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Updated 2018 Events...

Winter Rod and Speed Show
Linn County Expo Center
Albany, Oregon Jan 19-20

Woodburn Dragstrip
June 9-10

*Firebird Raceway,
Boise June 15-16

Relay For Life
June 23-24

*Renegade Raceway, Yakima
June 29-30

Western Days,
Independence July 4

* Lost Creek Raceway
Butte Montana
July 6-8

Marion County Fair
Salem July 13-15

Woodburn Dragstrip
Night of Fire Race
July 27-28

Guitars Under the Stars,
Lebanon July 29

Liberty Church Summer Fest
August 11

*Spokane County Raceway
August 17-18

Oregon State Fair
TBA

Woodburn Dragstrip
Sept. 22-23

* Blown Alcohol Thunder Series
More events to be added soon!

 

 

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Thunder in the Pipes
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Don Garlits
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Johnny and The Distractions
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Updated: August 20, 2018 Seeing old dated stories? Refresh your browser!

Adventures Both Good and Bad in Spokane at Season Finale!

I shouldn't be telling you all of this but racing is mechanical and sometimes things don’t go your way when the engine is constantly looking for the weakest link. Especially on a blown alcohol engine! But except for their nitro counterparts and jet cars blown alcohol is the most exciting racing you will see on a dragstrip. The best way to sum up our weekend at the Nitro Summer Nationals in Spokane was that it resembled a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows. But overall, I would have to say it was a “cruel summer” race, the second one we had this year after the very sad state of affairs in Boise, Idaho where nothing seemed to go right.

So, what were the highs in Spokane? For my teammate Russ Cassidy and I, it was the adrenalin we both got trying to get the car ready for the third round while retorquing the valve train, packing the chutes and servicing the car on time before getting called to the line. Another highlight was being part of a special moment by taking a 10 year old boy with bone cancer over to the Warped Speed Jet Car team to meet driver Richard Smith. And in addition to the entire Hare family, who always root for us when we roll into Spokane, Jeremy Hare stepped in when we were short on help and did a great job. We also got some help from Brent Jones and Jeff Cassle, two of my fellow racers. And finally, the Spokane fans that supported our team through kind words and strong t-shirt sales.

What were the lows? On the top of my list was a crew member who never bothered to show up and help us on Saturday and instead used the comp tickets we gave him to watch the races with his wife from the grandstand. After all of this hard work the week before, he just fizzled out without ever saying a word to us. Another low was our air bottle that leaked overnight causing the car not to run on the first pass Saturday.

The best we could get the car to run was a 7.35 at 185 MPH on the second qualifier. Needless to say we never made it to the FINAL FOUR. When we got back to the pits after the second qualifier we noticed three push rods had moved in the valve train. We were advised to torque down the towers which we did. What came next was a financial victory.

I’m not sure where to start other than to say my instincts were right and I made a judgement call that saved our new engine from becoming a boat anchor. In front of a giant crowd, under the lights I did my burnout and as I moved towards the starting line something didn't sound 100 percent right so I had to decide in seconds whether to run it or play it safe. I decided to shut myself down to the surprise of people around the starting line who didn't notice anything was wrong and never attempted to shut me off. We towed the car back to the pits on the "tow of shame" right in front of thousands in the stands and it turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made as we had a loose rocker tower and three loose push rods. Had I made the run it would have been catastrophic.

So we will have to go back to square one and regroup with the blown alcohol thunder series in the books for yet another year. I may have a big announcement soon on a new crew chief. If we can get him on board and we've been talking off and on since Boise, I think things will go back to the way they were prior to this up and down season.

-Rich Bailey

Dragster Gets Back in the Sixes at Woodburn for Rock'n Weekend!

It was a busy weekend for the Capitol race team. First, aside from my 27th anniverary on Friday, July 27th, we made an exhibtion run Saturday night at the Night of Fire Drag Races at Woodburn Dragstrip. It was our first six second run with our new engine as it ran a 6.95 at just 185 MPH. Unfortunately, I heard something and noticed some smoke and got off the throttle or it would have been an even quicker pass.

It turned out I had destroyed a head gasket and an intake gasket on the run. We tore the engine down to check for further damage but there wasn’t any thank goodness. I was just glad i didn't oid down the track as I was real worried at the top end but then we saw Ed Jones coming down the track on two wheels and knew then that everything on the track was okay!


