JOLIET, Ill. - Former Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion David Wells overcame a near-disaster situation to pick up his first win of the year during this past weekend's NHRA Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway just ...
JOLIET, Ill. - Former Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion David Wells overcame a near-disaster situation to pick up his first win of the year during this past weekend's NHRA Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. In his first round race with Keith Stark, at about 900' into the race, an a-frame and front wheel of his Blue Bunny Ice Cream/ "Plain Vanilla" dragster came off. Wells wrestled the car back under control, while managing to win the round, and eventually the race.
Wells, who helps run the family ice cream business in LeMars, Iowa, qualified his Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol entry fourth with an elapsed time of 5.528 seconds at 256.45 mph. After taking out Stark in round one with a 5.640 at 236.13 mph, he then defeated Dave Hirata in the semifinals with a 5.873 at 237.63 mph. In the finals, he faced off with past Division 3 Champion Shawn Bowen's A/Fuel Dragster. Wells took the jump off the line, and maintained that lead the duration of the race, winning with a 5.537 at 258.07 mph to Bowen's right-there 5.572 at 260.81 mph.
"It came out shaking pretty hard in the first round," said Wells. "I shifted it into high gear, and it started smoking the left front tire, and I was wondering what the heck was going on. Then all of a sudden the a-frame breaks and the wheel and tire comes flying off. It was getting pretty close to the finish line when it let go, so I figure I was going about 240 mph. I got it straightened out, and got it stopped without hurting anything. Jeff Wilson let us borrow some a-frames and wheels and tires, and we were able to keep on racing."
Wells problems were not over in the first round either. A fuel system malfunction left him vulnerable against the always-tough Hirata.
"In the second round, the barrel valve messed up, and put a hole out the whole way [dropped cylinder], and it only ran a 5.84," stated Wells. "Luckily, Hirata smoked the tires right off the line, and we won the round. Bowen had run a 5.52 in that round, so we made a few changes, and we ran a .53 to his .57."
With the win, Wells maintained his early Division 5 points lead. Last year's Division 5 Champion Bruce Bowler qualified No. 1, but smoked the tires in round one. Wells will take the momentum, and the points lead into next weekend's Division 5 opener at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
"We had a couple more problems we were trying to fix this weekend," commented Wells. "Once we get all the problems out of this thing, we should be ok. Topeka is usually a little better track than Joliet is, so hopefully we can get this thing back down into the 5.40's, and maybe even a .30."
"We're just going to rely on our typical Topeka tune up," Wells continued. "We've made a lot of passes there, and it's usually a good track. We can probably use a more normal tune-up than what we had to use this weekend."