Willie Burnett: October Blog
“In The Ditch” with Ivan NoDrivin
ENDING A DREAM SEASON OF NIGHTMARES
Oh how the season flies by. It feels like it was only last column that I was writing about my lofty aspirations for the season to come. Now as I sit here typing away it’s a rainy 50 degree day outside and I’m watching the forecasted lows for the next few days to make sure my block doesn’t freeze up sitting in the trailer. The Midwest has seen a mild end to the season though so I can’t complain about the weather much in my last Member Spotlight entry. That should leave plenty of room for me to complain about my suspect driving abilities so for all you weary travelers that have rode “The Ditch” with me this year won’t be disappointed. Let’s get this jam packed column started and see how it all plays out.
As I left you last month I was coming off my first win of the year (a mere 6 months into the season) and a hope that some newfound confidence would translate into additional win lights as the season draws to a close. I made the short drive to KCIR for a 2 day, 3 race, points bonanza on the last weekend of September. I’m nowhere to be found in the S/P points and a long shot in the Quick series so this weekend is for nothing but personal pride. Amazingly (not really if you’ve followed along this year) I struggle to see the third round in both classes and start drinking early. I can’t find my time slips to help give a detailed recollection of the races but I do remember not being able to find the finish line all day long. I do remember seeing a few .030+ behind and .050+ ahead finish line margins on those missing tickets so lets just assume they were “misplaced” while I was throwing things in another tirade in the trailer. I did calm down long enough to celebrate my buddy JR Lobner’s S/P victory though. It’s nice to have friends that are really good at this sport so you can see how it’s supposed to work. Let’s move on to day 2.
I have an issue taking decent winners circle pics. I think I was saying something like “Ooh Ooh Ooh…Look at the pretty clouds”
Oh yeah, I snuck into another WC pic. The the kid that looks like he’s standing on a milk crate is Troy Ross and he does work with that SB2 powered Nova
Sunday was another Super Pro points race with similar results. My log book shows some random scribbles that include .006, .000, .008, and .003 lights but the entries mysteriously end at round 2. I know there was a .001 breakout taking .020+ and a good race I just didn’t win in there somewhere so maybe it’s best that I already erased this weekend from my memory… or maybe it was all just a bad dream.
Luckily for me the next weekend was the start of a new month so I was ready to get the crazy train back on track. The down side was that it was back at KCIR for another CDRA Series race. Nothing against the track or the series but my record at either has been dismal to say the least so combining the two evils didn’t exactly peg my confidence-o-meter. It’s a 2 day race with first or second round buybacks so I figure I’m gonna have to put this monster to bed sometime. Saturday wasn’t all that bad as I didn’t have to buy back and took the Blue Beacon into round 5. That’s where the party ended as my .022 and dropping to .05 above didn’t light the bulb against my opponents virtually unbeatable (for me at least) .041 package. Just couldn’t get in on that one. Sunday was a broken record that skipped one song earlier as my .017 take .007 was second best in a double breakout 4th round. Now for a lot of you out there that might sound like a horrible weekend but since my previous CDRA round record this year was 2 and 12 I felt like this weekend was a definite improvement. Looks like it’s time for yet another confidence booster.
After the blurry two week nightmare that was KCIR I figured that a trip to my own little fairytale land I call Eddyville Raceway Park was just what the psychiatrist ordered. In my 2 previous trips to the country club track of the North I haven’t won a race but have left money ahead each time. My third visit had the same layout as before. Super Pro and Quick Series races Saturday followed by another S/P race Sunday. In S/P my all too common approach of a .005 tree taking .028 stripe and breaking out by .005 cost me a trip to the pay window for the first time this year. Instead of taking another loss in stride (I should be a pretty good loser with all the practice I’ve had this year) I decided to take out my anger in the Quick Series race. With a pinch of decent driving and a heap of luck I was able to take the Beacon into her second winners circle of the season. That’s right kids. I won ANOTHER race this year. I’ll pause here so everyone can recover from the shock………… Ok, is everyone ready to continue? Good. Making my recent victory even sweeter was that I was able to share the winners circle with my good buddy Tucker Kanselaar who whupped up on the J/D field the same day. I know I’ve said it before but I can’t thank Josh, Chrissy, Tucker, Taylor, and Tanner Kanselaar enough for their hospitality and friendship. This “winning” thing is fun. Maybe I should try it more often. To top off a great day Gary Shearer and the Bacon clan put on a killer fish fry that night and everyone had a blast. Those Iowa boys sure know how to eat.
Even though my own winners circle pics are few and far between I’m always happy to share them with a hitter like my homeboy Tucker Kanselaar and the family
Bubba Bacon let me try out his J/D whip (after a few drinks) and it was a little snug to say the least I could hear Tommy Boy singing “Fat guy in a little dragster”
Sunday in Eddyville gave way to fish and “Gary Water” hangover (I don’t know what’s in it but it will make forget the bad decisions you made while drinking it) and another day of racing. Maybe it was the Gary Water still coursing thru my veins that helped me finally find the tree. I was rolling again and felt like I had a shot at going the distance on day 2. That all ended abruptly in the 4th round when my .008 take .012 didn’t do the math against my opponents .015 package. It was an easy loss to take however since I was able to put a couple more bucks on my payout total and didn’t beat myself. Once again Amy and I said our goodbyes to the good folks at Eddyville and headed south with the confidence brewing. I was ready to get back to KCIR to do some damage!!!
