A couple of months ago I wrote about the feeling of seeing that little light bulb light up in your lane at the end of the track. It signifies a win and can sometimes mean an awful lot in terms of your psyche. As I noted back in the Blog, “Only a racer may understand just how that little bit of electricity makes things better.”
That week I had been having a particularly hard week and had decided to take a “day off” and run an SBRA eighth-mile Super Pro event locally with one of our dragsters. What transpired was seven “win lights” shining in my lane for the trophy at the end of the day.
Two weeks ago was another one of “those weeks.” Earlier in the week I had decided to make some changes to one of our dragsters with the end game to run it locally to see what those changes would result in. I don’t get a chance to race that often as either I’m at a race working and/or my kids are wheeling the cars. And for quite a while, when I do race I’ve been on a steady diet of Super Comp 8.90 runs or running our low nine-second Super Stocker. I really have not gone all that “fast” in quite a while. And to quote that famous race car driver Ricky Bobby in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights, “I wanna go fast.”
Now I’m not really sure the underlying reason as to why I started drag racing. I recently had a doctor ask me that same question as to how I got started and the only answer I could give him at the time was, “There are days when I ask myself that same question.” But overall, it has been a great life.
Obviously the thrill of speed and wanting to “go fast” was an ingredient in the beginning. However, as the years passed by, that little light bulb on the wall became that “needle in the arm,” the drug of choice. It didn’t seem to matter to me what I was driving as long as the “W” was pointing to me on my time slip. I still pretty much feel that way but I may have had a change of heart after that little test day a couple of weeks ago.
I made the “long tow” (one quarter-mile away from our shop) to nearby Beaver Springs Dragway for their last race day of the year. I have a 60-degree rule when it comes to me racing. If the temperature is less than that, I prefer to stay home with the heat on. That day was going to be close but I thought, “what the hey,” I was close to home. The temperature after my first pass was 61, so it was teetering on my limit. But a 7.37 at 179+ on my time slip sort of made up for it. Couple it with the fact the track itself is one of the narrower surfaces in the country, I think made going that fast feel even faster. I haven’t been that fast in a long time and I’ll admit, “It felt pretty good.”
A second round loss that day on a double run-out didn’t feel good, but a bunch of pretty quick 7.30 runs actually helped with a little bit of the depression. It honestly felt good to “go fast.” That “slam into the seat” when the car leaves the line and the rush of speed at the finish line might even cure COVID!
Don’t get me wrong. But for one fleeting day, going fast was pretty cool. Maybe we should spend more time enjoying the ride instead of worrying about the outcome. Nah! The outcome is still pretty important. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO