November 4, 2006 - Quarter Finals at ATCO
While the team looked
forward to trying another new track,
they also knew this was likely to be the final race
of the season. Neil and Darryl navigated their
way through a relatively urban area of NJ to find
ATCO. The weather was quite cold yet again at
just under 40 degrees as the team fired up the
heaters to get the Jr. motor started. Fuel
availability, paved parking, smooth starting line,
and great track prep all make for a an awesome
dragstrip; however, ATCO gets great marks as they
only track on this year's schedule to have hot water
in the restrooms.
First round of
eliminations would prove to be a difficult loss with
only .0016 margin of victory for Zachary's opponent
who managed a .003 light to Zachary's very
respectable .021. Neil calculated that the
spread at the finish line was just over an inch.
The track offered buy-backs and the team decided to
not end the season on a first round loss...so on to
second round. ATCO implements the buy-back
yet a third way from Numidia and Maple Grove, where
the buy-back group makes a run against one another
and joins the rest of the class in the third
Nothing like a little drama for the next round as
the motor refused to fire due to the cold.
Persistence and a prayer worked out as the motor
started just in time for the burnout. Zachary
managed a win in the buy-back round as his opponent
red lighted with a -.014. In the third round,
Zachary cut a .047 light and ran his first perfect
ET of 10.540 on a 10.54 to take the win. As
dusk started to fall, the tree got brighter and
while Darryl tried to impart the concern to take a
bit off on the tree and prevent a
red-light...Zachary went -.050 red while running a
10.54 on a 10.52 dial.
The team was basically
frozen and headed to Wendy's for a hot hamburger and
chili. We did not get a chance to bench race
with anyone about the Lord this day, but we did start to
lay plans for the 2007 Gospel Motorsports season
with the hopes of reaching more people and getting
our message out in different ways. We also talked
to Eric at EP Motorsports about his engine
combinations for next season which should help to
step up the program.
It has not quite been
said enough how blessed this team has been through
2006 with all the help provided by Neil that enabled
the team to make many more races and to be well
prepared. Nathaniel was a real trooper through
the many long drives and his candor and play kept us
all honest that the competition is for fun.
Zachary was truly given the gift to do well on the
tree and has learned a tremendous amount about
racing and sportsmanship in two seasons.
Mostly, the Lord has been the best team member
anyone could ever have to help us out in our times
of challenge and to remind us that our work is
really about victories in building faith and
fellowship. We were
able to reach out to many people about Gospel
Motorsports in the past two years and hopefully the
Lord was able to use the team as a tool.
October 22, 2006 - Semi Finals at Raceway Park
After a very fun outing
at Cecil County, a limited crew decided to take to
the road and experience a new track in Englishtown,
NJ. Nathaniel, Zachary, and Darryl headed out
at 7AM and traveled their way through the Rutgers
campus to find their way to the track. Through
the ride the team discussed Proverbs 25:25-27 and
why it is not good to seek one's own honor
which is fitting for our racing program.
Raceway Park is not
just a race track, but a complex as they support
both a 1/4
and an 1/8 mile dragstrip, motocross, go-karts and
an airport. It was a crisp but sunny morning
and we found a great place to pit (they are all
pretty good as the entire pit is paved). The
motors are not allowed start until 10AM which gave
the time to review the track and have an 1/8 mile
jog back to the starting line. We also fired
up some breakfast and started having Lego races.
Legos are a great way to learn tuning tricks about the balance of extra bricks in a pull back
chassis, but I digress. During time runs we
met up with the owner of Strike Force Dragsters,
Jeff Morgan, who
had a display of their new chassis designs. He
noticed our shirts and shared that he was once a
chaplain for Racers for Christ. Jeff was
employed by a large defense contractor for 23 years.
During the last 5 years of his employment, Jeff was
required to work 12 to 15 hours a day. With
the increased hours, Jeff had to give up the
chaplaincy with RFC. After much prayer with
the family the Lord opened the opportunity to go
full-time in his own business and enabled him to use
his talents to work in the motorsports industry and
share the Gospel with young adults.
Both Zachary and the
car seemed to be in a groove. The first round
of eliminations, Zachary cut a .059 light and ran 10.759 on 10.72.
In the next round, he managed a .018 light to his
opponent's .075 and ran 10.76 on 10.73 which gave
him a bye in round three where he still had a great
run with a .027 light and a 10.758 on
10.74. Next round would be a tough run against
Evan Medlar who runs the Cheap Thrills II dragster.
From the view at the starting line, Darryl and Evan's dad knew
the finish was close as Zachary's win light came on
with a 10.749 on 10.74 to Evan's 8.926 on 8.92.
The starting line made the difference as Zachary
received a blessing with a .001 light. In the
semi-finals, Zachary managed a reaction time
advantage of .112 to .164
but broke out with a 10.678.
It was a long day for a
school night and also evidenced by the fact that not
a spec of food seemed to be left in the trailer.
