Parts failure leads to early exit for Lee Rislone - J&B Motorsports Team wins Best Appearing Car NORWALK, Ohio - Some in the entertainment business will tell you, if you can't win, be spectacular. While being 'spectacular' definitely was not on...
Parts failure leads to early exit for Lee
Rislone - J&B Motorsports Team wins Best Appearing Car
NORWALK, Ohio - Some in the entertainment business will tell you, if you can't win, be spectacular. While being 'spectacular' definitely was not on the 'to do' list for the Rislone Engine Treatment/J&B Motorsports Nitro Funny Car driven by Paul Lee at this weekend's SKULL Gear World Nationals presented by AC Delco, it was the end result. Relatively inexpensive parts failures derailed new sponsor Rislone's debut on the track, but off the track, the team won the Best Appearing Car of the event.
Lee, of Bala Cymwyd, Pa., wheeled the Jeff & Bonnie McGaffic owned Chevy Monte Carlo to the No. 6 spot in qualifying with a 5.086 second run at 297.02 mph. During the final qualifying session, a small set screw inside the supercharger backed out, causing a massive blower explosion as soon as Lee hit the throttle. While spectacular, the explosion caused very little damage to the engine due to the supercharger burst panels, which are designed to relieve engine pressure during explosions. However, the same could not be said for the body which was severely damaged.
"The way the team worked was the highlight of the weekend," said Lee. "The guys literally worked all night to fix the body. They finally finished it at around 8 a.m. We took the engine apart, fixed a few minor problems and put it back together. The help we got from the other teams and crewmembers was really overwhelming. We're new to the nitro ranks, so it was a huge help to have the other teams step up and lend us various repair tools and materials. We had several crewmembers from other teams that joined in and helped. All of the guys are really committed to this deal. They didn't get a lick of sleep, and nobody complained all day Sunday."
In round one, Lee squared off with Jack Wyatt. Lee, known for his quick reactions got the jump off the line, but was forced to lift early when a head gasket pushed out, filling the underside of the car with fire. Lee was ahead until he lifted, but gave up the win to Wyatt's 4.988 at 297.35 mph with his wounded 5.208 at 230.33 mph.
"It's real hard to lift on raceday," stated Lee. "I saw the flash of fire in my peripheral vision, but I knew it was just tearing itself up, and if I stayed in it, it could get real ugly. It took me about a second longer than I normally would have to lift, but I eventually did."
Despite not achieving their on-track goals, McGaffic is still excited about their progress off the track.
"We're very excited about having Rislone on board," stated McGaffic. "We're really looking forward to what the future holds for this team. We show up to win when we come out here, but you also have to just learn from your mistakes and move on to the next race. We had a successful weekend off the track. We were awarded the Best Appearing Car award, which I'm very pleased to give to Rislone. We also entertained 163 guests from our long time sponsor Allied Machine and Engineering. Those elements are a very important of a championship caliber organization, and we're pleased to be successful on that level in our first full year of nitro racing. We're confident we have the pieces in place to achieve that same success on the track in the very near future."
There will be little rest for the Rislone/J&B Motorsports team as they head to Indianapolis for next weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, then on to Epping, N.H., for the IHRA Amalie Oil North American Nationals.