Nick Folk Guest Editorial

 

 Well, here we go! That pretty much sums up the way I feel every time our team pulls out of the driveway for a race… I also feel like that writing this article! How do you think Luke felt when he asked me to write this? Actually, don’t answer that because I thought, “What the hell is wrong with him? Doesn’t this guy make a living with this website and he wants me to put my two cents in?” You didn’t know Luke was a gambling man, did you? Anyhow, I’m Nick Folk, just one of the family members in this touring circus created by my father, Ron Folk. I’ve been very fortunate in my career to be somewhat successful in this dog-eat-dog world of drag racing. The biggest key in keeping my head above water is my family. Simply put, I wouldn’t do it without them. They make the bad days seem OK, and the good days even rougher in the morning. The second key to the success I’ve had is the sponsors that support Folk Race Cars. Without them we would not be where we are today and they all need to be appreciated for the help they give us.

 

Since ThisIsBracketRacing.com has changed the guest tutorials to the new format of racers discussing a race that they have won, it has become very interesting. I hope I can keep it that way for everyone. I’m going to change it up a bit and talk about a $20k to win Bracket Race at last year’s Chase to the Million Weekend in Montgomery, Alabama. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy Justin and Mark talking about a NHRA National Event, it’s just that I haven’t beaten Troy Williams Jr. in the final of one! I haven’t beaten him very often period, so this was an easy decision for me.

With the Chase to the Million being a four day event I try to pace myself mentally, so I don’t have a meltdown until at least Saturday afternoon. Let’s just say that plan didn’t work out so well at this race. The first night I made it to the semi-finals and did not lay down a good lap at all. This causes me to call myself many names after I pick up the time ticket and sending me into the meltdown I mentioned earlier. The rest of the night I’m just sick to my stomach about getting that far and not finishing. You start to wonder, “What are the odds of getting that far again tomorrow with the level of competition that is at this race?”

We start out the next day’s Marathon of Drag Racing with a time run around the 10 a.m. With this race being in October and spanning over 14 hours of the day you’re going to find out if you have a good setup or not. I start the new day out with a .013 reaction time and run 4.498 at 154.10 mph.

Lane:    Right

RT    .013

60’    1.038

330’    2.907

 

660’    4.498

 

MPH    154.10

 

With making the time run in the morning and there being around 250 cars I pretty much figured I wouldn’t be running an elimination round till lunchtime when the temperature was increasing quickly. After about an hour and a half wait I decide to go up for 1st round and start this whole thing over again… but not until I check out the old, very nice to have, but never dependable weather station. It’s kind of like asking Mr. Obvious and tells me I’m going to run slower because its already 10 degrees warmer than my time run. I decide for 1st round to dial up to a 4.52 knowing that if my car acts like normal and picks up a little on the second run it should make the slowing weather a wash. Still relying on competition numbers from the day before with the delay box, I tried to set up in the high .000 reaction time range, which I try to do in early rounds at about every race. I wasn’t thrilled, with my .017 to start the day off, which ended up being my worst reaction time of the day. My competitor wasn’t so lucky had the disappointment of breaking off the starting line. My car was an unexpected hundredth fast at the 330’ before I click it for the easy win. That’s why my brother Brian and I always refer to the “never dependable” weather stations.

Round 1:

 

                 Left      Right

Driver      Me       Opponent

Dial         4.52      4.80

RT          .017       .648

60’        1.039       broke

330’      2.894

 

660’      4.714

MPH      118.23

 