The time together was fun as as we were able to get
the Gospel Motorsports car deep into the program and
also to share a subtle witness to others at the
October 21, 2006 - Mid-Atlantic Jr Dragsters + Mom's
The chain was fixed and
the heaters readied for this race. This was
year the team ran at this Cecil County race
and it brought an added feature for which the team
was better prepared. Zachary was blessed in first
round elimination with a .001 reaction, but took too
much stripe with a 10.44 breakout on a 10.47.
Driving the finish line in bracket racing is a tough lesson to learn.
However, this gave the
team extra time to focus on the added feature of the mom's race.
Cecil County provides the moms the option to
exploit the performance in their children's
dragsters in an all-out bracket race. Trish
was psyched by driving the highways leading to
Cecil in the ever-quick minivan. Having only a
trial fit in the dragster weeks earlier, the pedals
were moved and Trish had to do a few contortions to
fit the cockpit. The 5-point
harness was next and while it felt like she could
not move after fitting in the roll cage, pulling the
belts tighter made it feel even more secure.
Right...the helmet...the extra inch above Trish's
head was gone as the helmet was fit on her head.
But wait, were fire jackets required for moms?
Darryl drove to the lanes to confirm that they were.
As Zachary wears a full suit, and Darryl is not
required to have a jacket, Trish was found carefully
fitting into Zachary's suit. Now, back into
helmet on, belts on...time for a test
launch in the pits. Darryl fires up the
engine, and pushes Trish into position. She
had the concept right, and mashed the pedal on the
right which put an incredible look of surprise on
her face, thankfully not too much to prevent her
from hitting the brakes. Trish took another
launch for practice, reviewed the safety equipment
and appeared ready. Zachary took his mother to
task on the practice tree and taught her some of the
finer skills with the Gospel Motorsports dragster's
tricky rollout. Neil gave his daughter a few
words of support and the team headed for the lanes.
On her first run, Trish
cut a .178 light and ran 10.625 at 57mph for a very
respectable first time down the drag strip.
The cars returned to the lanes and refueled.
Trish remained calm and stayed in the
cockpit until first round of eliminations. A
very fast mom lined up next to Trish, running 7.20
and capable of finishing the 1/8th mile at 90mph.
Nothing like a little horsepower intimidation for
that first round. The cars
were ready to stage, but the track official flagged
the 7.20 car and made them dial a 7.90, as faster
would be against NHRA rules, even for a mom.
Trish brought the car up to stage, but must have
been caught up in the moment as her light was
a .593. Her opponent shoed their way to an
over 8 second run while Trish finished with a
breakout 10.57 on a 10.60
at 58.41mph. It was great fun, and she soon
realized how soon the desire builds to try it again.
That wrapped up the day of racing at Cecil and it
was a great family experience. The whole team
was very supportive of Trish's heroics to give
racing a try, especially in a dragster designed for
a much smaller person.
October 15, 2006 - Cecil Warm-Up & Breakage
Zachary and Darryl
headed out alone for this race to get a warm-up for
the following weekend's junior race and to have one
more run with the Nova before the season ended.
This was another cold day (drag racing is supposed
to be a summer time sport isn't it?). It was
so cold in fact that the team could not get the
junior started. The team fired up the
generator and pointed a heater on the junior's
cylinder head to bring the temp up to at least 40
degrees and then it started with just minutes before
the first time run.
Cecil has incredible
air and Zach's car ran very fast as the first pass
was a 10.37 at 61mph. Zachary was quite
pleased with the added speed. Cecil is nice
for juniors as they can drive back to their pit
except that we found the dragster does not clear all
the terrain. The junior hung up on a bit of
turf and caused the RPM to launch to 9300 rpm.
Seemed to startup OK so all was good...until we
go to eliminations. The team heard a noise on the
tow up to eliminations, only to find that the chain
popped off. Darryl popped it back on and it
seemed OK, then realized that the fuel cap was not
on...and they were the third pair ready to run.
Darryl drives back to the pits, no cap...retracing
the steps, he found it in the upper lanes, quickly
screwed it back on to find the chain popped again,
and popped it back on. Car started, did the
burn out...Zachary got the tree .062 to .086, ran
part way down the track and parts came out the back.
The chain decided to break this time and the junior
was done for the day. Zachary said the motor
shut off by itself, which was not a good sign.
The memory tach said the RPM's hit 10,200 and to not
bring misery, Darryl waited until the end of the day
to see if the car would re-fire.
The Nova also ran fast
with a career best 11.45 at 120mph in time runs which
is technically under the legal index for a car
without a rollbar. During eliminations, the
Nova left harder than usual and produced an on the
brakes 10.45 which was a breakout loss.
October 9, 2006 - Beaver Blast
Zachary turned 10,
giving him the opportunity to run faster than 12.90
if he wanted to compete with other 10 year olds, or
he could stay at 12.90 and finish out the year in
his class. Like any drag racer, once the
opportunity for more power and speed exists, there
is no turning back. So Darryl and the crew
worked on stepping up the Raptor motor.
Zachary and Nathaniel took another lesson in
internal combustion engines and swapped the cam for
a .360 lift model, lifters, springs, and dropping to
a .60 head gasket from a .95. We also removed
all the weight, changed the clutch stall to 4500 rpm
and the exhaust and throttle restriction.
