NHRA Woodburn Dragstrip – Les Schwab Callenge West Regional Event – LODRS July 13 – 15 2012 – Gregg Racing

Did You Hear?!!! We Won!!!~

21-2012-07-15 nuff saidTo all of you who faithfully follow us here through our Facebook and Web Posts- Thank You! Most of our Posts are pretty brief- Most of them! For the Hard Core Racers among us, however, who’ve been Racing, or following Racing, for quite a while, Quickie Pics of Puppies and little Girls, as cools as they are, interspersed with some cool Racing Photos can’t replace Hardcore Racing- and all the Drama that goes with it! The “Dirt”; the background stories that you always WISHED you had access to…… IF ONLY you KNEW someone who would let you IN to what was said INSIDE the Pits; INSIDE the Trailers when the Media was gone! Well, consider this a REAL “Pit Pass”- an Invite to the “Dirt” of our BIGGEST Weekend of 2012, as we get our Hot Rod Program together for 2013! BUT, consider yourself warned! THIS Post has NO Puppies or Little Girls in it ANYWHERE! It IS, however, full of details of a hard fought Weekend of Racing, with Drama & Disagreements, but it’s ALSO a weekend where WE came out with the Wally.

The Post is also really LONG! So, now you know- if you’re looking for the lighter content- we have THOSE Posts too! THIS just ain’t IT!! This is for you Hardcore Racers wanting some real detail- along with some Bitchin’ Pics of what that Weekend was like. So- Grab your favorite Adult Beverage and get ready for some fun reading, some cool Pics and the ability to relive with us one of the best Weekends of our Racing Career!

Enjoy! And Thanks in advance for your interest – We appreciate your YOU!
Nitro Gregg~


1-2012-07-15- launchBy any measurement, 2012 was a very good Season for the Gregg Racing A/Fuel Dragster Team, capped off by our first Divisional (now called “Regional”) Win since 2003! WOW! In case one is tempted to see this as a long drought, from our Back to Back Wins in 2002 & 2003, followed by the lengthy delay until 2012’s Win, feel free to do a little homework on any of the DOZENS of Drag Racing Teams who can go for YEARS and not even QUALIFY for a Race, let alone EVER bring home a Wally. This seems to be uniquely true for Pro Stock Drivers who, by the way, spend WAY more money that we do (as hard as that is for my Bride to believe- it IS true, Sweetheart! J)

2-2012-07-15- launch-12I also concede that my Wins are, at this point, all Divisional level wins, however, as famed Pro Stock Driver/Owner/Tuner/Comedian Warren Johnson has been credited as saying- “There are no bad Wins and there are no good Losses!”. Okay, I made up the Comedian part about “The Professor”- but any of you who know JACK about the Sport already KNEW that! J In fact, for all that one could say about Warren- he’s a VERY bright guy- hence the title- “The Professor”- a title that WAS earned, I’ve NEVER heard anyone call him “The Comedian”- not even ONCE!! But, I digress- but it IS kinda’ funny! Anyway, we DID have a good year in 2012- Yep, that’s the point! As I was looking over our Facebook postings, however, I realized that I’d NEVER actually done a full Post ON that Wonderful day last July where we’d Won the Race! I’d never taken you all through that Day, describing what actually happened, as there is quite an amazing story to tell.

3-2012-07-15-test pass fridaySo, allow me to share a few of the details of that big Day, as the “Back Story” is VERY interesting, with some Controversy, Accusations of Cheating, The Division Director in my Trailer between Rounds settling Disputes, A Competitor vying for the World Championship Setting Track Records and yet- Being Put ON the Trailer! YEP, the Drama of a Good Thriller was ALL there, OMG!!! Writing this I can FEEL the Tension ALL OVER AGAIN!!! So- grab a Cup of Coffee- put a little “Adult Beverage” of your choice in it- (presuming you ARE over 21 Years OLD, of course! J
BTW- Baileys is OUR first choice)- Then- sit back and enjoy reliving the Day with us as it unfolded! It was SUCH a GREAT Day in our Racing History!! We’ve put together the Story with some Pictures so you can be RIGHT THERE at the Starting Line with us as the Day unfolded!