Now the car has two runs on it for the day and the next couple rounds will be during the daylight. I like to think that with the correct setup it should be ready to settle into a consistent couple of runs. Being that I’m driving my favorite dragster I’ve ever had, it knows the way I feel about it (come on, don’t tell me you don’t talk to your cars) and settles into a nice groove of moving from 2.891 to 2.895 at the 330’ clocks for the next six runs! Like I will tell anyone, my cars are way better than I am and that always helps in winning a race. Buy-backs are out of the way now so I tell myself, “No more screw-ups!” Not-so-lucky for me, I get to run against TJ Pruitt in the 2nd round, a very solid racer in my mind. Being at the same races with him for a lot of years I know I need to lay down a good run or my day was going to be a short one. Not trusting my .017 from 1st round, and knowing I might just not have been up to the day yet I left the delay box. I let go thinking that my RT could be better, (like I thought 1st round) but let’s see where it goes and leave my hands off the bump-down and come up .013, he is .027 and leaves me enough room to take the finish line by .004 and move on to the 3rd round.

Round 2:

 

               Left       Right

Driver    Me         TJ

 

Dial       4.51        4.90

 

RT        .013         .027

 

60’        1.037       1.123

 

330’      2.892       3.174

660’      4.555       4.935

MPH     142.49     139.01

 

Margin   .004

 

So not only do I talk to the car but I have to give myself a little pep talk also every now and then. “OK Nick you’ve been .017 and .013 in a $20k to win race, so maybe it’s time for you to wake up!” Not that I think I can be better than that all the time, but if you don’t expect it and perform it every once in awhile you’re not going to win a 9 round race very often. My car was there and I needed to come around. With 3rd round here I decide to dial 4.50 not wanting to hold a lot against my opponent dialed 5.12 and my car acting right. I leave my box again knowing that off my paper work from the previous day and the feeling of not really letting go that aggressively I should be good. Bam! I tell myself when I let go 3rd round, .003 and a red light in the other lane, so I run it out just to see where I am and go 4.492 on my 4.50 dial.

Round 3:

 

                 Left       Right

Driver       Me        Opponent

Dial         4.50       5.12

 

RT           .003       -.002

 

60’          1.039     1.177

330’        2.895     3.324

 

660’        4.492      5.162

 

MPH       153.13    137.11

 

Margin:    Red

 

Happy with the last round’s performance, I decide not to change it up much at all. I put a couple thousandths in the box dial and dial up to a 4.51. I never really like to hold less than I think that I could possibly be late on the tree, and since I’m running a 4.70 car I figure what’s it going to hurt to be going .02 under, because I sure know I can be .020 on the tree at any given time. My opponent runs .03 over his dial and I was .002 on the tree. The round unfolds in front of me with no real tough decisions to make going down the track and I was able to take him through by .009, and round 4 is in the books.

Round 4:

 

             Left             Right

 

Driver  Opponent  Me

Dial      4.72            4.51

 

RT        .029            .002

60’        1.071         1.024

330’      3.070          2.892

660’      4.756          4.564

 

MPH     146.17        144.09

 

Margin                       .009

 

Starting to feel very confident after a couple of nice runs in the daylight, down goes the sun and creates all sorts of new conditions for everyone to deal with. For the 5th round I decide to go up one more on my dial to a 4.52 just to protect against the always-feared cold weather traction issues. Once again, as in the last couple of rounds, my opponent laid down a run for me that was an easy decision at the finish line and with my .014 RT versus his .030 I was a able to kill enough to make myself safe and cross the finish line .006 in front.

Round 5

 

             Left               Right

Driver  Opponent    Me

Dial       4.68            4.52

RT        .030             .014

60’        1.104           1.022

330’      3.048            2.894

660’      4.701            4.551

MPH     148.66         146.98

Margin                         .006

 

Rolling into 6th round, it’s now completely dark and I feel like I have a very small advantage over some of the remaining field from being in the previous night’s late rounds. My car has been on its string of 4.49’s and I have no reason to think it’s going to pick up a lot, so I stay with the 4.52 dial and hope to lower myself back into the .005 range on the tree. Well let’s just say that didn’t happen. Leaving a not-so-stellar .016 off the starting line and still being somewhat even with my opponent wasn’t too bad, and luckily for me I have my first opponent that goes under his 4.72 dial with a 4.698 at 142 mph and left me the only appropriate thing to do, check out my new Moser Engineering brakes. They work great, to the order of a one over the dial 4.532 at 138 mph for the win.

