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Lane Automotive/CAP Dodge Charger in the Rt. 66 Winner's Circle
Jun 20, 2008
Author: Bobby Martin

Photo caption:
Back row, left to right: Division 3 Director Jay Hullinger, Krazy Kev Wilhelms, Kool Kyle Pelfrey, Larry Radke, Dan Parker, A cardboard cutout Dan made to represent Lori Martin in her absence (true!), me, Wally, Frank Parker, Rachel Parker (Frank's daughter), and Chris from Route 66. Everyone is saying "Boogity Boogity!" etc. Well, maybe not everyone.

Front row: The Parkertech/Lane Automotive/CAP Charger.
The "White Car" aka"Wanda"


Two different takes on the same big event. The top line comes from Charlie Henry of Challenger Consulting, who does PR for Parkertech Racing. The next thing there is from "Krazy Kev" Kevin Wilhelms, who does mechanical work for Parkertech and Bobby Martin Racing. It was a stormy weekend with 18 tough teams vying for a slot in the 8-car show, and monsoon rains that have terrorized the Midwest this year. I can only say this, what a tremendous display of ability and perseverance by Frank and Dan Parker, Larry Radke, Kevin Wilhelms, and Kyle Pelfrey! The numbers say it all. Right out of the box on Friday, 5.63, official qualifying time on the next run, 5.619 at a career best 259.16 mph.

On Sunday, we open with a 5.694 with a little shimmy-shimmy shake thrown in. Frank and Dan tune the shake out, it runs 5.651 in the semis and 5.630 in the final. The speeds were 256.55, 256.84, and 256.94. Can you say "consistent" boys and girls? That's a big word, isn't it?

Not only did the crew prepare the car flawlessly every round, there's a little extra heroism that doesn't show up in the numbers. After we ran the semis against Fred Hagan (who really scared me with that 259.61 in qualifying), the skies opened up. John Bojec and Steve Harker were on the line and had to wait out the storm. Frank Parker, who never wastes a minute, decided that now would be a good time to change engines. The motor that was in there had just run 5.65 at 256, but he and Dan found a valvetrain issue they didn't like. Even though it probably would have run just fine, these guys don't take chances. What it also said was that they have a great deal of confidence in the mighty crew.

They discussed two options, take the head off and fix the problem, or swap motors. Frank decided it would be more time efficient just to do the swap. Plus, a fresh bullet would be a nice thing to have going into a race with the national points leader. Once we had enough tarps up to protect the car from the downpour, the surgery began. It was a beautiful ballet of air tools and manual dexterity. Frank is just amazing at directing several activities at once. In the middle of it all with him and four other guys working full speed, he stops to ask me if I've had anything to eat. My usual procedure is to eat very little, if anything, during the course of a race, but with the rain delay Frank was concerned. I was just amazed at that. So, even though I don't usually munch between rounds, I had a quick bite just to make him feel better.

When the work was done, we fired "Wanda" up. You would never know anything had been done to the car. It sounded the same, the idle rpm was perfect, and there were high fives all around.

Kyle Pelfrey is the patient, methodical dude, so he does the bottom end of the motor. When we're going rounds like we were Sunday, the stuff he handles is pretty hot. Not to mention the fact that hot stuff like oil and assembly lube tends to drip on your face when you're under the engine looking up. As good as Red Line Oil and VP Assembly lube are in the motor, you don't want them on your face when they're hot. But as I said, we made five attempts at Route 66, and all of them were full pulls at 256 mph or better. Kyle's work is obviously staying together.

Larry Radke likes to work fast, so he's good in the clutch. The clutch has to be completely disassembled and serviced every round, so he has to move fast. The stuff he handles is also a little on the warm side after a run, so he has on his Ringers gloves and just goes at it. You cannot achieve the consistency we had last weekend unless the clutch is just right. It's also critical to reaction times. In fact, the car won't even make a run unless certain adjustments on the clutch are right on.

Kevin Wilhelms helps both of them with their jobs and does a lot of other stuff as well. He's responsible for tire maintenance (critical!) and many other things on the car. About the only thing he doesn't work on is the body. He helps Frank and Dan with the mechanical work that they do on the car.

