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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 round.  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 mile 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 track.

October 21, 2006 - Mid-Atlantic Jr Dragsters + Mom's Race

The chain was fixed and the heaters readied for this race.  This was the second 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 the car, 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 to drive.


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 night.


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 professional 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 later).


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 sleeper.

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 track. 


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.


Saturday morning 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 round. 


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!

Numidia Dragway hosted 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 12.90 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 show. 


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, PA.


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 plugs 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 run.


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 this day.

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.  Darryl 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 until the 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 days.

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 2006!

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


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