4-2012-07-15 test pass fridayThanks in Advance SO Much for your interest in our Racing Program!! We DEEPLY Appreciate YOU!! I trust you’ll enjoy reliving this a FRACTION as much as we did making it all happen that fateful day as we all worked together SO hard to Win the Race that Sunday, July 15th, 2012.

Wins are SOOO tough to come by at any level, but at the Top Alcohol Level and above- this seems to be especially true- with several Competitors spending serious 6 Digit Money Annually just to CAMPAIGN their Cars! That’s after they ALREADY own their Hot Rod, Transporter & Trailer- not to mention all the necessary Support Equipment, Tools, Tons of Spares and such! It is NOT for the faint of Pocket Book! And yet, we somehow find a way to persevere, spending a FRACTION of that! Yep! Ya’ Gotta’ be kinda’ Brain Dead Crazy to Wanna’ Do this! My Machinist friend Butch Stetson calls it “The Incurable Disease” to which I add- “From Whence You May Not Be Healed!” to his description. J Nitro Racing IS Very Addicting, to be sure!!

5-2012-07-15-test pass– Our last Divisional Win came way back in 2003. Back then, we were able to run 100% Nitro. We’re now on our 4th Fuel Percentage Drop since then~ Each one intended to slow the Nitro Cars down in an elusive pursuit designed to maintain “Parity” (NHRA’s word, not mine!) between the Naturally Aspirated Nitro Cars and the Supercharged Alcohol burning Cars we compete against. Parity, huh? Rule changes such as this ultimately cause us to spend the money required to regain the Power surrendered to the new Rule, so to ME, in my less than Humble opinion, the only ones who truly WIN with these kinda’ Rule changes are the PARTS Manufacturers, but I digress- Did you Hear???…. We WON!!!

We HAVE won SEVERAL Match Races over the years, but Divisional Races are WAY tougher to Win, as these Races attract some of the VERY best Cars in the Nation- each in pursuit of a Points chase- towards either a Divisional and/or National Championship. The Race in July was NO exception, in spite of a short field, each Car in attendance was a MAJOR LEAGUE “Hitter”. 6-2012-07-15-round oneBeginning, of course, with National Event winning Joey Severance, who, in spite of having a Blown Alcohol combo, is an AWFULLY nice guy. Joey has my HIGHEST Respect as a Competitor and as a Friend. Joey is as Good as they come, in fact, he’s one of those Guys where one can truly say- “if you don’t get along with Joey, there’s something wrong with YOU!” ; Then Hugh Ridley’s Car was up here- it’s a VERY well funded and competitive Blown Car; Then my Friend and Mentor- Jerry Darien with his Driver, Megan McKernan in another A/Fuel Car. Jerry being one of the TRUE Elite Tuners and Trainers of the Star Drivers in the Sport. Jerry is sought out by many people to have him Build Nitro Motors & to have him teach THEIR Kids how to Drive one of these Nitro “Rockets”. – Jerry is the BEST at keeping a Driver Safe and at Tuning a VERY Fast A/Fuel Car-; And lastly, Jerry Maddern’s Blown Car with Chris Demke Driving. WOW! With Chris Demke having a truly legitimate shot at the World Championship and Joey being right in there too, Jerry Darien getting his Hot Rod to run a high 5.30 Pass in Qualifying- we knew we were in a VERY tough field- BUT, as Bob Frey says- “That’s why we don’t Race them on Paper!” ‘Cause sometimes the Fastest Car in Qualifying doesn’t Win, IF it won’t make it all the way to the Finish Line under power- each and every time!

The Race Was On!

