and fixed. It was like having a new car at the end of the season. Unfortunately, with all the things that were redone we missed one line. Well we didn’t miss it; it’s actually that we crossed 2 hoses. We fixed it and got ready for Q2. Friday it went out and shook! When I say shook, Terry said it had never shook so hard. Nothing was hurt so we got it ready for Q3. We did our normal procedure and started the car and everything was fine. Then when we were up there we started having a leak and they shut us off. SO we lost that run. It was so confusing because everything was brand new. We found the fitting and put a new clutch in the car and knew we were ready. As we towed up we saw that it was starting to rain. We started it up and got ready. I knew it was going to do well. It launched really hard and at .7 seconds it broke the drive hubs on the rear end. Such a disappointing weekend. We really thought that it was going to be our turn. When Terry got out of the car he said it hit harder then it had all year. We know we are on the right track.

Now the plan is to get ready for next year. Acme is going to be on board again next year and we are hoping to finalize it all in the next two weeks so that we can be more prepared. We are also going to go testing. I know the car is right there on the edge of greatness. We will run a limited schedule just like we did this year but it is looking like 12 to 13 events.

On Monday morning we went to visit my grandmother. She is 92 and every time we are in California we make it a point to visit her. She looked so much better this time. She and Braiden had a great time together. After we had lunch with her we headed into L.A. to get ready for the banquet. This was our third year attending the banquet. I really enjoy getting dressed up with Terry and Braiden. We have so many friends that it is great to see when we are not working. Braiden I think had the best time out of us all he danced with all the girls at the after party and was so tired he didn’t want to leave. He kept trying to keep going and I swear I thought he was going to fall off the stage he was so tired from all that dancing. The only thing that could have made it better was if McKailen could have been there. The next morning we took my mom to the airport and headed to the track to move the truck where the track wanted it for the week. After we got that all sorted out terry and I started our journey up to Seattle. As I said earlier we were taking my truck up there so that he always has a vehicle. It’s been really hard to rent cars all the time. So we drove all night…alternating back and forth and we made it just in time to get coffee and pick up McKailen from school. We had such a great time with him. Unfortunately, it’s never enough. Braiden and I had to leave early so that we could be back in time for his visitation with his father.

I didn’t know that in Kindergarten they would start handing out homework, but they do so Terry and Kailen did some of it at dinner the last night he was there. Terry then flew back to California and started his last journey home for the season. He should be pulling in in a few hours. Seeing that it has taken longer then we hoped we are taking tonight as our date night and going to the see the movie Breaking Dawn. I am a Twilight fanatic. I love the love story so much, I almost went by myself but Terry told me to wait and he would take me.

Many of you probably don’t know that in my spare time I teach dance at a studio down in Houston. So yesterday I had 3 classes and I must say they kicked my butt. I am so tired but it’s worth it to see how much they improve every time I am there.

Anyways, we are very sad that McKailen won’t be spending Thanksgiving with us but we are glad that he will be with his mom and his grandpa. He really loves his grandpa. Terry will be working all week like a crazy man and then he will go visit him after the holiday.

Hope everyone has a good Holiday and we should have some encouraging news in the next few weeks about Terry’s deal and hopefully something for me.