So, with the car tore down, I was thinking it’s 11:30 at night how are we going to make the Guitars under the Stars event on Sunday with the engine all torn apart? Well, without saying anything, everyone went the extra mile and we got it back together (in display mode) finishing at 1 AM so we would not miss our gig in Lebanon the next morning.

The Guitars Under the Stars Music Festival was pretty good as we saw our friends Marv Ross and Doug Fraiser from the rock group Quarterflash who had several top forty songs in the 80’s including the hit “Harden My Heart” that is played heavily on radio to this day. Quarterflash put on a great show for everyone who braved the hot weather! And the sound was perfect. Kudos to the techs they had the sound perfect.

Rich Bailey with Quarterflash Guitarist and song writer Marv Ross

The heat warnings and the local news media fanning the flames all week didn’t help the gate as the turnout was fair at best but we still had quite a few people look at the car. Speaking of "fair", the dragster will be back at the Oregon State Fair in August. Right now, the plan is to do an event next Saturday and then get the car ready for our next race in Spokane on August 27. Special thanks to Keith McCurdy, Dave Morris, Russ Casedy and Dave Wilson for all the help!

 

Capitol Dragster Displayed at Marion County Fair and Car Show

The Capitol Dragster has been on display all week at the Marion County Fair and on Sunday July 16, it was part of the car show also held at the fair. The car drew a lot of attention on Saturday as over 475 people stopped and had interaction with the car. Our friend James brought a clicker and took track. That number was surprising as the display had off and on foot traffic through out the day. Over 30,000 come to the Marion County Fair held at the Oregon State Fairgrounds each year. Sunday's car show is the first one at the fair in over 10 years.


Revved Up Giveaway”— Win $5k in Challenger Parts from AmericanMuscle

PAOLI, Pa. (August3, 2018)—With the recent addition of model year 2008+Challenger parts to AmericanMuscle comes its debut Challenger parts giveaway. The “Revved Up Giveaway” begins on August 3, 2018, where potential entrants canenterdaily for their chance to win a $5,000 Challenger parts shopping spree from AM’s catalog.

This giveaway runs until October 31, 2018, giving entrants exactly 90chances(one per day) to win a huge prize package for their ‘08+ Challenger with their choice of anything from Accessories, to Exhausts, to Wheel and Tire packages.

Entrants can visit https://www.americanmuscle.com/challenger-revved-up-sweepstakes.html daily to fill out the sweepstakes form until October 31, 2018 for their chances to win a grand-prize package worth up to $5,000. Get there soon before this offer turns into a pumpkin! The more entries made, the better the chances;so enter now and enter often! A finalist will be selected for the sweepstakes on or around November 7, 2018.

 

Dragster Makes it to the Final Four in Butte, Montana Over the 4th Weekend

The Capitol Auto Group Racing Team had a very busy 4th of July Weekend. First, we brought the car home for a parade and display in Independence, Oregon. As always, it was a giant hit as I signed over 150 handout cards and there was always people looking at the car. We are very fortunate that the local Chamber of Commerce gives us this space as it’s a very valuable opportunity for us. The car’s popularity and how we present it give the event another feature to occupy people’s time while they are looking around before the fireworks.

The following day we drove most of the night after work to get to big sky country and arrived at Lost Creek Raceway around 3 PM on Friday. We had to repair a spark plug hole that was stripped and once we did that with the help of Brent Jones we made our first run against Dave Newton. Dave had a traction problem and I beat him with a 4.82 at 147 MPH which is not bad for this mile high track located less that an hour from the Continental Divide!

On Saturday, we changed pulleys. We then noticed a crack in the burst panel and changed the pulley back. In the first qualifier, 1 got a single due to the odd number of cars. This time the car ran a 4.77. On the second pass against Brent Jones the car ran quicker as we stopped the clock with a 4.62 and we got into the Final Four where the quickest four cars face off. I had to run Jonsey, who is a three time series champ in the B final. And what a final round it was! We both ran identical 4.64 ET’s but he got the win light with a better reaction time.

Even with the loss I was happy we got our consistency back and the car is now running with the best cars in the field which was a far cry from the start of the season. We have gone from last place all the way to 6th with two more Blown Alcohol Thunder races to go. Special Thanks to Russ Casady, Frank Munz and Richard Huffman

Next up is the Marion County Fair Car Show this weekend!

 

Capitol Dragster Shows Improvement at Renegade Raceway Nitro Nights Race

The Capitol car just before re-baring the engine at Renegade Raceway June 30.

