Tigges Talk - How It All Started - Part 3

Discussion in 'System One Pit Buzz' started by MaineAlkyFan, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. MaineAlkyFan

    MaineAlkyFan Member

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    Saturday's third and final qualifying round was at 1:30PM, right in the heat of the day. Mark had made some calls to the computer guys, but we still did not have a functioning data recorder. The pass was our best so far, with the 200 or so leaky ring horsepower restored we ran a 5.68 / 255 to stay qualified in the #7 spot. It was a tight field, with less than 2/10ths of a second separating the #2 & #13 cars.

    With just over three hours to go to the first round of eliminations, everybody worked their established routines without any wasted effort, giving us time to double check everything after the normal between round service and warm-up were performed. Mark's phone calls to the computer tech line had paid off, and the data recorder looked like it would work. We got the call and towed up to staging at 5:30PM. It was still 85 degrees, with a track temperature of 103 degrees even with the sun setting behind the spectator stands.

    We raced rookie Matt Gill, who was competing in his first national event. Fred gave up six hundredths on the tree, but passed Matt by the 330 and we took the win going away with a 5.74 to Matt's 5.87. The tire shake was still there, the chess pieces still were still hard to keep track of, but we all pumped fists and celebrated down the return road. We were going rounds and racing Sunday! It was quite a rush to be in the truck waving to the fans instead of the other way around. Having four clean runs with no hurt parts felt great too, Mark showed his appreciation with thanks to all of us individually and as a team.

    The computer was back up, and Mark showed Pete and me the different graphs of engine RPM, driveshaft RPM, G-readings and how they related to one another. Service in preparation of round 2 was expanded to include dropping the oil pan again to check the rear main bearing condition, which was excellent. One of my favorite memories of the weekend was laying under the car, Pete across from me, Fred beside me, listening as he explained the cost and function of the billet Timken steel crank and the reasons behind the processes of assembly. A new blower belt was installed. All torques were checked and each team member confirmed the other's work. Our team chemistry was great.

    One of the interesting things about being involved as crew is being right there at a national event, and having no idea what is going on outside of your own world. I had no idea what was going on in the pro classes, and didn't much care. It was more fun to be making something happen than watching it happen. Even six hours after the round 1 win, and being physically tired, it was difficult to fall asleep Saturday night, that thrill of my first round win on a team still running through my veins.

    Sunday morning the car was pulled out, set on the stands, gone over with a fine tooth comb, warmed up and polished for round 2. After a team meeting to go over the plans for the short 45 minute between round service allowed on Sunday, it was again hurry up and wait. I was literally pacing in and out of the pit with anticipation.

    Being the first pair in round 2 we towed up to the lanes early. Towing up on Sunday was different, the whole vibe was special, and when you rolled down the lanes towards the base of the tower it was beside the Pro Stock cars. The racers are like family in the lanes, but there were so many little details to still be aware of. Wherever it was easy for fans to get close to the cars in the staging lanes, there was always a crewmember guarding the rear of the car to make sure nobody touched the parachutes.

    In round 2 Fred cut a great .018 light and we ran a respectable 5.68 / 254, but eventual first time national event winner Paul Noakes had towed down from Ontario to return the favor we had given Gill. He drove around us and took the stripe by 15 feet with his 5.62 / 257. Pete & I actually started to celebrate, but the win light was on the other scoreboard.

    As disappointing as the loss was, it was a good weekend. Five clean passes, all the expensive shiny stuff stayed in the engine, and all the sticky gooey stuff stayed off the track. The car was prepped for travel and the pit broken down and stowed in the trailer. Personally, the sweet far outweighed the bitter. Thank you Fred & Mark for the opportunity and encouragement.

    Just before one of our warm-ups, three young boys walked past our pit and watched for a while. Doug directed the boys to walk up beside the car behind the pit tables and against Manzo's trailer. When the car fired, the eight year old stepped back a few steps and the ten year old's eyes grew huge. Maybe they didn't sneak into the lanes as I did so many years ago as a kid, but like I said to Fred after he got out of the cockpit, they will be future drag facing fans.

    It doesn't get old friends, I'm still livin' the dream!

    Chris Saulnier - Team Tigges
    Mechanic Falls, Maine
     
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  2. Unlimitedaero

    Unlimitedaero New Member

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  3. Unlimitedaero

    Unlimitedaero New Member

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    Chris, another great story! Really great to read
     
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  4. craig moss

    craig moss Member

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    Great job!! It was a great read !! You missed your calling !! Thank you !!
     
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