Dwayne Wolfe Reaches Final Round at Shakedown at E'Town Surprise runner-up performance by an unknown team
The Wolfe Racing team traveled to Englishtown, NJ in hopes of learning a few things and qualifying for the “Al-Anabi Shakedown at E’Town” event in the Barwa Outlaw 1/8-mile Challenge. Expecting to compete against many of the competitors in the ADRL Pro Extreme category, our hopes of qualifying were slim, but our plan was to simply run our own race and look to improve on our personal bests. The $20,000 grand prize for the event was not even viewed in the realm of possibilities for the team. Little did we know that by the end of the weekend, we would find ourselves in the final round with a chance to race for that coveted prize.
Saturday morning (Nov 7th) started as a cold, frosty morning in NJ. The temperature was in the mid-20’s and it was not the scene that one would view as a day to go drag racing. After a substantial warm-up, we made our first qualifying run. The car shook the tires a bit and got out of the groove. Dwayne pedaled the car twice and still managed a 4.33 second elapsed time, improving the team’s previous best of 4.38. After that pass, we were the #1 qualifier and it stayed that way until Mike Janis came to the line. Janis ripped off a 3.92 second pass to take the top spot away, but we still managed to hold onto the #2 position.
As we sat under the tower at Raceway Park awaiting our second qualifying pass, we watched as the previous pair (Mike Stawicki and Tommy Gray) both made runs that bumped us down to #4 on the qualifying sheet. As the 2002 Firebird made its way down the track during the second and final qualifier, it was clear that there was to be no tire shake on this run. Instead, Dwayne stopped the clocks with a 4.130 second elapsed time at 175+ mph, again improving on the team’s personal best. With that pass, we grabbed the #3 qualifying position back, bumping Tommy Gray to fourth. See the final qualifying results here.
Well, what exactly did the #3 qualifying spot get us? It got us lane choice in the first round, but in this case it also matched us up against 1/4-mile Outlaw Pro Mod world record holder Scott Cannon. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair…
On Sunday, the weather was much warmer over Saturday and it was time to go racing. While we were ecstatic to qualify, we weren’t expecting to move past Scott Cannon in the first round. During that first round run, we again experienced tire shake and due to a great pedaling job and killer reaction time by Dwayne, he was able to get the win light over Cannon. That victory earned us the right to take on Mike Stawicki in the semi-finals, the #2 qualifier with a 3.93. Good fortune and consistency again reigned supreme as Dwayne took an 0.042 second starting line advantage over Stawicki and drove it straight down the groove for another 4.13 pass and the win. Stawicki shook the tires and faded down the stretch.
We then found ourselves in a most improbable position: we were about to race in the final round of the “Shakedown at E’Town” for $20k against 2-time World Champion, Mike Janis. While we couldn’t quite believe what was happening, we had work to do. We turned the wrenches a bit to put some more horsepower in the car to hopefully get our first 4.0 second run…and of course win $20,000.
The final started as any other pass until the burnout was complete. As the car sat at mid-track for an extended period of time, it was clear that there was a problem. The car wouldn’t idle properly and therefore, couldn’t back up after the burnout. After several unsuccessful attempts to re-fire the car, track officials made the call to shut us off and allow Janis to make a solo pass for the win.
Even though we weren’t able to take the win, this weekend was a huge success for the Wolfe Racing team. We improved on our personal best ET and speed and found our way into the money round of one of the biggest Pro Mod races of the year. We can definitely say that not many people had heard of us before we came to E’town, but they have at least heard of us now. The full ladder for the Barwa 1/8 Mile Challenge can be seen here courtesy of Competition Plus.
We would like to thank Camp Stanley, Mike Janis and Mike Janis Jr. for all of their help this year. We have learned a significant amount in 2009 and we hope to continue that process in 2010.
Video of all of the elimination rounds at the Shakedown can be seen on YouTube:
Track Record Set at 75-80 Dragway Wolfe Runs 4.391 @ 171 mph
Fresh off the first win of the year, the Wolfe Racing team decided to make some major changes to the car. Off came the polished Littlefield blower and Enderle hat and on went the Jan-Cen prepared PSI roots blower and JBR carbon fiber hat. This was done in order to allow us to begin preparations for the 2010 racing season. After the transformation, the team set off for Monrovia, MD once again for the Big Tire Outlaw (BTO) race at 75-80 Dragway on Saturday, October, 10.
The first round of qualifying brought a mediocre 4.577 second pass, but it was good enough for the #3 spot on the ladder after the round was completed. After some adjustments in the tune-up, the car picked up in the second round to a 4.397 second elapsed time at 165+ mph on a pass in which Dwayne was off of the throttle for over 0.1 seconds. The car quickly darted toward the wall at 70 feet out and forced him to lift. True to form, Dwayne got it straightened out and slammed the throttle again. The 4.397 second ET would represent the track record at 75-80 Dragway for the BTO class, although a backup was still required before it was official.
During the first round of eliminations, a stunning holeshot loss sent the team home, but a 4.391 second pass established the track record with a speed of 171+ mph. After reviewing the data and investigating a few things on the car, it was found that there were issues with the car that contributed to the slowed reaction time and the loss to John Moton and his '63 Corvette in the first round.
The team now looks for redemption at one of the remaining BTO races over the next few weeks.
Wolfe Wins in First BTO Race at 75-80 Dragway Early Adversity Overcome to Get First Victory of the Year
After a couple of successful test passes on the car, it was finally time to go to our first race of the year. We traveled to Monrovia, MD for the Big Tire Outlaw (BTO) race on September 5, 2009 at 75-80 Dragway. This was our first visit to the track in nearly 10 years. After our two qualifying passes, we were left scratching our heads a bit as the car reverted to its old ways with significant tire shake. Dwayne was able to pedal the car and get it to go down the track for a 4.86 second elapsed time and the #4 qualifying spot.
It all started to come together in the first round, when the Wolfe Racing Pro Mod Firebird made its way down the 1/8th mile at 4.567 seconds advancing into the semi-finals and setting up a match-up with Ronnie Proctor. Wolfe gave up lane choice to Proctor, but it wouldn’t matter. As the result of a holeshot, Dwayne defeated Proctor in one of the closest drag races that you will ever see (4.489 to a 4.466). The margin of victory was smaller than 1 millisecond (0.001 seconds) , but nonetheless, it was a victory.
In the final, Dwayne would race John Powell in his 2002 Cavalier. Dwayne would take the win with a 4.457 to a losing 4.688. This would represent a new track record, but it was not sufficiently backed-up , so the record was not official. Oh well, we'll take the win.
A Successful Test Session…Finally! The First 6-second, 200+ mph Run
With some changes made to the car setup, we set off for Cecil County Dragway on August 15,2009 for a test session. This proved to be the final piece of the puzzle, as we were able to make 2 full passes straight down the track. At the end of the day, the Wolfe Racing team had their first 6-second, 200+ mph pass, which is a huge accomplishment and one of our first major goals to accomplish this season.
Testing, Testing, Testing
The Wolfe Racing team has been spending a lot of time in 2009 testing their new combination. Many changes have been made, but there is still a struggle getting the car down the track. We will figure it out, it is just a matter of time.