It was a beautiful day to start the 2017 season at Route 66 Raceway. Unfortunately, the day was cut short by an unforeseen force of nature. Let's get the bad out of the way before we can discuss the great racing that occurred. The racing started around 9:45 a.m. and just after 1:00 p.m. it came to a screeching halt when water was discovered in the shut down area at the top of the track. It was determined that with all the rain the past week, combined with the warm weather, it caused water to percolate up through the track. The Track Staff worked for over an hour to stem the flow of water, however all attempts failed. So, for safety reasons, the event had to be stopped. In the nineteen previous years the track has been in operation, this had never happened. Track President Scott Paddock advised all tickets from today's event will be honored at any future 2017 Test & Tune or Race Your Ride. He also ordered Staff to put on a full court press to fix the issue ASAP so this type of thing would not happen again.
Now onto the racing. The first cars down the track were two Ford Mustang GT's driven by
Pete Buzane and Joe Cesario.
Early on, Joe Zehnder was helping his brother Herman with his car. Over the off-season, Herman upgraded the motor from a 406 c.i. to a 427 c.i. engine.
That is Joe in the Blackhawks jersey! Herman wasn't sure where the car would run. In two runs it was a very consistent 10.01. Soon thereafter, Joe jumped in his car and cut the first perfect .000 light of the season.
It didn't seem like anyone was holding back because wheelies were in abundance.
Also racing today, was two-time NHRA Competition Eliminator Champion Bruno Massel. Bruno is also a NHRA TV commentator and stars on the Velocity Channel's Garage Squad.
Speaking of Garage Squad, Joe Zolper, wife Jennifer and daughter Ruby were also present. Ruby along with Ryan Brockman started the process of obtaining their NHRA Jr. Licenses.
Along with the the Jr. licensing, there were some other Jr's testing. Here is Bobby Churchill and Cooper Hamelen.
Like all first testing days, there will be car glitches and once in a while a crash caused by a mechanical problem. Mike Brauer driving his 1948 Austin had a motor problem at the 1000 foot mark. As he attempted to slow, he lost control and hit the wall. The car was damaged, but Mike was okay.
For the time we had racing today, it was exciting. It was good to get the 20th season underway. Here are some more images of the action.