Wolfe Racing Team Ends 2010 Season in Orlando
Significant Adversity Overcome to Qualify in Top Ten of World Street Nationals
Orlando 2010... Where do we start? This has been a race that we have wanted to attend for 15 years, but we never had the opportunity or the equipment. This year, however, we made the leap and headed for the Florida sun to compete in the Super Pro Street category at the Real World Street Nationals at Speedworld Dragway in Orlando. This event would be loaded with legendary Pro Street competitors and past champions, such as Tony Christian, Chris Rini, Mike Hill, Steve King, Tim Baptista and Tony "The Sandman" Williams.
A normal schedule at this event provides for four qualifying sessions, two each on Friday and Saturday, with final eliminations on Sunday. However, this year there was a reduced car count at the event, allowing each competitor to get an opportunity to make a total of six qualifying passes. As it turned out, we would need every one of them in order to break into the field of 32 cars.
The race track in Orlando is tricky to say the least. It is a combination of race tracks that we normally race on, but it is not like any one track. Therefore, it provided some significant tuning challenges when coupled with a few changes to our normal car configuration due to the rules for the event. On each of the three qualifying attempts on Friday, Dwayne would successfully pilot the car 30 ft. from the starting line before the car would go into a brief tire shake and then violently spin the tires. Pedaling the car to get it to recover, we would muster only an 8.10-second elapsed time at 197 mph by the end of the day on Friday.
This inability to get down the race track on the first day of qualifying was part of our struggles for the weekend, but it definitely would not be the last that we would experience. After the second qualifying pass on Friday, we were nearly in an off track accident as the parachutes from a car exiting the race track hooked our wheelie bars and nearly pulled our car into the rear of our golf cart loaded with crew members. Fortunately, Dwayne was able to grab the brake quick enough to stop the car before damage or injury could occur. But the drama for Friday would not end there.
The final pass of the day on Friday would begin with an ignition problem and end with a fire under the hood of the car. With delayed response by the safety crew, there was fire damage to the hood and some of the components on the front of the car. The team worked diligently over the next few hours to get the car repaired and ready for Saturday's qualifying sessions as we were not in a good position on the qualifying sheet after the first day.
Tensions were rising high for the team as we started Saturday morning with the promise of only two qualifying runs, but the possibility that we would again get three. We made some significant changes to many areas of the car for the first session on Saturday in hopes of learning something that may help us to manuever this tricky race track. Well, to keep it simple...those changes just didn't work. So, fresh out of ideas, we turned to Mike Janis, 2-time Pro Mod World Champion. Mike has helped us significantly in the last few seasons, so we called him on Saturday morning, described what we were seeing and asked his opinion on what we should try. After a brief, but extremely informative discussion, we dialed up several changes to the car setup and went out for our fifth qualifying session. This time, the car would get to the 60 ft. mark before experiencing severe tire shake that caused the engine to shut off. Progress! Even though it wasn't what we were looking for, it let us know that we were finally moving in the right direction.
Upon getting back to the pit, we discovered that the tire shake actually damaged the battery on the car. We promptly installed our spare battery and began testing all of our electrical systems. Well, it turns out that the spare battery was also not functioning properly, so we had to go to a vendor that was at the track and buy a new battery so we could make the final qualifying session.
Upon getting to the staging lanes for that final qualifying session, we found out that we were indeed bumped from the field of 32 cars, so we were on the outside looking in with only one chance left. This has been a common occurence in 2010 for the team and it is something that we are looking forward to not experiencing much in the future. Out of 39 cars, we were qualified at #35, and only 32 would be taken into eliminations. We made a few more changes in a similar direction as we made for the previous run and headed to the line for our final shot at making the field. One second into the run, we knew we did it. The car spun, but Dwayne kept it on the track under power and went across the finish line with a 6.61 @ 212 mph. That was enough to vault us from #35 to #8 on the ladder, allowing us to actually out-qualify half of those legendary racers mentioned earlier.
As Sunday dawned, we were ready to get to racing. With some guidance, we finally learned how to get down this racetrack and we were very happy to have the trials and tribulations from the weekend behind us. Because, with all of the trouble that we had on Friday and Saturday, we certainly wouldn't have any more incidents that we needed to face on Sunday...would we?
