Chase Huffman Racer Blog, this month Chase chronicles his five-week Midwest NHRA tour.
Being a racer’s kid in school, I always said, “if I was a teacher I would race allllll summer long…” The older version of me had this same idea.
When the 2019 schedules came out, Keisha and myself sat down and figured out where we were going on our summer road trip. It started out with two stops.
As the year progressed it changed to four stops and then as it came up, it ended up being five weekends, 30 days, and 3,180 miles. Waxahachie, TX to McAlester, OK to Cushing, OK to Noble, OK to Denver, OK to Topeka, KS to Tulsa, OK.
Fun, Friends, and Fireworks
The trip started on July 5th. We rolled out of the driveway in Waxahachie, Texas headed to McAlester, Oklahoma. Some longtime racing friends, Mallori McCullar-Rodgers and family, had a large July 4th celebration planned.
The first leg of the trip was short and relaxing. The fireworks show is put on by Mallori’s husband and some of his fellow police officers. They put on a great show and cooked some delicious food.
While in McAlester, I was able to help Cris Pogue and Keith McCullar finish up a ‘66 Chevy II for Cris’ daughter and see him surprise her with it. That is what racing is about, spending time with the ones we love and enjoying the pure emotion of this sport.
After the trip to McAlester we headed on over to R&M Race Trailers in Cushing, Oklahoma for a few days before heading to Thunder Valley for the divisional event. While in Cushing, FTI sent me a new billet valve body and Eric Davis at Penske sent me some updated Penske Shocks for my dragster.
Division 4 LODRS at Noble
I took the time to install the new parts and clean the car before the divisional event. I always enjoy going to Noble, I have had good luck there. The car count was down for the event and forced us to run the event to completion on Saturday evening.
Once the announcement was made to do that, my game plan changed. I approached the race more as a bracket race and not a divisional event. I put a number in the timer and told dad, I am not changing it until the sun goes down and I am slowing it down one then.
The car was printing tickets. Besides one run, the run at dusk, the car ran 5.908 to the 1/8th every run down the track. I started the day off with a win light in round 1 over Chris Vang, before running into Tony Brown and Steve Collier in rounds 2 & 3.
I received a break when we took time for the sun to set before running Todd Erwin in round 4, the sun was directly behind the tree and it was going to make that run a complete crap shoot but the delay made it fair to both parties, and luckily my win light was on.
Round 5 was the round I was not looking forward to….. The ladder had me and Keisha paired up in the semi’s. She had been on the tree and her car was dialed all day as well. I was able to better her on the tree slightly and tighten the race up for the win.
In the final, I lost lane choice and was put in the right lane, the lane I crashed the Camaro in four months earlier. I let go .009 in the final and my opponent Ross Laris let go -.009 handing me the win. We both shut off early.
The win light glowing in my lane was a relief. I had beat the track that beat me. I owe a lot of thanks to my parents for a great car, as well as all of our partners that help me make it better and better.
The shortened event at Noble gave us a short break before heading to Denver. We made the trip back to R&M Race Trailers to do laundry and maintenance before heading west.
Mile High Nationals
Once you leave the Oklahoma City area there is very little to NOTHING until you hit Denver. There was one gas station that we found with a Starbucks and Tesla Charging Stations…. I made a quick stop outside of Denver in Bennett, Colorado to install some vinyl for Greg and Victoria Chistensen.
We were lucky to have a place to stay in the Denver area where we could leave the trailer during the day. Kris and Steve Whitfield were great hosts for the short time we were there. I hope I didn’t tear up the backyard too bad with the trailer.
While in Denver, we became tourists and foodies. Trying out some Colorado only restaurants and doing some sightseeing. I am not a beer drinker but the Coors’ Brewery was a fun experience.
The town of Golden was awesome as well. We took the dogs on a few walks down by Clear Creek, they should have named it cold creek. There was some crazy brave people tubing and kayaking in the creek, that was extremely cold. It was fun to watch but too cold for this Texan.
The national event in Denver is far from any other event we run. We started around lunch both days and received four time runs and one of those being on race day before round 1.
I struggled in round 1 and missed the tree. Keisha lit the win light in round 1 and we missed the set up in round 2 on Sunday morning after a crazy weather swing.
On and off the track we enjoyed the event. We didn’t leave the event empty handed either, they mean it when they say “Bo Knows.” Bo knew he would sell his Honda Grom in Denver and he did….
Topeka Double Divisional
After the 2nd round of the pros we packed up and headed east towards Topeka following Austin Williams and family. We made it over to the RV park on Monday morning. Two days of relaxation was needed.
Tuesday we headed over to the track and parked for the Topeka Double Header. Dean Dubbin and DMP Awnings delivered my new 52’ pro awning to Topeka. We spent Wednesday afternoon installing the awning.
This is not something I would recommend at the track unless you have an extra day like we had. It was easy to install but would be easier at home. Dean and the crew build a great awning. We loved having the awning in Topeka.
Topeka is a marathon event. Parking starts on Tuesday, test-n-tune is on Wednesday and Race 1 starts on Thursday. Tech in Topeka went smoothly, we did some maintenance on the cars Wednesday while others tested.
Installing new valve stems in the front wheels on Keisha’s car, new FTI Billet valve body in Dad’s dragster, and some new Sticky Mickeys for Dad’s Camaro.
The on track performance was not that well. We had two round wins between six chances in our pit area. We were able to hang out with great friends and even a west coaster. Zach Meziere made the trek to Topeka after the Sonoma double divisional to try to capitalize and make up some points races.
To top it off, the generator on the trailer quit Saturday in Topeka, luckily dad carries a spare that we were able to use.
Living on Tulsa Time
After the Topeka event we made our way back to R&M Race Trailers in Cushing for a few days of rest and to work on the generator. We arrived in Tulsa on Wednesday afternoon to get set up and ready for the event.
I do not claim to be a generator repair man, never will. Luckily Keisha’s dad Rich had reserved two RV spots with power hook ups and allowed us to plug in and not worry about the generator issues.
Due to the heat we were slated for a noon start time both Friday and Saturday and then run on into the evening. Mother nature had different plans, we made our first run on Friday at 7pm.
We all received on run Friday and one run on Saturday before we started eliminations Saturday evening. Again, round 1 seemed to challenge us. Keisha was the only one to light the win light in round 1.
The weather brought more challenges and halted racing after 2nd round. The event was finished up Sunday morning. Joe Hessling put an end to Keisha’s weekend 3rd round.
Tulsa concluded the “Midwest Swing” for us. The short trip back to Waxahachie was the final leg. Once returning home, the next Monday started the 2019-2020 school year for both of us. The trip was fun, we met some new people, enjoyed some great food, and did some racing.
The racing from here on out will be a little more spaced out but there is still some racing coming up for us. With the Pro 1 Free One in Noble, NHRA Bracket Finals, the Cowpasture Nationals, the Oil Patch Nationals, and the Million are all events we plan to attend. A few extra races will come about as well.
Until next time! Turn on some win lights!
About the Author: Chase Huffman currently competes in his Super Comp dragster and Super Street Camaro. Having grown up around racing, Chase climbed into a junior dragster at the age of eight. At sixteen, Chase moved into the big cars eventually winning the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas. On most weekends, you’ll find Chase at the track with family and friends.