My Up & Down & Up Experience At HotRod Drag Week 2019

offroadkarter

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I'll just go ahead and throw it on the table now, I did not run the ET's or MPH's I was expecting or even hoping for, I certainly learned a lot about my setup during this week. Half of what I learned is I need another 150hp at the wheels.

So some of you have probably seen me mentioning that I was entered into drag week this year, but for those of you who missed it, this past Sept 8-13th, I embarked on a 1000 mile (think it was roughly 870mi) road trip for 5 days of racing at 4 different tracks. We'd race at one track, pack up, hit the backroads of the mid atlantic region stopping off at designated checkpoints. Get to the track in the morning, prep the car, race, pack up, hit the road, so on and so on.

Sunday was check in / tech in and test and tune day at Virginia Motorsports Park

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This was the day when I realized out of the gate I was going to have to work if I wanted anything quasi-respectable for an ET, I think I ran two mid 13's bogging the car so hard out of the hole it almost stalled. I should note this was not only the first time I've had this car, which I've up to this point put 2000 miles on this manual trans swap in the past 3 years, on a track, but I've never raced on slicks in my life. Learning experience engage!

Monday, same track, now with rain delay.

Anyone who watches mightycarmods might recognize the white cressida with a turbo barra swap, the fox body pictured here with the rear saleen reps was also turbo barra swapped

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for anyone watching, this was the OG Ascona, not the one that crashed

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It stopped raining, they had the track 80% dry, it poured again. Eventually it all worked out but due to the multi hour delay, we had one shot to lay down a pass.

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Tom Bailey doing race prep

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Monday I put down a 13.05 @ 107 and hit the road

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the local gas station of course was mobbed. The GT/CS down the way was with our convoy, behind me is a 54 bel air called "Capone", very fast car. The black denali there on wheels was running 11's I believe.

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So in our convoy we had a black 3.4 whipple marauder, me, a stock 3v GT/CS and a stock 1320 challenger.

Heading up 301 in VA before MD this turbo civic was toying with us

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About this time, we rolled past the 1320 crew filming the Real St. supras on the side of the road, I didn't think they turned around to catch us driving by


Checkpoint 1 was a welcome center off 301 when you enter maryland a couple of miles past the Nice bridge

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My co-driver and navigator Chris, who runs a panther platform based performance online retailer called adtr.net, had been posting about our trip on instagram and facebook which started to draw out some of his customers in the area. The F100 in this shot is on a full bagged crown vic chassis, behind it was a oxford white terminator that came along with the F100

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Checkpoint # 2 which was about a half hour from Cecil was in front of the Sky Zone. I think we were here around 10 at night

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Cecil county raceway was next, I didn't have a great run here either. 13.3 @ 106 which I believe was my last run of the day after hotlapping because I missed third (this was a re-occurring issue early on)

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By this point Dave Schroeder in the nitrous corvette was already out of competition, he just brought the car to put on display

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On the road again, headed to Atco, NJ

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Our first checkpoint was a farmers market which of course got very crowded

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Next post coming up
 

offroadkarter

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Checkpoint 2 in NJ was an italian restaurant

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After the second checkpoint we usually just headed off our own way, we met up with a few other Marauder owners in the area and went out and got dinner.

Later that night my co-driver and I checked into the Wingate by Wyndham in Voorhees/Mount Laurel ( I still need to tell them about the flies in the bathroom in the survey)

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I got stopped getting out of the car by a couple of people on drag week who wanted to see more of the manual swap. One thing I was not prepared for, even with my horrible ET's people were checking this car out non freaking stop because "it was the one with the stick".

Next day, Atco. I clocked a 13.06 @ 108 and decided that was good enough. I had friends and family down so I didn't feel like spending my day in the lanes waiting to run again, its not like the weather was cool at all so far this week.

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Our pit area

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The Aussie chevelle was behind us, they rolled in a bit late due to some trouble on the road

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Rob Ida brought out his Ford GT, I believe he ran a bottom 11 in 90 degree heat that day, just a fun run he wasn't in the competition.

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This mint Boss 9 was out on display as well

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On the road again, headed towards MIR

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Heading over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, this was the turf I knew well

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our first photo checkpoint was at a beach overlooking the power plant

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Headed up the Bay Bridge, suicide lane active

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Our second checkpoint was a small service station outside brandywine on 301 in Maryland. I'd driven past this place countless times and never looked twice at it.