Round 1:
7-2012-07-15-round oneGregg Racing Vs. Joey: We had an issue as we started our Car- a Fuel Leak on our Main Fuel Line going to the Motor! DOH! THAT doesn’t give the Driver much confidence, sitting there, hoping they’ll get it fixed in time! Keeping in mind that as the Driver, with no Rear View Mirror- I have NO idea what’s going on back there!! I have to TRUST that they will do ALL that can be done- AND that they’ll do it as FAST as possible in the time available- which isn’t much! BUT- it DID become an issue, as they ALMOST shut us off, but with MUCH hard work from Crew Dude Jake and friends helping, they got it under control and sent me forward for a MUCH shortened Burnout and a QUICK Backup, as Joey had been patiently waiting. BTW- he did NOT have to wait. He COULD have Staged his Car- but he chose to wait.
Yet another demonstration of the Incredible Sportsmanship that is a part of who Joey is. I did my best to hurry and I pulled forward to Stage the Car, I “High-Sided” it (Turned the Fuel Pump all the way on), Stepped off the Clutch, which REALLY wakes the Motor up and has the net effect of putting your Head into a Paint Shaker, and I eased the Car forward into the Stage Beam. I want to be clear on this part- I Staged first. Joey did come right in behind me. The Lights came down quickly – and WE’RE OFF! I unleashed the 8 NITRO BOMBS contained in their Steel Sleeved, Aluminum Blocked Cylinders and hung on, but as is common, the Alcohol Cars jump out on you first, since they leave Wound Up (often leaving at over 5,000 RPM, whereas we A/Fuel Cars leave at a dead idle- around 2,000 RPM). I was focused on keeping my Rocket in the middle of the “Groove” and the next thing I knew…………… Joey was gone!!!! I Couldn’t See Joey!! Where was Joey?!! I dunno, but what I DO know is to keep your Foot Planted until SHE THROWS THE RODS OUT, OR UNTIL WE CROSS THE FINISH LINE!! Or BOTH! Either WAY, I’m NOT Lifting Until ALL EIGHT RODS are OUT of Her OR Until I Cross the Stripe! So- Here comes the Finish Line & NO JOEY, I DON’T SEE HIM, I DON’T SEE HIM & …………… THERE IT IS!!!! THE FINISH LINE!! The Front Tires CROSS the Stripe!!! HIT THE CHUTES and…. COULD IT BE?? I eased Her to a Stop, nervously WANTING to believe I’d won, but Joey’s Car is SO fast, how could it be? It CAN’T be, Right?? Can it? Can it?? Well, Joey’s Car had apparently gone into Tire Shake and somewhere along the way had Thrown the Blower Belt off.

I’ve raced Joey more than I’ve Raced anyone else over the years and there is no one whom I respect more than Joey and his Father, Joe Severance. If I beat them, I ONLY want to do it fair and square. To me, NO other type of Win counts, or has ANY meaning. I know of no other way to Race. After this Round, much was discussed about us holding them up. I talked with Joey and his Dad, apologizing for our delay. Ultimately, it comes down to the Officials. If they tell us to shut the Car off- We shut the Car off, if they let us run the Car- We run the Car. We did what we were instructed to do to the best of our ability. As I have made clear, I do NOT race any way but “Straight Up”, BUT, IF I were going to “mess” with ANYONE on the PLANET, the LAST person I would choose to do so with- would be Joey Severance. Catch me in person some day and I’ll tell you who I WOULD mess with- if I DID Race that way! But I ASSURE you it’s NOT Joey! Joey has been VERY good to me and remains a great Friend. I still Love Kicking his Backside on the Track, however. It’s simply a VERY Tall Order- which, I’m betting, is why it’s SOOOO Rewarding!

Round 2:
8-2012-07-15-winningpass-1Gregg Racing Vs. Bye: Joey had qualified in the #2 position and with our victory in Round 1, this gave US the Bye in Round 2, so WHOO HOO, we now had a BYE into the Final!!! I “Turned the Wick Up” a bit, not wanting to just “Smoke the Tires” and be a Moron, but hoping to learn SOMETHING, and we DID- we went a little quicker and a little Faster on our Bye run in Round 2! On to the Final Round- and what do we get for our efforts? Oh Yeah- we get to run Chris Demke!

