So, back in 2009, my buddy Mo made me an offer. He had traded for an older dragster and told me I could drive it. I said you should let me bring it out to Colorado and race it here, and the rest is, well, history! During the spring of 2009, I made the trip to North Carolina to pick up the car. It was an old Bob Meyers top alcohol car, formerly owned and driven by Jerry Darien. After a long, marathon style round trip, the car was in Colorado. Now the real work began. After trying to get the chassis certified so I could race it, I learned that it needed a lot of work before it would be able to get a new certification done. So, with a goal in mind, the work started. I stripped the car down to the bare chassis, removed all the powder coating that was on it, and began to do the updates that were needed to meet current SFI certification rules. With tons of help, and many hours in the garage, the car was finally ready to go in the spring of 2011. After passing the inspection and getting a new sticker on the car, it was time to focus on getting the rest of the motor and transmission together. About June of 2011, we were finally able to start making runs in the car. Lots of testing and licensing runs took place, and our first big race was the Bracket Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. We didn't do too well, but that was ok, we were racing! We made a few more races before the end of the year, then the car was put away for the season.
In 2012, we started the season with some updates to the car in hopes of making some more hp and quicker times. As it happens all too often in racing though, things didn't work out quite as planned. Engine problems were holding us back in the horsepower department despite upgrades that should have helped, and we couldn't keep a transmission in the car to make even a single run. After three different transmissions, we finally called it quits for the year in July, and decided change was needed if we were going to keep racing at all.
My racing buddy here, Danny Smith, bought the rolling chassis from me and started working on it to do a restoration and build the car of his dreams. I found another car for sale, and with Mo's help, was able to purchase the rolling chassis during the winter of 2012. All it needed was an engine and trans and it was ready. The new car is a Mike Bos 257" rear engine dragster. It had been raced almost exclusively in Top Dragster, Fast 16, and big dollar bracket races it's whole life. The car was specifically built to run in Top Dragster, and it proved itself to it's owner at the time. This car won a ton of races and money, and was very well known in the areas he raced in. Deciding to scale back costs and travel is what prompted it's sale, and now it resides here with me in Colorado. I did a quick freshen up of my old engine, and built a new power glide transmission for this car. Then in the spring of 2013, after getting a couple of bugs worked out, it was time to hit the track. Well, what can I say except that this car likes to win! Almost right away I started going rounds without breaking, and taking win lights where I was doing good before to even make the round. Talk about exciting! There was still a bunch of "driver error" affecting things, but we were light years ahead of where we were with the old car. Not too bad for just slapping something together. We were still way down on power, but the car was consistent, and that was the big thing. We could fix the power issues later.
Once the end of the season came around, it was time again to look at our program and decide where we wanted to go. While it was fun racing the car as is, the usual racing bug had bit me good and I wanted to go faster. We also wanted to make the car "completely" ours and have it painted. This is where we got busy. E&R Truck and Autobody had offered to paint the car for me, so once again, I was stripping my car to the bare chassis to prep it for paint. Once there was an opening, the chassis, all the small parts, and the body panels were dropped off at the paint shop. Once the paint was done, I picked up the parts and the job of putting it all back together began. Body panels were put back in place, a new dash was made and installed, and the car was rewired, as well as a new ignition system installed. It also got a new steering wheel, shifter, and gauges. Brakes were replaced and a new master cylinder was installed. After several month in pieces, the car was back on it's wheels again as a rolling chassis.
When it was time to think about the engine, there were some things to think about. We were down on hp quite a bit from where we needed to be, and fixing it wasn't going to be cheap. We knew it needed to be done, but hadn't decided on just which direction to go. I could get another new cam and have some work done to the heads, or we could build a new combo, using only the block, crank, and rods. After looking at the options, and watching the classes we wanted to race in get faster and faster, it was decided a new build was the best choice, with the best parts. The resulting build would take nearly a year due to costs and wait time for parts, and would also effectively eliminate us from racing the 2014 season with the exception of maybe a few late season races, or running out of area at less seasonal tracks. The 2014 season ended without completing the car or making any passes. We were still waiting on some custom parts and they had been delayed, beyond our control. Going into the offseason would allow me to finish some details on the build where I could, and hope that the 2015 season would hold better for us!
Beginning in 2015, the final parts started coming in, and I was able to display the car at the Lincoln Tech Hot Rod Car Show at the end of March. The car didn't run yet, but "looked like it did", and the show was a big success. Fast forward to June 2015, and the car was finally together and running! A few test sessions at the track showed that I had a lot of tuning work to do. That's ok, a running car is better than a non-running car! Finally on July 11, I entered the Super Pro race to get some testing done on a prepped race track, and figured with two time trials and one round of eliminations in, I'd have some good data and could make some solid changes....But that didn't work out as planned. I ended up going five rounds that night, and could have won it all if not for a big mistake on my part!! Oh well, that's racing, but it was fun to get out there again and to win some rounds with a new combo that was pretty much a question mark! One more race for 2015 and I called it a season, as there were a lot of changes taking place in my life at the time and those had to take priority over my racing.
As life happens, 2016 started off to be promising but ended in disappointment. At the beginning of the season, on a test day before the first event, my engine decided it had had enough, and two connecting rods decided that they didn't want to be in the engine anymore. That little failure cost me not only the rest of the season, but half of the upcoming new season as well. I decided at that point to not only build a larger engine, but to do an all aluminum one as well. Weight is a performance killer, and going to an aluminum engine would shed over 100 lbs off the car. The larger cubic inches means more horsepower and torque, and that means better performance. I pulled out all the stops getting things together, and while it took the remaining part of 2016 and over half of the 2017 season, I finally got it done! As usual, with something this drastically different, there was going to be growing pains, and I can't seem to stay away from them! First event I broke the rear end and transmission, then had another transmission failure the very next one. After finally addressing those issues, performance of the car wasn't what it should have been, and instead of racing, it's back to test and tune and trouble shooting. Finally, after the 2017 season is over, I think I have it all figured out! I still need to do some off season maintenance, but come 2018 we'll finally be ready!!! Looking forward to it already, and can't wait to finally make some passes under competition for a change!
So now we find ourselves at the end of 2018 and at a new beginning for me. A direction change in my career would present itself and after careful consideration, I decided it was time for a change. Throw in a couple of interviews and a little time, I was accepted for the new position with my company. As a direct result of that, all my racing plans for the season were immediately put on hold and I began to prep for my eventual move to Florida. By mid July, I was packed up and ready to go, and on July 24, 2018 I started my new job. It was a much needed change, although I would have preferred it not be in Florida. However, I can live and work anywhere and with this opportunity, you take the good with the bad. So the car was transported down, and a friend took care of it for me until I could get settled. Now that I'm settled in, the engine is out for a quick freshen, inspection, then back in the car it goes! I'm addressing a few other small issues as well, and will be testing the car hopefully in December! With that being said, I can only guess how things will go from here. One thing for sure is the car culture here isn't what it was in Denver, that's for sure! But regardless, we'll get back to racing soon!
Stay tuned for more changes to come!