A CRAZY ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Hello NHRA.com blog readers. The brothaman is back. Yes, I know it’s been some time and it has been too long. We have been busy with Indy and three straight races. My scheduled hasn’t slowed down yet. It’s Oct. 4 and I was up way too early on a Tuesday morning to drive to St. Louis for a day-long video shoot for Matco Tools. We do new product demos for the 1,500 tool trucks. I’m hanging out with John Launius for the day, then it’s back to Indy tonight. The crew is changing up the set, so I’m going to take a few minutes and type out this blog.
There’s been a lot going on in the past six weeks and it’s been a crazy roller coaster ride in this NHRA world; kinda like the stock market. We won Indy which was amazing. To qualify No. 1 and win the U.S. Nationals in Top Fuel is an unreal feeling. To be a little kid from New Jersey and watch the legends like “Big Daddy” and Kenny Bernstein and “Snake” and Shirley race and to accomplish what they all did by winning Indy is truly an awesome feeling. I still have to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. Winning Indy in bikes was great, but to do it in Top Fuel too is really a dream come true.
Then to come back two weeks later and win at Charlotte, the dream ride just continued. To make it three straight wins and four in five races with our win at Sonoma, the 2011 season was at the ultimate high for our Matco Tools/Aaron’s/U.S. Army team. Charlotte was a tricky race because we had issues with our onboard data recorder for the first two rounds, but Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) tuned a great race. They were very tactical and we didn’t beat ourselves. It was a very satisfying win. And how about our Aaron’s Lucky Dog dragster, three races, three finals and two wins. Not bad.
We struggled at Dallas from the get go. We had an issue with our fuel pump on Friday and that put us behind the eight-ball. We got in the show at Texas Motorplex at No. 11 and lost to our teammate Spencer Massey and the FRAM boys in the semis. That ended our run at 14 straight round wins. As tough as Top Fuel is these days, it’s a very impressive accomplishment. Then at Reading last weekend we were running great. We go the provisional pole on Friday night at 3.79 and then lowered the boom at 3.766 on Saturday’s last run. We were riding on high until A.J. and Del through down that 3.760 in the first round. We had a really tough break in round two when our engine let go against David Grubnic. We had the jump at the start and were on another 3.77 lap and the engine just went kerplunk. That was a tough, tough loss because our Matco Tools car was running so strong all weekend long at Maple Grove. We really thought we had the car to beat. We know this championship chase was going to be tough. I’ve been saying for weeks how stiff the competition is in Top Fuel this year. We’re still in second place at 65 points behind Spencer with three races to go and we’re not throwing in the towel yet. We’ve won at all three tracks left on the 2011 schedule before in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Pomona, so we’re going to get our house in order and come out swinging at Phoenix next weekend. It’s going to be a battle and going to be a lot of fun.
We have to give it up to the FRAM boys. Spencer and Todd and Phil are doing an awesome job and have been all season long. They’ve had a consistent, fast car all year and deserve to be atop the points standings. And how about AJ with that 3.735 on Monday at Maple Grove; is that unreal? We knew that number was out there if you made the perfect lap, but know and doing are two different things. Props to the Al-Anabi boys for making the quickest lap in history. I don’t think anybody will re-set the Top Fuel E.T. record this year, no way. That number is going to stand for some time.
It’s nice to be home, but I’ve got this trip to St. Louis today and then I have to meet “Fast Jack” in Atlanta for an Aaron’s event on Thursday. I had a soccer banquet for my son Anson’s soccer team last night. It was cool to coach my son’s soccer team. I’ve been making sure I’m home every Monday so I can be at practice and it’s been a lot of fun to work with the kids. I’m going to enjoy my weekend off at home with the family, that’s for sure. The weather is perfect here in the Midwest and we don’t say that very often. It’s in the low 70s with clear, blue skies and I’m loving it. I saw on NHRA’s Facebook page that it was raining in So Cal today. Better them then us. Before I go, I want to thank my longtime friend “Big Tom” Thompson for hooking our team up with the tomato pie last weekend at Reading. It took me back to my younger days in Jersey, and like Campbell’s says, it was” Mmm Mmm Good. “
It’s time to sign off with a little love, peace and Valvoline NextGen grease, and I’m out like shout.