When eliminations began, Dwayne would face off against the #25 qualifier, Johnny Cobb, in his nitrous-assisted 1957 Chevy. Dwayne would leave the line first and never trail, stopping the clocks with a 6.59 @ 213 mph and advancing into the second round to face the #9 qualifier Dave Norris. In that round, Dwayne nailed the tree and quickly pulled away from Norris' turbocharged '68 Camaro to take the win with a 6.60 @ 211 mph (see video of this run courtesy of grs-motorsports.com, here). That victory would advance us into the round of 8 and earn us a shot at the #1 qualifier and new track record holder, Tony Christian.
We would put enough in the tuneup to take him down, but it wasn't to be. Dwayne and Christian were neck-and-neck until Dwayne would again experience tire shake about 80 feet into the run. He would drive through it, but the car would again go completely silent 6.0 seconds into the run due to a broken blower belt. Christian would take the win, but he would pay a hefty price and we would again be reminded that everything happens for a reason. As Christian crossed the finish line, he would experience a mechanical failure that would cause him to lose control of his car, cross immediately in front of Dwayne at 200+ mph and impact the left wall. With some evasive driving, Dwayne would avoid Christian's car and the shrapnel that was all over the track and bring the Wolfe Racing Firebird to a safe stop at the end of the track.
Now that the weekend is over, we can look back and call it a success, but it sure didn't feel like that at nearly any point throughout the weekend. This weekend is simply a reminder that racing is a humbling sport and to never give up. We are proud of the efforts of the entire team throughout the 2010 season, but especially in the trials that we experienced in Orlando. We went there to try and win one for Doug. We didn't get it done, but one of his favorite phrases easily sums up our weekend: "That's racing".
Extensive coverage (including videos) of the event is available online at the following locations:
We also need to say thanks to the guys at HorsePower Sales Speed Shop in Orlando, FL for helping us out with the parts and pieces that we needed to repair the car from the fire and tire shake damage.
Shockey Competes in Extreme Golf Cart Race
Jay Shockey, car chief for the Wolfe Racing team, tried out his driving skills on the Thursday before the World Street Finals in Orlando. Jay jumped into the Extreme Golf Cart Competition held annually as a prelude to the Finals. With his hat turned around backwards for maximum aerodynamics, he was assisted before his runs by his crew (Dwayne Wolfe and Jon Hill) in the burnout box to ensure that the tires were heated properly. In his two qualifying sessions, Jay would run consistent 1/8-mile elapsed times of 30.2 seconds.
When eliminations rolled around, Jay took his hot rod to the starting line with a 12-second head start against his quicker opponent for the bracket race. The cart left a little soft, but picked up on the top end. Jay pedalled it a few times but crossed the finish line with a 29.3-second elapsed time. This was slightly quicker than his dial-in, so unfortunately, he was eliminated from the competition. When asked after the event why he didn't slow down a little more, he could only shake his head and say, "I tried to...but she was making too much boost". (Note: You really had to be there to fully appreciate this article.)
Wolfe Racing Loses a Friend
By Matt Wolfe
Doug Bittinger was many things to many people. To us, he was a machinist, supplier, mentor and above all, a friend. On 10/20/2010, Doug passed away at the age of 68 at his home in Mountain Lake Park, MD.
Doug's work ethic was second-to-none and it was driven by his extreme passion for engines, racing and most importantly, for learning. His intelligence would rival any engineer in the world and his talent and mastery with his hands surpassed even the best machinists. That combination of qualities is what made him so impressive. Doug was completely self-taught. If he didn't understand something, he studied it constantly until he not only understood it, but mastered it. If you discussed something with Doug that he wasn't familiar with, a few months later, he would be explaining the concepts to you in much greater detail than you had ever known.
Doug's "what you see is what you get" and direct style isn't often seen in today's world. In talking with Doug, if you came away without knowing what he really thought, it was probably because you weren't paying attention or you simply didn't understand what he said to you. Doug was also the epitome of a racer. He went to the racetrack to win and if he didn't win, it wasn't good enough.
The last time I spoke with Doug in August is something that I will not soon forget. I have heard his voice in my head at the racetrack multiple times since that discussion, and as usual, he was right. Dwayne had many, many discussions with Doug over the years and will greatly miss his advice. In short, Doug made us better and we are where we are today in part because of him.
The entire Wolfe Racing team is saddened by Doug's passing and we will miss him. Members of the team will be attending Doug's funeral on Sunday, October 24, just a few days before heading to our final race of the season in Orlando, FL. As Doug would have wanted, we are going to that race with only one purpose: to win it.
Shakedown at E'Town 2010
Wolfe Racing Sets Personal Bests in Englishtown
On Friday, October 1, 2010, the Wolfe Racing team set off for Englishtown, NJ and the annual Shakedown at E'Town event. This race was a memorable one for us in 2009, as we worked our way into the final of the 1/8-Mile Challenge against Mike Janis. We were hoping to rekindle those memories and find the same fortune that we found one short year ago in Englishtown. This time, however, we decided to join in the Pro Mod Blown class that raced the full 1/4-Mile instead of racing to our normal 1/8-Mile distance.
The weather was a little interesting leading into the weekend as a tropical storm (Nicole) drenched the east coast in rain. We planned to stop off on Friday for a quick test session at Cecil County Dragway on our way up to the Shakedown. While there was no rain in the mid-morning hours, the damage from the storm had been done and the track crew would need to spend the day preparing the racetrack for the Friday night event instead of running the test session that was originally planned. With that deviation in plan, we headed north into the remnants of the storm and pulled into Englishtown as the rain was ending.
Saturday dawned with brisk temperatures, but bright, sunny, cloudless skies. The excellent air conditions and the lack of data on the 1/4-Mile presented some interesting challenges for the team. On the initial qualifying pass of the day, Dwayne piloted the Wolfe Racing, LLC Pro Mod 2002 Firebird to a 6.290-second elapsed time at a somewhat sluggish 217 mph, placing Dwayne #7 among the 22 Pro Mods entered into the event.
Our second qualifying pass would be nearly an identical run to the first, with the difference to come at the end of the racetrack. At 200+ mph, the car briefly lost traction and dove for the centerline. Dwayne would pull the parachutes quickly and keep the car under control, while stopping the clocks with a 6.285 time at 216.9 mph. Dwayne would slip into the #12 qualifying position after the second round, with one round remaining.
We headed for the staging lanes at 10am on Sunday morning for our final qualifying run in hopes of improving our position prior to eliminations. Earlier in the session, we were bumped down into the #14 spot and inching ever so close to the dreaded "bump" (#16) spot. On this third qualifier, Dwayne blasted down the track and established new personal bests at every increment (including a 0.968 60 foot time and a 4.012 to the 1/8-Mile) and crossing the line with a 6.217-second 1/4-mile elapsed time at 220.98 mph. With that performance, Dwayne would jump 3 spots into the #11 qualifying position for the loaded Pro Modified field.
With the improved performance from earlier in the day, we headed out to the track for our first round of eliminations against Al-Anabi's Von Smith, former champion and current NHRA Pro Mod series points leader. We found ourselves in yet another David vs. Goliath confrontation, but last year proved that anything is possible and the team was ready for the challenge. At the launch, Dwayne experienced a bit of premature acceleration and would hand the win to Smith with a red-light foul. He would pilot the car down the track with a 6.23 at 221.98 mph. Adding insult to injury, Smith would slow prior to the 330-foot mark and drift through to the finish.
And so ends our second trek to the Shakedown at E'town, but with slightly different results from our first visit. The team set and re-set all of our personal-best times and speeds during this event and it set us up for our final event of the season in Orlando, FL at the World Street Nationals later in October.
Wolfe Racing Returns to ADRL XTF Competition
Team heads to Rockingham for Dragstock VII
On September 10, 2010, the Wolfe Racing team once again installed the Mickey Thompson 10.5W tires and joined the fray in the ADRL Extreme Ten Five (XTF) class. This time, we were in Rockingham, NC (a.k.a “The Rock”) for Dragstock VII. This facility is well known for record performances and this event would not disappoint in that regard.
The team arrived with great expectations for the weekend given the last outing in Richmond in the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod event a few short weeks ago. With what was thought to be a conservative tuneup, Dwayne took to the track for his first qualifying attempt on Friday. At the hit, the car immediately spun the tires, ending our chance to finally start off a race weekend on the right foot. After some adjustments, we headed back out for our second qualifying attempt. This time, though, the car seemed to like those adjustments and stood hard on the wheelie bars through the 60 ft. lights. The only problem with that is that it hooked a left turn in the process and was headed across the racetrack and nearly got into the other lane before Dwayne was able to gather it in and get the car pointed in the right direction.
We headed into our third qualifying attempt of the day on the outside looking in, which seems to be a recurring theme in 2010. As darkness fell over “The Rock”, we made some substantial changes to the car in hopes of getting down the racetrack and learning how exactly to make these 10.5-inch tires stick to the surface. On the pass, the car would again attempt to drive out of the groove, but Dwayne would do some serious driving to stay with it and get the car down the track under power and stop the clocks with a 4.421-second elapsed time at 170+ mph. It wasn't what we were looking for, but it was enough to put us into the field in the #15 spot going into our final qualifying round on Saturday morning.
With at least some knowledge finally gained on Friday night, we made a few more adjustments to help us improve our qualifying position in our final attempt. However, it would not be meant to be. The car again spun the tires suddenly and unexpectedly before the 60 ft. clocks and we would not be able to advance our qualifying position on this run. With many competitors behind us in the staging lanes, we would have to wait to see if we would stay qualified in the 16-car field.
In the final session, two competitors would do their jobs and we would be bumped from the field. In the end, we finished the weekend qualified in the #17 position, missing the field by a mere 0.010 seconds.
So there you have it. We were unable to harness the massive Jan-Cen horsepower on the skinny 10.5W tires this time. We were fortunate earlier in the year at the US Drags in Richmond, but we are making a bit more power these days and it proved to be too much.
With our results at "The Rock", we are contemplating a change to our racing schedule over the next few weeks, so stay tuned to this website for more information.
“The Big Showdown”
Wolfe Racing Among 40 Pro Mods at EOPM Race
On Friday, August 27, the Wolfe Racing team set off for Virginia Motorsports Park for the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod (EOPM) race that was to be held as part of "The Big Showdown" on Saturday. This event was sponsored and promoted by Custom T's of DC.
We headed out a day early to get in a few test passes on the world-class surface at VMP. After making some substantial changes to the car over the last few weeks, we needed to check everything without all of the pressures that come with race day. At the end of the day Friday, we had made five passes and recorded our career-best elapsed times and speeds for both the eighth and quarter-mile. A 4.106 @ 175.68 mph run in the evening proved to be the best that we would do on this day. That pass was timed through the quarter-mile and yielded a stunning 6.58-second elapsed time at only 171 mph, as Dwayne clicked the car off 4.7 seconds into the run and pulled the parachutes before the end of the quarter. Our previous quarter-mile best was an early shutoff 6.8-second run at 202 mph.
We were feeling pretty good about the newly found performance gains and headed into the EOPM event on Saturday with high hopes. Walking through the pits brought a bit of reality for us, as we found that there were quite a few cars in attendance and most of them were well known Pro Mod racers. At the driver's meeting, we were told that there were in fact 40 cars attempting to qualify for the 8-car field. As a result of this car count, the event promoters decided to extend the field to include 16 cars instead of running a consolation race. Unfortunately, that meant that the number of qualifying rounds had to be cut from 3 to 2, so there was very little room for error.
The first qualifying attempt was nothing to write home about. Upon staging, the transbrake didn't hold the car and it lunged out of the staging beams. When Dwayne released the button, the chassis was still unsettled by the unplanned movement and the car smoked the tires only a few feet off the starting line. That run was basically a waste, so we would go into our second round on the outside of the 16-car field and no useful information from the first pass.
With our backs firmly against the wall, we dialed in a few adjustments and went out for the second qualifier with hopes of just getting into the ultra-competitive field. Dwayne kept the car under power the whole way down the track, but he needed to use most of the lane to do it. When the dust settled, a 4.116 @ 175 mph showed on the scoreboard and netted us the #12 qualifying position in a 16-car field that saw the top qualifier at a 3.95 and the bump spot at a 4.18. We were in the show.
This race was to be run with a sportsman ladder, so that setup a first round meeting with Brian Williams in his blown 2006 Corvette. Williams qualified 4th with a 3.99 and would have lane choice in the first round. After making a few adjustments to the tuneup, we headed out for the first round in hopes of at least lowering our career-best elapsed time. It wasn't to be, however, as Dwayne would once again pilot the car successfully down the track, but the performance gain was not realized. The car repeated with a 4.117 @ 175 mph, but Williams would take the win with a 4.02.
And so ends our first rodeo with the Pro Mods of the EOPM. It was a huge turnout for the series and considering that there were 26 other cars behind us on the qualifying sheet, we will take the results of this weekend as a success.
We are now off to Rockingham, NC on September 10-11 as we return to the XTF class of the ADRL. We hope to take the new found knowledge from VMP and put it to good use on our 10.5 tire program.
Down on "The Farm" -- Part II
Carolina Clash at Farmington Dragway
After almost a month of inactivity, the Wolfe Racing team finally got back into action on August 7. We traveled back to Farmington Dragway in Mocksville, NC to race with the Quick 8 Pro Mod Association for the second time in as many months. This would represent the first time in the 2010 season that we would return to a track for a second time.
The race was part of the IHRA Thunder Jam event held annually in Farmington. The stands were packed in the evening and the fans were treated to some great Pro Mod racing and a few exhibition events.
The weather was never a concern for this race as the day began with abundant sunshine that continued throughout the day. With that sunshine comes the negative effect of high track temperatures. We headed to the track for our first qualifying pass hoping to repeat or slightly improve on the 4.20-second elapsed time that we made on our last trip down the track in July. However, with the aforementioned track temperature rising to 133 degrees, this run would yield drastically different results than we had hoped. As the car left the starting line, it smoked the big Hoosier slicks instantly, ending our chance for a good run. Dwayne would pedal the car and drive it through the rest of the way in hopes of gathering as much data as possible. He would stop the clocks with a 5.20 at 162 mph. Needless to say, this left the team behind with only two qualifying rounds remaining to make it into an ultra-competitive 8-car Pro Modified field.
The crew chief made some changes and we headed out for our second round of qualifying with track temperatures still rising. The track would hold the tuneup this time and the car would go through with a 4.24 at 171 mph. Progress, but still not good enough to qualify for the race. It would take at least a 4.16-second elapsed time on the third qualifying pass in order to get us into the show.
We dialed up a few more changes that we hoped would not be too aggressive for the track conditions. Repeating the outcome of the first qualifying pass would be of no help to us, so we had to walk the ever so fine tuning line. In the third and final round of qualifying, the car responded well to the changes and Dwayne had to do a lot of driving at the top end of the track to hold the car in the groove. When the dust settled, the scoreboard showed a 4.189-second, 174 mph pass. More progress, but we were still left qualified in the #10 position and therefore outside the 8-car field.
As it turns out, it could have been much worse for us on this pass, however, as Danny Blankenship got loose in his '40 Ford while alongside Dwayne on this third run. Blankenship would keep the car in his lane, but unfortunately, he contacted the outside guardrail. Dwayne would power past without incident. Blankenship was uninjured and the car suffered only minor damage.
Since there were 16 Pro Mod cars in attendance, Bill Plemmons generously offered to put up the purse for a consolation race for the second 8 cars that didn't qualify for the main event. However, since the IHRA event was being held on this night, the officials from the sanctioning body wouldn't allow this consolation event to be held. So, instead of choosing to provide additional exciting Pro Mod entertainment for the large crowd in attendance, the officials decided to have periods of downtime on the track between runs of the exhibition vehicles.
An onboard camera was added to the car for this most recent race. It was moved around to various locations for the three runs and the video is available at the links below:
And so the streak ended. In all of our years of racing, we had never gone to a race and not qualified...until now. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but against this level of competition, we have nothing of which to be ashamed. We have already outlined multiple changes for the car before the next race that should help us to take the next step in improving our performance.
The team plans to be back in action on August 28th at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, VA for the Extreme Outlaw Pro Mod event presented by Custom T's of DC. The "Big Showdown" will serve as our first attempt at qualifying for an EOPM association event, but we believe that we will be ready for the challenge.
Down on "The Farm"
Wolfe Racing Team Invades North Carolina for First Time
A few weeks back, the team decided to go in search of a good race surface that would provide a stellar Pro Mod race. Enter Farmington Dragway (a.k.a “The Farm”) in Farmington, NC. They have been running Quick 8 Pro Mod races there for many years and they know how to treat the track and the racers. That was very apparent after visiting the track a few weeks ago for one of their races. It is also the home track of one Todd Tutterow, 2009 ADRL Pro Extreme World Champion.
On July 9, 2010, the team headed south, stopping along I-81 (literally) for a few minutes to pick-up the crew chief. After collecting the extra baggage, they progressed down the interstate, ending up in Farmington for the July 10 Quick 8 Pro Mod Race. It was to be the unknowns from West Virginia against the “Big Dogs” of North Carolina.
The day started with the threat of thunderstorms forecast for the entire day, but fortunately the sky was clear and there would be no rain. After joining up with the Quick 8 Racer’s Association, we prepared for our first qualifying pass. With no data at this particular track, we took the best guess that we could at the tune-up for a track that was 138 degrees and baking in the sun. The luck of the draw paired us with Todd Tutterow himself in his blown AJPE small block-powered Mustang for all 3 of our qualifying passes. On the first pass, the car would shake the tires at mid-track, but Dwayne would pedal to go through with a 4.32-second elapsed time.
On the 2nd qualifying attempt, the car improved but still shook. This time it would be very late in the run, but the improvement would be small (4.28). The third and final qualifying attempt was rather unsuccessful as the car spun the tires hard about 10 feet into the run and darted for the center line. Dwayne would shut it off and get the car under control. The 4.28 would be enough to qualify us in the number 8 position for the 8 car field.
The Farm uses a sportsman ladder, so that setup a first round matchup with the #4 qualifier Tommy Mauney, esteemed chassis builder, in his nitrous-powered ‘68 Camaro. Mauney ran a 4.08 in qualifying, so we had our work cut out for us. Unfortunately for Mauney, his car was unable to start to come out for the run, giving Dwayne a solo for the first round win. Dwayne would do some driving down track as the car slid around on the slick surface, but he would stay with it to take the car through with a 4.23 at 171 mph. That represented the first full pass of the day for us and would setup yet another run with the #2 qualifier Todd Tutterow (4.04 seconds). In this matchup, Dwayne was off the starting line first and Tutterow spun the tires before the 60 foot mark and shut it off. The team was ecstatic and celebrated the 4.20 second, 171 mph run, before the party crashed. Dwayne had a red-light start by only 0.010 seconds, which handed the win to Tutterow. He would make the best of the second chance and come back to win the final with a 4.07 second, 178 mph pass.
The foul would end our day, but it was a successful outing nonetheless. We were able to attain our first ever sub-1 second 60 foot times (0.994 and 0.987 seconds) and we qualified for our first-ever Pro Mod race in the Carolinas in our first attempt.
We had a great time and we can’t say enough about Don Plemmons and the staff at Farmington Dragway. They are well organized, extremely helpful and just overall know how to put on a race. We would like to thank Don and everyone at The Farm (track officials and fans) for their hospitality in welcoming us with open arms. It was a pleasure for us to run with this group of Pro Mods and we look forward to making the trip again at some point in the future.
Team Embarks on Three Races in Three Days
On June 18, the Wolfe Racing team set off for a three-day tour of Maryland race tracks with three races in three days. This has never before been attempted by the team, but we were ready to find out if we were up to the challenge.
The first was a Friday night Outlaw Kwik 8 event at Mason Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown, MD. After walking the track once we arrived, we were a bit concerned about the lack of rubber on the surface. That accompanied by 130+ degree track temperatures did not bode well for our high-horsepower, blown Pro Mod. On the first pass of the evening, we crippled our 2002 Firebird in an effort to try to just make it down the racetrack to get a baseline. The car still skated down the length of the track due to constant tire spin, but Dwayne handled it to stop the clock with a 4.78 @ 158 mph.
