Fast Is Never Fast Enough: How I Went From 4.80 to 4.50 Overnight
Dragsters are a lot of maintenance. We’re always changing, fixing, or tinkering with something. We spend hours in the race shop each year, which is one of my favorite pastimes. A few months ago, my dad and I were in the shop just shooting the breeze and changing the oil. My dad, not very indecisive and a bit compulsive spurts out, “how do we go faster?”, to which I replied, “Easy, you just have to put in a new motor.” We both giggled as I used a Grime Boss cloth to wipe my hands off. Changing the subject, I started talking about our next race which was only 7 days away at the time. I could tell my dad had his mind on something else and wasn’t focusing on what I was saying. My dad, who we named “Zecutive”, (short for Executive), of Watson Racing, gives me a giant smirk and says, “How long do you think it would take to have a motor built?” I looked at him a bit confused and told him that it would probably take a month or two. He was extremely disappointed with the estimated time frame I had given him and walked away looking defeated. So being the good son that I am, and of course, taking advantage of the opportunity that was in front of me, I gave PAR Racing Engines a call the very next day. After a few minutes on the phone, PAR told me they could have it ready in just 5 days… and at that exact moment, I realized I had a busy week ahead of me.
My day job is managing my dad's print shop, so between racing and working, we see a lot of each other. I walk into my dad’s office and trying to contain my excitement, I sit down in the chair in front of his desk. “What’s up?” he asks. I reply, “Well, boss, we’ve got a new motor. Can you pick it up Friday?” And of course, he was happy to oblige. Friday rolls around and he wakes up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to pick up the new motor. A “turn and burn” is what we like to call these types of trips in the south. 5 hours to Spartanburg, SC, and another 5 hours home to Columbus, GA, the new motor was sitting in our shop just 5 days after our original conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, he’s far from indecisive, and that’s putting it mildly. Tiff and I are waiting “patiently” in the shop when my dad pulls in hot around 6. And this is where the fun began…
Remember when I mentioned that our race was in 7 days? Well, that was 6 days ago. Now, we had less than 24 hours until time trials started. So, of course, as most sane people would do, we waited until after the race to put in the new motor and we used the old motor for the race the next day... right? Wrong. Instead, we thought it’d be a good idea to take out the old motor and put the new one in. Most of you know this is not an easy feat, and you always run into something that isn’t just right. In our case, the 12v system wouldn’t start the car. But never fret, we had a buddy that had a 16v battery for us to try, and this turned the motor over like a champ. So, 7 hours and a few choice words later, Tiff and I headed home and set our alarms to wake up to head to the track. Luckily, Silver Dollar Motorsports Park is only 45 minutes from our house, so after a cup of coffee, we loaded the racecar into the trailer, and we were off to the races. This time, going much faster, and I’ve got to say, the adrenaline rush was well worth the lack of sleep. Life sure is better in the fast lane.Logan Watson