Hopes were for a 10.50 run based on information on
various message boards.
The first opportunity
to run this new combination would be the Beaver
Blast at Beaver Springs Dragway, another new track
for the team. The team headed out early
Saturday morning, cheated with the McDonald's
motorsports sandwiches, and arrived at the track
just in time to make first call to time runs.
First time run was a .005 light with an 11.14 ET.
Not exactly where we hoped to be. Some more
tuning brought that down to a 10.94 at 57mph.
First round of the all-run race produced a red-light
as the car was leaving harder with a 2.24 60'
compared to a 2.5.
Beaver is an
interesting place, Beaver Bob (he owns and runs the
place) calls all the parents and kids to the
starting line, and takes a good 30 minutes to
explain race procedures. They also have a
class called TCR (Teen Challenge Racing) where 13-15
year olds race full size cars with an adult
passenger. Rather interesting format and for
those who drove trucks on a farm as a youth to learn
The team was going to
stay around because of the fun format that Beaver
Bob runs. They have pit vehicle races, turtle
races where closest racer with full size car to 20
seconds wins (in the 1/8!). However, it got
really cold really fast, and the team was trying to
thaw by sitting in a running tow vehicle, so we knew
it was time to go. We found a Denny's to get a
really hot meal and found it an easy sleep that
The next morning Darryl
looked for inspiration for a message as it was
Sunday and to the team's knowledge there was no
worship service offered. As we pulled out of
the hotel, we found scripture on a local church's
sign and had a short lesson.
Sunday was the age
group racing, and we decided to change the tune to
find more consistency with a richer mixture.
That brought a 10.72 as the best ET, but
eliminations found the same result with a red light.
It was a tough cold weekend, and the team decided to
head back before the finish.
October 1, 2006 - Toyo Tires Nationals
Two weeks prior, the
team was excited at the prospect of seeing the
drag racers at Maple Grove Raceway.
That race ended up being rained out, and the pros
headed to Texas for the race the following week,
only to return to Pennsylvania to fit in the
nationals. This turned out to be a blessing as
the air was cooler for more records, and also
Grandpop was able to attend with us. We
discussed the scripture from Isaiah 50:10-11 and how
we need to seek light from the Lord (more on that
We got to the track at
about 8AM, headed inside and took a walk through
Nitro Alley. There is nothing quite like the
smell of nitro in the morning. Thousands of
horsepower coming to life and the rap of the
throttle is so powerful and loud, the toughest of
people cannot avoid jumping out of their skin when
the earth shakes.
In addition to watching
the race, we sought other racers that had a display
of faith on their cars. Many run the Racers
For Christ sticker and we managed to see Allen
Johnson, Jim Head and others in the pro ranks that
prominently display that graphic. Prior to the
race, Darryl also did some research on the Mike
Edwards car that is sponsored by Young Life.
Young Life is a Christian camp and club designed to
bring junior high and high school aged children to
the Lord. Mike races and has a program that
for each win he sends another kid to camp.
Other racers have joined in and the NHRA announced
this act of kindness many times when Mike raced.
Mike Edwards qualified 3rd and finished in the semis
which is great in the always tough Pro Stock class.
On the way home, the
Lord took a very circuitous path to lead us to an
amazing meeting. Darryl had almost insisted
that rather than be stuck in traffic for the way
home, we should fire up the grill and cook hot dogs
until the traffic cleared. The boys would have
none of that and being the pushover, Darryl gave in.
We headed to Kentucky Fried Taco or (KF Taco) on 422
and Grandpop had his Gospel Motorsports shirt on.
A man came to ask about the horses, whether they
were the horses in the Bible or those in racing and
we said, both, actually. We spend the next
30-45 minutes discussing Gospel Motorsports and the
Ultimate Sponsor with Marty Mraz. We found out
that Marty had almost gone to Dairy Queen but at the
last minute was lead to KF Taco where he encountered
us. He shared his interest in spreading the
word in his area of interest, antiques. He
mentioned the potential that exists with that group
and trying to reach them. It sounded like an
awesome idea and we affirmed our belief that the
Lord wants us to step out like the apostle Paul and
when given the path from the Lord, express our
faith, witness, and evangelize. This meeting
was such a blessing we exchanged contact information
and wish each other well. Marty was heading
back to upstate New York and hopefully will set out
on a ministry to antique dealers.
September 17, 2006 - Cecil County Dragway
Zachary, Nathaniel, and
Darryl decided to head to Cecil for their point
series ending race. The drive there was an
awesome display of God's beauty with a crisp air and
blue skies. We talked a lot about the prophet
Isaiah and how he foretold of the coming of Christ.
We also had a good discussion about Proverbs
23:13-14 "Do not withhold discipline from a
child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not
die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul
from death." These proved to be heavy
words for 6 and 9 year olds, but what better person
to discuss this with than your father as our Father
has done with us. Hopefully they will obtain
the understanding needed that we all need discipline
to steer us to salvation.
We arrived as the
juniors were lining up in the pits. We quickly
unloaded the car and ran a time run aside of Jake
Knarr from Pray Hard Racing. Jake's father is a
great person who offered us assistance as we moved
through the different phases of juniors.
