This blog started right after Pomona, and I am just getting to finish it… Sorry! Seeing that we have just completed the first event of the season I felt it was necessary to sit down and write about what happened. Well, Terry and I left as close to on time as we have ever, so we arrived in Pomona late Monday evening, and we just parked the truck at a sponsor’s and went to the hotel, then on Tuesday we went and got the vinyl put on the car. Gatorwraps in Ontario did such a great job. Thank you to Rod and Keith for all their hard work. Then Terry and I went and set up the pit. After we got everything set up we decided that we would leave and go to dinner for Valentine’s Day. We knew there was no way we would be going out on Thursday.
Wednesday we got started, and I felt like most of the day I spent at airports. I made three different runs to three different airports. Needless to say I was over driving in California right then. One of our guys was running late, so we didn’t see him until early Thursday morning. Well we thought that Thursday was going to be the start of an amazing weekend. We were mistaken. We started by having problems with our clutch and the spacing of things. Then as we worked through all of that the computer started having problems. We could have rushed to make the session, but we decided that we would wait until Friday. We wanted to have the best chance to do well.
So we called it an early night and then came out super early Friday to make sure we were ready. We went up to make a run, and we made it about 150 feet. While I know this is not what everyone wanted it’s not as bad as you think. It did the same thing on Q3, but I can now tell you what happened. I know it showed on the television coverage that the burst panel came out and they said we “banged the blower.” This however is untrue! Yes, the burst panel came out both times, but we didn’t hurt the blower. One of our problems is that our blower is just so much better than what we have ever had. Our initial thoughts were varied. Those two run we hurt the #7 piston. This year we put a pan pressure sensor on our car. We are tired of being called names and giving NHRA money, so with this sensor a couple of things happen. If the car sees a certain number of pan pressure it shuts the car off. So it left well on both runs, and then it saw some pressure and shut it off. This may seem extreme, but we have our reasons. It’s not mandatory, but we don’t want to be those people. As we serviced the car, we saw what was happening and had a few questions. First, it blew the ring land out of that piston, which we found that one of the rings was an odd size. Seeing that everything that went in the car was new we weren’t sure why. So we continued on.... on the last run we smoked the tires.
That was the end of our weekend. We were all kind of bummed, but it didn’t go as badly as most people thought. We then decided that while we were out here we might as well go to Phoenix to try and get some more runs under our belt. You see over the winter we made a lot of changes… new systems in the clutch and made some changes in the motor and a new management box.
So in Phoenix we started our weekend by trying to back the car down. We have been slowly backing it down to figure out where we are supposed to be. In Pomona we worked with another team, and they showed us how the blowers that go on these cars are much better than they ever have been. When Terry started racing he was given a formula to go by to tune the car. He has always used that formula, and in recent years we have been getting better equipment, which has made his chart further and further off. So we acquired three different programs to compare, and it all shows that we have been about 6% over in tune up. With that it will make for some problems… to say the least. So now we are trying to get use to using these and trusting the numbers. It is very hard to do. In Phoenix the car was really trying to run… by the last run it left the line hard, and we were all so excited. It put a cylinder out and pushed Terry towards the wall. He continued to move closer to the wall because the front end was in the air. When it does that you can’t steer it. To settle it down he pedaled it and it moved a little but then was still to close so he had to lift. So he coasted through with a 4.58, which is better than our times the last two weekends. The car is really trying to run.
So after that we came home and got to work. We pulled the motor out to check the crankshaft and service everything. We fully intended on going to Las Vegas… we worked until there were no more options. There just wasn’t enough of the logistical money to get it done. So we are here at the shop today and super bummed because starting tomorrow everyone gets to do big smoky burnouts and we are not there! However, while everyone is out their running I can say I am super excited because the dragster is going back together. We are building a motor for it now and everything will start going back together over the weekend. We have a match race May 10 in Martin, Mich., so we are getting it back together for that and because I am finally going to work on my license again! We are trying to test it after Houston, but we have to make sure all the funding is there. It’s funny how Terry is pickier about my car and money than his.