As we rolled back into the home track the next weekend I was still riding that warm fuzzy feeling from my Fairytale Dream Trip at Eddyville. This weekend was a NHRA National Open race that included the final Quick Series points race and two S/P points races. As I mentioned earlier I am in no place to win Super Pro points but I found myself 3rd in Top Dragster. My goal this weekend was to win the Quick race Saturday since that was the only way a come from behind championship would be possible. That’s when the reality of living in a dream showed its ugly head. Eventually you have to wake up and face the real world. I just happened to wake up from my dream .003 behind my opponent at the finish line first round. Well, that didn’t work out like I planned.
I went ahead and took reality head on in S/P and made it to 6 cars before the curfew forced us to finish up Sunday morning. I was feeling decent and wished we could have finished the race that night. The next morning I found out the Blue Beacon had the same idea as she popped and sputtered through our time trial before the 6 car run off. I throw some plugs at her and mess with the carb linkage to try and shake her early morning issues. In all the thrashing I forget to bolt my head back on and misdial the car (I was running a N2O on the timer setup and an all motor setup to give different looks finish line) and hung myself out to dry. Well at least the miss is fixed. As the second race came up I diagnosed that I must’ve cross threaded my head when reinstalling it so I didn’t see another win light. Oh sweet reality…you are an evil temptress. Oh yeah, I think JR might have won one of the races this weekend too. It’s hard to keep track.
How many pics can you take of a pipe rack? Here’s another one at the KCIR national open
I warned you all that this was a busy month for me so I hope you’re still hold in there. My last stop for the month and my column (tear, sniffle) was back to Smokin’ Mokan Dragway for the CDRA Finals. I assume I’m not the only one out there that has a weekend where they just aren’t feeling it and this was that weekend. Let me explain further. I head up for my first hit roll my normal .020 out of the delay box because Mokan must have 3 foot of roll out between the stage beams. It’s a little loose to say the least. That leaves me with 1.100 in the box (sorry if I’m losing you bottom bulbers here) compared to my normal 1.120-1.130. I’m .012 and felt ok on the tree so I plan to take .003 out and set up .009. My next 3 passes I just can’t find the tree. I don’t know what is up but I’m .126, bump to be .089, and .106. WTF???? I look and look but can’t find the cause. My strong level of self-doubt has me asking “Am I just missing it?” “Am I this bad?” Ok, If you have figured out what I did wrong then give yourself 5 gold stars. After losing first round Sunday (with my .106 light) I finally take a clear look at my delay box. This is how my genius math worked out the day before:
1.100 - .003 = 1.197 Do you see a problem here????
That’s right folks; I forgot to drop the .1 when I reset my delay box so instead of having 1.097 in the delay I had 1.197. I know I’m not the first one to pull this feat but the fact that it took me 3…yes…THREE ROUNDS to figure it out was beyond even my liberal stupidity acceptance level. What a dumb ass!?!? This dumbass finally typed the correct numbers in the delay box and bought back for round two. I actually turned on a win light for the first time in the weekend. The relief was short lived though as my patented .007 take .025 didn’t work against my opponents .029 package. Damn I’m good at that.
I hate to finish off my last column on that note so I’ll wrap up this debacle by looking forward to what you won’t be reading about. I’ll be back at KCIR this weekend for the last two races of my 2011 season. Keep me in your thoughts because I’m going to need all the good karma I can get. After that my on track action is over but I will be off to SEMA for work (if you can call Las Vegas work) and then planning the 5th Annual “Thumbwars” Practice Tree Race that JR Lobner, Tyler Wudarczyk, and myself put on in Kansas City. The tentative date is the 1st weekend of February, 2012 so mark your calendar and watch for updates at www.IvanNoDrivin.com and on Facebook at the Thumbwars Practice Tree Syndicate page. If you’re within driving distance of KC you need to make this event. It is the best time you’ll have racing for big money in the cold winter months. The best practice tree racers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and more will be there. Ask anyone who’s been and they will tell you the same thing.
Here’s one more winner circle pic from Thumbwars IV. As You can tell it can get a little rowdy when you are racing for big checks and are allowed to drink at the same time.
This is the flyer from last years Thumbwars Practice Race. Look for info on Thumbwars V coming soon to www.IvanNoDrivin.com
I always close by thanking the people that help light the burners on this chow wagon I call a race team. This time want to thank all of you that have read along with my ramblings. I have truly enjoyed having the opportunity to share a little of my life and that of the Midwest drag racing community with all of you. The best feeling I have at the track is when someone comes up to me and says they got a laugh out of my column. For me that’s the sincerest complement I could receive. If you have enjoyed some part of my tales of failure and stupidity please don’t forget to VOTE VOTE VOTE for me on the Members Spotlight contest coming up in November. Thanks to Amy, Chrissy Kanselaar, and Matt Levonas for all the glamour shots that make this literary disaster worth reading. Also a thank you goes out to APD, Nitro Plate, J&J Engine Diapers, K&N Filters, and “LB Money” at ThisIsBracketRacing.com for all the sweet product and giving a guy like me a place to tell my tales. If you just can’t get enough of Ivan NoDrivin (you know you want to) feel free to friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter at @IvanNoDrivin. I hope to see you all at the track next season. Remember that pointing at me and laughing is as good as a handshake in my book. Feel free to say hi afterwards if you want. This is Ivan NoDrivin signing off. Word to Big Bird!