This past weekend dad and I traveled down to Gainesville, FL for the NHRA Gatornationals. The Division 2 Race of Champions was being held during this prestigious event so I was eligible to compete. The Race of Champions is usually contested at each Division’s bracket finals, but for the past few years Division 2 has contested theirs at the gators.
The Race of Champions is a race comprised solely of each tracks bracket series champions, so it’s a pretty cool race. We arrived at the track on Friday afternoon just in time to catch the second round of professional qualifying. After qualifying we got parked where we needed to be pitted and headed to the hotel for some much needed rest (as it would turn out to be a long weekend). We arrived at the track early on Saturday morning to get teched in and hopefully get a time run. We found out shortly after getting teched in that our time runs would be pushed back till the evening, so we headed to the stands to catch some action.
Later in the evening we got the bike prepped and ready for the time trials. I took my first pass down the right lane and with my adrenaline and excitement I went -.020 red and short shifted the 1-2 for a 6.05 pass. I came back and lowered to launch rpm to then go into the left lane and go .020 green and a 6.01 pass. I felt pretty comfortable after the time runs and the bike was running great! Well, Sunday came and we were finally called to the lanes. With probably 20,000+ spectators on hand it was definitely an exciting/nervous moment, but I felt like I handled it well and I was ready to roll. Unfortunately about 4 pairs prior to us going down the track, Mother Nature decided to start sprinkling.
The sprinkles continued off and on all evening until the officials finally had to make the call to postpone the race till Monday. Monday went by fast as we were being called to the lanes before we knew it. I felt like I was setup for .015 on the tree and decided to dial a 6.02. When I let go of the clutch I honestly felt like I was a tad bit late (I figured I was .030), but when I punched it into 2nd gear I caught the scoreboard from the corner of my eye and saw my opponents win light on. I couldn’t believe I had lit ol’ red, but the time slip showed -.015. To drive all the way to Florida and spend 4 days at the track and then to go red first round is not the way you want to end the trip, but I actually wasn’t upset. I felt like I did a great job holding my composure and sticking to my routine, but I might have made a strategic error.
After analyzing the situation, I believe the right lane might have been a little “tight” compared to the left lane which resulted in my red. I thought I was setup correctly, but I based it off my left lane time trial. I did learn a lot from the experience and I’m glad to have had the chance to race in the prestigious Gatornationals. Although I didn’t win, I had a great weekend with my biggest supporter and that’s really all that matters. I like to tell people, “you can’t win them all… and if I did, it would just become boring!” Maybe Fast Jack and I can get together and petition the NHRA over our redlights!...hahaha (Beckman says he did not redlight)
Thanks to my sponsors; Knight Communications Inc., Hays Machine Works, and Amsoil. Also thanks to Adams Performance and Garron for the help the week before!