Virginia Motorsports Park, Dinwiddie Virginia, August 27, 2010
The Derrick Townes Pro Mod team headed down to Virginia early Saturday morning the 27th after doing a late night re-assembly of the car. Initially we were going to take the weekend off. The car was in pieces and it would be a semi-thrash to get the car together and get to VMP. But Derrick and the guys being racers...well...we couldn't pass up a chance to race. Everything was finished and the transporter was loaded and rolling somewhere around 3 a.m. With Chris and J.J. splitting the driving duties we got to Dinwiddie in plenty of time. After setting up we did routine service on the car and also hunted down an oil leak that had plagued us for the last 3 or 4 passes. It was difficult to locate because it seemed it would only leak under a load, meaning it would only do so when subjected to the higher pressures of a high-revving motor trying to move the car. And you can't simulate that in the pits. So we set about finding it by just putting wrenches on the motor and tightening nuts and bolts. It worked. We were able to locate the source and correct it.
We would be racing in The Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod class. It would also be our first foray into 1/8th mile racing. We had always raced 1320 feet prior to today so it would be an adventure of sorts. But the car has run the numbers before so we knew it had what it takes. What was to be the first of 3 qualifying passes was scheduled for 3 o'clock. The number of qualifying runs was trimmed to 2 simply from the sheer volume of cars to show up. There were 41 Pro Mods there! That's right, 41 cars trying become one of the 16 car field. And take it from us, those boys were there to race. There were some astounding cars there...plenty of cars with beauty AND brawn. It looked like we would have our hands full just trying to get in. VMP has a curfew of 11 p.m. so there was no way they would be able to give everyone 3 shots and then run through eliminations before the curfew. We had 2 chances to get it right. We went up for our first hit at the scheduled time. The car was fired and as Derrick did the burnout the car immediately went sideways causing him shorten it up. That ended up being an indication of things to come. We missed it on this one. When the light went green Derrick mashed the gas. The car barely moved before generating too much wheel speed and spinning the tires. Not good but not bad either. We knew Chris, armed with just that little bit of information provided by that hit, would figure it out. We serviced the car, checked to see if our oil leak came back (it didn't), and got ready for the 2nd and final qualifier. We went back up around 5 o'clock. It hadn't really cooled off much so we knew we would be trying to get the car down a hot race track. We pulled up to the line and fired the car. This time Derrick did his usual loud, long smoky burnout. "That's more like it" we thought. He staged the car and when the light went green he went. The car looked like it got off the line pretty well but down track it looked to be spinning the tires because the back of the car was wiggling. We thought "Oh, that's just Derrick driving the hell out of the car again". As it turned out the car was just providing yet another opportunity for Derrick to show off his driving skills. As he shifted from first to second the shifter came off. Yes OFF!! So the wiggle came from Derrick trying to steer the car while trying to shift an un-stationary shifter which, by the way, he did! Not only that but he was able to clock an E.T. of 4.14 which put us in the show. Amazing.
Eliminations would begin at 7. We would be facing a guy that Chris is friends with and who he encounters often. So if we didn't beat him Chris would have to listen to him talk trash. As we went to staging the sun was going down and the air was getting cooler. That would mean better air for the blower and a lower track temperature...two things a blown pro mod likes. The car was fired, the burnout completed, and the cars staged. Derrick took off but the car shook the tires and Derrick had to lift. It didn't matter though because the race was over before it began...our opponent red-lighted. On to the second round. The time between rounds during eliminations is usually shorter than the time between rounds during qualifying. So you have to hustle more. It was decided that we needed to change the oil as well as our routine service and as usual we ended up thrashing but as usual we made it. A special thanks goes to Josh, a friend of J.J.'s daughter. He was definitely a big help. We went to the line and it was cooler still. We were looking to knock down a quicker number than our previous run. The car was fired, the burnout was completed, and the car was staged. Derrick hit it when he got the green but we had overpowered the track again. Our opponent made a clean run and eliminated us. Our race was over. All in all not a bad day though. We out-qualified some good cars, we found our oil leak, and as usual we made some new friends and met up with some old ones.