A Bumpy Ride in Madison-- Milford, Michigan. The August 4-6 NHRA Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, at Madison, Illinois, started out smoothly for Frank Parker and his VIPsports.com race team. Their Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol ...
A Bumpy Ride in Madison--
Milford, Michigan. The August 4-6 NHRA Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, at Madison, Illinois, started out smoothly for Frank Parker and his VIPsports.com race team. Their Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny Car had responded to earlier testing and racing at Joliet's Route 66 Raceway and was getting more of its Mopar Hemi power onto the track.
"We were looking forward to Madison," said Parker. "We knew it would be hot, just as it had been in Joliet, but we knew what was necessary to compensate." That confidence proved true in qualifying. Driver Danny Townsend hit a 5.817, at 249.95 mph, to qualify the VIPsports.com car fourth. Townsend shared Parker's enthusiasm. "The 5.8 qualifying run felt great. The acceleration was smooth and there was no indication of overpowering the chassis."
The first elimination round went even better. Townsend clicked off the best pass of the round, with the lowest e.t., at 5.798, and fastest speed, 251.67. With that boost in their pocket, the crew put a sharp eye on the rising track temperature and prepped for the semi-final round against Jeff Burnett and his Dodge Avenger.
Townsend cut a good light and seemed destined for the win light. But, at half-track, the Hemi's power began moving the car to the right. "I wasn't worried," Townsend later said. "The car was pulling hard and I didn't want to lose time correcting the slight drift. Had I known about the ripples in the track, I would have fought the drift." A few almost imperceptible ripples, just out of the groove, caused the rear tires to shake. According to Parker, the action was as severe as any he'd ever seen. "The tires had enough daylight under them to make me think of a couple of basketballs bouncing down-court." Burnett took the win and moved on to the final round, where he lost to Mick Snyder -- the VIPsports.com team's main nemesis in the points race.
The next race for the VIPsports.com team will be the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series meet at Beech Bend Raceway Park, August 25-27. The VIPsports.com Dodge Stratus is the feature car on the track's advertisement. See it on page 59 of the August 6 issue of National Dragster.
The next event for the team will be on August 19 -- the 12th Annual Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise. Be there, along with 1.4 million of your closest gear head friends, for the largest single day automotive enthusiast event in the world. The VIPsports.com Dodge Stratus will be part of Dodge's big display on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Thirteen Mile Road. As in years past, the crew will team up with Motor City's 104.3 FM WOMC Radio and start the car with an innocent and unsuspecting radio personality strapped into the driver's seat. Seeing their reaction to the sound -- and feel -- of a supercharged alcohol Hemi engine is worth the price of admission (free, by the way).