It turns out that only three cars showed up to qualify for the Kwik 8 event: us, John Powell and Ronnie Proctor. After a crash in qualifying, Powell was uninjured but unable to compete in the event, leaving only Dwayne and Ronnie Proctor. Originally, we agreed to run a best 2 out of 3 to put on a show for the crowd, but circumstances required us to cut that back to a single race to determine a winner.
After making some changes to the tune-up and getting the added benefit of nightfall, we setup for a “final” round against Proctor in his Mustang. At the flash of the green, Dwayne was off with a 0.030 second advantage on the starting line. The car had a bit more grip down the racetrack on this pass, but still skated around on the slick surface. Dwayne went on to take the win with a 4.510 @ 164 mph as Proctor faded to a 5.64.
The next stop on the tour was 75-80 Dragway in Monrovia, MD on Saturday night. This was our first visit to the track this year for entry into their Big Tire Outlaw class. Starting with a baseline from the night before, we made a few small changes and went out for the first qualifier. Unfortunately, one of those small changes caused us to spin the tires about 20 feet off the starting line. Dwayne would pedal the car and then shutoff 3.98 seconds into the run; the car drifted through at a 4.80 @ 140 mph, which placed us third after the first qualifying session. On the second qualifier, the issues were corrected and the car performed fairly well as it went straight down the groove with only a small amount of tire shake. Dwayne would take the #1 qualifier spot away from Proctor on that pass with a 4.41 @ 164 mph.
In the first round of eliminations, Dwayne would face Gary Walker in his red, blown Chevy II Nova. About 80-100 ft into the run, the car spun the tires and headed for the left wall. Dwayne backed out of the throttle, took about 0.3 seconds to get the car pointed in the right direction and then slammed the pedal again. The car hooked up and Dwayne blasted past Walker to take the win with a 4.52 @ 161 mph (with a 0.1 second margin of victory). In the final, Dwayne would once again face Ronnie Proctor in a rematch from the night before. Dwayne would again be out of the gate first by 0.050 seconds, but there would be too much horsepower in the tune-up to allow for a clean pass. Dwayne pedaled the car four times, but the car failed to hook up this time. Proctor’s 4.52-second elapsed time provided a 0.077 second margin of victory for him, relegating us to the runner-up spot.
The last race of the tripleheader was to be the Pro Outlaw Doorslammers race at MIR on Sunday, June 20. Unfortunately, we found a small issue with the engine that couldn't be fixed in the amount of time that we had between races. So, we decided to forego the third race and headed for home. The weekend ended with the team achieving two number one qualifier positions, one win and one runner-up in two races. Even though our first attempt at a tripleheader was not completed, it still wasn't too bad of a weekend at the races.
Wolfe Makes ADRL XTF Debut
First Outing on 10.5W’s Yields Promising Results
On May 21, the team set off for Richmond and the ADRL Speedtech U.S. Drags III event in our first attempt to compete in the challenging Extreme 10.5 (XTF) class. Putting 2000 horsepower to the ground is difficult, but coupling that with a 10.5 inch wide tire adds a new set of problems. It had been 6 years since we had run this small of a tire on one of our cars and that car was running over 1 second slower in the eighth-mile than our current ride.
With our attempts to make a couple test passes thwarted over the last few weeks, we traveled to Richmond with a car that had not been on the track this season at all and one that had never been run on 10.5” tires. So, with no data and no baseline, we set off hoping for the best.
In the first qualifying pass, we were met with hot track conditions and a starting tune-up that just had too much horsepower. About 80 feet into the run, the car lost traction and headed for the left side retaining wall. After gathering the car and pointing in the right direction, Dwayne slammed the throttle again, but only managed a 5.43 second elapsed time. That was good enough to be in the field after the first round of qualifying, but we knew we had issues that needed to be resolved quickly.
On the second qualifying attempt, some changes were made to take even more power out to just get the car down the racetrack. Luckily for us, it worked. The car ran fairly straight down the groove, stopping the clocks at a 4.56. Considering that was only the second pass on 10.5W’s for us, we took that as a moral victory knowing that the car was crippled from a horsepower standpoint.
The evening qualifying session allowed us to improve yet again with a 4.38-second effort that caused a few anxious moments as the car left the groove and headed for the wall. Without lifting, Dwayne got the car righted, putting it back in the groove and into 12th place on the grid following the Friday sessions.