Round 6

 

                Left               Right

Driver     Opponent     Me

Dial         4.72               4.52

RT          .021                .016

60’          1.041             1.022

330’        2.993              2.891

660’        4.698              4.532

 

MPH        142.36           138.86

Margin     .029

The next two rounds I get to race my good friend Mikey Bloomfield Jr. and yes, I said the next two rounds. Only in the bracket racing world does this happen. Round 7 was the round that most racers will talk about when they win a race. I know I always have one, the “I really messed up and got away with it” round. With very rapidly dropping temperatures, I had the feeling my car was getting ready to pick up but I just didn’t know how much. I made the decision to stay dialed up even though my Mikey’s dialed 6.56 in his door car, this forces me to do something down there and not just hope I happen to hit the correct dial. Mikey misses the tree with a .030 and I leave .011, race over, right? Nope, not with Nick behind the wheel. I proceed to kill enough trying to drive a slow door car that I got a whopping .015 behind instead of simply taking .019 or less for the easy win. I get lucky, and he’s .005 under his dial and that completes the perfect “I messed up and got away with it” round.

Round 7

 

                Left           Right

Driver      Mikey        Me

Dial          6.56          4.51

RT            .030          .011

 

60’          1.433          1.020

 

330’        4.176           2.884

660’         6.555           4.539

MPH        100.93        133.84

 

Margin      .015

I’m back up for 8th round as fast as I can dump fuel in it and gather my thoughts a bit. There’s Mikey again this time in his 4.80 dragster. We’re down to four cars, and amongst a couple of buddies we do a small slip at four cars to help everyone out. Knowing he’s going to come back with a vengeance, I rolled a couple little ones out of the box to go for the low .000 light it would take to win. I dial down to a 4.50 because it picked up a hundredth last round and here we go in the semi-finals, for the second night in a row. He leaves .015 to my .005 and before I’m to the 60’ clocks he’s gone. Unfortunately for Mikey, there must have been a little “something” on the track and, as we all know, if the track isn’t perfect when it’s that cold out the results are not good.

Round 8:

 

              Left          Right

 

Driver    Mikey       Me

 

Dial        4.84         4.50

RT          .015         .005

60’         1.315        1.024

330’       3.488         2.890

660’       5.737         4.706

MPH       88.16         116.05

 

Margin A lot

 

The Final! It’s here and against my good buddy Troy Williams Jr. Life doesn’t get much better than this! We roll back into the lanes immediately after the semis to discuss how many bottles of “Crown” we were going ready to race for, a very serious discussion. After agreeing on an undisclosed amount, we strap in. The fun is over now until the win light, because trust me, with this race happening in October, and a three-week swing coming up in Florida there is more bragging rights than anything on the line. I keep on the 4.50 dial hoping to just be decent on the tree and not give him a clean wheel to work on. I had been watching him the last couple rounds and knew when he dialed 4.52 he was going about the same under I was. We both leave with less than impressive lights, .016 and .022. I thought I was better than that, so going down the track I just wanted to end up dead on and figured if he beats my (what I thought was a) mid .000 light and ends up dead on, good for him. He crossed .012 in front to run 4.506 on a 4.52 and I did end up dead on with a 4.504. Win light on! One of the best feelings in the world!

Round 9:

 

               Left       Right

 

Driver     TW        Me

 

Dial        4.52       4.50

RT          .022       .016

60’          1.031     1.018

330’        2.896      2.880

660’        4.506      4.504

MPH       146.55     150.17

 

Margin .012

 

I hope you all enjoyed my take on this Bracket Race, and thanks once again to ThisIsBracketRacing.com for a great opportunity. Good Luck to everyone in the 2012 racing season and see you at the track.

 

 

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