Sunday was certainly a day of UPS! First the weather was fantastic for racing. And last was the story behind the above photo!
Throughout the day, I kept seeing the above 1963 Plymouth Fury come to the line. As Eliminations started the car kept winning round after round. I could not recall seeing this car race before. And, of course, I didn't look at the number on the car. Finally, I went to race control and learned Ricky Pena was driving the car. Ricky normally campaigns a red AMX. When Ricky won the Pro Class over last week's Sportsman winner, Tony Lyons, after Tony broke out, I met Ricky in the Winner's Circle. He related the following: He purchased the car two years ago from long time racer Jay Tappela. Jay has been experiencing some health issues and sold the car after it had been sitting since 2010. This was only the second time that Ricky had the car on the track. Jay just happened to be at the track today, so he was brought to the Winner's Circle to celebrate with the car, Ricky, family and friends. Jay related after he originally bought the car, long time Route 66 racer Dave Ancel built it into a race car with Bill Osborne painting it. Jay related he campaigned the car winning many races and track championships. Congratulations to Jay, Ricky and crew to bring the car back to the Winner's Circle!
The rest of the day was just a solid day of racing with a few stoppages for minor issues but overall, it was just good racing. Unlike Saturday, the good weather allowed racing the entire quarter mile. I did inquire of several drivers about the newly repaved track top end. There was nothing but praise for the condition of the track. Many stated they were happy that the left lane "bump" was gone! Here is some of the images from qualifications.
After eliminations started, the first class to finish was High School with Connor Lawson defeating #1 qualifier Samantha Senko.
Next up, was Pro Bike with Jonathan Vickers taking the win over last week's winner Bruce Damewood. It appeared Bruce had trouble at the start with an unusual .874 reaction time.
After Pro Bike, it was the Sportsman Class' turn. It was Paul O'Keefe defeating Jack Larsen when Jack broke out.
And lastly in the Super Pro Class, it was Justin Ford taking the win light when Dave Ancel went a little fast and broke out.
Just a few more from Pro winner Ricky Pena's Winner Circle celebration.
At yesterday's race, I tried something new by mounting a remote camera in the left O'Reilly lane and me working the right Toyota lane. There were some challenges, but I am going to work at perfecting the use. Here is an example of what it looks like.
Miranda (Lawson) Alley has returned to bracket racing, driving the flat black Chevrolet S-10 race truck. At Saturday's Race Your Ride, she developed a motor problem. Damian Begler found a motor and overnight replaced it. The only problem is that it is a 9-second motor and Miranda is licensed for 10-seconds. She had to start pedaling it at the eighth mile mark to ensure she did not drop into the 9's. That is not a good way to make consistent runs!
During last weekend's bracket race, Jeff Sandowski developed a motor problem. After several days of investigation, he learned there was a problem in the valve train. He work four straight days and nights to rebuild the motor and get back to the track.
One of my favorite cars and most consistent, has been Don Dumdie and his 1957 Chevrolet. Yesterday, shortly after launching from the left lane, he suddenly slowed and pulled over. At the time I didn't know what happened, but later I contacted Don's daughter, Sherry, and she shared they believe it to be a rear end issue. Good luck with it, Don!
Over the off season, Cody Medeisis led a rebuild of Emilee Ballard's Camaro's motor. After several good runs by Cody, something broke in the drive shaft. Emilee's response,"I didn't break it!" Here is the car and staff picking up the pieces.
Here are some images from the rest of the day:
Mother Nature finally smiled on us for the first race of the 2018 season, ET Bracket Race #1 sponsored by Rockett Brand Racing Fuel. It was a mostly clear day with temperature in the 60's. A far cry from what the weather has been. The racing was hotter than the day. With many of the cars hitting the track for the first time, some issues can be expected to occur. To our good fortune, there was only one oil down all day. Rt. 66 staff promptly cleaned and re-prepped the track with minimal delay. As is the case with most bracket races, there were two rounds of qualifying.
At the conclusion of Qualifying, the elimination rounds began.
The first class to crown a winner was High School, with Tori Trench defeating Connor Lawson. At the beginning of the day, Tori was not inclined to run High School, however when her brother TJ's car broke she decided to attempt the race in her daily driver and won! This was her first time ever competing in High School.
Next up was Pro Bike. In this race, it was last season's champion, Tom Ewig against Bruce Damewood riding his "old reliable" red/silver flame bike. Tom was a little fast coming off the line redlighting which awarded the win to Bruce.
After Pro Bike, Sportsman was on track to crown its winner. It was Fred Trombley and Tony Lyons going head to head. Both are long time competitors in the class with many wins. Today, it was Tony Lyons pulling off the win when Fred broke out.
Next up was Pro and it was Herman Zehnder in his Mustang against John Coyle in his Camaro. Herman and John are both long time competitors with Herman winning multiple championships. John hadn't been able to race in the past two years due to family commitments. At the start, Herman left a little early causing a redlight awarding the win to John.
The last race of the day was Super Pro. This was the classic wily veteran, Don Schomer, vs young gun, Nick Hooten. Don is a long time competitor in the Pro Class and this was his first time in Super Pro. This was Nick's first final in the big car. He has had several in the JDRL Division. In this case it was Don Schomer pulling off the win. Don stated as he approached the finish he let off slightly to avoid "breaking out" to take the win.
This was a great day of racing at Route 66. Here are some more images from the day.
Last night before going to bed, I checked the weather and there was a 0% chance of rain. Shortly after starting the racing, imagine my surprise when it started to rain. There was a persistent intermittent light rain. The Route 66 staff did an excellent job of maintaining and improving the track all day. Due to the weather it was decided to run an 1/8th mile track. Finally, the rain moved out and by extending the length of the event, almost everyone was able to get some runs. With the first ET Bracket race scheduled for tomorrow, it was important for many to shake down their cars. Being Opening Day there several surprises with new cars. Joe Zehnder is back to driving a Chevrolet Camaro, retiring the Mustang.
Bill Macke had his Buick Apollo body completely redone. When I saw it on the trailer, I didn't realize it was the same car.
Keven Hamelen's maroon Camaro is now gold!
Joe Malfeo has a new green and black S-10 pickup truck that he built for bracket racing. Unfortunately, it did not make it on the track today.
In addition to car changes, Route 66 will be producing a podcast for its events. Please stop by their tent at the end of the south grandstand and take the opportunity to speak with the folks and promote your race team.
The JDRL cars were present, with some new kids getting there licenses and others testing.
There was a variety of vehicles racing today, from street cars, race cars, motorcycles and juniors. Here is a sample: