Goodguys Nitro Nationals
On May 5th, 6th and 7th, 2006 the Goodguys Nitro Nationals were held at the Pomona Fairplex Raceway, Pomona, CA.
The weekend started out nice. We fired up both the dragster and the altered and got some heat in the motors, got in line waiting to make our first passes down the Fairplex Drag strip. I personally haven't driven at a lot of different tracks but I have to say after driving on Pomona Fairplex Raceway's track it's the nicest track I've ever driven on.
I sat patiently as I watched my Dad in front of me pull into his lane and proceed with his burnout. He backs up and stages the dragster and off he goes down the drag strip. He ran a career best at 8.83 seconds at 153 mph in the old front engine dragster. As the fiat altered's motor turned over and fired up I rolled through the water box and began my burnout. Backed up from the burnout and staged the altered. Blasting off the starting line the car felt strong. I hit second gear and the fiat pulled even harder down the track to an 8.51 elapse time at 160 mph. This run we went to fast but at least we know what the car is running. Those were the only runs we got on Friday due to the curfew.
Saturday morning was a very exciting day. We found out from some others in our class that we were getting two more qualifying runs to try and make the 16 car Nostalgia Eliminator 2 field. We took care of the preliminary maintenance and fired the cars up to build heat in the motors before our next qualifier runs. We towed up to the staging lanes and prepared to make another blast down the track. Watching from behind again, I saw my Dad take off in the dragster, the front end went skyward and to the right toward the guardrail. He backed off the throttle and slammed the throttle to the floor again after getting the dragster straightened out and had to back off the throttle again because the dragster got out of shape and headed for the wall. He ran an 11.00 second pass which was not good enough to make the class. I then proceeded with my run and prior to my run I drove down to the end of the track and looked for a place I could lift at to slow the car down a little bit. I staged the Fiat Altered and off I went down the track, I shifted into second gear and the car was making good horsepower. As I got further down track I searched for my mark to lift as it was coming up fast. I lifted at the mark and immediately as I lifted up on the throttle oil shot into the cockpit of the fiat and sprayed directly into my face mask and goggles. I then pulled my goggles down so I could see where I was going and eventually got it stopped on the top end of the track and pulled off onto the return road. That run was by far the scariest pass I've ever had in any of our race cars. I've never been oiled in like that before. The Altered ran to fast on that pass by a few thousandths of a second. We took the car back to the pits and inspected the damage to the motor. We blew a front crank seal on the little 327 cubic inch motor. We replaced the seal and got the car ready to make another pass down the 1320. Although we should've inspected the internal parts of the engine more, we got the Fiat ready and got back into line to race. We fired the altered up and, I did the burnout, backed the car up and staged the car. As the light went green and my foot frantically dropped to the floor, the little blown 327 Fiat Altered jumped out of the gate like it always does. As the car got further down the track and I shifted into high gear, the car didn't seem to have the power that it produced on the last few runs. I kept my foot in the throttle, which I shouldn't have, and the motor belched out white smoke as I went through the lights on the top end losing the motor and not qualifying for the event.
Although we blew up the motor and didn't qualify for the event, we still had a lot of fun over the weekend. Thanks to Alex and Edgar Mikkelsen, Mario, Scott, Mark, Maria, Rick Akerman and his crew for all their help on both the race cars throughout the weekend.
See you at the next big event,
Spence Family Racing