After last Friday's race at Beaver Springs Dragway, Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street were ready to do some more racing! With the NMRA's 6th event on the horizon for Labor Day Weekend, the Gotta Have Builds team headed to the National Trail Raceway in Ohio to race in the Roush Super Stang Class at the 34th Annual NMRA Ford Expo.
Once again, Bill was racing Gotta Have It Race and Rick was piloting Gotta Have It Street. Bill was hoping to improve on his semifinal finish from Joliet, while Rick was still looking for a first round win.
Joining Rick and Bill in Columbus were some good friends of CJ Pony Parts. Scott brought out his white 2011 GT500, while Bob drove his 2006 turbocharged V6. Scott's GT500 has some basic mods, including a tune, axle-back exhaust and a shifter, to go along with the Race Star Industries 17″ x 4.5″ Dark Star Wheels and Race Star Industries 17″ x 9.5″ Dark Star Wheels that no longer fit over the big brakes on Gotta Have It Street. Bob's V6 Mustang has been evolving over the last few years, with its largest modifications being a single 61 mm turbo, a larger torque converter and a set of Race Star wheels. Both cars have run in the 11 second zone in the past and have gone several rounds at other events.
On Thursday, Gotta Have It Race was loaded in the trailer and most of the team headed off for Columbus, with Scott and Bob following along. Rick and Gotta Have It Street wouldn't be heading out until first thing Friday morning. After arriving, Bill and the guys got all of the cars unloaded and their pit area setup, then Donut and the rest of the guys from Race Pages Magazine stopped by to talk about Gotta Have It Race. Another good friend and teammate, Bob Cochran, had been talking up the Gotta Have Builds cars' progress, and the guys at Race Pages felt it was deserving of a full feature in a future issue! Bill and the rest of the team took a break from their usual pre-race routine while the photographers took various shots of Gotta Have It Race before getting back to the business at hand.
NMRA had an open test-n-tune scheduled for Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so, after the photo shoot, Bill got Gotta Have It Race up to the line to make the first pass of the weekend. The weather was far from ideal, but the National Trail Raceway is known as a fast track with top notch prep. After a healthy second gear burnout to get some heat in our Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials, Bill headed to the line. He went with a conservative 4500 RPM launch to get a feel for the track. Gotta Have It Race hooked hard, with a 1.69 60 foot, but ran a 12.03 @ 113.51 MPH. He knew it would hit the 11s this weekend with a more aggressive run.
Almost as soon as BIll got back to the pits, Rick and Gotta Have It Street arrived at the track. After getting Gotta Have It Street registered, applying all of the NMRA Roush Super Stang specific stickers and getting a tech inspection, Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street headed up to the line to do a test-n-tune run. Bill and Gotta Have It Race decided to go all out for the 11s, so, given how well the car hooked during the first run, he tried a 5500 RPM launch, which resulted in the one and only spin of the weekend. Even with a weaker 1.80 60 foot, Gotta Have It Race ran a 12.14 @113.27. Gotta Have It Street ran a 13.09 @ 108.24 MPH.
Rick made a few more test-n-tune runs in Gotta Have It Street with a best of 12.95 @109.13 MPH. Rick was not able go get a good reaction time on any of his runs, so he decided that he was going to start to stage 'deep' with Gotta Have It Street. Bill let Gotta Have It Race cool down and only brought it back up right before the lanes closed before eliminations. This time, with a 5000 RPM launch, Bill found the sweet spot. Gotta Have It Race ran a 1.69 60 foot and gave Bill his first 11 sec pass behind the wheel, with an 11.985 @ 118 MPH. The team felt the 118 MPH might be a timing error, due to the 1/8th mile MPH being off as well, but the ET is dead on compared to what we have run before, so they knew the time is right.
Around 4 p.m., the call was made for the Roush Super Stang class to head to the lanes for their first qualifying run. Rick and Gotta Have It Street went first and made their first qualifying pass with a 13.205 @ 109.84 with a slow 2.23 60;' time caused by spinning off of the line. Staging 'deep' seemed to work for Rick, as he was able to get a nice .051 reaction time.
For his pass, Bill, again, left the line at 5000 RPM in Gotta Have It Race and set a new best 1.63 60' time and a new best of 11.87 @ 116.21 MPH. Since the previous best ET in Gotta Have It Race, Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials, 3.90 Ring & Pinion Gear Set with a Yukon Dura Grip differential and American Racing long tube headers were all added. With most of our competitors being .3-.4 seconds slower, due to the conditions, the team has high hopes for mid 11s in some cooler air!
The NMRA had only scheduled a single qualifying run for Friday, with plans for two qualifying runs on Saturday, then eliminations on Sunday. Unfortunately, upon waking up on Saturday morning, it was raining. It varied from a light drizzle to a hard downpour. The Gotta Have Builds team kept an eye on the NMRA site, since they said they would announce when racing would resume there. NMRA had already changed the schedule, removing one of the two qualifying runs, then starting eliminations on Saturday afternoon, since it looked like the hurricane would be coming through and making Sunday a complete washout. By late morning, the team decided to grab an early lunch and head to the track. To their amazement, their class had already run the one and only qualifier for the day, even though the NMRA never made an announcement on their site stating that racing was about to resume.