You'll notice I said five attempts. If you have 3 qualifying rounds and 3 elimination rounds, how do you get 5? In the second round of qualifying, the internet said that we broke after the burnout. Not true. I didn't even do a burnout. We never started the motor. We were #1 qualifier at that point, and Frank wanted to save wear and tear on the parts by sitting the session out, unless somebody bumped us down. We were with Mick Snyder for the last pair and we were still numero uno. Hey, who knew that Mick's gang would slap a 5.58 on everybody? Way to go Mick, dad Larry, and the rest of the gang. I just wanted to make that clear, because the team prepared a flawless race car all weekend. Zero breakage.

Thanks to Frank Parker, Dan Parker, Kyle Pelfrey, Larry Radke, and Krazy Kev, Kevin Wilhelms. We hear all the time that consistency wins races (not to mention some hard work). Well, these guys made it happen. See photo. So now, National Dragster's "Tricky Tipster" has us third at 6-1 to win Englishtown. The trouble is, we're not going to Englishtown. Like a lot of racers in these tight times, we have to watch our pennies and skip this one. ND's prediction was written before our win, though, and it'll be interesting to see how they rank us for Norwalk. We are going to Norwalk. It's a home track for us and it's also the home of our 5.57 blast in May. Boogity Boogity!! See you at Norwalk!

JOLIET, Ill. -- Final order after 3 rounds of qualifying in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, North Central Division, event at Route 66 Raceway:

Psn---Num-Driver, Home Town, Car Type---------------Qual-ET--Qual-Spd-Top

1 32 Mick Snyder, Demotte IN, '08 Mustang 5.585 258.67
2 365 Bobby Martin, Beaver Falls PA, '08 Charger 5.619 259.16
3 34 Andy Bohl, Racine WI, '07 Mustang 5.644 254.90
4 302 John Bojec, Chardon OH, '03 Avenger 5.663 255.97
5 31 Daniel Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '05 Monte Ca 5.669 258.67
6 3371 Fred Hagen, Chicago IL, '08 Mustang 5.688 259.61
7 2 Jay Payne, Claremont CA, '07 Mustang 5.697 257.43
8 5 Steve Harker, Gainesville GA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.703 243.28

------------ Not Qualified ------------

9 8 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '08 Mustang 5.752 253.71
10 36 Jeff Wilson, Winfield MO, '05 Monte Carlo 5.752 247.88
11 321 Ray Drew, Hales Corner WI, '04 Firebird 5.770 250.00
12 502 John Foster, Davenport IA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.782 250.69
13 305 Jeff Burnett, Brownsburg IN, '08 Mustang 5.869 237.67
14 326 Brian Harvanek, Cheswick PA, '02 Camaro 5.874 245.00
15 3541 Kevin Newburgh, Rock Falls IL, '06 Avenger 5.943 246.35
16 317 Steve Franke, Indianapolis IN, '98 Lumina 6.355 224.32
17 3377 Rick Cortino, Wheaton IL, '97 Firebird 6.585 201.19
18 38 Wayne Butler, Forest City IL, '02 Firebird 11.666 71.70

JOLIET, Ill. -- The final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Route 66 Raceway, Bill Reichert, Owosso, Mich., drove his Top Alcohol Dragster to his second win of the season while Beaver Falls, Pa., Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Bobby Martin won his first event in just his second race of the season.

Martin came into the day as the No. 2 qualifier. He made his best run of the day in the final against Steve Harker, Gainesville, Ga. Martin ran 5.630 seconds at 256.94 mph to Harker's 5.751-second lap at 250.97 mph.

Round 1
8) Steve Harker, Gainesville, Ga., '05 Monte Carlo, 14.828, 73.68 def.
1) Mick Snyder, Demotte, Ind., '08 Mustang, broke

2) Bobby Martin, Beaver Falls, Pa., '08 Charger, 5.694, 256.55 def.
7) Jay Payne, Claremont, Calif., '07 Mustang, 6.073, 192.82

6) Fred Hagen, Chicago, '08 Mustang, 5.679, 254.86 def.
3) Andy Bohl, Racine, Wis., '07 Mustang, 5.678, 255.73

4) John Bojec, Chardon, Ohio, '03 Avenger, 5.734, 252.24 def.
5) Daniel Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., '05 Monte Carlo, foul

Martin, 5.651, 256.84 def. Hagen, 7.855, 132.46
Harker, 5.673, 254.42 def. Bojec, 6.025, 247.43

Martin, 5.630, 256.94 def. Harker, 5.751, 250.97

Thank you to Steve Ash, Mike Taylor, and everyone at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. The Thursday right before Route 66, I visited them for the CAP graduation banquet. Congratulations to all the students, instructors, families, and dealers. You performed flawlessly too!

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