It's a numbers game...

Since May, when I last updated everyone on my activities, more has happened than I can remember.  I’ll do my best to catch you up with all of my activities, both on and off the racetrack.

To sum up the off-track events; 26.2 / 7, 459, 888, 10 and 13, 99, 5800, 26. 

Allow me to explain:  26.2 is the mileage for a marathon, and Jenna ran her third in San Diego to raise money for cancer research.  The 7 represents the number of miles that I had to walk to keep up with her.  Guess who took the longest to recover?

459 represents the police code for burglary.  What a shock it was for me to come home to an empty house.  In this case, “empty”- as in no computer, cash, credit card, cameras, DVD player, etc. !  The only salvation is that the perpetrators didn’t trash the house, and they didn’t touch any of the Wally’s. 

888 is the horsepower that Jenna’s rebuilt engine just made on the dyno.  She had blown it up Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas, and has been running the engine that I won the 2003 championship with ever since.  Now her motor is back in, and the warranty is up!

10 and 13 were the NHRA races in Chicago and Denver (the 10th and 13th races on the 2006 tour) that I flew to in order to talk with several of the Nitro teams.  In my last article, I mentioned that we (Rodger Comstock of Mail Terminal Services and me) were getting closer to a fuel program.  Now I feel that we are very close, but I cannot mention any specifics until we are able to finalize a deal.



99 was my score on my midterm.  Yep, I am back in school.  Karen Comstock suggested that we take a night course in marketing at UCLA.  Jenna, Karen and I are really enjoying the class, and our final grade project will be (you can guess this) an NHRA marketing presentation. Not only am I learning a lot, I enjoy being back in school.

5800.  Speaking of school, I’ve nearly reached the 6000 student mark at the Frank Hawley NHRA Drag Racing School.  Since leaving my job as an elevator serviceman in 1998, I have fostered hundreds of friendships with some of the greatest folks on the planet through the school.

26 would be how old I turned in late June.  Or maybe that was the number of times I fell off of my surfboard last week?  Anyway, those who know me can do the math on my age, but there certainly was a lot of candles on the cake Jenna had for me at the Fontana Lucas Oil Divisional.

Now it’s time to talk about my favorite topic, drag racing!  I still am racing the Blackbird as often as my schedule will allow, and I even was able to add another Wally to the mantle with a win at the Las Vegas National Open.  I only wish that those points counted towards the NHRA yearend total.  Jenna competed in Top Comp and made it to the semifinals before a broken engine limiter caused the coupler to disengage on the burnout.

A brand new racetrack opened in Fontana in June.  This track actually is the THIRD Fontana track.  The original was in the sixties, and number two closed in late 2005.  The current track is now on the North side of the Superspeedway and runs West to East.  It replaces the South side track that ran East to West.  If that sounds confusing, it’s still ¼ mile long and straight, and it’s exciting to again have a local venue at which to compete.  I very much wanted that trophy from opening day, and made it all the way to the final.  My .017 light just didn’t do the trick against Danny Aguayo’s .008 and 8.91.  Still a good day.

At the recent LODRS at Infineon Raceway (Sonoma), I felt something in the motor during my first round race, so I immediately shut off the engine.  My MADCAP 565 has been in the Blackbird since 2004 and has won three Wally’s and several bracket races, but I think I hurt it good.  Thanks to the help of people like V. Gaines of MADCAP and Chris Lamb (racer, MATCO distributor, and all-around helpful guy) I had a backup engine in the car and fired-up before I left the track Sunday.

I will race a two day SCEDA event before heading off to Bakersfield for the next LODRS in two weeks.  Sound like a busy month?  Did I mention that I am leaving from work tomorrow to race Dennis Murphy’s CIFCA funny car in Phoenix?  Man, do I love the cars, the people, and the competition.

Lastly, I would like to mention the passing on of an incredibly strong little girl.  I met Brittany Knisely in 2004 while at the US Nationals.  Her grandmother Joyce sought me out in the pits after hearing that I was still going through chemotherapy.  Karen, Jenna, and I went to see Brittany in the hospital and immediately fell in love with her.  Though bald, her pretty eyelashes and forced smile would melt your heart.  I later made an additional trip back to see her, and was trying to schedule a third when I received the news from Joyce.  Brittany had an aggressive form of sarcoma, and her body finally gave out after enduring more treatment than most adults could tolerate.  I just went numb when I got the call.  What do you say to a family that has to bury a child?  Though I still live with the fear that my cancer could come back, I realize that I am absolutely one of the lucky ones and try to enjoy each day as if it were a bonus.


Back on a positive note, I will continue to do my best to be back in the Nitro ranks as soon as possible.  I really miss that feeling about 1 ½ seconds into the run when the clutch and timing start shoving you back into the seat so hard that..............................................

Sorry, I started daydreaming.  I have a classroom full of students tomorrow and it’s time to get some sleep. 

Stay tuned!


Got a comment? Drop us a line at [email protected].