Thursday, June 13, 2024

Team DragChamp gets back on track

Team DragChamp gets back on track at Alamo City Motorplex.

Last weekend the DragChamp dragster finally saw some track time. After a two month hiatus, we made the two-hour tow to Alamo City Motorplex just outside San Antonio.

If you recall, our last update came from the double divisional race at the Texas Motorplex in April. That event turned into a marathon after rain pushed Race #2 to a Monday finish. Needless to say, we did not hang around for Monday’s race.

DragChamp Logo

After returning home we decided to make some changes to the setup on the dragster. What I though would take a couple of weeks quickly turned into a couple of months.

Thanks Dad!

I have to give a special shout out to my Dad. I’m not sure I would be racing if it weren’t for all of the hard work he puts into the dragster. He introduced me to this sport at an early age and it’s always been something we’ve done together.

I’m blessed to be able to spend quality time with my family doing something I love. Also, I’d love to post a great photo here but Dad doesn’t do pictures, sorry.

Saturday Night Bracket Racing

With the changes made to the dragster, we headed to Alamo City Motorplex last Saturday for a local bracket race. For the record, I haven’t been to a Saturday night bracket race in 20 years. To say I was excited is an understatement.

Team DragChamp race rig
The new F-250 is a beast!

We rolled into the track about 15 minutes prior to the first time trial session, great planning on my part right? By the time we parked and rolled the car out of the trailer, they were calling Super Pro to the lanes. Let’s just say I warmed the car up on the drive to get tech’d in.

With a quick once over by the Tech inspector, I drove straight to the lanes and literally went right into the water box. I think I was still getting my safety gear hooked up just prior to staging. The car made a terrible pass but at least we got a hit on the tree. I get back to the pits and begin my normal between rounds maintenance when I hear the call for the second session of Super Pro.

You have to remember that I’ve competed in Super Gas at NHRA events for the last 20 years. The pace at those events is extremely slow 90% of the time. I can’t say the same for ACM. The pace on Saturday was considerably faster than what I was accustomed to.

Team DragChamp dragster at ACM
Paved parking is Awesome!

It’s not that the track did anything wrong or that I’m complaining, but I was totally unprepared and felt like I was chasing my tail most of the night.

After making several adjustments, we made second hit which was considerably better than the first. Although I screwed up the tree, the car was coming around and I felt good heading into eliminations. As the sun was starting to set, we pulled into the lanes for first round. I paired against a gentleman in a doorcar and was fortunate when he turned it red by -.005.

By now we were getting accustomed to the quick turnaround and were ready when the announcer called us back for round two. This time I paired with a dragster in what was practically a heads-up race. My .014 take .014 came up .0007 short in a double-breakout. It was good race but it reminded me that I need more practice!

So that concluded my second bracket race of the season but I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the facility at Alamo City Motorplex. The track was smooth, the facility was clean, and they have tons of freshly sealed paved parking. I definitely plan on making more trips to ACM this season.

Alamo City Motorplex sunset photo
Alamo City Motorplex

Leaving the race I felt more confident in my new car and liked the changes we had made. We did realize it was time for a new battery since it could not keep up with the quick turnarounds. A new set of Mickey Thompson slicks were also on the must have list leaving the event.

People Make Our Sport Great

The great part about drag racing is meeting new people. The race at ACM was no exception as I met a really cool guy that hung around our pits throughout the night. Jay Holmes came up and introduced himself not long after we unloaded on Saturday. We struck up a friendship and he continued to stop by and check on us after every run.

Gary Don with Jay Holmes at Alamo City Motorplex 6-15-19
Gary Don with Jay Holmes

He’s an aircraft mechanic by trade and gets to travel with his job. Anytime he’s on the road, he heads out to a local track whether it’s open or closed. He said he just likes to check out different race tracks around the country. Good people are what make our sport great and Jay is good people.

ACM Race Results

To wrap up the race, here are the final round results from ACM’s Summit Racing Bracket Points Race #4 . Congrats to all of the winners!

Jr Dragster: 
1st- Kayden Ashmore 
2nd – Wyatt Baldwin

ACM Race 4 jr dragster Winner Kayden Ashmore
Kayden Ashmore

1st- Joel Fincher 
2nd- Shelby Spencer 
Semifinal – Ron Gordner

1st- Cole Herbold 
2nd – Michael Zampese 
Semifinal – Chris Pearson 
Semifinal – Corky Weeks

ACM Race 4 Pro winner Cole Herbold
Cole Herbold

Super Pro: 
1st – Greg Meuth 
2nd – Ricky Kay 
Semifinal – Paul Schneider

ACM Race 4 Super Pro Winner Greg Meuth
Greg Meuth

1st – Devin Monaco 
2nd – James Marlett 
Semifinal – Ricky Kay

ACM Race 4 Motorcycle Winner Devin Monaco
Devin Monaco

Up Next

In the coming weeks you’ll see Team DragChamp at more local bracket races around the Houston area. I’m still in the get-to-know-you phase with my dragster and will try to put tons of laps on it over the summer.

The event I’m really excited about is the Hot August Nights bracket race at Pine Valley Raceway on August 9-10. The two-day big money bracket race is the creation of Cole and Slate Cummings. You can find out more about the Hot August Nights race here.

We’ll also hit some more races at ACM along with Houston Raceway Park. If you see us at the races, stop by and say hello. Let us know what you think of our site. We’d love to hear from you.

Gary Don Free

About the Author: Gary Don Free is a lifelong drag racer with victories in bracket racing and at the NHRA national event level.  Prior to graduating college, Gary Don spent eight years running an automotive machine shop with his father.  After graduation, Gary Don moved into the corporate world where he spent the last 20 years in senior management positions with a variety of companies.  The skills he learned on the track, in the shop, and in the corporate world are applied to DragChamp.com to promote sportsman drag racing.

Connect with Gary Don on Facebook @DragChampMagazine or email garydon@dragchamp.com

Click here for more racer blogs on DragChamp.

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