Round 3- Final Round:
Gregg Racing Vs. Chris Demke: Chris had been running VERY well all Weekend, with ONLY one exception. During one of his Qualifying runs, his Car had a modest amount of Tire Shake that was enough to cause a Wire that was a part of their Ignition System to fall out and effectively Shut the Motor OFF at about 1.5 seconds into the Run. They repaired it and on they went, running VERY well- with low 5.30 passes most each time down the Track, with all watching and FULLY expecting them to do the same here in the Final Round- BUT, (Queue Bob Frey here too…, “That’s why we don’t run them on Paper!”)

9-2012-07-15-winningpass-2The Starting Line was PACKED with people watching, expecting what seemed inevitable, but NOT THIS day! Here we go again, the High Winding Alcohol Car, Reved Up to the Moon, rolling in to the Stage Beams, as I Step off of the Clutch after High-Siding the Pump, sending Gallons of Nitro RIGHT up to the back side of the Barrel Valve, where it sits until I HAMMER the Throttle and the Barrel Valve rotates out of the way, allowing the Fuel consumption to JUMP from the idle volume of 1.5 Gallons per minute to 26 Gallons per minute as we Thunder down the Track.

10-2012-07-15-winningpass-3

As with Joey, I saw him jump out on me….. for just a split second, and then…….. NO Chris! I was all ALONE, and I DIDN’T SEE HIM- so I kept the Hammer Down, doing all I could to virtually CRUSH the Throttle with my Right Foot. I saw the Finish Line a comin’……. It Couldn’t Get Here SOON Enough- But – In 5.530 Seconds I Crossed the Finish Line at 260.19 MPH! I was SCREAMING MY LUNGS OUT in the Car, knowing that we were going to WIN from before the 330’ Cones!! I don’t believe I’ve EVER Yelled THAT Loud in my ENTIRE LIFE!!!! After Crossing the Finish Line, having a pretty darn good idea we’d WON, I Hit The Chutes, Shut The Fuel Off and Brought my Steed to a Stop for the last time of a VERY Long Weekend. She’d served us VERY well, if not producing the quickest ET’s on the grounds; She’d CERTAINLY been the most consistent Car there, running “A – B” Each and EVERY time I asked Her to with very consistent pulls each time.

11-2012-07-15-winningpass-4The Starting Line ERRUPTED with Crew & Friends going absolutely INSANE with excitement. Regarding the Level of Insanity & Excitement, however- You see- we weren’t SUPPOSED to Win! WE ALWAYS believe there’s a chance we’ll win- or we wouldn’t bring the Car out of the Trailer!! But, the NUMBERS that day said we really didn’t have much of a chance! But, APPARENTLY, OUR Hot Rod didn’t GET THAT Memo!!! LOL!!

We clearly need to go quicker- and we are making BIG changes for 2013- but for THIS day- we’d WON the RACE- and against SUCH improbable odds!!! One last Victory for the old Gal, who’s served me SO faithfully since I made my first deposit to buy her- “Turn Key” from Jerry Darien at the World Finals in 1999.

13-2012-07-15-jay payneAs a VERY Full Dually came Flying down to retrieve an ECSTATIC Driver, with the Dually’s HORN a BLOWING non-stop. Finally, the Dually came to a Stop and about 132 people, (give or take J ), piled out of places I didn’t know that Truck even HAD to retrieve an Elated, if not Emotionally and Physically Exhausted Driver!! At one point, I asked my Crew if they had heard my Screams from about the 330’ Cone until the Car Stopped…………, but, well, I guess not! LOL! But, it wasn’t for a lack of effort on MY part!!

