JOLIET, Ill. - After several races of fighting heavy tire shake, Federal Mogul Funny Car pilot Marc White regained his early season form with a barrage of 5.60 elapsed times during this past weekend's Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66...
JOLIET, Ill. - After several races of fighting heavy tire shake, Federal Mogul Funny Car pilot Marc White regained his early season form with a barrage of 5.60 elapsed times during this past weekend's Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. White advanced to the semifinals before losing to eventual runner-up Cy Chesterman when valve train failure caused the burst panels to explode, slowing him enough to let Chesterman take the win.
White, who lives just down the road from the track in Glendale Heights, Ill., qualified the Etterman Racing Firebird No. 2 with an off-the-throttle 5.703 at 241.76 mph. In round one, White used a starting line holeshot to win the quickest side by side race of the year when No. 15 qualifier Vern Moats stepped up to a 5.638 at 252.52 mph, low e.t. of the race, but was not enough to catch White's holeshot-aided 5.658 at 250.83 mph. White stayed consistent in round two, running a 5.640 at 252.85 mph to put away Aussie Steve Harker. A broken pushrod then ended White's day in the semifinals, however. After taking a holeshot on his opponent Chesterman, White launched into heavy tireshake, and was forced to pedal the car. The engine's burst panels exploded near the 1000' mark, slowing White to a 5.784 at 238.38 mph to Chesterman's 5.706 at 250.60 mph.
"We came into the race with the set up we have been running during the first qualifying run, and wasn't happy with the car's performance," said White. "For the next lap, we just changed directions 180 degrees, put a completely different tuneup on it, and the car went a 5.70, still on an early shutoff. We knew we had something we could work with then."
"We got after it a little more in the first round, and it went a 5.65," continued White. "That made us pretty confident that we were on the right track. We were rolling along just fine, ran a .64 in the second round. Then, in the semifinals against Chesterman, it went out there and shook, and I overrevved it a little bit on the one-two gear change, and lost a pushrod, which caused the blower boost to go higher than it should, and banged the blower off of it, and that was the end of our weekend."
Even though the team did not leave the track with the win, the Etterman Racing team considers the weekend a success after regaining their early season 5.60 performance. With the regained performance, the team looks forward to it's upcoming events.
"We're very happy with the weekend," stated White. "The semifinal defeat - they are racecars, and parts break. We had a parts failure, and that stuff is going to happen. If someone else was going to win the race, we felt like they were going to have to go through us to do it. We felt we had the car to beat there that weekend. We're pretty confident that we can go into our next race and run the way we know we can, and the way we want to. We're pretty happy with the weekend over all."
The next event for the Etterman Racing team will be the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, June 15-17. In addition to the regular race, White will also compete in the NHRA Sportsman All-Stars race to be held in conjunction with that event.