Well it’s been an up & down the last few weeks for the CRO/Morgan racing team.
We’ve had one race cancelled due to rain, one race called very early due to rain, one race where the Cool Rides Online Vega was able to return to Victory Lane and one race where Jesse was able to drive his hot rod to Victory Lane for his first class win!
I guess we can’t complain about the weather, as we’ve only lost two races so far this year to rain, and the last two years, we lost quite a few more than that up to this point in the season. So we are considering ourselves lucky, and not complaining!
Like usual, the CRO Vega, the NMC Machine, and Jesse’s Hot Rod have been running good and giving us no mechanical issues to speak of. They’ve just been doing their job. As drivers, we’ve been doing our best to match our cars performance, with mixed results, lol. The CRO Vega continued to work its way up to an impressive 18-0 round record, and added another class win, before suffering back to back weeks of first round losses. We’ve been able to maintain the 1st Place spot in Sportsman points, up until Saturday, when the first round loss, allowed us to get passed by the guy that we’ve been neck-&-neck with since the start of the season. We are currently only 12 points behind (3 rounds), and him & I have a pretty large lead over 3rd place, so it should continue to be a great competition to see which of us can nab the #1 spot for Team Bunker Hill, when we head to Indy for the Div.3 ET Finals in September.
In the NMC Machine, we’ve been doing just good enough to keep our heads above water. I haven’t been able to get it back to the Winners Circle since the first race of the season, but have done well enough that we reside in the #4 spot in Super Pro points.
The best part of the last few weeks is the progress that we’ve been able to make with Jesse’s car. When we started the season (his first), his car would run great, but was very inconsistent, and very hard to dial. He would run .20/.30 off of his predicted ET every other pass. After a few weeks of this, and us hoping that it would come around, we decided to try something. I had a new drive belt made for his car. WOW! Turns out that his old belt (the one that came with the car), was just a hair too large in sizing, and was causing the cars clutch to engage at different/inconsistent times (these cars use a CVT style clutch). So, the new belt arrives and we head to the strip last Friday night for some Test & Tuning, to see if the belt would cure our inconsistency issue. I could tell as soon as I slid it on for the first time that it was much tighter. I get it on, and he goes to make his first pass, a nice 12.23. He then proceeds to make 4 more passes…12.26, 12.25, 12.27, 12.22, & a 12.23! Man what a difference! As a Dad new to these cars myself, I learned a lot right then & there, lol. We put the car away and were very much looking forward to the next day, to see if he could capitalize on our new found consistency. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had different plans, and the race was cancelled before the day ever started. Fast forward to this past weekend, a beautiful Saturday, and we are still eagerly awaiting the chance to see what he can do with the new drive belt. I’m crossing my fingers that the car ran just as tight ET wise, as it did when we put it up two weeks ago (a nice .05 spread).
The air is much better quality than it was on the Friday night, I tell him to expect to be running a little quicker, and on his first pass, he does just that, and runs a fast 11.99. Ok, we know where we are, so now let’s just hope the next time shot is close. His next pass was a 12.11. A little bigger spread than I was hoping for, but waiting to see what comes next, and just hoping that it fell between the two and not over/under. His ext and final time shot was a 12.03. Come first round, he decides to dial a 12.02 (he dials his car as that’s part of being a bracket racer. I give my input, but the call is his) and heads to the lanes. He gets paired, gets the starting line advantage, and runs a 12.07 for the win light. Next round, he gets paired with the current Jr. Dragster State Champ and Jr. points leader at two different tracks, and you can almost see the butterflies coming out of him ( I could anyway, lol. That boy was nervous!!). He keeps his composure, finds his game face, and dials his car with a 12.05. The tree drops, and off they go, both green. They get to end of the strip, and he turns his win light on, running a 12.09 on his 12.05 dial! He cut a much better light than the other racer for the hole shot win! The biggest round win of his young career by far, and the little guy is as pumped as can be, now headed to the finals.
He decides to dial a 12.08, they pull onto the track, and this Dads nerves have him shaking more than the car that his boy is driving! Of course, Dad is trying his best to keep it all on the inside as to not have any added effect on the boy and his task at hand. At the starting line, I kneel down, and right before the “go ahead fist bump”, I look him in the eye, and tell him “Good Luck Son, but most of all….HAVE FUN!” His stare breaks just long enough to crack a happy smile. We fist bump, then I back away, knowing that there is nothing else that I can do at this point, but watch, and cheer him on. They stage, and off they go, both green (I want to add here that there are two classes for Jr. Dragsters, Major & Minor. Minor is for 8/9 year olds and they are limited to an 11.90 ET break, and the majors are for 10/11 year olds held to a much faster 8.90 ET break, and for 12/16 year olds who can run an even faster 7.90 break. Both 2nd & 3rd rounds he was racing against the much faster Majors, which meant that he had to launch much sooner than his competitors, putting him in the spot that if he goes red, he loses the race, before the other racer even leaves the line). Now, back to the race, he launches, and he’s green, big instant relief, the other racer launches over 2 seconds later, and he’s green as well. We watch from the rear for what seems to be an eternity, and then finally, we see the win light in his lane come on!! He took the RT advantage once again, and his car ran a 12.10 on his 12.08 dial! He did it! The boy won his first race with no bye runs, no red light and against some the best in the state!
I don’t think the boy slept a wink that night, and it will be a moment/day that we will both remember forever! Congratulations on the first win of your NHRA career Son! Hopefully many more to come!
By Shawn Morgan – Gtdhw
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