After racing the Formula Ford at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, we arrived back in Albuquerque on 10/12 and we had 4 days to change from road race mode to drag race mode so that we could go run the final event of the Western Fuel Altered season at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. There was a tough field of 14 Fuel Altereds entered for a traditional 8 car qualified field that would then run a 3 round, single elimination race on Sunday. We got off to a rather difficult start with a big wheelstand on our test run that ended with the car crossing the centerline and taking out the 330’ timing block. The only damage was a dent in our brand new front canard wing and a dent in my ego for letting it get away from me. In Qualifying Session #1, I backed the power level down hoping to avoid any further drama. Just off the starting line the rear tires began to lose traction so I momentarily lifted off the throttle (“pedaled” the car) and short shifted to high gear. That salvaged the run, but it resulted in a relatively slow 7.04 second elapsed time and a quite respectable 207 mph. The 2nd qualifying session found the car still fighting for traction as I pedaled it 4 separate times to a 7.33 second ET at a slowing 178 mph. The 7.04 earned us the #3 qualifying spot.
Sunday was race day and the track seemed much stickier, giving us hope that we might improve our performance. In Round 1 we improved our performance substantially, running a 6.78 second ET at 210 mph. We improved on that slightly to win Round 2 at a 6.76 second ET at 210 mph. The final round found us matched against Jim Maroney in his nitromethane fueled altered. In one of the best WFA final rounds ever, I got off to a slight reaction time advantage (.013 to Jim’s .032). For some reason we lost a little bit of performance in the first part of the run and Maroney was actually ahead by .04 at half track. Our faster top end started reeling him in and by 1000’ he was only .008 ahead. In just the last 100’ of the track I drove around him to take the win. Our 6.872 at 210.28 mph edged out his 6.889 at 201.58 mph, allowing us to win our second WFA event of the season.
Thanks to everyone who helped us in Phoenix – Butch Blackberg, Rick Schouman and Billy Mueller. Congratulations to our good friend John Murphy who got runner-up in the Front Engine Dragster Shootout and to Rick Schouman for doing double duty to help John!
Unfortunately, I forgot to move the camera mount from the Formula Ford to the Altered, so there aren’t any on-board videos from Phoenix.
However, here is a link to a cool video of the final round shot by the folks at www.ArizonaAutoScene.com - Click here to see the WFA Final Round.
Additionally, www.ArizonaAutoScene.com posted video that included our 1st round win at the very beginning of the video and our 2nd round win at 2:48 - Click here for more Phoenix video.