I was pretty confident that we would run somewhere around the 14.5s we had been posting all day and when I lined up next to Doug I just said to myself don’t blow the tree.. I calmed myself as we settled into the waterbox and I turned on the locker.. I engaged the momentary switch and slipped the car into low.. the difference in the burnout was obvious from the first qualifying run, the wheels spun into life immediately and there was no shove as the brakes loaded up and the car lurched forward into the tyrespin, instead there was a crisp ZZZzzzz and the tyres broke traction as if they were rolling forward.. I released the momentary switch to disengage the locker and took my foot off the brake pedal, the car would usually lurch forward and stop suddenly with a minor bounce but with the locker fitted the car kind of rolled forward to a stop as if I was braking at a stop sign.. I staged shallow and briefly closed my eyes, telling myself that his light is not my light before opening my eyes and bringing the needle to 1000rpm watched Doug head off in the green Cortina..
I broke the beam with a 0.193 r/t and took off with a sudden realisation that the traction I had been missing so much had returned and I felt like we were going faster than we had all day this could prove to be a problem..
I suddenly realised I was catching Doug awfully quickly, this was when I started to think that I could breakout and toss it all away but I kept my foot into it til I was alongside the Cortina and I gently eased back on the throttle for a period and then got back into it and crossed the line ahead of Doug.. I was sure we’d gone quicker than the previous 14.5s but wasn’t sure I’d gone too fast to break out of my dial in..
14.479 on a 14.48 meant I was eliminated.. but it also meant I was developing feel for the speed of the family car and developing that throttle feathering skill that sees miniscule throttle movements instead of taking your foot off and jamming it back on leading to a smoother run and a more consistent time across all time breaks.. I was a hundredth out with my et and that’s pretty close whether I went faster or slower and I did well to read my speed, engine rpm and throttle position to within a hundredth at the line..
but that didn’t mean I was happy to be eliminated, but hey we were at the Nationals and we would stick about to support Mike who was blazing his usual way into the quarters and semis..