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Stories page

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Once down the track and she's hooked

Wayne doing burnout

Carol Nelson, Spencer, IN.

My drag racing adventure began in October 2003 after a summer of begging by my husband Wayne to go to the bracket races with him. However, it was very boring to watch, and I felt I had nothing in common with those car guys. So I stayed home and took care of my flower beds. Since we have done most things together during our 40 plus years of marriage he knew it was probably in his best interest to get me interested in racing, so in October he suggested that I take my 87 Monte Carlo SS 305 for a run down the track. I reluctantly accepted. To reduce my anxiety level he explained how to stage the car and how the “tree” worked. We watched cars do a burnout and stage. We counted down the light together several times so that I would get the rhythm right. We walked down to the end of the track to see where I would exit the track and collect my timing ticket. This training all helped, but I was still nervous. As I was lining up to run down the track, Wayne had another surprise for me. He had the announcer say, “This is a 61 year old grandmother taking her first trip down the track. Watch out.” Everyone had a good laugh. I have to admit the race was an exhilarating experience and I was hooked. We even spent two wedding anniversaries at the track. I learned a lot about the techniques and science of drag racing during the following years. I learned how to do a good burnout to make the car hook, and I learned how to adjust my dial-in to compensate for air density, humidity, and engine temperature. Soon I was winning some races but the most memorable one was when I beat Wayne for the first time. Now, five years later I can beat him about half the time. He says it is because he was such a good teacher. Wayne is also my mechanic and has upgraded my 305 with higher compression, upgraded roller cam, and ported heads and exhaust headers. Even though I get 20 MPG on the road, the car has run a best of 8.53 seconds in the 1/8 mile at 80.25 MPH. I have now developed a need for more speed. Don’t say anything, but I am ready for another upgrade. Shhhh, it is our secret.


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