Tigges Talk - Happy New Year

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by MaineAlkyFan, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Member

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    Happy New Year!


    Here we are halfway between our 2015 season closer at Reading and our 2016 season opener someplace on the east coast. The car has been torn down for the off-season fine tooth comb treatment of maintenance, re-certification and upgrades. Aside from a new Tom's 10" gearset with a super beefy pinion carrier there are no major changes to the car in preparation for racing.


    Looking back over 2015, we had a train wreck of a season. Our best run of the entire year was the second pass we made, a 5.608 #2 qualifier eight months ago at the rain delayed Richmond regional, a race we didn't make it back to complete. The rest of the season was downhill from there.


    The year was filled with tire issues, electrical gremlins, hidden oil starvation problems, redlights, tire shake, broken generators and blown headgaskets in the tow rig. We ran at four regionals, three nationals and one test session, finishing the season with a pair of DNQs (did not qualify) and four losing timeslips in round one of eliminations. Fred & Mark put in 6,500 miles of interstate travel, plus all the travel from us crew guys and over ten plane flights, and we didn't get a single round win.


    Compare that to 2014, our first year out with the BAE engine combination. We won the Reading regional with low ET of the event, were #1 qualifier at two other regionals and had some round wins at the national events, including making the semifinals at Indy running the best ET of eliminations. Our 5.55 track record at New England Dragway still stands today. The only really bad thing about 2014 was the big boomer at the season closer national in Reading, where the rods kicked out of the engine and the fuel tank exploded in the lights. That was a very expensive run.


    It isn't supposed to go like this. The first year out with a new engine combination you expect to struggle, run a safe tune-up, and have a generous learning curve. The second season out, you expect to wick it up a bit and enjoy additional success, building on what you learned the year before. It is a rational, logical progression of events. Drag racing, of course, is not rational or logical.


    Spending twenty years of your life and hard earned dollars as father and son on the road, at the track, under and in the car for the thrill of the ride and the elixir of a few wins would more accurately be described as a disease. Twenty continuous years is a long time to stick at anything. The Tigges have been burning alcohol longer than most… the only other active teams I can think of that have been running over 20 years continuous are the Paynes & the McPhillips. Running an alcohol car is only rational if you are doing it. It is rarely logical, if ever.


    So our 2015 season was a disappointment. While the rest of the class was going quicker and faster by large margins, we didn't even get back to where we were the year before. That's why Mark & Fred are working their tails off days in the structural steel welding business earning money for the 2016 season then working nights in the shop getting the car ready. It's why Kevin, Dave & I are setting travel money aside and banking up vacation days to do our part to feed the disease. It's why we get together a few times in the off season to do some work on the car, then eat and hope and dream of the upcoming spring.


    All around the nation, there are guys & gals just like me feeling the same feelings. The disappointments or successes of 2015 are fading away; the promise of 2016 is calling us to the lanes. We miss the noise, the adrenalin, the flat on your back tired exhausted but can't fall asleep feeling. We miss joking with other teams, sharing food, loaning a hand, a part, a word of encouragement or a victory salute when a friend wins. We miss the mental challenge of trying to figure out what the car is telling us, the emotional rush of a great number on the scoreboard, the satisfaction of a great turnaround between sessions or a timeslip with 'winner' in our lane. For us, it makes sense.


    The only good racing part of 2015 for us was every time we got to the top end of the track the car was dry and clean. The fuel was used up and the oil was still in the car. For 2016, we want to see that part again, with a performance curve like we had in 2014. Here is to 2016 drag racer style friends… Happy New Year! See you at the track.


    Chris Saulnier - Team Tigges

    Mechanic Falls, Maine
     
    #1
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  2. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Member

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    One of my co-workers had this question after reading my story:

    "man wotta bummer of a year!
    I started wondering how many of the other teams had identical or worse seasons, or was everyone else's better?"


    I did a little research to make myself more depressed... LOL

    Last year 68 Top Alcohol Funny Cars across the nation attended at least one event.
    27 of those cars attended fewer events than us and had a lower point count.
    (4 attended 5 or 6 events the rest attended 4 or less)

    Of the remaining 41 cars nationwide, we finished 40th in points.

    Six of the cars ahead of us in points attended fewer events than us.


    So to answer the question we pretty much stunk the joint out.


    I guess we can only look up eh?


    Our 2014 year we finished 24th out of 72 cars nationwide. 18 of the guys behind us attended the same amount or more races than us. Only one guy that finished ahead of us attended the same amount of races as us, all the others attended more races. Much better year.

    Chris Saulnier - Team Tigges
    Mechanic Falls, Maine
     
    #2
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016

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