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FALL CLEAN UP AT Bobby Martin RACING
We finally got to a Pittsburgh Pro Mod race and boy what a cool deal that was. How about 17 cars going for 8 qualifying spots, with everything from Turbo cars to Mountain Motor Pro Stocks in the mix? It was a two day event, but because of a commitment to appear with the CHARGER in Etna PA, we had to miss Saturday. It turned out to be a nice way to end out season. Spike, wife and co-owner Christine, Randy Eiler, and Larry Radke pulled in on Saturday to park. The folks at Pittsburgh Raceway Park treated us like kings all weekend. They were very nice, it really made us feel great, and their hospitality certainly added to the fun. Spike was happy with our parking spot, but the crew could only set up while other guys were making laps. The Grainy Bros. (remember them from Lancaster?) made a killer 4.10 test past at night that showed everyone what they could do. It also showed everyone what the track could do!
There was only one qualifying session scheduled for Sunday (October 10th), but the track graciously allowed us to make a "shakedown run." This was very good because I hadn't been in the car in more than a month, and it had a new front spoiler that is anything but a subtle change. Since we knew the track was good we just let 'er rip. This resulted in violent shake the likes of which we never experienced. Very helpful, because we knew what NOT to do for qualifying. With Oddy's Automotive's Billy Leverentz calling the shots by phone, we made a nice, smooth 4.55 run at 160 mph, our first 160 mph eighth mile run. The 4.55 was pretty representative of the Rush Willys' performance, but it wasn't in the quick 8. How - Ever ... This is Pro Mod racing. And there was so much carnage in qualifying, that we were put in the show in the #8 spot. This put us into a match with the #1 qualifier, whose bright yellow '63 Corvette was essentially an ADRL Pro Extreme car complete with a huge by awesome PSI screw blower protruding prominently through what little hood was left. For the first time all year, the Willys threw the blower belt, but it wouldn't have mattered, as our opponent ran a strong 4.17.
Needless to say, Frankenstein Spike is not satisfied with those results. He and Billy are working on a killer new motor for 2011 that will take the car to a whole 'nother level. One thing I know is that it will combine Funny Car and Pro Stock technology to produce gobs of dependable power.
We feel pretty good about what we accomplished this season. We were all totally new to Pro Mod style cars, including the builder Mike Spitzer. We made steady progress all year. Beyond that we never really took any steps backward. We came back from every race with the engine and car completely intact, certainly not a given at this power level in drag racing. I felt good about that as a driver. I wanted to learn how to handle a fast door car, but also wanted to keep it together for a great owner who gave me a great opportunity. Next year should be interesting. More to come on that.
At Etna, I had the chance to bring out the Funny Car for a special event at William Daugherty Memorial Field called "Unity in the Community." It was a neat concept as the folks from 6 different churches joined together to host a great family day, with music, rides, food, and guest speakers. I got to talk to the crowd to close the program. The spirit of camaraderie and fun at this event was outstanding.
As I said, we're working on next year. Keep checking back for updates. I'll provide the details. Thanks for checking in.