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MIR post coming up next
 

offroadkarter

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MIR I spent a lot of time playing with tire pressures and lauch RPM's to try and get the car to stop bogging. When the track got quiet later in the day I went out and hot lapped the car about 6 or 7 times. @Blown38 and his Father Sherman, who were driving the black Whipple Marauder were on the line watching my burnout and seeing how the car launched. This was certainly an educational session and I have plenty more to try when the car is out at a track again.

Best run that day, 90 degrees out, 13.4 @ 106

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I did not take any photos that day, however when you're a paid photographer and the only car coming up to the line again and again is my ass, I guess you gotta do something with your time while you wait for some real race cars

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We hit the road after that long hot day at MIR and headed back toward VMP in Virginia.

First stop was a small restaurant

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Some of you might have seen the chevy venture minivan that was running, we caught up to it at a Love's gas station in VA. It has two 3400 V6's, each with a turbo. I saw him run a 11.3 on Friday.

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last checkpoint was a coin laundry and car wash. Got my photo, ran though the touchless wash, and headed in for the night

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Back at VMP, and of course its raining again. We had a 3 or 4 hour rain delay I believe. Got to the track 2 hours before our class was supposed to run (which then got pushed back 2 more hours), got the car ready and had time to just hang out

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By the time we went to run, it was in the low 70's out and my car was ice cold. I figured this was my one last shot to get back into the 12's so I could continue to at least say "I have a 12 second car" instead of "I had a 12 second car".

I got lucky and was able to bang out a high 12

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I went back up a little later hoping to edge out a 12.8, but by this time the car started to get warm and I ended up with another 13.05. Satisfied that I got my 12, I turned in my slip and my driving at drag week was finished. We all sat back and watched some of the class cars run

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This 1919 Franklin was officially the oldest, and I'm sure slowest, car in drag week history. This car was in the family since brand new, the owners grandfather bought it in 1919. He'd driven it 8300 miles around the US last year and lives in VA. He would always make the very first run down the track then set off, because the car has a max speed of about 47mph. I believe his fastest ET was an upper 28sec time at 47mph.

He got a wild applause from the crowd as he made his last pass down the strip

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offroadkarter

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I will say day 5 was one long ass day, we got to the track around 8:30am and didn't leave til about 10:30pm.

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So in the class we were part of, Street Machine Eliminator, the top 32 of the class enter into a bracket race at the end of day 5. I believe the cutoff was around 10.77 or faster for a 5 day average ET, @Blown38 and his father Sherman made it back into the top 32 shootout for a second time in a row, I believe they were standing in 25th place with an average of 10.55 @ 131


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At this point I was focusing on keeping his tire pressures in check and filming all the launches. If I remember right, he took out the red new edge, followed by a 10 second dodge omni GLHS, followed by a hellcat charger and a gutted Tesla P100D which set the world record tesla 1/4 mile pass during drag week at a low 10.4.

His last run was against a first gen camaro that was dialed in at 10.00, Marauder 10.45.

The Marauder set off first and the camaro had to play the catch up game the entire time. They both ended up breaking out with the Marauder going 10.34 and the Camaro going high 9's, I believe 9.98 or so. At first we thought Chris in the Marauder had lost in the last round, however it suddenly became apparent that with this double breakout situation, they had to figure out who broke the rules worse.

Well, in Street Machine Eliminator, at no point during the event including the final bracket racing can you turn in a time slip faster than 10.00. Since the Camaro had broken past its dial in and past the maximum ET for our class, and they obviously were not going to re-run it, he committed the larger violation and was out.

Needless to say, I was absolutely stoked that Chris had won it. He'd have to correct me if I'm wrong here but I believe the driver of the Camaro had said after the race that his car had never gone 9's before.

Here are the videos I took of each run

Run1: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Run2: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Run3: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Run4: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Final Run: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Here is the last run from the live stream, you can see me, my co-driver Chris walking up the side of the track. After they announce the winner you can see me shaking hands with Tony Angelo from HotRod garage (all my yelling probably made it obvious who I was there with). He also knows my co-driver well as they bought parts from adtr for the "crown hick" project truck


After the award ceremony, we had to put the cars back to street trim, pack up, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I ended up crashing at a friends place an hour and a half north then got home the next day. I'm honestly still mentally and physically drained from this event, it was the best/worst time I've ever had. Brian and David were certainly having fun announcing my car as everytime I came to the line they'd say "and this is the one with the stickshift". I got dubbed the "Bangshiftin Marauder" by David I believe so that's pretty cool.

