NOT THE EXPERIENCE WE HOPED FOR
Jul 10, 2009
Author: Bobby Martin
"This is one of those suck it up events that could determine the course of
the entire season. Is it a must-win? In a lot of ways, yes."
As excited as we were for the Norwalk Nationals, we went out first round.
The car just smoked the tires and we were done. The Parkertech/Lane
Automotive team looks to rebound in Columbus. After the magic we had last
year in Norwalk, winning both the national and divisional events there,
friends and fans were gathering around for another great Norwalk experience.
By now it's well documented that the track surface was a challenge for
teams from the starting line on due to new pavement, the heat, etc. But
that's part of racing and everyone has to deal with the same conditions.
None of us are real proud of our performance at Norwalk, so now comes
another true test for our team. When you're winning, you build momentum in
many different ways. You have a good combination, a good tuneup, and
everybody feels good about their contribution because it's producing solid
results. When you go through a period where things don't go well, for
whatever reason, it gets tougher and tougher to recover. For me, the
biggest challenge is confidence. The things you've been doing as a driver
aren't producing results. You can have good lights, leave at the right rpm,
hit your shift points and everything, but if it's not lighting the win
light, you feel like you've got to compensate somehow. And don't let
anybody tell you otherwise, nobody's perfect. So when the "human side" of
driving a Top Alcohol Funny Car comes into play, you begin to wonder how
much it's hurting the team's efforts. There's added pressure and tension.
None of that helps your performance. The same goes for every member of the
team. They can be doing their thing just the same as when the car is
invincible, but when you're not going rounds, doubt sets in. Our team has
been doing well in one important aspect. Everyone takes responsibility for
their own job. There's not a lot of blaming and whining. There's a lot of
respect in the Parkertech pit and that's an important ingredient in a
successful team. No one got fired (we actually joke about that quite a bit)
and everybody still hangs with each other on off days and all that. My job
is, as an individual, to make sure my own performance is top level.
Here's the deal though. We're really in pretty good shape. Frank and Dan
Parker and all of us have high expectations, so it doesn't take much for us
to be disappointed. But hey, you're not supposed to be satisfied with
anything but the best. We are #17 in the country and #2-- that's right, a
close second-- in the division! There's still plenty of racing left, so we
can still achieve our goals. Naturally, we want to repeat as division
champs, and after last year's eighth place national finish, the only way to
go is up, to a top five. What this does, though, is apply some pressure.
We're running out of breathing room. We have to return to winning rounds
and races. This is what we look to do in Columbus. It's the NHRA Division
3 event at National Trail Raceway July 24th-26th. This is one of those suck
it up events that could determine the course of the entire season. Is it a
must-win? In a lot of ways, yes. We want to reassert our position as
division leaders, and we certainly would like another crack at the Jeg's
Allstars. See, as good as last year was, we went through a slump then too.
The difference is we had already accomplished so much that it couldn't spoil
our fun, or the year we were having. This year we started with a win.
That's cool. And it gave us a load of points to start with. But with the
Jeg's Allstars, it only added to our total for this year. The 2010 points
didn't start till after we were slumping, so now were like fourth in the
Allstars points. I truly believe that we have some of the best people and
equipment out there. The guys all know how I feel. They're the best! For
me, that's the most frustrating thing about not doing well. Okay, so now
there's a little pressure on us to pick up the pace. This kind of pressure
is actually something new for this team. Now everybody, including us, will
get to see another part of what the team is made of.
he Parkertech team is: Frank Parker: guitars. Oh wait, that's for liner
notes. The team is Frank Parker: Owner and crew chief. Dan Parker:
Co-owner, co-crew chief.
Larry Radke: clutch specialist, Kyle Pelfrey: bottom end, Kevin Wilhelms:
"back half" of car. Mike Meeks: "front half" of car, Bobby Martin: driver
and appearance care for body and all support vehicles, Rachel Parker:
assistant to Frank and Dan Parker, Lori Martin: head chef and assistant to
team. ParkerTech Racing's long-standing relationship with Lane Automotive
continues, along with All-Star Performance, Clevite Engine Bearings, Mopar,
Aeroquip Hoses, Red Line Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Total Flow Heads, Mr. Gasket,
Mancini Racing, Casebolt Financial, Permatex, and VP Racing Fuels. Marketing
and media tasks by Challenger Consulting.