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Jun 11, 2008
Author: Bobby Martin

Qualifying #5 in one of the hottest fields in the history of Top Alcohol Funny Car shows the progress the Parkertech/Lane Automotive/CAP team is making.

Pretty cool stuff. The top 5 in qualifying for the NHRA Route 66 Nationals was Von Smith, Frank Manzo, Mick Snyder, Jay Payne, then us. Those are some heavy hitters to be running with, but Frank and Dan Parker have this car hummin'. #6 was All-Star winner Doug Gordon. Other luminaries, such as Cy Chesterman, Steve Harker, Andy Bohl, Roger Bateman, and Brian Hough were in the house. The field was anchored by none other than 14-time All-Star Vern Moats. Here's the qualifying sheet.
Psn Driver Vehicle ET Speed
1. Von Smith Centre Point Collision Mustang 5.604 256.84
2. Frank Manzo Lucas Oil Monte Carlo 5.611 257.97
3. Mick Snyder Powersource Transportation Mustang 5.619 255.97
4. Jay Payne Thunderslug/Valvoline Mustang 5.621 257.38
5. Bobby Martin Lane Automotive Charger 5.640 255.73
6. Doug Gordon Morro Bay Cabinets Monte Carlo 5.649 257.24
7. Steve Harker OMS Graphics Monte Carlo 5.650 255.19
8. Roger Bateman Mustang 5.653 253.71
9. Andy Bohl Bohl Automotive Mustang 5.677 253.52
10. Cy Chesterman Glacier Clear Water Mustang 5.683 254.90
11. Paul Anderson DenverSteaks.com Charger 5.689 251.81
12. Brian Hough Brian Hough Racing Monte Carlo 5.697 252.71
13. Kebin Kinsley Tiger Flow Racing Camaro 5.705 248.48
14. John Bojec Duke Printing/Mailing Avenger 5.706 251.72
15. John Foster Foster Racing Monte Carlo 5.731 250.00
16. Vern Moats Kendall/DeeZee Mustang 5.765 251.34
--------- Not Qualified ---------
17. Daniel Wilkerson Monte Carlo 5.790 253.71
18. Kevin Newburgh Avenger 5.852 246.26
19. Fred Hagen Dark Horse Mustang 5.913 241.28
20. Wayne Butler Butler & Roark Firebird 6.015 238.05
21. Jeff Burnett Mustang 6.180 234.82
22. Rick Cortino Taboo Firebird 7.206 176.24

Two other things dominated this weekend, wind and rain. It was unbelievable. The weather would change to a different climate from one minute to the next. Anyway, I wasn't thrilled with my draw for round 1. I had Division 6 Champion and All-Star representative Brian Hough. He's done lots of damage at National events on the West Coast, and is known as young star and a leaver. I spent lots of time Saturday night thinking about Brian. He had cut some lights in qualifying and I had to be ready. Frank and Dan did their thing and the car sailed right through there. It felt fast. Frank & Dan are making the car a joy to drive. One of the many things a driver must do is shut the car off on time. It can't be too early cuz you'll hurt the et and speed, and it can't be too late cuz you can hurt the motor. But one nice way to know when to shut off is when the win light comes on! It was a good drag race. A first round match this tough is indicative of the quality of cars in this class. Here's the report from drag race central.

(W) Bobby Martin (Lane Automotive Charger) 0.026 5.635 253.75
(L) Brian Hough (Brian Hough Racing Monte Carlo) 0.028 5.704 250.92

A couple great lights and then Martin drives away with his best pass of the weekend for the win.

The 5.63 gave us lane choice against Jay Payne in round two. He ran a 5.66. After two straight low '60's, we ran a 5.71 to Jay's 5.65. The bad news is the car slowed down because of a clutch issue. The good news is we know why. So we can just take what we learned there and move on. Frank and Dan are refining the combination and I'm refining my interaction with the car. As we do all this, we feel like we can make progress.

A note on reaction times. Frank and Dan have a car that leaves well, and that helps reaction times. But here's something interesting. I've said it before here. There are three people on the starting line, two drivers and the starter. I've also said that what each one does up there affects the other two. Check this out. It was very apparent at Joliet. In the last round of qualifying Cy Chesterman had a .104, I had a .090. In round 1, I had a .026 and Brian Hough had a .028. In round two Jay had a .042, I had a .049. I've noticed that in most races, the reaction times are close to each other, whether they are fast or slow. This seems especially true for me. Now sometimes, somebody messes up and just leaves too early or too late, but by and large this little phenomenon seems to hold true, and it's there in all heads up start categories. I have some theories as to why this is, but I'm still working on it. Actually, I haven't really heard anyone else talking about it. Any ideas?

A very cool video of the best run of my career has recently been added to You Tube by an unknown fan. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrR8cROPjJ0 Thanks to the photographer who got some great footage.

I have a stop at Sinclair Community College on Thursday, June 12. I'll be speaking at the Graduation Banquet for the Class of 2008 in the Chrysler College Automotive Program, better known as CAP. Sinclair is consistently one of the top CAP schools nationwide, and the people there, including Mike Taylor and Steve Ash, really care about their students, and it shows.

From there it's back to Joliet for some more ground poundin' at the Divisional level. Jay Payne, Von Smith, Vern Moats, and many more dangerous drivers are staying over from the Nationals to run this race. Frank thinks there could be 20 cars there to compete in the 8 car show. It'll be brutal, but we're ready. Check in later and I'll have all the juicy details.

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