In other news, I turned 29 on Monday. Everyone I have ever known has said “29 and holding”… I don’t feel that way. I am looking forward to being 30 and moving on! I think it’s more because I still look like I am 15 and get told that all the time. So I think my holding number will be 35! Terry gets to bring McKailen home for Spring Break in a week and a half. We are so excited! Braiden turns four on the 8th, but we are waiting to celebrate until McKailen is here. That is the only thing Braiden wanted! Oh and to go to the wolf lodge! Braiden is also starting to play T-ball… his first practice was supposed to be today, but it was rained out so we will try for Saturday. I think he is going to be really good, but I am a biased mom for sure! I wish McKailen could be here to play too or at least get to play in Seattle. I think he would like sports if he could. I do know he is looking forward to a Jr. Dragster!
Have a great weekend, and I will start working on another blog quickly. However, you can check out our “On the Run” story that just came out this week. Or keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter!
I have sat down to write this blog several times. I wrote one that I am holding onto for the right time. Since the last time I wrote many things have happened. It was Terry’s birthday, and we were alone for the weekend, so we went to San Antonio and had a great weekend on the Riverwalk. We had Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas was a great time, but it really stunk that we only got to have Kailen until Christmas Eve and then we had to take him back. Then Terry flew all night and didn’t get into Dallas until 5 a.m., then drove home 3 hours. Needless to say he didn’t want to be up and open presents! Now it’s time to get ready for the season. While we thought we were going to get to go testing, we decided that we would forego South Florida because of the expenses.
We are very excited about this year. While we are still finalizing our schedule; it has been a mad house. We have had more customers call for blocks than ever before. So many in fact that I have started helping Terry full time in the shop in order to keep up with the demand. I will say our greatest downfall is our time. Sometimes because we want everything to be perfect we take extra time. However, I can say that this time last year we were so far behind and more just kept coming in that we ended up 3 months behind. Our usual turnaround is 4 weeks, and we are still so busy. Since we don’t advertise, we keep asking each other is it ever going to stop? … and then the phone rings. Our customers are amazing. One of our customers gave us a new body for the race car. So we are currently getting it ready for paint. Which is another miracle story. Another one of our customers owns a paint shop and is willing to paint both of our bodies for free. This is amazing because anyone who knows paint knows it’s not cheap to paint one of these let alone two.
So we are down to 25 days before Pomona and we are working our tails off trying to get all of our lists of stuff done for the car and the shop! Many people know that Terry and I have been trying to get me a driving job. Well correction... Terry has been trying to get me a driving job. While none have worked out, we have an iron in the fire and are really looking forward to moving forward with this. Along with our normal NHRA races, we have come across some match races for the dragster, so it looks like my car will finally get put back together and then we get to go testing to finish my license and get the car ready for those! So exciting!
Now that I am working with Terry in the shop all the time I needed to be able to do something with Braiden. So we decided it was time for pre-school. While it is a semester early we really needed to be able to get the work done to be prepared. So this week he started his first full week. While most of you know he is usually attached at my hip it, this has been a real adjustment. It’s not only for him but for me. I find myself looking for him, and I want to go pick him up early, but I don’t. They say this first week is very important because he is learning that even though he is away from us we will get to pick him up at the end of the day. I only wanted him to go two or three days a week, but they said to start him off at the full time so he could get used to it. We have been lucky enough to not have to put him in daycare, and I know many moms that wish they could stay home with their kids. Braiden is doing really well.
We are also super excited because National DRAGSTER has offered us 3 “On the Run” stories, which is more than this last year. These stories are really fun to write, and Terry and I have a great time working on them together. Our first one is due right before Las Vegas, so be looking for our story!
Well have a great week and I am hoping to post my other blog soon... Keep up with us every day on Twitter and Facebook or at www.terryhaddockracing.com
As I sit down to write this blog, I am unsure of a title. There are so many things that have been and are going on. There are two parts of this blog. I wrote right after St. Louis but then it got so crazy trying to get ready for the last two that I got side-tracked from sending it. So grab some popcorn... this is a long one! :)
As most of you know we did not have the weekend we wanted in St. Louis. We lost the first run to the fuel shut off cable. Then we were just trying to get a baseline for Q2... it smoked the tires which we kind of thought that was going to happen. Then we thought we had changed enough for Q3 that it wouldn’t, but we were wrong. So we slowed everything down enough that it would have to make it. Unfortunately the risk you take when you do that is that it’s possible to drop a cylinder because there wasn’t enough load out in the middle. That’s exactly what it did. It dropped a cylinder and then Boom... the body was soaring into the air and all I could think was.... where did that come from? Is he ok? Then I noticed he was still going straight so I figured he was fine.
I know on Terry’s interview he said it could put us out of business and if we were easily discouraged it could have. However, I have never in my entire life met someone like Terry who is so willing to keep trying. He is the most incredible person in the world. So other than trying to get the race car back together we have been crazy busy in the shop. Terry has been working so hard and I am just starting to be able to help him. Then we had another problem pop up... Braiden has been seeing a surgeon about some issues. We decided that we would have his surgery this week. Terry went to see Kailen over the weekend and then flew home all night so that he could be there. Braiden had surgery and is doing well.
So then we move on to Vegas and Pomona. While many people think we failed at both of those races we don’t. In Vegas we missed the first run because we weren’t ready and we weren’t leaving the pit unless it was perfect. Then we went to start the car and while it started it just didn’t sound right. So we found that when we ordered our new cams they gave us a 4 7 swap which changes the firing order. So when we found it we could have made the second run but didn’t want to risk it not being right. So we double check everything and got ready for Saturday. It smoked the tires both runs, but we learned from each run. So then it was onto Pomona... What an exciting race that was for the fans! On the first run it went out and shook, but the one great thing is we finally got it to 60 foot the way we wanted! It was #1 with a .885, then on the second run it was again in the top 5 60-foot times and shook again. With all the changes that had been made, we were needing to keep adjusting the clutch. So finally on the Q3 it made it to half-track and the belt came off. We had great numbers at the 330, again the best we had all year. We ran 2.35 and Alexis ran 2.33 and she went on to run a 4.10. So I would say we are on the right track. On Q4 we thought it was finally going to go, but because of some oilsdowns the air continued to get better and better and Terry was already strapped in the car so he couldn’t make any adjustments. So it went out again with a great 60 foot and then shook... HARD!
That is the end of our season, but next season is looking up. We went to the banquet and had a great time with some great people! Then we headed home. We were only home a few days and we headed to Seattle to see Kailen and that was the best part of my week! I planned a surprise birthday party at Chuck e Cheese (which he loves)... some of his friends from school came! It was a great time. Also while we were there he got to practice on his skateboard, which he was so excited!
We came home and worked for a few weeks, then Terry went and spent 3 more days with Kailen and went to his first Parent Teacher Conference. McKailen is of course doing great in school and we are so proud of him. Then on Wednesday they flew home for Thanksgiving. While he was here we decorated our tree, went to a light show, had family pictures done and then went and saw Santa. He played like a maniac which was great to see. The last night he was here we went bowling! It was the funniest thing i have ever seen! But he tried so hard. Then he tried Chicken wings! Anyone who knows this kid it was a miracle! But he loved them... We had a great time.
Now it’s back to work! Sorry for the delay, and I promise to write more over the off-season! Getting ready for Kailen to come home for Christmas, even though we have him for the first half of Christmas break again it will be fine because he loves being here and we love having him. Have a great week!
SOOOOO....We finally did it! We got married. It has been a long time coming and there have been some hurdles. Since the Norwalk race we have been home working, and it has been crazy! We hired a crew chief, finished our wedding plans, left for two weeks, and then came back in time to go testing!
So we hired Wayne Dupuy as our crew chief. We are very excited! I can’t wait to get to Indy. He has been at the shop for a month, and we went through the car from front to back! Even while we were gone for our wedding, he was there working. We were all a little nervous the first week and were on our best behavior trying to find our places. By the second week, we were all back to ourselves, and it made it more fun. Terry and Wayne have been working hand in hand, and they are really a great team. Our entire team is looking forward to seeing how this goes…
Sorry for the delay... Indy caught me off guard, and I am still trying to catch up. So where was I? Well after we had Wayne at the shop for a week, Terry, Braiden, and I left for Seattle. We went up there early and got our normal visitation time with Kailen. We went to the race, which was fun but it is very hard to be a spectator. We hung out in Alexis’ hospitality and then spent some time with Densham. We handled a lot of business while we were there too... We went both Saturday and Sunday, and by second round, we were ready to go, so we left and enjoyed the next few days just hanging out.
