DND Race Report #7
IHRA World Nationals
Norwalk Raceway Park
August 25 - 28, 2005
Dakota Truck – Yankee Flyer
D/TA (D – Truck Stock Automatic Class)
Welcome Race Fans,
This is a jammed packed report from the IHRA World Nationals event at Norwalk Raceway Park. This is a world class event on par with the NHRA US Nationals.
First, let me thank my good friend, G. R. Whale, Editor at Large for PRIMEDIA publications, for the great article in the September/October issue of Truck Trend, Vol. 8, No. 5, on the DND Race Team.
I gotta say that that Greg’s article helped me, to some extent, answer a question I ask myself a lot during rain delays at the track, or after first round losses, or after me or my driver & son, Dan make a stupid decision or mistake. That question is, “What the hell makes us do this?”
Thanks Greg, your insight is most enlightening.
Please, pick up a copy for yourself at your local news stand.
Another round of “guddos” to the crew at CDS Performance (Chris Sniesak) & McCormack Motorsports for their hard work in performing some maintenance on the Yankee Flyer, prior to the IHRA World Nationals. Seems that the right front coil spring lost its bounce after the last event.
Lastly I have to thank the support from my wife for helping in preparing all the provisions for a well stocked “rig” prior to our departure.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Dan & I decide to get an early start on Thursday, rather than a late night arrival on Wednesday.
We roll out in plenty of time to make the 10:00AM first round qualifying at Norwalk.
Things are going fine, until we attempt to enter the Ohio Turnpike. Be advised that as you pull through the toll plaza to get your ticket, the mechanisms checked your length and your weight.
As I reach for the ticket, a red light (I hate red lights) comes on indicating we are over weight!
The toll booth attendant, nice lady, says “Wait, you’re over weight”. Hey, at least her at the red light agree. “Where?” I ask. “The coach”, she says. “Where?”I ask. “Rear axle”, she says.
“How much?”,I ask. “Can’t tell”, she says. “Can you adjust it?”, she asks. “ We can adjust anything”, I respond. “You’ll have to pull through the toll booth, make a U-turn, and make your weight adjustments. Come back through Gate#2”, she advises. Must be something special about Gate# 2, but OK. We take the 74 foot rig through the toll booth, make the U-turn, come back through the booth, and pull to the shoulder. We drain about 25 gallons of fresh water out of the RV holding tank, move about 150lbs. of ballast (needed for weight adjustments on the race truck later) from the front of the trailer to the extreme rear, and take one link out of the trailer hitch equalizing bars. Back through Gate #2, and clear sailing. We won’t make first round now after this delay.
We roll into the Norwalk facility, get our credentials, go to the wrong gate, get re-directed, and finally escorted to our pit spot. Thank you, Earl (IHRA official), for the great job of parking us.
Sure enough, we have missed first round qualifying. Dan goes and gets a qualifying sheet.
Careful study shows that there is not a single entry in D/Truck class. So, we add about 150lbs. to the weight box to move up a class. I should mention that at this event, vehicles in the same weight / horsepower class compete in heads – up racing for class winner, no handicap racing here. If there is only one entry in the class, well, do the math!. Dan & I set about the weight change and change the fuel filter on the Aeromotive fuel system. Finally finished we take it to the closest scale. Seems this scale says we are still 10 lbs short. So we put another 25 lbs. behind each seat.
Now finally, we get the call for our first time / qualifying pass.
Temp is 83 degrees, humidity is 49%, Corrected Density / Altitude is 3188. Pretty good conditions
Dan does the normal burn out & stage routine. The reaction time is 0.029 sec. not too bad. The truck runs 12.272 seconds, at 105.77 MPH. A little slow for the weight we put in. However, this is good enough to qualify 0.628 sec. under the “D-Class” index of 12.90 sec.
Now, Dan takes the truck over the “official scale” on the other side of the track, and it says we are 60 lbs heavy. Humm, added 50 lbs, were 10 lbs light, now we’re 60 lbs heavy!
They must use the “new math”
at this track.
Additionally, this run is for Class champion. We win Class!
This means a picture in the winner’s circle, and a check of all the race components for contingency sponsors. Wouldn’t you know, that both Dan & I have on dirty tee shirts, that don’t match. We do have “team shirts” but they’re in a closet some where.
Back in the pits, we take the 50lbs out from behind the seats and get ready for the tomorrow’s pass.
Friday August 26, 2005
Today is a special day, since the owner’s of the Yankee Flyer are due to show up. We need to be on our best behavior.
We roll into the staging lanes right around 10:00am.
Dan does the normal burn out & stage routine. The reaction time is 0.135 sec. Need some improvement here. The Truck runs 12.145 sec.at 106.73 MPH.
An improvement of 0.127 seconds. Right on track.
We move up to 32nd in qualifying, running 0.755 seconds under the class index.
This pass is more inline with expected results, given the weight we finally got correct, within 10 lbs. of minimum, is close enough.
The truck owners, Dan & Chris Sniesak finally find our pit spot. Turns out, they did manage to get a seat in the grandstands in time to see the Dakota make the second pass.
Now it’s time to turn on the ‘ol DND Racing charm and entertain our vehicle owners, with gourmet burgers and grilled corn on the cob.
A great day!
Saturday August 27, 2005
First round eliminations, and as usual, we’re first up. We draw a very good competitor, S. Stillings. This guy and his Top Stock Camaro finished #2 in the Nation in IHRA Stock last year. We get some race advice / strategy from one of the Southland Dodge crew (Top Stock racers, from Houma, Louisiana), which is greatly appreciated. At 10:00AM in the morning, the weather is not very similar to the day before, 74 degrees, 76% humidity.
I put a 12.15 sec. dial on the window, and Dan rolls into the burn out box. Staging goes well, no mistakes. As usual, we get a head start, as Mr. Stillings has dialed 10.80 sec. Dan’s reaction time is good for this run, 0.112 sec., however, Mr. Stillings is better. He catches the Dan at half track, holds a fender on him to the finish line. The truck turns 12.157 sec.(very close to the dial) at 107.14 MPH, but it’s not enough. Darn first round runner up’s again. Mr. Stillings goes on to runner up in the Stock Class for the event, guess it was his day, not ours.
We decide to stay for the IHRA night of fire, and enjoy the show Saturday night.
Sunday August 28, 2005
Dan & I pack up and leave the track in plenty of time to get home in time to unpack and unwind.
As we pull out, we notice the RV is leaning substantially to the left, about 12 degrees.
The rear air bag suspension is not taking air. We limp to the first fuel stop on the Ohio Turnpike and diagnosis the issue. Dan takes the matter in hand, and removes the air control valve for the left rear air bags. We disassemble it, clean it, and determine it is not a repairable unit. We get some appreciated advise from some truckers . One guy even goes so far as to look for a replacement valve or by-pass coupling in various tool boxes in his rig. God Bless our Truckers!
I check with the “tech guys” in Oregon at Monaco to see if we can proceed without damaging anything. Yes, you can proceed, go slow and check to make sure nothing rubs. The ride is terrible, the mud flap on the coach gets 2 inches shorter on the drivers side, before we stop to remove it, and Dan has to set the cruise at 55 MPH ( I know this kills him).
We make it back to DND World HQ with minimal damage.
Until next time,
Keep the revs up………
DND Race Team
Dave Perrine – Crew Chief
Dan Perrine - Driver