For the fourth and final qualifier on Saturday morning, we put some power back in to see what we could put down on a much cooler race track than we had experienced the day before. Unfortunately, it proved to be too much, as the car smoked the tires before the 60-ft mark and only managed a 5.13 as it was pedaled down the track. After that qualifying round, we ended up 15th on the ladder…BUT, we had qualified for the XTF field in our first attempt on 10.5 tires!
What did we get for that? Well, we received a first round pairing with the most recent winner on the ADRL XTF tour, Gary White. White qualified number 2 in the field with a stellar 3.96. We made the best tuning decisions that we could, hoping to improve to the low 4.20’s, knowing that we didn’t have the data or knowledge to run competitive numbers to White’s. However, it wasn’t to be, as the Wolfe Racing Firebird managed only a 4.36 @ 168 mph to White's 3.99, eliminating us from competition. Gary White would go on to win the XTF event at the Speedtech U.S. Drags III.
And so ends our first attempt at racing in an ADRL event. While it wasn't an overwhelming success, we achieved promising results for the future of our 10.5 tire program.
Winchester Metals Becomes Associate Sponsor for ADRL Richmond
The Wolfe Racing team is proud to welcome Winchester Metals, Inc. as an associate sponsor for the ADRL race in Richmond, VA on May 21-22. Winchester Metals, Inc. offers comprehensive metals processing, distribution and service solutions to a variety of commercial, contracting and residential customers.
Winchester Metals, Inc has locations in the Winchester, VA and Richmond, VA areas, but provides services to customers in 5 states. Visit their website for more information: www.steelsupplier.com.
Acknowledging Our Sponsors
Well, it has been a long offseason for the Wolfe Racing team and we could not be more ready for it to be over. We are ready to get back to the track and embark on a new journey into the extremely competitive world of the ADRL. Before we get this season started on May 21 in Richmond, VA, we need to pause and acknowledge our sponsors for this season. As the years have passed and performance has increased, it is nearly impossible to continue improving without some help and support from good people. Below is a brief message about each of our sponsors, but please visit our new Sponsors page for more detailed information on these companies.
Thanks to Wolfes Garage, LLC of Moorefield, WV for all of their help and support in getting us the auxiliary equipment that we need to compete at the race track. Wolfes Garage, LLC is a family-owned business that provides all types of auto and truck repair and offers the sale of used 4x4 trucks. They are currently in their 32nd year of providing quality service to their customers.
Thanks to South Fork Auto & Body of Moorefield, WV for the help in getting the new toterhome painted up and looking great. For all of your auto body and paint needs, call Jerry at South Fork Auto & Body.
Thanks to Skyline Oil, Inc of Winchester, VA for their assistance in keeping our 526" Alan Johnson 481X blown powerplant lubricated for the past few seasons.
Thanks to J.R. Hill Construction of Moorefield, WV for their support of the toterhome project and the overall support of the race team over the last few years.
New Crew Shirts in the Works
The time has come for the Wolfe Racing team to upgrade their wardrobe for the bigger races that we plan to attend in 2010. To make that happen, we turned to Champion System. Below is a sneak preview at our new look. The shirts are scheduled for delivery just prior to our first ADRL race in Richmond on May 21-22.
2010 Schedule Released for Wolfe Racing
ADRL, Shakedown and Orlando highlighted as marquee events
The 2010 schedule has been released for the Wolfe Racing team (see the schedule of major events here). We will be making our first attempt at competing in the ADRL in 2010. In all, we plan on attending 3 ADRL events (Richmond, Rockingham and Norwalk) in the coming season.
Also on the schedule is the 8th Annual Shakedown at E’town on October 2nd-3rd. In 2009, Dwayne Wolfe finished in the runner-up spot to Mike Janis in the Barwa 1/8th-mile Challenge at the Shakedown.
The final stop on the schedule will be the Real World Street Nationals in Orlando, FL. We have spent many years in the Pro Street ranks, with never having the opportunity to make it to Orlando. The plan is to change that in 2010 and throw our hat into the Super Pro Street category.
The team will add some quick-8 events at our local tracks as well. More information will come on that as we get closer to the individual events.