It turned out that we didn't need to push the car down the track at the Nitro Nights Under the Lights race at Renegade Raceway in Yakima. The car ran fine on its own and ended up in the middle of the pack just one car out of the top four. While any racer would prefer being at the top of the pack and nothing less, we have been struggling with the new engine and it finally came around in the first stanza of the round robin affair.

We went to Yakima with a race car that wasn't happy and wasn't getting down the track without problems. Our former crew chief who chose to leave the team before Yakima worked very hard and did a great job making repairs every time a new one popped up and it wasn't his fault that we had so many goblins in the mix dating back to April. It was simply a matter of working all of the bugs out and there were a lot of them. The car had poor oil pressure and a possible transmission problem even up to the time we left for Yakima. But we had a plan after vowing to push the car down the track if we had too!

With the help of Jeff Cassle we re-bearinged the engine just as soon as we arrived on Friday and Brent Sanford who is now back with the team re-torque the heads. There was a leak which we thought may be the result of the head gaskets but since it was fuel we elected to change the intake gaskets instead. Once done, we fired up the car and it still leaked. Then it was discovered that it was leaking from the injector on the hat and the fuel made it's way down to the block. All of that work for nothing of was it? It turned out to be great training for our new crew member Russ Casady. It also made us work as a team which we had not been doing prior to Yakima.

We fired the car again and got much better oil pressure and the leak went bye-bye. The car was now ready. After a pre-race parade that went haywire, (think of the marching band in the movie Animal House that went the wrong way) the team was ready and we took on Brent Jones in round one. Jonsey ran well but we were no slouch either as it posted a 4.59 which was the fifth best time out of the tough ten car field that was in attendance.

When we went back to the pits we were happy to find zero material in the oil filter and we were nearly ready for round two. As the chutes were being packed it was discovered by Brent that we had two stripped out spark plug holes! We did everything possible to fix the problem but we were unable to find any certs anywhere in the pits so we had to forfeit the second round.

While I was disappointed at the time, it was still a much improved outing over the "cruel summer" race we had in Boise just two weeks prior. We entered the Renegade Raceway gates with a car that was not running well and we left with a car that can now contend for a final four appearance. Thanks to Brent Sanford, Russ Casady, Jeff Cassle and Dane Lachelt's team for all of the help this weekend in getting the car race ready...finally!

-Rich Bailey

 

Dragster Displayed at Relay for Life

The Capitol Rocketeer Dragster made an appearance at the Relay For Life cancer event this past Saturday at the Chemawa Indian School track near the Keizer exit. It was a great benefit for the race team to be involved in as we really like to support cancer related events. Cancer survivors and family members of all ages sat in the race car with the oldest being 88 years old! Rich Bailey got a chance to address the crowd about his connection to the disease. The car ended up being displayed from 9 to 5 PM.

We raffled off the driver's seat during a fire up. A girl and her dad walked up and offered 5.00 to sit in the car for the fire up. They were asked if she was a cancer survivor? Her dad said yes not once but twice. We were hoping to raise a little bit more than that but we let her sit in it anyway. Then a few minutes later a guy offered 100.00 for his friend to sit in the car. So, we still got the money we were after for the fundraiser plus we made a young girl’s day!

 

Capitol Racing Welcomes Russ Casady

With the exception of Otis Pettit, the Capitol team has not had much regular help in the crew department this year. And while we didn't have one of our best outings in Boise due to a combination of problems, one of the bright spots was the addition of Russ Casady who did a lot of the driving and towed the car to the line as well as did light pit chores. We have decided to bring Russ on as an official crew member since he did a good job and is willing to help out as often as he can. He is also likable and gets along well with the other teams and the public. Welcome Russ!

Dave Morris also joins Capitol Team
Capitol Racing welcomes Dave Morris. Dave has excellent mechanical skills and is a great asset to the team. He has been working on and off for the last few months.


Tom "The Mongoose" McEwen Passes

Drag Racing as well as the world of pop culture lost the legendary "Mongoose" Tom McEwen who competed and won in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. The goose was not only a great marketer but innovator as well.

Thousands if not millions will remember their orange hot wheel tracks with the mongoose and snake diecast ars that put drag racing on the national map as well as in our lives. He later was the namesake for Mongoose bicycles. If it wasn't for this star power, some of us would have never been luered to the drag strip. May this racing legend live on in our hearts forever.

One of my biggest thrills was interviewing tom McEwen for this website. Head this excellent interview that even got Tom McEwen's stamp of approval.

READ THE MONGOOSE INTERVIEW HERE

 

https://www.americanmuscle.com/mustang-street-strip-mega-sweepstakes.html

 

 

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