Dave Schultz – July 17, 2014
This month started with troubles — but ended very well.
In mid June, while on a week long Motorcycle trip with son Dallas and a bud (Doug Duell), I had a non-motorcycle related accident tearing the ligament on my right thumb — requiring surgery. I had put off surgery until July 18 (tomorrow) to be able to make the Joliet race, and have the first cast changed to smaller in time for the Norwalk race in late August.
The Whale had been in Indiana having some chassis issues corrected. Route 66 in Joliet has never been a good track for me — and the last time the Whale was out was at that track last July — when a virtually new $24K engine blew up. The backup car’s (Vitamin C) new engine was pretty gutless (yes we have a different engine builder now) at St. Louis — and a tear-down showed some valve-train issues. Dallas was dropping new engine in it when I received a call that the Whale could be picked up on the way to Joliet – albeit untested. I wasn’t exactly thrilled taking an untested car with a new Indy engine and a transmission Dallas had just rebuilt — and I’d not driven in over a year, but there was no option.
We left on Tuesday, and the trip to Indiana to get the Whale was uneventful — except having to replace the 4 chassis batteries of on the Freightliner. The Whale was loaded Wednesday early afternoon and we proceeded to Joliet with our fingers crossed that the Illinois State Police (recently picking on drag racers) would leave us alone. Thursday morning we were let onto the track and set up our pits. The chassis on the Whale needed to be recertified, and the car was teched in. There was no testing Thursday.
On Friday, racers were allowed a maximum of two time trials between 9AM and 11AM. I was one of the few to get both in. I had to remove my cast to get racing gloves on. In my first pass I launched at 2500 and shifted at 7000 — and had a -.034 light from driving a slower reacting Vitamin C — and my time was 9.749. While that’s a good time for my 9.75 Index — I had no weight in the car and the weather was going to get real bad Saturday and Sunday. I also had some switch-box and shift light problems — but they were quickly resolved when traced to a couple of unconnected grounds, which must have been disconnected for welding. I hot lapped back into the 90 minute long Time Trial line and changed my launch to 2000 RPM and shifted at 7400 RPM. That slowed my light down to an equally horrible .090 but the ET improved to 9.62. We made two qualifying hits on Friday evening, and I broke out in the first but made it to the #2 Qualifying spot in the 2nd. I was able to fix my lights.
It rained hard Friday night and Saturday morning. The track finally went Hot at 3PM — but the third qualifying was cancelled and we went right to Eliminations. There were 23 racers in the NSS Class and the pairing had Dallas and I having to again race each other in the first round. I came out on top on that round. The next round had Jeff Frees against me. I had a 0-2 record against Jeff — but improved it to 1-2. Racing stopped at 9PM due to dew making the track too slippery.
I rained again Saturday night. The track personnel did well to dry the track and racing started at about 9:30AM. In the Third round (Quarters) I was paired against the points leader Barry Dorn, who was ahead of me (I’m in second) by about 330 points. It was an epiphany for me — win to cut the lead — or lose and be out of the race. I was fortunate to win that round. The 4th round (Semis) I had the Competition Bye for being the #2 Qualifier.
In the final I matched with DW Hopkins and I was the winner of that round — and presented with my second ever Wally. I think this year has a total of four (maybe five) opportunities for a Wally.
I believe this puts me less than one round out of first place.