Zmax NMCA — Dave’s Report
With the Motorhome and trailer loaded up my wife Deb, son Dallas and daughter Hope; our two Labs and Boston Terrier; and I had a rather uneventful trip to Charlotte, NC. We arrived in a downpour at about 6PM Wednesday, shown the staging area, and given number 6 to enter the track on the next day. Shortly after noon — we were led onto the track and assigned a pit. I assume they expected a much larger crowd than what ultimately showed, as the bigger rigs were crammed in pretty tightly. The generator exhaust was overwhelming in this tight area. Even though this was a combination of NMCA, NMRA, True Street, and a bunch of racers with Hot Rod Magazine — it had a lighter turn out than many of us in the pits expected. I’m sure the light turn out was partially because of the long haul, the heat, and maybe people knowing something we didn’t.
By 4PM we’d set up out pits, unloaded both cars and golf cart, established credentials and teched the cars in. The beer light turned on — however sadly we couldn’t enjoy our pits as the diesel generator of the toter next to us and the gas generator of his refer trailer smoked us out of our pits all weekend.
We were immediately impressed with the size of the pit surface and the huge grandstands — but unimpressed that the closest piece of grass for the dogs was at least a mile away. It wasn’t too bad for us as we have a golf cart to drive the three dogs to a field — but I felt sorry for those who had to walk their dogs there. Many did not and just let their dogs go in the pits.
In NSS, you could have thrown a blanket over the Top four cars before the new “Points Redistribution” program of the NMCA — but their Socialization of Champions Points closed it up. I was in 3rd, 250 behind the leader (Doug Duell) — but 5th through 10th were now all of a sudden within striking range. The new system uses two of the last three races (throw out one) + previous recalculated points from the first four races, plus bonus points for attending more races. It was important to me that I do well.
Friday had one Time Trial. A few things became immediately apparent. The first was that the track sucked for traction. Faster cars in all classed didn’t have any traction — including many of the faster NSS cars and all of the 4-speed NSS cars. NMCA immediately was aware of it as it was what everyone was grumbling about, and I’m sure they tried their very best to crack the whip on the clueless track personnel to make the track better — but they also had the announcers making excuses about how hot it was and how that affects VHT. It was hot — but I’m from Texas and know what you can expect from a hot track. This was a lot more than that. There was virtually no groove, partially from the track being new smooth concrete and green from little racing, and partially from poor prep. The other thing was track personal. They appeared to have as many cops as racers, and they and the other track personal were generally rude and incompetent. There was a mountain of complaints of people being told by the cops not to stand in the stands when cars went by, not to take a beer into the bathroom, and a dozens of other silly rules applied with a very heavy hand. The track personnel also applied a heavy hand with crew in the lanes, and doing a myriad stupid things like watering down the back of a car that had just finished their burnout. There is a thread on the NMCA forum that has some of these complaints. NMCA/zmax completely unhappy (1 2)
Because of all of the spinning in Time Trials, I changed my class from B/FX to C/FX before the first Qualifying pass — for the first time in two years. I figured I’d spin — but I could catch them at the top end. In my first round I drew Gerry Bates for the second time in two races. He was a gentleman. Knowing that I couldn’t hook and hadn’t made one decent pass in four — he gave me lane choice despite his better qualifying position. Class Act! I put a good light on him (.033 vs. his .103 — and after spinning to a horrible 1.69 60′ (giving up 4/10 second over my normal 1.29) — I thought I caught him at the top, but I was .007 short in the package. It was the first time in a year that I hadn’t gone at least 3 rounds in NMCA. Doug Duell (#1) was also out in the first round — but Skip (#4) and the Princess (#2) went a couple of rounds. I think Skip made it to the Quarters and Stephanie to the Semis — where I believe Brian Merrick took her out. The small Fords (Skip, DW, Merrick, Bates, Bud, and Kurt) didn’t appear to have the traction problems of the Mopars. The Final was an all Thunderbolt Final with Brian and DW. Brian got the win in a very close race.
Just because the track wasn’t slippery enough yet for the finals — Zmax made history by having 4 Jet cars go down the track at the same time between the Semi-Final and Final Rounds making sure to apply the proper amount of un-burnt oil on the full length of the track.
I would have called this a terrible week (and it was for me with regards to my personal racing) — had my son Dallas not won NMC (Nostalgia Muscle Car). Andy Warren (Dallas has had to go up against him twice in the last three races) was solidly in first, but between the new points system and getting knocked out of the first round — there is less than one round (100 points) between 1st and 3rd in NMC. Fortunately for Andy — you get to throw out one race — plus Dallas missed Bradenton and will miss out on 100 bonus points. Dallas would have to win another race with Andy getting knocked out in the first round to win.
Speaking of NMC — this site (and the two associated with it) are for both NMC and NSS. In a future post, I’ll explain how NMC drivers can submit their News and updates. Look in the posts above soon.
We leave for Milan, MI this coming Wednesday morning.