Bill Reichert championship review

  Dominant first half leads to second straight championship for Reichert   OWOSSO, Mich. - One could easily say 2006 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Bill Reichert picked up right where he left off in 2007.  After winning the ...

  Dominant first half leads to second straight championship for Reichert   OWOSSO, Mich. - One could easily say 2006 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster World Champion Bill Reichert picked up right where he left off in 2007.  After winning the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona in 2006, Reichert and his Rislone Engine Treatment backed team started their 2007 season off with a 5.23 second pass on their first run of the season in Gainesville, Fla.  The stellar performance would indeed be an indication of things to come, as Reichert reached the final round at seven of his first nine races on his way to winning his second-straight Top Alcohol Dragster World Championship.   Reichert, of Owosso, Mich., was recently crowned as the champ at the NHRA Sportsman Awards Banquet in Los Angeles.  After winning the season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomoma, Calif., for the third straight year, he points out the 40 plus hour drive back to Michigan wasn't so bad.   "The trip was very good for us," said Reichert.  "The banquet was good.  They gave us the trophy and the check.  The race was great as well.  The car ran well and winning the last race is a great way to go into the offseason."   After a similar ending to the 2006 season, Reichert points out 2007 began just where he left off.   "We took the car to Gainesville, to start the year," Reichert recalled.  "After we had the car completely apart over the winter, then to take the car down to Gainesville and run a 5.23 right out of the box was great.  When we did that, I thought to myself that if this was any indication of the kind of year we might have, we were in good shape."   Reichert left the event with a runner up finish, then went to Houston, where he made one of the most dominating performances in class history.  Reichert qualified No. 1, won the event, reset the national elapsed time record to 5.10 seconds, the quickest pass in the history of the class, and reset the national speed record to 284.75 mph, the fastest in the history of the class.  His Rislone backed team also won best appearing crew, to boot.   "I've always set the standard pretty high for what the perfect race would be," explained Reichert.  "In Houston, we qualified No. 1, won the race, set the e.t. record, and set the mph record.  We also won Best Appearing Crew.  I don't know that there is much more you can do in a race, so that's about as close to having a perfect race as I've come.  We really pride ourselves on how the car runs, and the car ran really well that weekend.  I think it was just a case of having the perfect conditions for our car.  Sometimes you have conditions where the car just runs o.k. and sometimes the car even runs bad.  At that track and in those conditions, our car really ran fast."   After such a strong start to the season, NHRA made a rule change that reduced the amount of nitromethane the team could run from 97% to 96%.  The Rislone team took the change in stride, but not without feeling some effects once the weather warmed up in the summer.   "The first race we went to with the 96% was the Norwalk [Ohio], divisional," stated Reichert.  "We ran a 5.24 there, but it was only 61 degrees, so it didn't affect us as much.  Not to mention we had a pretty decent track that weekend.  We had the conditions we needed to run well.  Once it got warmer, it really started to affect the car.  It changed the way the car left the line, and that really affects an A/Fuel car.  We kept working with it and made the car manageable.  We won the Norwalk national in the heat, but we had a lot of breaks go our way.  The car never ran as good as we wanted."   Reichert also points out the support of longtime sponsor Rislone/Bar's Leaks was a huge factor in both of his championships.   "A few years ago if the car wasn't running good, I was worried about if I was doing the sponsors a good job," cited Reichert.  "Bar's Leaks and Rislone have been with me a long time.  It takes a ton of pressure off of me.  If the car falls off for some reason, I don't have the pressure from the sponsor and it lets me do what I need to do.  Win or lose, they're happy and we take them as they come.  They are racers, too, and they understand what it takes.  They'll be back on board for another two years, so hopefully we can give them another two championships."   Reichert's 2007 season included national event wins in Houston, Chicago, Norwalk, and Pomona with a runner-up in Gainesville.  He had an impressive year on the divisional level as well with wins in Norwalk, St. Louis and Columbus, Ohio with runner-ups in Reading, Pa., and Bowling Green, Ky.  His Rislone backed dragster remains the quickest and fastest in the history of the class.  

-credit: barsleaks

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