So, Remember that Wire that shook out during a Qualifying Run for Chris?? ~ Well they admitted to me after the Final that they had repaired it with a ZIP TIE and by Crimping it! Every Wire on my Car is Soldered & Crimped then Shrink Tubed for protection. I was VERY thankful that THEY didn’t repair THEIR wires the way I do mine! LWOL!! This mistake cost them the RACE, as their Car AGAIN Shook the Tires at about 1.5 Seconds, causing this SAME Wire to FALL OUT and Shut their MOTOR OFFFFFFF!! WOW! Chris had the BEST Seat in the House to watch me WHOOP HIS BUTT- This will be VERY tough to do again, until we step our performance up- something we are doing over the Winter, with significant Equipment Upgrades. Stay Tuned, as we have MUCH to show and tell you about!

Epilogue: Unlike the early Wins I had in 2002 & 2003, THIS Win was for my Crew, who have labored SO Faithfully & SO Diligently and yet have experienced the “Agony of Defeat”- for a LONG time, but not yet the “Thrill of Victory”. (I think you’ll need to be at least my age {108 +/-} for that one to mean much to you. It’s from an old ABC Sports Intro!) Most of my Crew have labored for YEARS and NOT for Days, Weeks, or Months- each waiting for their “turn” in the Winner’s Circle. But it never seemed to come. That’s why I was SOOO Thrilled to be able to hand a Hard Fought Win to my Crew, who have endured Race after Race with, seemingly little to show for it.

So- This Win was for my Crew Dudes (and Dear Friends) Please allow me share with each of YOU a little about each of THEM and what their role is on our Team:
Robbie: My Bride my Lover & my BFF, – Chutes, Fueling the Car & Cleanin’ The Oil Pan SOOO Faithfully Each & Every Time- She KNOWS what Should and what Should NOT be in the Bottom of that Oil Pan! She is Extremely Good at that Hot, Dirty Job!

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Keith McCurdy: Top End, Cylinder Heads & Mixing Fuel – For a BUNCH of Years. We have labored together for longer than any other Crew Dudes (except for my Bride, of course) and have seen MANY Changes- Crew, Rules & Competitors. Keith has become a life-long Friend.
Stan Wise: Bottom End & HOURS of Race Prep on Everything – Invests the most Hours of all Crew- The Car EATS Three main things: 1.) MONEY; 2.) COUNTLESS HOURS; and 3.) MORE MONEY. Stan Invests LOTS of #2. Did I mention that Stan Works VERY Hard??

Jake Vaage: Black Magic that is the Clutch – VERY Difficult Job- What IS Flat?? Jake makes the Clutch the same each and EVERY Time- a CRITICAL Job, as I CANNOT Tune the Car if the Clutch isn’t EXACTLY the SAME every single time. You KNOW you’ve arrived when Jerry Darien says HE’D take you as HIS Clutch Guy- Guess What?!! Jerry wants Jake!

Shelly Kinney: Data Entry – This Car Spins off an AMAZING Amount of Data. Come by our Pits some time and let me show you our Run Sheets- an Excel Spreadsheet we use to Track SOME of the Data the Car produces- EACH Pass! Don’t keep track of it?? – Then you get to repeat the
same mistakes! At over $1,000.00 per Pass- It’s Kinda’ spendy NOT to!! We’ve decided to keep track of the Data, Thanks!

Chris Helvey: Chris was helping fill in for this Race for Stan, who was recovering and still kinda’ on the “Injured Reserve” List. Stan had been Run Over in a TERRIBLE accident earlier in the year at the Starting Line at Mission Raceway in Canada. Chris & Julie HAVE their own Hot Rod- a VERY Fast Nova that runs in the 8 Second Range! They Parked it for this weekend, making a HUGE sacrifice to SKIP this prestigious Race, so as to help us out!! WOW! Now THAT’S a Friend!! Thanks, Chris!!

Julie Helvey: Social Media – SHE’S the Brains & HOURS behind keeping this Facebook deal going- She’s the “Wizard” behind the Facebook Curtain- it SURE as Heck isn’t MEEE! J
& My Mom~ Irene: , Gourmet Cooking with Caveman Implements at the Race Track- All to Feed an unknown and ever-changing quantity of People each day- all SO faithfully! VERY Challenging, but she makes it look easy~

Thanks, MOM!!

Gregg Racing
Good Times & Good Friends at 260 MPH~

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