CURTAIN CLOSES ON KILLER SEASON
Nov 20, 2008
Author: Bobby Martin
DIVISION 3 CHAMPIONS
#8 IN THE COUNTRY
Well, now it's official. Our Parkertech Racing Services, Lane Automotive,
CAP, Bobby Martin Racing team is the 2008 NHRA Division 3 Top Alcohol Funny
In addition we achieved a Top Ten finish in the NHRA National Lucas Oil
Series national points series at number 8. Another goal that was especially
close to Frank's heart was the Spitzer Cup, awarded to the team that
accumulates the most points in qualifying during the Division 3 series.
That's an important one for a crew chief, because it's all about
performance. So, we attained a Top Ten finish, the Division Championship,
and the Spitzer Cup all in our first year together. Frank's a tough racer
and a great manager, and these were the goals that he set for the year. But
now that they're a reality, I can quote Austin Coil, who once said of his
legendary exploits with the Chi-Town Hustler, "It was an Iron Man contest,
and we were just amazed that we could pull it all off."
Division 3 is really developing into a hot division for TA/FC. What else
can you say about a division where the defending champion ends up fourth?
Obviously Daniel Wilkerson's team knows how to race. His dad, Tim, darn
near won the whole shootin' match in nitro. As we all know, he would be the
champion in any non-Countdown year. Plus, Daniel's crew chief, a guy by the
name of Fred Mandoline, well, let's just say he's seen a drag race or two in
his time. So it comes down to Mick Snyder and Andy Bohl. D3 has lot of
great racers and cars, guys like John Bojec, Fred Hagen, Wayne Butler, and
up-and-comers like Brian Harvanek. But as the season got going, it seemed
like Daniel, Andy, Mick, and we were battling it out week after week. Hats
off to Andy Bohl. Bob Frey said it; this is one of the most improved teams
in the whole country over the last couple of years. Now Mick. I'm going to
do a whole News & Views about the amazing see-saw battle between Parkertech
Racing and Snyder Motorsports that went on all year. Then you can decide
who came out on top. It was that close.
It was the kind of drama you'd find in a Hollywood script. The Parkers and
I closed out our first season together in dramatic fashion at fabled Pomona
Raceway. With wildfires blazing all around us, the trip can best be
described as an adventure. I've been a drag racer for a pretty long time,
and a fan for even longer, but I'd never set foot on the hallowed grounds of
Pomona Raceway until last weekend. Frank and Dan have both been there, but
not racing their own car. We were all really pumped about the opportunity
provided by Cerritos College, Total Flow, CAP, Lane Automotive, and others.
When we got there, the sun was blazing with virtually no chance of rain for
the entire week. The scenery with those majestic mountains in the
background is absolutely breath-taking. Then there was the little matter of
the entry list. I talked about this in a previous News & Views. We just
knew this was going to be a war zone.
Our first qualifying shot yielded a 5.68 that put us sixth. The run was not
without its concerns though. The motor hiccupped a spark plug. Back the
second time, this time the big bang theory reared its ugly head. Frank
decided to regroup and miss the final session. The problem with that was it
got nice and cool and people were flyin'! I was watching from the stands.
I'll tell you, it's the worst time I ever had watching drag cars. It looked
like we were gonna get bumped out! As it was we ended up 13th. The good
news was we were in the show. The bad news was we had to take on one of the
hottest cars in the country over the last half of the season, Roger Bateman.
Although I didn't know it at the time, ol' Rodge hadn't lost in the first
round all year! Frank and Dan got the problem fixed - this time for good -
and we made a nice 5.68 run at 253 for our first win light in a while.
Roger ran 5.60 to qualify 4th in the cool air, but had trouble in the other
two sessions when it was hot out. Against us, he got down the track with a
5.86, but we got a much needed win.
We were all giddy with excitement about running in Pomona on Sunday. An
interesting match was coming up. Steve Gasparelli beat us in Dallas when we
lost the lead with an engine problem. The Gasparelli team is the epitome of
a solid west coast team. I received my first National Dragster in 1986, and
who was on the cover but Lou Gasparelli. Lou was already a seasoned TA/FC
veteran and he had just won the Winternationals at this very track. Now his
son Steve drives the family race car and has done an outstanding job. It
was a great race, we made our best run of the week, but then I had to
contend with the notoriously short shut down at Pomona Raceway with no
chutes. Tune in for the next installment for all the wild details! (Don't
forget Sunday, ESPN2, Noon Eastern).