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Aug 8, 2008
Author: Bobby Martin

Drag racing, and particularly Funny Car racing, is really unpredictable. Who would have predicted the results from the Division 3 doubleheader at Columbus?

We talked about it last time. Qualifying and final eliminations on Saturday, more eliminations Sunday. It was tough physically and mentally. One of our loyal supporters, Sinclair Community College of Dayton was there, represented by the jovial Steve Goad. The fun started with the aforementioned semi-final bout with Mick Snyder from the Norwalk race. This race, one of many with Mick this year, went our way with a 5.72 @ 253 to Mick's 5.87 @ 247. Not a typical Snyder run, and I never heard why. Frank Manzo got by Andy Bohl 5.65 to 5.81.

That put us in the final with "Uncle Frank." The track was hot and tricky. Frank went into tire shake, but so did I. After the race, Manzo said he shut off at the shake because our car had made so many runs to the finish line, he just figured it was over. But then he didn't see me, because I was dealing with issues of my own in the other lane. The 5.83 ET indicates that it wasn't a perfect run, but the speed of 252.80 shows that I was on the gas the whole way and that the Parkertech Hemi was crankin' out the horses. We then went to our third Winner's Circle in a row. We were all shocked! We had completed a sweep of the 2008 Norwalk events. There wasn't a whole lotta time to celebrate though, as we had another race to run the following day.

Frank Manzo came into our pit earlier in the weekend and explained his plan. He did not enter the Columbus race. He was only there to complete the Norwalk race. Sure enough, Sunday morning, Manzo's pit space was empty. I honestly don't think any of the other drivers were sorry to see him go. Whatever the reason, it was cool of him to do it.

Sunday started with a matchup with Steve Franke. I ran Steve and his pretty Lumina in the first round of my first Divisional win at Cleves in '04. Frank and Dan Parker had our car ready for battle, as we turned a nice 5.70 at a scorching 255.82 mph. Later, Steve smiled and said, "Nice run." Steve is kind of a quiet guy, so that said enough. But Mick stepped up his game with a 5.69, so we weren't at the top of the heap anymore.

The sun was staying out and the track was getting hotter by the hour. Our semi-final match was with Andy Bohl, another guy we've seen a lot of this year. Andy had run a 5.83 to beat Fred Hagen, so we had lane choice. But I knew better than to get comfortable with Andy in the other lane. Sure enough, he stepped up to a 5.77, but there's more to the story. His car was moving toward the center line (and toward our car!) but Andy discovered that he could not close the throttle. When I put my chutes out, they hit hard, and I heard a boom. I thought it was the chutes popping, but it was Andy's blower. That's why his speed was only 247. I didn't know what was happening with him at the time. But the safety crew stopped me on the track, and two Safety Safari trucks went by me after Andy. Then I realized the boom was his car, and I was pretty concerned for him. The safety crew pushed me around the corner off the track, and I could see the fire crew at Andy's car, but there was no fire.

Andy later told me that the throttle hung open and the engine went lean and banged the blower. He said, "It's a good thing I wasn't running rich, or I would have been across the street." At National Trail, a runaway car crosses a road at the end of the track before entering the sand trap. The Parkermobile 5.75 at 253 to go into the final against, you guessed it, Mick Snyder.

The changing conditions caused Mick to slow from his first round 5.69 to a 5.81, giving us lane choice in the final. Ours only went from a .70 to a .75, so we were looking good to double up on the weekend. It was another tight Snyder-Martin match. The dragracecentral.com description tells as well as any. It said, 6:50 p.m. This was a good one. Martin gets a little advantage off the line, then Snyder starts to make up ground. they were glued together all the way through the run, then Snyder pulled away to take the win.

I could feel the powerful Parkertech/Lane Automotive/CAP Charger losing traction in the middle of the run, but I didn't see Mick, and just legged it to the finish. Snyders win with a 5.75 at 252 to our 5.78 at 254. Our 255 in Round 1 held for top speed.

I have to admit it's hard to be disappointed with a weekend like that. A win and a runner-up, a win against Manzo, and the Division points lead. I gotta give a hearty congratulations to Mick and Larry Snyder and their whole team. They raced tough and smart all weekend and deserved the win on Sunday. This race may prove pivotal for the Division 3 championship as Mick is in second place and not sitting on it. The Snyders have already gone to an out-of-division race at Cordova in search of more points. As of this writing, we still have the lead. The Bowling Green race, August 22-24, is the last Division 3 race of the year, and it'll be huge. We're also giddy about the fact that we're in the Top Ten nationally, currently occupying the number seven spot. That's something that Frank, the team, and I would love to hang onto as well.

Lori and I hosted our annual Power Cruise event at Chippewa E Free Church in Beaver Falls on July 30. The CAP CHARGER made an appearance at this event and the welcome was a warm one by those in attendance. Hats off to everyone who showed up with such great machines, because it rained well past the 4pm start time. All the participants fired up their cars together at 7pm, followed by a mini-sprint car, Mark Bergfelt's amazing racing karts, then I talked for a bit in what amounted to a Gospel presentation. The crowd was very attentive and responsive. Thanks again to you. We then fired up the CAP CHARGER. It was pretty special to Lori, Mike Meeks, Larry Radke, and me because we haven't been running this car this year. I don't know if it was touched by God or what, but it sounded awesome and the crowd loved it.

Please check out the Photos section to see some great shots from Columbus and the Power Cruise. The Columbus shots are courtesy of Steve Goad, who was representing Sinclair Community College, our event sponsor at Columbus. Also, you gotta check out www.davesdragpics.com One of the most amazing drag racing websites in the world. Click here to see the fabulous TA/FC action from the Nationals at Norwalk.

Thanks for reading. We look forward to seeing you at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky August 22-24!

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