This week has certainly been one for the books. As you may know, it started on Monday in Bonneville, where I was fortunate enough to set a new land speed record for the A/Modified Production class behind the wheel of the Jesel Land Speed/Summit Racing team truck with my 225.246-mile-per-hour average over two runs, bettering the previous mark by over 30 miles-per-hour! (You can read more about Jason’s weekend by checking out our Bonneville photo gallery–Ed.)
However, that was just the appetizer, as we next headed to one of my favorite races of the year, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, MN. Naturally, as our home state race, Greg and I face a fairly hectic schedule, and this year was no exception. Before we even get to the race track, we find ourselves balancing spending time with family and friends with media requests and other special events.
My family and I flew from Salt Lake late on Tuesday night (it was actually the early hours of Wednesday morning by the time we dragged into our hotel), and after a few hours’ sleep I hit the ground running starting with a call-in radio interview before heading out for a media tour in Duluth, where we talked about the upcoming weekend, how our season has gone, and what it means to race at home.
After that it was back to Proctor for an ALS (better known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) fundraiser that has become a staple in our pre-race planning. It’s an amazing event that just gets better even year. For the last two editions, we have brought one of our KB Racing transporters as well as both of our race cars, which in this case meant our new Summit Racing Camaros.
It ends up being a great night with the streets around the Powerhouse Grill who, in conjunction with Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal, sponsor the event filling up with classic cars and hot rods of all types in what turns out to be an incredible car show raising money for a very worthy cause, the Minnesota/North Dakota chapter of the ALS Association. Even with a very unfavorable forecast, I’m happy to report that we had another solid turnout of cars and fans, and I hope we were able to raise a lot of money.
After that, however, it was time to turn our attention to the task at hand, so we made the short drive from Duluth to Brainerd and got right to work. With only two races left before the start of the Countdown to One championship, everything has to be in place, so we will use our qualifying runs as test sessions, trying to find out anything we can about our race cars.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very important race for us, and just like any other on the circuit, we want to leave here on Sunday with the trophy. However, with limited opportunities, we have to make the most of every chance we get to learn about what makes these Summit Racing Camaros tick, setting the stage for another championship run.
In previous years, I have approached this race as a “must-win” simply because it’s the one that would mean the most to me, having pretty much grown up on BIR’s quarter-mile. Unfortunately, all I have to show for it is a couple runner-up finishes, so this year I’m looking to have fun, enjoying the moment and letting things happen as they will.
After all, it’s the only chance I have all year to really go back to my roots, joining my family on the racetrack. At this point, my father, mother, aunt and two brothers will be competing in the Stock and Super Stock categories, and rest assured, whenever I’m not working on our Summit Racing Camaros, I’ll be up there watching them and a lot of friends that I grew up with, helping in whatever way possible. If you’re at the track, check out how many cars display the “Line Performance, Wright, Minn.” logo on them–not bad for our little family business. It promises to be a lot of fun
Speaking of fun, the fans at Brainerd International Raceway are among the most passionate we will see all season, staying in the stands to watch almost every category, including the snowmobiles (yes, snowmobiles!). In addition, the campground at BIR has a reputation all its own, having been dubbed “The Zoo” many years ago. Believe it or not, although it has calmed down in recent years, the nickname fits. Throughout the course of the weekend, many drivers will venture over there to spend time with the fans, which makes for a very cool experience.
However, the bottom line remains that we are in Brainerd with a job to do, and I know every member of this KB Racing team is prepared to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Throughout qualifying we’ll be looking to squeeze whatever performance we can from our Summit Racing Camaros, and checking the forecast, it’s going to be cool which translates into fast, so we will need to be mistake-free.
Once we get to race day, we’ll continue with the objective of being perfect, hitting every mark and racing tough. Hopefully, if we are able to do that, we’ll come out of here on Sunday night with the Wally. Trust me, I couldn’t think of a better way to bookend an incredible week–other than to have my family win their classes as well, of course. Stay tuned to see how we make out.