Division 5 Super class star Kris Whitfield discusses his end of season chase to the championship in his latest blog post. Kris battled engine issues, snow, and brutal competition as he chased the Division 5 Super Gas title.
Welcome back to the blog! Or maybe I should welcome myself back since you haven’t heard from me in a while… In short, my intention was to do a double blog in October to cover all of the racing, however that got derailed when we broke everything at the divisional event in Phoenix. We ended up not racing again until the divisional in Vegas.
We had the cars ready in time for the Vegas national, but a snow storm had other plans, and we just couldn’t dig the rig out of the backyard. Things always get a little dicey at the beginning and end of our season when snow is still falling but the rig needs to be on the road!
Rewinding just a little bit to the Phoenix divisional, our intentions were to race in Phoenix and drive the rig to Las Vegas and fly home. My results were a bit dismal, losing second round in both cars, but everything was still in one piece… or so we thought.
A Routine Oil Change?
We pulled the drain plug on the oil pan in the roadster for a routine oil change and that’s where things started looking less-than-routine. It was still a relatively fresh motor, but the amount of speckles and metal flakes that we saw in the oil and filter were more than concerning.
It was clear that the motor was going to require some attention before we took it to Vegas for the final divisional of the year. Keep in mind, at this point we were still leading points in Division 5 Super Gas, but only by a round, so the situation was unsettling to say the least. Our spare motor was already in use, so we were running short of options. Rather than pointing the rig for Vegas we cancelled flights and headed back home.
Long story short, every piece on the roadster motor checked out and we were forced to write-off the flakes in the oil as “self-clearance” because that’s what good mechanics do, right? We were leery, but we couldn’t find anything. The motor in the dragster was still our spare motor from earlier in the year and we had just gotten our original motor back. So we decided to get that motor in and lined out for next season.
In summary, we were entering the biggest divisional of the year with one motor that we were leery of, and one that was fresh and unproven. Not exactly brimming with confidence, we hit the road for Vegas.
For those of you that haven’t experienced the Las Vegas division race, simply put, its brutal. We started testing on Wednesday and finished late Sunday. The fields are absolutely stacked with racers from all over the country converging into one place to fill out their divisional and national scorecards.
A Championship Weekend
For those racers that enjoy a challenge, and maybe a little bit (a lot) of down time, this race is for you! In one weekend I’ve never seen as many remarkable story lines as I did in Vegas this year. Championships won, heartbreaking losses—this race had it all.
Luckily for us, we were part of the former. Our equipment held together, quite well actually, and by the end of the third round we had clinched the Division 5 Super Gas title. The dragster came out of the gate with the new combination and was running solid. It carried us all the way to the final of the 8-rounder, where my .003 light gave me a window to win, but I got a little throttle-happy and gave up the finish line. Don Nichols was .007 dead 4 in the other lane, so he was no slouch!
Our efforts in 2019 will serve as the pinnacle of my racing career to date, though the taste of success will only make us hungrier for more next year. We have some off-season upgrades planned and some other exciting things happening that I’ll be sure to cover as we sign-off for 2019 in the December blog!
About the Author: Born and raised in Colorado, Kris Whitfield began racing juniors at age 8 and currently pilots a 2004 Undercover dragster and a ’27 T Super Gas roadster. He has 16 track championships as well as 2 NHRA national event wins. With seven years experience working race-operations at Bandimere Speedway and with a life spent in the sportsman pits, Kris offers DragChamp readers a unique and relatable perspective.
For the 2019 season, Kris will represent sponsors Go Fast Energy, Phantom Racing Graphics, DJ Safety, DMP Awnings, Nationwide Productions, Armed Forces Racing, NGK, Precision Specialties, Premier Diversified Insurance, and This is Bracket Racing Elite.