XDA - DME Fall Nationals at Maryland International Raceway
The DME Fall Nationals at Maryland International Raceway was our teams first XDA event and our first race back after a two month hiatus to get my arm healed. We dodged some bad weather and were lucky enough to get the entire race in thanks to Jason Miller and the entire XDA crew. They are a well oiled machine and run a very organized event. We had a blast getting to meet up with people we hadn't seen in a while and meet some new people we don't usually get to race with.
Since it was a new track and my first couple passes back on a 4.60 bike since my incident, we tried to take advantage of all the Friday testing we could. Our first pass out, we put a tune in that was in the ballpark of what we would run at Indy or SGMP anticipating that the MIR surface would be just as good and it was! We went a 4.603 and aside from some pretty harsh tire shake, we were thrilled. We played around the next three test sessions to try and get rid of the tire shake before Q1 Friday night and made some adjustments that we thought would put us in a good spot for the weekend.
Q1 Friday night we went a 4.632 which put us safely in the field. The air was great, but with humidity and water in the air, the bike didn't MPH quite like we thought but again were happy with the data we gained. Q2 brought another set of challenges as we did our burnouts and a bike in front of us had issues causing us to shut off and pause for a brief cleanup. We did a small burnout and I thought we had enough time to cool off, but the warm clutch caused our numbers to slow in the 60' and 330' and we were unable to improve on the first effort. Q3 we made small adjustments still trying to battle the little bit of tire shake we had left thinking if it made a smooth run, we would gain a couple hundredths and be right where we wanted to be. Unfortunately we went another 4.63, still not improving our spot on the ladder but luckily we were safe in the number 15 spot and felt comfortable turning it up for first round.
XDA decided with the weather not looking promising to turn Q4 into round one eliminations, so first round took place Saturday night after Q3. Round one we were paired with number 18 qualifier Harvey Hubbard on his beautiful Grothus Dragbikes chassis. We were able to get the holeshot win with an .018 light and run a 4.64 off the throttle to advance us to second round which would be ran Sunday morning.
Round two we faced off against Michael Ostrowski who won an XDA event earlier this season and was the number 2 qualifier with a 4.606. We got another good jump off the starting line with an .015 light and ran a 4.62 off the throttle to get the win. Unfortunately Ostrowski had a shifting issue and slowed to a 4.78.
Round three brought Robert Hunnicutt known as "Superman" who also runs a killer Pro Nitrous Mustang in the PDRA. We were able to squeak by another holeshot win running a 4.66 off the gas to Hunnicutt's 4.64 which would advance us to the semi finals.
In the semi's we were paired up with number 3 qualifier Michael Thyen who was the eventual race winner. It was a great race from the beginning where Thyen had a slight advantage with a .017 to my .026. I ran a 4.630 which wasn't quite enough to cover Thyen's 4.635. It was a great race at the finish line with a .004 finish margin and one that is hard to be too upset about. Congrats to Michael on the event win!
Overall, I'm thrilled with how the weekend went. I didn't have much for expectations for the racing, my main concern was getting back on the bike and feeling comfortable again. I feel I was able to do that and gain some confidence racing again. For detailed round by round results, click here.
Thank you to everyone for their support and my dad and uncle Craig for all of their work over the weekend and thank you to everyone who helps make this possible!