Our wedding photo
The view from our room
Kailen swimming with dolphins
Testing with Wayne
On Thursday we left for Hawaii. I was super nervous about how Terry and the kids were going to do on a 5 and 1/2 hour flight. They all did surprisingly well. So we arrived and so did the rest of my family. We made it to the hotel and decided that we were going to go to the Luau that night. My photographer went with us, and she, of course, took photos everywhere not just at the wedding. So we enjoyed the evening but not without a little excitement. Now that Kailen is losing teeth, we knew there was a very real chance that he may not have teeth for our wedding. Both of his front teeth were loose. While we were at dinner, he decided he was going to pull it out, and I kept telling him and Terry no. I wanted him to have teeth in our pictures. So he stopped before it came out. However, he bit into his corn and out came his tooth! We are now one front tooth down. He then wanted to pull the other one out, but Terry told him to wait until Sunday. On Friday we planned to go to Pearl Harbor, but it was booked, so we decided we would take Densham’s advice and go snorkeling. The whole family went. It was so much fun. Terry had never done it, but he did a great job, and we had a ton of fun and great underwater photos.
Then Saturday was the big day! We decided since we were all on vacation we would only be able to see each other until noon. Now I know it’s usually the whole day, but there was nowhere for us to split up to. So the kids wanted to play in the pool. Terry and the boys had fun... they then went upstairs to get ready, and I went to my parents’ room. My hair and makeup artist showed up along with my great friend Lacy who took all of our photos, which you can go to Facebook and see some of them on either mine or Terry’s page. It was a great day. The kids were perfect, the weather was perfect, and I was marrying my very best friend. So after the ceremony our photographer told us about this place she wanted to take photos. We of course said sure we can do it. Then we got there... it is called the blowhole, and it is this huge hole with cliffs and water and caves. Terry and I climbed down for what felt like forever, but we have the most beautiful photos. I can’t complain.
We then went to dinner with my family, and then my parents took the kids. We had a great next day just the two of us. We are very into Pearl Harbor and old planes and history. On one of our last days we took the kids to Sea Life Park and let them swim with the dolphins. They did such a good job. We want to go back but we think next time it will just be us.
So when we got back to Seattle, Terry stayed to get his other visitation days because we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it back. Braiden and I flew back so that he could see his dad. When Terry finally got home it was “on the gas” to get everything back together so that we could go testing. We went down to Houston and had a productive weekend. After all the rain we got in a couple of laps... then it was on to Indy.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that Indy was going to be sooooooo long! We arrived and set up, went through tech, and thought we were ready. On Q1 we couldn’t get the body to shut. It was so frustrating! So we lost that run. Then it rained, and we weren’t sure what was going to happen. On Q2 and Q3 it left hard but then went up in smoke, and we weren’t sure what was going on. We then thought it was over because Sunday it just rained and rained. They called it on Monday, and then they decided to reopen qualifying. With this happening we had to call our sponsor and see what he wanted to do. He decided that he wanted us to come back. I had to get a rental car and drive home so that I could pick up Braiden. We then drove back for the race.
On Q4 it went down the track, but boy was it slow... I believe it had a 1.020 60 foot, which is crazy. When we got back to the pit we serviced everything and were ready for the last try. On Q5 it left better than Q4, but then it was done. We weren’t sure what exactly happened so we took the valve covers off and you could see on my side of the motor there were two broken rockers. We decided it was best to put it all away and dissect it at home.
We finally made it home and for a couple of days, and we worked like mad people to get it apart and figure out our plan. Then I sent Terry to go see Kailen. It had been more than two weeks, and that’s just too long. He is there right now while I write. He will be back tomorrow morning, and we will work hard to get ready for Dallas. Since it’s in our backyard, we are going. Then we are going to St. Louis. After that we are going to evaluate everything and hopefully attend the last two races.
Now that you are caught up on everything I am going to move on to my next project! Hope everyone is having a great week, and I will try to write again after Dallas. However, I have to help Terry with his On the Run story first.