Callaway reaches semifinals despite clutch problems BAYTOWN, Texas - Former NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Lee Callaway reached the semifinals of this past weekend's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at the Texas Motorplex just...
Callaway reaches semifinals despite clutch problems
BAYTOWN, Texas - Former NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Lee Callaway reached the semifinals of this past weekend's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas despite fighting persistent clutch problems and destroying an engine in qualifying. Nevertheless, Callaway is optimistic looking forward after this race.
Callaway, from Baytown, Texas, qualified his Stacy McLemore tuned machine sixth with a 5.494 second elapsed time at 255.92 mph. Qualifying was a feat in itself. During the second qualifying session, Callaway had a major engine explosion that forced the team to change engines for the final qualifying session. Adding pressure to the situation was the fact the team was sitting precariously in the eighth position of an eight car field going into the final session. Despite the adversity, the Tejano Salsa/RacecarRigs.com team pulled together to nab the sixth spot with the lone blown alcohol dragster in the field.
In round one, Callaway used a stellar .022 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to defeat heavy-hitter and drag race legend Gene Snow on a holeshot with a 5.567 at 256.41 mph to Snow's quicker-but-later 5.565 at 227.92 mph. Callaway's semifinal opponent would be No. 2 qualifier and recent Mac Tools Gatornationals winner Aaron Olivarez. The race was over before it started as Callaway left too soon drawing disqualification. However, Callaway slowed to a 5.614 at 255.05 mph while Olivarez ran a stellar 5.394 at 261.72 mph.
"We thought we had our clutch problem figured out after Houston," said Callaway. "We fixed one problem only to find out we had two, and it's just driving through the clutch. We put a considerable amount of clutch in it for the second round, and it actually drove through the clutch worse. We're really going to have to look into the clutch area, all the way from the clutch pedal, the linkage, throwout bearing and internals of the clutch itself. It's very erratic in what it does. On the other hand, running 5.40's with as messed up as this clutch is, it definitely shows we have something in the bank left when we get it fixed."
Callaway also commented on his -.247 redlight.
"I just felt the blown cars were down -.247, so I was just making up the difference," Callaway joked. "Really it just felt like time to go. Sometimes that happens. It doesn't sting as bad because he would have outrun me anyway, but nonetheless, he might have fell off, and I would have lost the race. I'm going to work on that before the next race for sure."
Callaway's next event will be race three of the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Red River Raceway just outside of Shreveport, La., May 19-21. There Callaway will be looking to make a move on points leaders Ashley Force and Aaron Olivarez.
"Hopefully the weather will heat up a little bit by then," commented Callaway. "The heat definitely looks to be an advantage for me with a blown car, so we're hoping for hot weather, and we'll make some of our own heat with Tejano Salsa. We got some decent points out of the deal, and I was glad to see Randy Meyer win since he runs Division 5, and Olivarez make the finals instead of Force, so she didn't get too far out in front. We feel like we're still in the hunt to win the Division 4 Championship."