PER­SIS­TENCE TO WIN

Hot Rod - - Drag Week 2018 -

Un­lim­ited class com­peti­tor Tom Bai­ley was the over­all win­ner. To the ca­sual ob­server, he made it look easy, but this vic­tory was far from it. En­gine det­o­na­tion knocked the ring land out of one of his pis­tons at zMAX, and noth­ing in his 615ci, twin-turbo big-block is an off-the-shelf part. Un­de­terred, one of the guys from Steve Mor­ris’ shop de­liv­ered a re­place­ment pis­ton from Michi­gan, driv­ing through the night as Bai­ley and Mor­ris re­built the en­gine in the pits at zMAX. They left Char­lotte in the wee hours and made it to Bris­tol in time to make a cau­tious 7.469 at 145.30-mph pass to stay in the com­pe­ti­tion. Dur­ing the week, Bai­ley ran as quick as 6.653 sec­onds and as fast as 219.83 mph with av­er­ages of 6.858 and 202.04 mph, best­ing Sec­ond Place Dave Schroeder’s av­er­age by just 0.159 sec­ond.

“I like the chal­lenge of hav­ing to fig­ure things out on the fly and the abil­ity to hang out with 300 other peo­ple who are will­ing to chal­lenge them­selves to per­se­vere when the odds are stacked against them.”

— Tom Bai­ley

It was a race right down to the wire, as Bai­ley and Ul­ti­mate Iron class com­peti­tor Bryant Gold­stone kept swap­ping the top spot through­out the week. Gold­stone re­built the trans­mis­sion in his 1973 Javelin after the first day of com­pe­ti­tion, yet still ran most of the week with­out Sec­ond gear. Shift­ing from First to Third all week, Gold­stone’s best e.t. was 6.920 sec­onds and best trap speed was 213.57. Though he never ran slower than 190.97 mph all the week, he was only run­ning on seven cylin­ders on the last day, and the re­sult­ing 7.416 pass dropped his over­all av­er­age to 7.074 sec­onds and 204.59 mph, edg­ing him into Third Place over­all. What an upset that could have been! Though his av­er­age speed was greater than Bai­ley’s, Drag Week™ is won by elapsed times. Ul­ti­mate class com­peti­tor and last year’s over­all win­ner Dave Schroeder was fight­ing trac­tion prob­lems early in the week, which kept him off the pace of Bai­ley and Gold­stone. On Wed­nes­day, though, he ripped a 6.791 at 210.50 and re­mained in the 6s the rest of the week, earn­ing him the Sec­ond Place fin­ish. His ni­trous-huff­ing, big-block 1966 Corvette posted an over­all av­er­age of 7.017 sec­onds and 191.88 mph.

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