Zachary ran an off-the-trailer .017 light with a
12.91 with no complaints. First round he
managed a win with a better light. Second
round he was bettered by an .054 to his .094 light.
We stayed around to
watch a few rounds of the "big" cars and went to
talk with a racer of a 1930s Chevrolet sedan that we
had seen years before at Maple Grove. His
brother shared discussion about their racing, and we
found they were farmers from the Lancaster area and
we had a good discussion over the changes in farming
and what led them to switch from dairy to beef.
They also run a 1967 Impala 2-door with a big block
in street trim running low 12's which is a very cool
September 3, 2006 - Maple Grove Raceway
This proved to be a
very unusual day. We had the whole team
together and we were inspired to get Grandpop into
the Nova, so we did. We found our way to the
newly paved area in the pits at Maple Grove, which
after being in the dust at Mason Dixon and lacking
flush toilets (for the most part) we felt like we
were in luxury.
Zachary managed his
best finish ever at Maple Grove all-run events
(where all kids of all ages compete, so Zachary
raced mostly 17 year olds). He cut decent
lights in the first two rounds with a .036 and a
.090 and managed wins as both his opponents
red-lighted, including the eventual 2006 Maple Grove
points champion. In his third round he raced
Sarah Heckman who is quite an awesome racer and a
great person. She has always been very kind to
Zachary and also runs a Racer's For Christ decal on
their car. Zachary managed a .005 light, but
the car was 5 hundredths of a second too quick and
broke out. Sarah ran 7.917 on a 7.90 to win.
Darryl did not fare
well as he again went red in first round of
eliminations with a -.009. Grandpop managed
some decent green lights with a .163 in time runs
followed by a .164 in eliminations. As
Grandpop was new to the car, we found out that the
ride can sometimes be on the ragged edge of control.
We opted to let the Nova shift out on its own,
taking shifting out of the equation for his first
few runs. This combined with the potential of
not enough heat in the tires produced a tremendous
loss of traction at the start, pointing the car to
the other lane. Grandpop recovered in time to
stay in the lane and eased down the end of the
The Lord managed to
keep us all safe an helped us to learn a bit more
about ourselves and things mechanical. It was
fun to hear Grandpop describe his surprise when the
Nova planted him into the seat on the leave.
August 18-20, 2006 - Division 1 Junior Finals
Mason Dixon Raceway
We had looked forward
to this race for much of the season, as it would be
the most attended race for juniors in NHRA Division
1, outside of the Eastern Conference Finals.
We had a 3 hour trek departing Thursday afternoon
heading out towards Carlisle, then south to
Boonsboro, MD. Mason Dixon Dragway is situated
between a few hills and near a family entertainment
center across the street. We found a parking
spot next to fellow Maple Grove racer, Kelli
Witkowski and prepared to tech in. As we had
not weighed the car in some time, we needed to put
it on the scale and found out with driver, we were
at 380 lbs. Quite a hefty setup since last
year, but the weight was needed for most tracks.
The setup was not quite
right for the weather as each run through the
afternoons would bring significantly slower runs.
The crewchief later discovered that we may have been
too rich for these conditions. Nonetheless, we
got one time run on the Thursday afternoon and
prepared for Friday, where we would have another two
time runs. It was hot, humid, and after the
time runs, the crew went back to the hotel to cool
off in the pool, while the crewchief kept a
watchful, but closed eye on our youngest crew member
as she napped. That evening, the track had a
BBQ at the entertainment center across the street,
and all had fun running go karts and participating
in moon bounces.
arrived, and the excitement set in.
Unfortunately, the track's communication was not the
best, so we did not get to attend the Saturday
church service with Pastor Dan and his wife Claire.
in the one time run,
Zachary cut a .064 light, but ran considerably
slower with a 13.22. First round of
eliminations, Zachary was bettered on the tree, but
actually ran closer to the dial to move on to second
round. Second round was a great race where
Zachary got a .016 light to his opponents .011, but
managed to run closer to the dial and onto the third
round. This last run, Zachary faced the Sand
Gator car which is always a tough competitor.
Unfortunately the car's RPMs were down at the line
so by pressing the gas pedal a bit too much, Zachary
went red by -.048. It was a fun time, but it
was hot and we were all quite worn out. We
stayed for a bit to watch other Maple Grove racers,
but then took the long journey home.
August 13, 2006 - Zachary Repeats with a Win in
Junior A at Numidia Dragway
After the great time
last weekend at Numidia, the team decided to return
to participate in their weekly bracket program.
Zachary continued to be blessed with great lights,
while the Nova managed a semi-final finish in Pro
Eliminator after re-entering through the buy-back
This race, we missed
Neil as he had prior commitments at Shepherd of the
Hills running the sound board. Thankfully,
Trish and Rachael were able to attend and the family
took advantage of having everyone together for a
Sunday two-hour ride in the tow rig and had a
discussion about Paul's teachings in Romans and how
he taught that Jesus opened the door to the Gentiles
(us) for God's grace and salvation. We also
talked about the many differences in various
denominations and to use the Bible and prayer as a
method to gauge what God intends for us and to tell
right from wrong. While the dinner table is
great for conversations of this type, the team
responded with questions and participation that was
a joy for all on the ride. After the chat the
team cruised with a bit of Third Day's Offerings II
CD until we got to Numidia.
While we figured we
would have plenty of time with junior time runs
starting at 10AM, we found they were already in the
lanes as we pulled through the gate. We
hustled to get the junior through tech and went
right into the lanes. We just made it for the
qualifying round and Zachary cut a .012 light with a
12.81, just a bit quick, but a great light.
Rather than work with weight, we adjusted the
throttle stop from 720 to a 650 and slowed the car
to a 13.28 (too much for Zachary's liking and we
adjusted to 700 for first round of eliminations and
decided to dial a 12.90 first round. Zachary
was slightly slower on the tree with a .071 to his
opponents .048, but managed to run a better number
and win with a 12.95 compared to his opponents 9.04
on an 8.96. Next round Zachary cut a .005
light and ran 13.06 on a 12.90 dial-in good for
another win and a bye to the final. In the
final, Zachary cut a great .029 light, ran a 13.25
on his 13.02 dial and took the win for the class.
The junior program at Numidia finishes with a King
of the Hill race where the racer of Junior A faces
Junior B. The winner of Junior B was fellow
Maple Grove racer, Eric Peterka who shared some very
encouraging words for our young driver and upstart
crew. Prior to the race, Zachary decided to
dial down to a 13.20, and since we figured we were
slower than that last round, Darryl decided to
change the throttle stop to a 710. Zachary did
great with a .010 light on the tree, but broke out
with a 13.16 on the 13.20, so the crewchief
deservingly got the blame for that loss.
Darryl drew Vinnie
Dimino in the first round of Pro and cut nearly
identical .050 lights but Darryl gave the race back
at the finish running 11.742 on an 11.73 dial to
lose the first round. After the junior program
finished, Darryl decided to re-enter in the buy back
round and rushed to just get back to the lanes,
strapped on the helmet, did the burnout, staged,
staged deep and then bumped in too deep.
Rather than red light, he waited until green on the
hopes that the opponent would err and when the win
light came on in the Nova's lane, the slip revealed
a red light by the opponent. In the fourth and
quarter final round Darryl faced Tom Harhart who was
running his 1962 Impala instead of the twin to the
Nova. Always a tough competitor, Tom left
first with Darryl in chase. In a double
breakout race, Darryl managed a win with an .022
light to .066, running 11.716 on an 11.73 for a
narrow .030 margin at the finish. In
semi-final round, Darryl took it a little too easy
on the tree with an .085 light to his opponents .022
ran an 11.715 on an 11.71, but lost by .029.
The team was once again
blessed by a great time of sharing in the scripture
and fellowship with one another as well as a victory
and accomplishments for Gospel Motorsports.
August 5-6, 2006 - Junior Northeast PA Nationals
Zachary Wins the 8-9 Year Old Class!
the first Northeast PA Nationals and put on a great
weekend for all in attendance. With the Outlaw
330 race, the turnout was amazing, drawing racers
from Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and Ontario!
Racing started with a test and tune on Friday.
The Gospel Motorsports team arrived early Saturday to get
into the index program then stayed overnight for the
following day's bracket race.
On the first call to
the staging lanes Saturday, the team discovered that the
12.90 index race would be run on a .500 pro tree
which was a first for Zachary. Add to this
that we had never raced on an index before and we
were all in for something new. Zach responded
well with many lights in the low .100s. The
first run was a 13.29 which would last long in a
index, so the team dropped 16 lbs on the car
and which brought it to a 12.92 in the next pass. In
first round of eliminations Zachary took a .124 to
.406 advantage at the starting line (pro trees are
tough) and learned to drive the top end to a 13.12
win over the opponent's 13.03. Next round,
Zachary faced Wesley Mayfield from Georgia where
Wesley took a .097 to .146 starting line advantage
and got the win with a 12.97 to 12.98 at the finish.
That night we enjoyed the cookout put on by the
track as the sun began to set on one of the most
picturesque tracks in the Northeast division.
While originally the team planned to camp that night
at the track, they thought the better of it and left
in search of a hotel. After traveling from
Bloomsburg to Danville and stopping at 6 different
hotels with in search of an available room, the team finally found a
spot at the Key Motor Lodge which served the purpose
and saved 1.5 hours of sleep in the morning as it
was only about 20 minutes from the track.
We arrived at the track
a few minutes before 8 AM, and started to setup and
prepare for the Racers For Christ service at 8:15.
Pastor Dan and Claire were there to provide the
message on a morning that definitely was created by God's
hand. We sat on the
grandstands overlooking the valley in the early
morning. The message was from Ephesians 6:1
and Pastor Dan communicated the lesson with the tale of a
monkey and his quest to see himself in the river to
feel good about himself, to the disobedience of his
mother who warned him of the crocodile. Sure
as the scripture, the monkey became crocodile food.
The story served well as we were able to discuss
with the team the methods that people find ways to
feel good with pride, drugs, and many other things
that God does not want us to have at the fear we may
fall prey to something that could harm us.
Neil started to prepare
the Gospel Motorsports sandwiches, only to be called
to the lanes just as they were put on the grill.
Nate had gotten quite good at checking the air in
the slicks, putting on the clutch belt, and pushing
Zach through the staging lanes that he earned the
role for the whole of the day. In Zach's first run, he staged deep, and with the permission of the
starter, was pulled back to
re-stage. He set
the pre-stage, stage, then took off with a hard
launch as we all stared in amazement as Zachary
clicked off his first perfect .000 reaction time.
Even Zach shared his surprise as he could see the
time on the lights while he finished his run at 12.771.
Next run we added 8lbs, came to the lanes hoping the
first time run was the qualifier as it would give us the bye-run with the odd car count. However,
the announcer just broadcast that the upcoming
second run would be the qualifier. Zachary
lined up and clicked off an .042 reaction time with
a 12.882. This proved to be good enough for #1
qualifier and a well-earned bye in the first round.
In the bye-run, Zachary would get his worst light of
the day with a .080 and a 12.896. In second
round, Zachary faced Josh Kelley who Zachary had
lost to twice last year, both in semi final rounds.
This semi was different as Zach took a narrow .066
to .086 advantage at the tree and ran a 12.96 on his
12.90 to Josh's 12.99 on his 12.94 for a .010 margin
of victory, a trip to the final and a rematch of
yesterday's race against Wesley Mayfield.
In preparation for the
final I had a great conversation with Wesley's crew
chief who shared that he liked the scripture on
Zach's car. Both cars were running Racers for
Christ stickers and we gave each other a knowing
smile, recognizing each other's faith in the Lord.
Zachary was dialed at 12.93 to Wesley's 12.90.
Zach left first followed closely by Wesley, the race seemed
to last forever (at least for me) and I kept
focusing on the finish line to see Zachary's
win light come on in a double breakout race. Zachary had
a great .022 light and ran 12.911 to Wesley's .121
light and 12.852. We were blessed.
While different than
baseball, we found that this weekend was truly a
team sport and we enjoyed great conversation and
discussion over steaks and peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches (only at the racetrack). Zachary,
deservingly wanted to pickup his trophy and bonus
and found out that the trophy for the win is as tall
as Nate. We also received positive feedback
from the bonus sponsor
who shared that he is glad to
write the bonus to our team and subtly pointed to
the name on the shirts. His wife had attended
the RFC service that morning and he said they would
be adding the RFC decals to their cars after today's
service. We stayed a bit longer to get photos
in the winner's circle and to see Jimmy Fizz take
his second event win of the weekend in the 10-12 age group, encore to the win in the 8.90
index on Saturday. The kids did not fall
asleep for this trip home from Numidia as we headed
out for an ice cream celebration when we got home
with the other team members.
July 30, 2006 - Bally Lions Club Car Show
For a change of pace,
the Gospel Motorsports team decided to take a hiatus
from racing and attend a car show with both the Nova
and the Jr. Dragster on display. This year
the Bally Lions club featured 1958-1973 automobiles, so the Nova fit
right in. We made a bit of a noisy entrance as
the Nova is without exhaust but Zachary and
Nathaniel kept the Junior quiet as they pushed it
into position in the show.
It was a warm day, but
the turnout was good and we got to see many friends
from the past including a prior owner of the Nova,
and the person that sold me the entire front end
after the accident my senior year in high school. In addition, many
of the Moser relation takes an active role in the
Bally Lions club and they were on hand both in the
show and tending to the events and stands.
It was great to see the
restored 1957 Chevrolet of Steve Moser and Roger
Moser's 1970 396
SS Chevelle, both of them making this a family event. An 8 second
nitrous small block Camaro was also on hand at the
A fun event at the show
was cow chip bingo that starred Blackie, a
Holstein from Travis Moser's farm. Knowledge is king as we learned through that event
that cows may go to the bathroom an average of 12
times per day. Blackie was a bit shy but
managed to drop the chips on square 340. I am
guessing she was a Chrysler fan.
July 22-23, 2006 - Super Chevy Weekend
Super Chevy Weekend
serves as the anniversary where the Gospel
Motorsports team members first encountered the
Racers For Christ ministry and appropriately try to
return each year. They also have a great car
show and a race program that appears to be second
only to the NHRA national events in attendance of
racers. 2006 was no exception and Maple Grove
Raceway put on an excellent program albeit with the
threat of thunder showers early in the weekend.
The team was minus Neil
who had other commitments for the weekend so the
Avalanche would not be racing like the 2005 SC
weekend. They also decided to forgo the Friday
test and tune and arrived Saturday where each racer
gets one time run and one round of eliminations and
that is all that time will allow due to the high car
count. The weather was all over the map and so
was the Nova's ET. An 11.92 in the time run,
lead to a near guess in first round of eliminations
at an 11.86. First round for the Nova was run
at 6:22 PM for the Bracket II class and a .033 to
.074 reaction advantage and an 11.861 on the 11.86
dial-in brought a round one win and just enough time
to depart before the skies opened up.
