Dave's Report From the Dave Duell Classic
I won A/NSS Class
The following is a report on my racing at the NSS racing at the Dave Duell Classic last weekend. A couple of product sponsors ask for a report after every major event, and so I'll also include it on this forum.
I'd had major surgery less than two weeks prior, and this wasn't exactly sanctioned by my surgeon, but the Dave Duell Classic is the very best of all Nostalgia Super Stock events – so I couldn't miss it. This was complicated further with my son (and Crew Chief) Dallas not being able to attend the event because he was in the wedding party of a high school bud. He generally shares the driving of the rig, and maintaining both of our cars. I had blown the motor in the Vitamin C in the last race, and the block was too far gone to be rebuilt as a race motor. So I decided to drive the black 65 Coronet that Dallas normally runs in C/FX. It had been over five years since I'd driven this car, and never with this motor, or a since being converted to a NSS car.
I left home on Tuesday at about 11AM with my wife Deb, youngest daughter Hope, and both dogs (Buster and Dixie) for the 940 mile trip. I drove about 700 miles before pulling into a Wal-Mart for the night. In the morning, I woke up to find Memphis car poolers blocked me front, back, and street side.
After negotiating out of the parking lot and getting back onto the road, I arrived at the track in Bowling Green, KY at 3PM Wednesday to meet Doug Duell at the gate. I tried to help Doug with marking the pit spots, but at 109 degrees that soon after surgery — I was overcome by the heat.
This was in the shade – under a row of trees.
It was hot the entire event — and most likely what had so many of the 74 cars that pre-registered not show. Last year 84 cars came to the Dave Duell Classic — but the change of venue from St. Louis to Bowling Green, heat, and a competing race the same weekend trimmed the field to about 60 NSS cars. Just the same — the event lived up to its reputation as the best NSS race that there is.
I was originally going to run the car in a sub-10-second FX class, but the heat was getting to me so much, and I was having such a problem getting in and out of the car — I decided to run the 10.0 class so I could wear a lighter and cooler driver's suit. On the first time trial, I found that the tach wasn't working — so the event was spent launching by feel and shifting by ear. I only took two time trial passes Friday as I was not feeling well from the heat.
In the first round of Qualifying I went too fast with a 9.916.
I threw some more weight in the car for the second Qualifying, and was still too fast with a 9.949
For the 3rd Qualifying, I threw some more weight at the car and got into the show with a 10.03.
Saturday was Class Eliminations Day, with the first round of Eliminations also being the last round of Qualifying. A/NSS was the second largest class, and to win you had to win four rounds. I was Qualified at #32 with a 10.03 on a 10.00 Index — but I felt like I needed to win Class more than worry about improving my Qualifying position. I had Bud Cochran in the first round. He red lit, which was good for me as I shifted from 1st right to 3rd — missing the 2nd gear detent on my shifter.
My next round was against Mike Moss — one of the toughest there is. We pretty much left together and stayed with each other all of the way down the track — both lifting at the line and crossing it in a photo finish. My better light had him break out by just a hair more.
Of the three remaining for the third round, I'd had the best reaction time in the second round — and received the Bye. I managed to not blow up the car.
The final round had me matched up against Al Corda — about as tough as it gets. It was starting to cool down, so I took a little weight out of the car. Al had a better light, but I had started to pass him at the 1/8. I had a couple of feet on him at the 1000' and dragged the brake a little to just put a fender on him. I didn't see my win light — and started to wonder if I'd screwed up since his Dart has its front tires closer to the front of the car than on my Coronet — but I did win Class for A/NSS. Both races between Mile and Al were very close and exciting (at least to me) — and I slept well knowing I went up against to of the best and came out on top (for that day).
The Driver's Dinner had started by the time I parked the car and we made the golf cart ride to the tent where it was being held. It was another excellent Driver's Dinner with some cool swag being handed out. We were told that we had to be at the line by 8:15 Sunday morning for the Big Show. It was about midnight before the car was safely put away, and I hit the rack. I was up at 5:30 AM, but all for naught as the weather wasn't looking good. I put a charger on the car — but left it in the trailer. The rain finally hit at about 8AM, and it was noon before the first round. My poor qualifying position drew me the #3 Qualifier of Donnie Wilson — another tough NSS racer. Donnie got to leave a second earlier, and I left with my worst light of the week. I caught Donnie and thought I was going to breakout — and gave Donnie the stripe. Bad move on my part.
We were packed up, showered, and driving out the gate at 2:30PM. I drove as far as Hope, AR at midnight — and pulled over for a nap as I was dead tired. Up at 6:00 and on the road at 6:30 — I was back at the shop in Houston at 3PM, and by 5PM the car was unloaded, rig cleaned and parked, and I was plopped down in front of my computer to answer a week's worth of email.
That's my story — and I'm sticking to it.