Eric Bowling: August Blog
Hello again TIBR! Yep, it’s that time again. This month I will look back at the last few weeks highlights and lowlights. So without further delay let’s get started.
When I last left off I began to finally start rolling just a bit. With a few straight weeks of wins and final round appearances my confidence was finally where it needed to be. Well I’m sure you all have heard the saying “All good things come to an end”, well I couldn’t have said it better myself. After the good weekend at Lyons and actually taking the points lead the following week I was a bit torn. Do I stay here local and run for the points or do I travel to Ohio for the Bottom Bulb Extravaganza? Well at first I was a little upset that I chose to stay here locally but after what I am about to tell you happened I was never so glad to be close to home. As my normal local schedule goes Friday night I had planned on going to Speeds Dragstrip but with Temperatures near 100 degrees they made the decision to cancel for the evening. Saturday we head to Lyons for another points race. Time shots are going well and the car is deadly. I roll up for first round and the guy is the lane next to me goes red and we go on to round 2. As I roll into stage everything feels normal, I launch car and everything is normal, during the run the car feels great, I hit my spot drop and my win light comes on, as I am coasting down the length of the shutdown area I glance down at the gauges as I do every pass and notice the oil pressure is reading 4 psi. Oh boy here we go again, as you recall I had this same issue toward the beginning of the season which was the casting on the oil pump breaking. Well as I coast around the corner with the car shut off I hop out and head to my truck and trailer to come get the car. Luckily the points leader didn’t go to many rounds and was able to tie up the points chase with just 2 points races left.
I take the car home and Don and I tear into it. We beat on the bottom of the pan after draining the oil and sure enough we hear something in the pan. So we take the pan off and he tube is sitting in the bottom of the pan. “Sweet, lets put it back together”! So we did, fired it up and the gauge reads 2 psi. We pull it back apart take a good look at the pump and notice that the ears of the shaft were missing and the gears in the pump were locked up, boy this would have been easier the first time around. Oh well practice makes perfect right.. So that is why I was so glad I decided not to travel 4 hours from home, and one thing is for sure, after this season the 383 is coming out of the car!!
After getting the car put back together and running with oil pressure this time we set out for another local outing for the weekend. Speed’s Friday night didn’t fare to well and remember that dreaded miss I talked about in my last column? Well it was 3 times worse with the new oil pump in it. First pass I let go of the button and the car misses really badly. 2nd pass the car is a bit better and doesn’t start until mid track. 1st round of eliminations roll around it was horrible and off to the buyback booth we go. After putting together a couple lucky rounds we are shown to the trailer without doing any damage. Saturday morning rolls around and yet another points day. I wake up early change the plugs and wires on the car play with the laptop to try some different things with the ignition box settings and head to the track. Well we didn’t fare to well as we were 2nd round clowns on Saturday. Sunday rolled around and decided what the heck and head to Brown County Dragway. I decided to make the first couple passes with the alternator unhooked to see if that could be causing the issue and no luck, so I decided to run the remainder of the day dropping at the spot where the car began to miss. Luckily 1st round of elims the driver next to me lit the red bulb which gave me an opportunity to test the waters with dropping from nearly half track. Well don’t ask me how but we wound up bringing home a victory dialing nearly 2 tenths above what the car is actually capable of running.
Finally as the week passes I decide to take drastic measure and replace the ignition box. I head to Speeds once again Friday Night, get called up for the 1st time shot of the evening. Get in the burnout box and the car sounded like a completely different car, roll up and stage let go of the button and ABRA CADABRA, no miss..Thank You God!! This whole time for the last 4 weeks it has been the “NEW” igniton box causing the problems. As the evening rolls on I begin hitting the tree quite well as the rounds rolled on I found myself sitting on at 3 cars along side of 2 of the best racers in the area, Chris Walters was sitting on the bye to the final and his brother Keith is sitting in the lanes next to me. As I roll into the semis I stage and hit the tree, I get the starting line advantage and take the win. In the finals I’m feeling pretty confident due to my worst light all night being a .025 which was back a few rounds and had been .010’s and .00’s the majority of the night. We stage up I let go and thought for sure it was red but the bulb never lit, we get to the end and my win light shines. I get the ticket and I was .500 on the tree and 1 over to take the win.
Sunday rolled around and coming off a great win Friday night I’m feeling pretty good. We head to Lyons for their No Box race that pays $1,000 to win, I once again get on a bit of a roll Sunday afternoon and find myself sitting in the semifinals. I roll in stage the car and realize I have rolled in a bit more that normal. I let go again get the feeling that it’s gonna be red and yet again its not, I look up and the guy in the other lane lights up the red bulb and off to the finals we go, as I get the ticket I was .500 on the tree and dead on my dial with a 3. As I get back to the pits I shut off the car and hear “SSSSSSSSSSSSSS” look at my back tire and it is practically sitting on the rim. I hurry up and run my hand across the tire and find the hole in the rear slick. I see my buddy Chris Walters as he his leaving and flag him down to ask if he has any plugs. Luckily he did and he got me fixed up in time to make the call for the final. (Thanks Chris!) as I roll into the final round I had used up all my air trying to keep the tire up that I was only able to get 7 psi of air in the tire, as the other tire was sitting at 13 psi. The other driver comes to me and asks to talk about the money and I agree to do something especially not knowing what the car was going to do. We stage up, I let go of the button and the car blows the tires off we get to the end of the track and he has well over a tire on me so I just grab a foot full of brakes and an even bigger and handful of steering wheel look up and my WIN light is shining!!, I was .030 to his .012, I’m 3 over and he breaks out .001. Man am I lucky! But a win is a win!
This brings us to this past weekend where we were only able to get one evening of racing in as Saturday was a wash and Sunday eventually would get cancelled due to the rare rain shower here in Indiana. So Friday night we roll into Speed’s dragstrip and for some reason I decide to be a strip hog all night. Round 1 we draw a car dialed 6.15, we get to the end of the track and I take .017 at the stripe to give that win away and then I am able to get to the semis, draw a car dialed 6.20’s I’m .023 on the tree to his .040 get to the end of the track and take .020 and give that one away. Lets hope this weekend I get out of that habit !
This brings us up to date on my racing season for the past 4 weeks. I was able to add 3 more wins and a semi final appearance since we last chatted. Not to bad but could have definitely been better.
Well TIBR folks that is going to wrap up my column this week. Like I promised in my last column I would try to keep it short so you wouldn’t fall asleep reading. I’d like to once again end in thanking all of my marketing sponsors. Mickey Thompson Tires, Ohio Crankshaft, Spy Optics, RaceoneE85.com, Skaggs Transmission, Don Cain, My wife Amy for putting up with me, and my beautiful baby girl who turned 3 years old on the 27th of July. Thanks for reading and we’ll talk to you next month!