Sunday started with the
Racers For Christ service at 8:30 where Pastor Dan
Laterza and his wife Claire shared the message and
singing was lead by Pastor Greg Whedbee. There
was a good turnout for the early service and the
team members collected a few RFC monthly newsletters
to take to the following week's car show in Bally,
Round 2 of racing found
the Nova against a 10 second Malibu. The Nova
left hard and pulled a .005 red light, and ran just
under the number with an 11.735 on an 11.74 dial-in.
Racing was over for the day, but the team stayed for
the Nitro-Coupe show. I had a chance to speak
with Greg Whedbee who stopped by the trailer as we
were packing up. We had a good discussion and
discovered we had some common acquaintances at
Shepherd of the Hills. Greg also shared that
he attends the NOPI import racing events which is
where much of the more youthful spirit of drag
racing exists which is an awesome place to reach out
to those seeking.
The loss in round 2 may
have been a blessing in a few ways as I was
scheduled to catch the night flight to Seattle and
the kids had reached their limit of the hot weekend.
July 9, 2006 - Cecil County Dragway
It was an early day,
but the the team decided that it was worth the
opportunity to visit another track, have a road
Bible lesson, and practice their racing. The
rig headed for Rising Sun, MD at 6:30AM and after a
discussion about the incredible works
of Elijah and how he taunted the prophets of Baal
with God's incredible miracles, a few team members
caught some much needed sleep and
by 8:30 we were at
the track. Neil cooked up an excellent
breakfast (better if Darryl had not left the sausage
in the freezer at home). The program as Cecil is nice for
the Jr. racers as they complete their program
shortly after noon. Zachary just made first
call for time runs and clicked off a 13.05 followed
by a 12.95, both with very good .0 lights. In
first round of eliminations, he drew a car dialed
9.14. Zachary chose to dial 12.92 and left
first with a great .066 to his opponents .117 light.
The finish was separated by an incredibly close .0085 of a second with
Zachary taking the loss. Tough one to lose,
but it was a great run.
Darryl was then called
for first round of Pro. The car responded well
to the new
and change in carburetor settings with all 60' times
within .02 seconds of one another. There was an
interesting challenge at the track for anyone who
drew Gary Simpers Jr. Iif they beat him first round
they would win a $200 bounty placed by Don Raser.
As Gospel Motorsports is not a regular at this track (evidenced by
Darryl receiving a few choice directions from track
officials by trying to navigate the return roads)
we did not realize how far ahead Gary Simpers was in
the Pro points. While Gary fell first round,
the person placing the bounty on him faced Darryl.
There was a strange
pressure to be extra competitive against this person
who evidenced their competitiveness by the bounty.
The Nova was dialed at 11.64 while Raser's Mustang
was dialed at a quicker 10.54. At the finish
line Darryl took the win by .0197 of a second
running an 11.668 with a .002 to .016 reaction time
advantage. On the next round. This time it
was evident the tasks at hand were finished as
Darryl pulled into the staging lanes, put the car in
park, and felt the shifter get loose. He franticly
tried to removed the console cover to reveal that a
bolt had come loose holding the cable. A quick
assessment, he used a screwdriver to put the car in
park to get the car started, then used the
screwdriver to shift into Drive. He decided to
leave it in Drive as shifting would
be impossible. At the line, the strangeness
got to Darryl as he had a red light of -.020 and
slowed to a 12.26 while his opponent ran a 9.95.
The day was done, but
we all agreed it was fun. The food was great,
we did our best at racing, and on the way home we
drew some interest at a Burger King in Oxford PA where a person
behind the counter asked if he could get a shirt.
This raised the thought that maybe these shirts
could be something that would spread...the Gospel.
July 2, 2006 - Numidia Dragway
It felt like the team
experienced another winter break since our last
racing endeavor, as priorities were given to the
ball and glove as well as commitments to work and
church. However, the time off produced a sweet
return to racing over the holiday weekend as the
team was blessed in many ways.
Our journey started by
surprise as Zachary participated in a baseball
tournament on Saturday and had they one another
game, they would have been contenders on Sunday.
They suffered a difficult loss late Saturday and on
the ride back from the tournament, the Gospel
Motorsports team discussed the possibilities of
racing at the Jr. Drag Racing Challenge event at
Numidia. As the race schedule was
contemplated, it was decided to leave the Nova in
the garage as we would be minus a team member with
Neil on sound board duty at Shepherd of the Hills.
On Sunday morning the three remaining members
dressed in team shirts and took the Jr through the
winding hills to Numidia, arriving just after 10AM
to get through tech and ready for the first time
Zachary proved to be
consistent on the tree and with the car running
13.24, 13.14, and 13.12 in time runs. As they
prepared for first round, a light rain began to
fall, forcing us back to the trailer once, only to
provide us enough time for a quick lunch. This
was our first blessing as the nourishment definitely
helped the team's energy in the rain. On the
return to the staging lanes, a person began to look
around at the car, and started a conversation about
the graphics. He first asked Darryl if he was
a preacher, who confirmed he was not, but a fan. The
gentleman's name was Paul and he had not been to the
track in about 20 years, and had many curious
questions about how the Jr. Dragster worked and a
few more about Gospel Motorsports. We
explained the inspiration that started through
Racers for Christ. While we were talking with
Paul, our jaws dropped to the blacktop as another
person in a Gospel Motorsports t-shirt appeared.