Bill and Rick now had to pick a dial-in without getting a chance to test the conditions or the track. After speaking with a few fellow competitors about the conditions, Bill went with a 11.98 for Gotta Have It Race, while Rick went with a 12.90 for Gotta Have It Street, both figuring that gave them some room. Scott dailed in at 12.24 in his GT500, while Bob went with a 12.34 in his Turbo V6. Rick and Gotta Have It Street were the first to run. Rick cut a good .072 light, which gave him a large advantage and caused his competitor to break out, giving Rick a first round win!
Bill and Gotta Have It Race were up next. To start his first round pass, Bill cut a decent .107 light and Gotta Have It Race left the line hard. In fact, the video of Bill's pass shows Gotta Have It Race pulling both front wheels off of the ground! Unfortunately, the Yukon Dura Grip differential couldn't handle the launch and the spider gears broke, leaving Bill and Gotta Have It Race stranded just past the 60' marker. Bill got the ultimate gift, as his competitor went all out and went under his dial-in time, giving Bill the unexpected win.
Neither Scott nor Bob were able to get past the first round, as they lost to experienced racers, with both going faster than their dial-ins.
The Gotta Have Builds team quickly got Gotta Have It Race towed back to the pits and started tearing into the rear differential. They knew that the NMRA was going to try to fit the complete event in Saturday night if the rain was going to hold off, but there also was a chance that it was going to start raining any minute. If the rain came and cancelled out the evening, they would have enough time to get Gotta Have It Race repaired and back to the line. Steve, the team's photographer, was sent to the manufacturers midway in search of a differential, as Bill and RK, a CJ Pony Service technician who, luckily, came along for the weekend, opened up the differential to survey the carnage and begin to remove the damaged differential. Unfortunately, the rain held off and the Roush Super Stang class was called back to the lanes 40 minutes after the first round ended. Gotta Have It Race was done for the weekend.
With two members of the team losing and Gotta Have It Race broken down and on the trailer, it was up to Rick and Gotta Have It Street to go some rounds for the Gotta Have Builds Team. Rick's .072 light in the first round was good enough for the 3rd qualifier spot in the second round. Rick got up to the line and cut his best light ever, with a great .013, while his competitor red lit with a .002, giving the win to Rick and Gotta Have It Street. In the 3rd round, Rick cut another good light, with a .040 giving a nice starting advantage versus his competitor's .159 light. Gotta Have It Street ran a 13.10 @ 109.02 MPH, while his competitor broke out with a 12.39 on a 12.45 dial-in. This win put Rick and Gotta Have It Street in the semi-finals and just two wins away from winning the event!
In the semi-final race, Rick and Gotta Have It Street were paired against Al from BMR Suspension, who is also the defending World Champion in the Roush Super Stang Class. Rick knew that, as long as he kept cutting good lights, he would have a decent chance to win. Al was going to be Rick's first competitor who also deep staged. While getting the cars lined up, Al was the first to deep stage and Rick did not get set quite quick enough. As soon as the top bulb turned out to signal that Rick was now deep staged, the tree activated and the yellow lights flashed. Rick wasnt't quite ready and his .408 reaction time showed it. Al's .184 light would have given Rick a good shot at the finals, but, in this case, it gave Al a huge advantage and he cruised to and easy win.
Overall, this is going to be considered a good and productive weekend. Rick and Gotta Have It Street's run to the semifinals is the second in as many events that the Gotta Have Builds team put a car in the semifinals. Bill and Gotta Have It Race ran a new best and their 60 foots are getting down where they should be. Hopefully, Bill and Gotta Have It Race can have a good showing at the NMRA All Ford World Finals in Bowling Green, KY in October, and sneak into the top ten standings for the year.
Nobody wants to have a parts failure, but one of the main purposes for the Gotta Have Builds project cars are to test and use the parts that are sold at CJ Pony Parts. This weekend, the team learned that the Dura Grip differential couldn't quite handle low 1.6 60' times in a 3800 lb. Mustang with Mickey Thompson ET Street Radials and a 3.90 Ring & Pinion Gear Set. The combination just put too much stress on the DuraGrip. Bill has had a lot of success with the Dura Grip in his much lighter 1996 Cobra with shorter 4.56 gears that cuts similarly low 1.6 60' times. The Dura Grip is going back to the manufacturer so they can help determine the reason for the failure.
Over the next few weeks, Gotta Have It Race will be getting a new differential, along with a Ford Racing Boss 302 intake, Ford Racing throttle body and a new tune in preparation for the 5.0 Shootout at the Maryland International Raceway on September 24th.