One of these years I'll do it again, and I'll come back better prepared.

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Full Album: HotRod Drag Week 9/8-13/2019 - offroadkarter

Final Race Results: https://st.hotrod.com/uploads/sites/21/2019/09/Friday_Results.pdf
 

andymarkv

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Nice! I got to watch it run at Cecil, great looking & sounding car!
Pics of how you packed all your stuff in it....?
 

408GT

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I went to day #1 & 5 of it last year when they came to GA. Looked like a good time, but I don't think I'd ever do it. I've talked to the guy w/ the black Marauder a couple times before, and recognized several of the guys from last year. That Bel air is pretty cool w/ a turbo ls running mid 8's, oh and Honk if Parts Fall off (Rick).
 

offroadkarter

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Nice! I got to watch it run at Cecil, great looking & sounding car!
Pics of how you packed all your stuff in it....?

I don't think I have a shot with the wheels in there and all sadly, I had one rear wheel standing up and the other 3 were stacked on top of each other. I had the jack on the rear trunk shelf and I just piled stuff around it and had a clear bin and my tool box in the back seat. I had to deflate the rear tires in order to get them in the trunk so I brought a compressor and a valve stem tool with me.

I went to day #1 & 5 of it last year when they came to GA. Looked like a good time, but I don't think I'd ever do it. I've talked to the guy w/ the black Marauder a couple times before, and recognized several of the guys from last year. That Bel air is pretty cool w/ a turbo ls running mid 8's, oh and Honk if Parts Fall off (Rick).

Rick's wife made it into the SME bracket shootout, I think she redlit on either round 1 or 2 I can't remember.
 

CobraBob

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I know you said this experience was the best, and the worse. I'm sure overall you had an absolute blast. Great job with the videos, photos and narrative. I enjoyed it all.
 

offroadkarter

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I know you said this experience was the best, and the worse. I'm sure overall you had an absolute blast. Great job with the videos, photos and narrative. I enjoyed it all.

It was a lot of work but it was certainly an experience. I also know I didn't have it nearly as bad as some of the heavy hitters.


It looks like a lot of work and a lot of fun, as you said. But, you know what? If it were easy, everyone would do it!!

I think part of what makes the drag week community so close is overcoming challenges during the week, its not at all abnormal to find two racers fighting for the #1 spot helping each other out, or even spectators willing to deliver parts to racers stuck on the road.
 

05satinGT

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I always loved this car and have been following your build for quite some time now (when you were in the funeral home garage wrenching away).

You have so much room for improvement with your 1/4 mile times. I remember the first time I tried launching my cobra with slicks, it was very difficult. I couldn't get better then a 1.74 60'. I went to the track a week later and ran a 1.61 60' my first pass. It's a mental game when it comes to launching. My advice is rev it high and basically dump the clutch and hold on.

Regardless, this looked like an absolute blast! I am dying to try and get the hellcat to the track at least once this year...
 

offroadkarter

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I always loved this car and have been following your build for quite some time now (when you were in the funeral home garage wrenching away).

You have so much room for improvement with your 1/4 mile times. I remember the first time I tried launching my cobra with slicks, it was very difficult. I couldn't get better then a 1.74 60'. I went to the track a week later and ran a 1.61 60' my first pass. It's a mental game when it comes to launching. My advice is rev it high and basically dump the clutch and hold on.

Regardless, this looked like an absolute blast! I am dying to try and get the hellcat to the track at least once this year...

Oh I know for sure my 60's sucked, this car used to do 1.7's on street tires. I was dropping the clutch from 5 grand and it was still bogging, I have to play around with tire pressures and launch RPM's more. If day 5 wasn't a time crunch day I would have experimented a bit more but I wanted to just lay one decent run down, I think shortly after I went back for run 2 (and ran a 13.05) they closed my class.

Wish I could drop another 200lbs off the car to get it into the 39xx range in race trim w/o me in the car, but I don't see that happening without some expensive custom parts. Not looking to turn this into a full on strip car either.
 

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