It was Neil, in race attire, ready for first round.
He decided to drive up to meet us and thankfully
Mapquest provided the right directions. Time
for first round and we prepared the car, did our
burnout and pre-staged. The other racer seemed
to have a long routine with burnouts, dry hops, and
finally to stage. Zachary kept his cool and
clicked off a .118 light to his opponents red light
for a first round win. Paul gave his
congratulations as we exchanged a bit about our
beliefs and tried to gauge Paul's interest in
talking about the Lord.
We returned to the
trailer to receive congratulations from Jimmy Fizz's
parents in knocking out one of their competitors in
the points. In round two, we faced a 10 second
car. Both cars left green and it looked close
at the finish line with Zachary taking the win with
a 13.33 on a 13.15 to his opponent's 10.35 on a
10.25. Zachary had cut a better light and was
able to advance to third round which was the
semi-finals, down to three cars. Zachary and
Jimmy Fizz raced and the third person received the
bye run. Zachary cut his best light of the day
with an .079, but it was not enough to take Jimmy's
.045, running an 8.96 on an 8.92 dial.
As we finished our
round, we wanted to stay to root for Jimmy, but the
lightning rolled in which proved to be blessing
number two. We were able to finish our racing
and thankfully, we did not have the Nova as the big
cars race later at Numidia and we would not have
gotten the race in.
Our ride home was an
incredible journey to say the least. As we
made our way out of Ashland, the storm started to
rage with blinding rain and high winds. As we
reached the intersection of 78 and 61 the trees were
bending, but amazingly, Zachary and Nathaniel were
asleep and the trailer was tracking very true
without any sway. We decided to keep rolling
through more blinding rain and as we were at the
intersection of 222 and 73 a loud crack woke
Nathaniel up, he looked around and went back to
sleep. We arrived at Dairy Queen at the end of
our journey and enjoyed a meal and shared our
stories of the drive home with Neil. It was an
incredible ride, race, and opportunity to witness
and we felt the Lord's touch on our achievements
April 1-2, 2006 - Maple Grove Raceway
Although April 1st was
forecast with showers,
Maple Grove managed to get the program in and ended
the weekend with a great day on Sunday.
was the sole Gospel Motorsports racer on Saturday, running in the newly renamed Pro class
formerly known as Heavy Eliminator. The first
runs of the season required a bit of a shakedown as
the engines stumbled on the
first run. Subsequent runs became a bit smoother
car crossed the finish line at 11.60 at 118mph. Darryl made
it through first round on Saturday, only to lose
to an opponent who took a .002 to .092 holeshot to win.
All three of the Gospel
Motorsports racers ran in the program on Sunday with
Zachary in Jr Dragster, Neil in Street, and Darryl
in Pro. The
first time run for Zachary was an excellent .034
reaction time and a 12.94 ET on a 12.90 index.
He was definitely blessed with that run. Neil also bettered his
reaction time with each run he made into first round of eliminations.
For first round of eliminations, Zachary was paired with Kelli Witkowski who has raced in his age class at
divisional events. Kelli took the win when
Zachary fouled with a -.021 red light. Neil
went on to win the first round against a 12.50 Challenger when
he bested the other racer on the tree and smartly raced
the finish line, letting the other
person run under
their dial. Darryl also made it through first round with a very
close .069 to .064 reaction time, but
the other car took too much stripe and ran
under the dial. In round two, Neil broke out by .02 and Darryl
found similar fate, breaking out by .05 seconds.
Darryl made a poor judgment at the finish line after
realizing that he had the reaction times covered
with a .010 to a .091.
Seeing the many friends
was great for the Gospel Motorsports team. It
seemed like a long winter. Zachary and
Nathaniel discussed Jesus' command to "love your
enemy" on the ride there and all were thankful for
the fun and accomplishments the Lord provided these
March 27, 2006 - Maple Grove Raceway
March 27 was spent in near hibernation while we
waited for the rain clouds to clear. After
getting through the gate on opening day at Maple
Grove Raceway, the rain started, just enough to be a
nuisance. Since it was still in the 30's we
took the cars out, close the doors, turned on the
heaters and took in an episode of Dora the Explorer.
By noon, the track called the race and we headed
home, looking forward to the following week.
New Graphics for
In the spirit of spreading the Word,
Gospel Motorsports graphics have been added to the
Jr. Dragster driven by Zachary Moser. The
graphics include a checkered flag that also forms a
cross as well as the scripture from Proverbs 21:31
that inspires the team. Also new for 2006 are
a few required safety features including a third
shutoff for the Jr. Dragster that provides an
instant ground to the spark. Darryl also
required an upgrade this year as the helmet rules
have been updated to retire the old Snell SA90 spec
helmets. How time flies.
News Archives 2005