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BIG RACES YET TO COME
Aug 10, 2009
Author: Bobby Martin

Have you seen the log jam in the D3 TAFC points? What that means is that Bowling Green is a Must Win.

We said in our last installment that Columbus had to be a "Get Well" race for us. Well, we got better and so we're back - against the wall that is. Have you seen the points for D3? It's ridiculous. Mick Snyder and we are tied with 203 points in the first spot. Chris Foster is in third just one point back at 202. And Andy Bohl is right there in fourth with 193. The Bowling Green race, the week before Indy, is the last race in the D3 series. Even if we win this race, the season's not over. People can go to out of division races and collect points. That puts Foster in good shape, as he has been able to collect his points total with one less race than Mick and me. Realistically, we have to win Bowling Green, and hope it's not Foster in the other lane in the final.

I got myself into this mess. We had Foster side by side in Columbus and I let it get away. It was a close race at the start and at the finish, but as a driver, I feel those are the kind of races I need to deliver for the team. Frank and Dan and the guys had the car straightened out at this event. We were going down the track and the car was happy to do it. We had virtually no parts breakage all weekend. The points would look a lot different if I had won that round. It was the semis, and Foster went on to beat Andy in the final. The reaction times were .062 to .058 in favor of Chris. This is the first time all year I've been left on. .062 is okay, even Dan said that. But in a situation like this, I needed a little more. Could I have made up the 5.75 to 5.73 deficit with driving? Maybe some of it. I think in the back of my mind, I was concerned about running the car at Indiana State University that week, didn't want to hurt anything, and wasn't as aggressive as I could have been on the track. In the previous round, we were about a tenth better than Foster. I was thrown off my timing in the staging lanes too, as we had problems with the seat belts. But guess what? None of that should matter to the driver when you go up to stage. I was in a defense "don't lose it" mode. Not good. You gotta be in the "grab the win" mode, which Foster was. Good for him. But now I gotta get mean. No more Mr. Nice Guy. That's a challenge. Because you can get too animal in these cars and bust stuff up. Or go up there all pumped, cut a great light, then drive like an idiot the rest of the way down the track and lose. So, just like the tuners need to find the right balance between too wimpy and too aggressive, so does the driver. See, another thing is that it's not my job to worry about the car. Sure, I have to take reasonable care of it and not do anything dumb, but as Frank says, "Don't look at the oil pressure gauge. Once the engine fires, just drive it." That's very wise. I've learned over the years that if that motor's happy, you can drive it pretty hard and it loves it. So knowing we got our game back at Columbus, we can go to Bowling Green and have at it.

After Bowling Green is the U.S. Nationals. I don't have to tell you how big that race is. It makes Bowling Green all the more important, because we want some momentum heading into Indy. Not that the Parker team has to have it in order to win. Many forget that the event before their Indy triumph in 2003, they had a big explosion and fire at Bowling Green. The above paragraph explains why that can't happen this year. They rebuilt the car on the road and went on to win the biggest race of them all. That shows you what the Parker team is made of. But the points are important too. We'd still like to finish in the national Top Ten. So any event we go to from here on out has to produce points, and that includes Indy.

Our school visits after Columbus were tremendous. Frank, Dan, Rachel, Charlie Henry, and I were all at Indiana State University for a special "Fire at the Fountain" extravaganza. ISU has a gorgeous fountain at the center of the campus that made a great setting for the Parkertech/Lane Automotive Charger and the ISU Team Sycamore dragster to fire-up their engines. The president of the college - not me - was at the wheel when Frank lit it up. Frank, Rachel, Dan, and I all did presentations for the students at the school too. Some of them will be writing articles about it for special projects they're working on.

I went on by myself with the CAP CHARGER in tow to Lincoln Tech's Mahwah, New Jersey campus. I displayed the car in the more conventional location of the school's auto shop - a state-of -the art facility where 300 students heard me speak in the morning session alone. It's always fun to do these kinds of events because the students and instructors are so appreciative. Such was the case at Lincoln Tech. I think everyone had a really great day.

Like I said, we need a few really great days at Bowling Green and Indy. Come back for the inside scoop on two very important events. Thanks for stopping by.



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