NAPA day at the Races- 09-21-12- From Gregg- Can you say- FUEL ALTERED BABY! Here at Woodburn W~ Car Owner Art Mendoza & Russ Parker, Driver of this Bad Boy! HOW COOL IS THIS!!
Fall Classic- Fuel Altered- It’s Baaaaack!!
Robbie and I were here at Woodburn Dragstrip with our 3 Granddaughters for the Fall Classic last weekend and I had a unique opportunity to be a spectator. Although I’m not a particularly GOOD spectator, it was our Granddaughters first time to EVER be at a Drag Strip. So, we had spent our time trying to explain how LOUD each Car was compared to “Grandpa Gregg’s Car”, attempting to get their little minds around the reality that, YEP, an A/Fuel Dragster is INDEED louder than that Super Pro Car they’d just heard! For Lacey, 8, Bethany, 6 and Caidence, 5, they’d never HEARD so much as a BBC Car with uncapped Headers, so it was INCONCEIVABLE that Grandpa’s Car could POSSIBLY be louder than that! HOW COULD IT BE?!
I sat in the East Grandstands just past the Starting Line with Robbie and the Girls, getting used to the idea that I was a spectator for the day, feeling the angst to go help, well, pretty much ANY of my friends who had Cars here at this event, our Car being home with a Rod hanging out of the side of the Block! As Homer Simpson says, DOH!!!!! The BB/FC show began and we watched many of our friends put on the show that is Blown Alcohol Funny Car Racing. The Girls eyes got bigger as the sounds got even LOUDER and the smoke got even THICKER from long smoky burnouts. And then Russ Parker, a dear friend of mine since the early ’90’s, doing double duty that day, finished driving his BB/FC and headed back to the Starting Line to jump in his second ride of the day- Art Mendoza and partner Jim’s Fuel Altered. I had been doing okay at being the obligatory spectator, caring for our Girls……. Until….. Until, they fired the Fire Breathing, Kick Butt, Fuel Altered, Short Wheelbase Mean Machine. I swear, I felt a chill go up my spine, as I sat up in my bleacher, no longer needing the full seat, as I only occupied the edge. Russ pulled through the Water Box, slowed to almost a Stop as the Beast Cackled with a Mean-Ass Nitro Rage known to all who’ve ever heard a Blown Fuel motor run. It’s gonna’ Go or Blow, but it’s gonna’ be SPECTACULAR either way, and everyone is watching! Russ eased into the throttle as the three big Red Butterflies squeezed open slightly and the cackle now turned to an Ear Ripping blast of Nitro induced pain- but a good pain, of course! The Car JUMPED up on the Tires, Smoke Billowing off of them, rolling high into the air as the Car launched forward past the Starting Line. I was captivated. Two of the Girls were now in my lap, squeezing my neck in fear. I didn’t care. I was engrossed in this Bad Ass Fire Breathing Nitro Machine with Flames TRULY Licking out of the Headers. OMG, I want OUR Car to do that! If the girls hadn’t been in my lap, I’d have run to the Starting line to be a part, but I restrained myself….. for now. In the other Lane, my other good friend, Gary Eickmann, is driving Claude and Lisa LaVoie’s AWESOME Nostalgia Fuel Funny Car that Gary had been tuning to low 5.90 runs at over 240 MPH.
Now, keep in mind, if you would, I’ve made hundreds of Runs in our Car, many at 260 MPH, in the low 5 second range, and as awe inspiring as they are, I must confess….it IS DIFFERENT to stand BEHIND the Car and FEEL it than it is to even be IN it. Being IN it SUCKS THE AIR OUT OF YOUR LUNGS as it accelerates from 0 – 80 MPH in ONE FREAKING SECOND, and then as it further accelerates from 0 – 220 MPH in 3.5 Seconds on its way to 265! This IS virtually SPIRITUAL, as I explain to all who will listen that it feels like being rear-ended by a School Bus going 100 MPH……. WHILE Your Head is in a Paint Shaker!!!! Being BEHIND IT, is equally spiritual- it’s just different as you FEEL the Power POUNDING down through your Heart, your Guts and then down to your Feet! It’s just a different KIND of Cool.
So, I’m watching Russ and Gary Stage their Cars…. They bump in, the lights go Yellow… and all you hear is Massive Nitro Explosions from both Cars as the Fuel Altered EXPLODES out of the Gate with a FURY to a .949 60’ ET that MY CAR has to be on a good run to match. The Altered then has trouble, Breaks a Blower Snout, Oil from the Snout shoots ALL over Russ’ Visor; he brilliantly manages the Driving job and lifts, safely handling the Car to a stop. Gary thunders on down to a 5.92 in the low 240’s again! ME? I am in AWE! I told my Bride…. OMG! I NEED to Drive that Car!
NAPA Day at the Races- FUEL ALTERED BABY!
Now as Ron White says…. I told you THAT story to tell you THIS story!! So, now fast forward one week to Friday, 09-21-12 and now I’m back to Woodburn at the NAPA day at the Races, where Car Owner Art Mendoza is back with his partner Jim, along with Dave Hix helping with the Tuning duties. Dave and his wife Heidi are former Fuel Altered Owners, who successfully campaigned a BITCHIN’ Fuel Altered for years, helped by Ronnie Mankins. Ronnie is also here today. Dave KNOWS how to set these things up.
The air is WAY better today- not a LITTLE better- a LOT better. I’m concerned for my friend- Russ. So, I called Russ this AM to offer a bit of input on Mag settings to see if I could keep this virtual Satanic beast from killing him today. Essentially, More Mag means, More Power- to a point, of course. But, with the WAY better air, conventional wisdom would STONGLY suggest that if we want to keep the Heads on and have any CHANCE of “making it”, we MUST back the Timing off a bit. (Did I mention, this car is SO cool?!!) Russ does SUCH a good job of driving this Car, but I want to be here to watch, help and just see what the future might hold. I mean, you never KNOW what the future might hold! I mean, Russ COULD get hit by a bus…. He COULD, you know?!!! The jokes abound in the pits as Russ makes sure all check my hand size against his neck for future forensic needs! Russ is such a dear friend that it makes it fun to joke about such things, knowing I would never displace him for a driving job. Thankfully, I already HAVE a driving job! But, it’s fun to joke about such things!
We’re posting a couple Pics of this Cool Hot Rod, one I took today here in Art’s Pit area with the Body up and then one Action Shot where ALL THREE Wheels and Tires you can see here in the Pic are OFF THE FREEEAAKING GROUND!!! OMG! HOW COOL IS THAT!! And, a video with the sound that will allow you to experience a bit of what I’m sharing.
Today was a rough day for Altered Reality Team Racing, as at the top of the first Burnout, a few of the Rods decided they’d simply had enough as they made a Mass Exodus of their Warm Home and came out the side of the Block. My Mentor, Jerry Darien told me once, long ago when I was complaining about how TERRIBLY Difficult it was to run My A/Fuel Car… He said, “Gregg! If it was easy, the Pits would be FULL of 3rd Grade Girls with A/Fuel Cars!!” I have NEVER forgotten that lesson. Nitro is NOT easy. Anyone who thinks it is…. Has never tried it!
It will be VERY interesting to see what the future holds for Art’s Fuel Racing. He has big dreams and many good friends to help keep him within the Non-Negotiable boundaries that Nitro INSISTS upon. Stay within those lines and Nitro will do AMAZING and inspiring things. Step outside those lines by a few thousandths of an inch- and it becomes an indiscriminant destructive killer. If it were easy….. But WOW, is it cool?
Thanks much to Art for letting me hang out… And to God for giving me the most AMAZING friends… Russ Parker, Gary Eickmann, Dave Hix and my Mentor, Jerry Darien- All Men of DEEP Character, Talent and Intelligence. Some day when I grow up, I want to be just like THESE guys! For now, thanks for following us here at Gregg Racing. We value each of you for checking us out! We have much more to come, so stay tuned….
Gregg Racing…. Good Times and Good Friends… at 260 MPH!!!! God Bless~ 🙂