Fall Festival

The Black Panther will be making an appearance at the Grace Fellowship Academy Fall Festival on November 2, 2012! There will tons of things for the kids to do including bounce houses, games, etc!

Grace Fellowship Academy
1300 N. Miller Rd.
Buckeye, AZ 85326

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Our First Race

We were bummed that we missed the track day on the 17th due to the NHRA licensing fail, but yesterday made us forget all that. Overall our biggest problem of the day was that we were going too fast, but honestly that’s at least a fun problem to have.

We were able to get one run in before the actual racing started. His very first pass ever down an actual track he ran a 12.0435 in the 1/8th at 51.61 mph! Unfortunately that’s nearly a second faster than we’re supposed to go (He should be running a 12.90 in his class). He also had a little difficulty at the track exit, but after we got it straightened out the EMT that ran the flags at that end of the track talked him and was very nice about explaining what all the flag signals mean and how to properly exit the track.

After seeing our time we immediately set to work further limiting the throttle. We were unsure of how else to add nearly a whole second to his time. We actually moved the throttle stop as much as we could, hoping it would work out.

Unfortunately we only got a single pass before the racing started, so Xavier’s second ever pass was in competition. There were only six Jr Dragsters running, and we were actually the first ones lined up so we were in the first run. Since we knew we were already running too fast, we dialed in at exactly 12.90. Xavier got off another great run, but again we were way too fast. He ran 12.0736 seconds at 51.86 mph! We should have broke out, but the guy we lined up with had mechanical problems and couldn’t actually race, so despite running too fast we moved to the next round. Xavier had officially made round two of his first ever NHRA Jr Drag race!

Again we set to work trying to slow the car. The bolt user to stop the throttle was removed and a new longer one was put in it’s place. People suggested adding weight, but unfortunately we didn’t have any way to do that. Besides, they said we’d need about ten pounds for each tenth of a second and we’re a little unsure how adding 90 pounds to his car will affect it’s handling and stopping distance. To top it all off, Xavier did not want to slow down. He said it felt good and he wanted to go faster! In the end, moving the stop again was all we were able to do, so we lined back up for round two.

The match ups for round two were decided by a draw of cards. Xavier drew an ace as did Christopher Menapace, so they faced off. Christopher was running pretty close to his 7.90 dial in, and we were honestly shooting in the dark. Still, we were having a lot of fun. Xavier had a lot of trouble staging this round. He kept pushing both the gas and brake at the same time, and pushing through the lights. He had to be pulled back twice, but eventually got staged and ran. Unfortunately all the back and forth had messed up the lights and it immediately red-lit Christopher even though it shouldn’t have. Xavier ended up running a 12.2605 at 50.25 mph, which is still roughly seven tenths faster than we should have been going. As he went to exit the track, he wasn’t going to make the turn. Unfortunately he hit both the gas and brake, pushing right into the wall. Christopher was able to run a pass after they reset the lights and ran a 7.95, so that ended our day. I have to say, Christopher was a stand up guy though, coming over and telling Xavier he did a great job, which went a long way toward making him feel better after his minor mishap.

Sucks to see this happen to the car, especially after the new paint job, but at least it's minor and no one was hurt!

All in all, it was a great day of racing and we’re dying to get back out there!

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The Black Panther Lives

We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the new paint job, and let me say that Bad Boy Designs did not let us down! It looks absolutely stunning; from the metallic-flecked blue to the panther to the X for Xavier on the nose. So, without further ado, the Black Panther:

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Licensed NHRA Driver

It’s official! Xavier is a licensed NHRA Jr Drag driver! It wasn’t easy but we finally got the temporary license in hand. His number is 7234.

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Paint Job Update

I hate to temper good news with bad, but this is definitely one of those “we have good news and bad news” things. The bad news (yes, I’m the kind of person that wants the bad news first) is that Moe’s grown son (Moe of Bad Boy Designs is our painter) ended up in the hospital! He wasn’t able to breath and they couldn’t figure out why. He’s stable now and they’re running more tests, but they still don’t know what caused it. I told Moe that family should come first, so the car isn’t completely done being painted yet.

The good news is that we got to stop by and see the progress and it looks amazing!

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NHRA Licensing Fail

I’ve had several conversations with the NHRA Jr Drag licensing people. Xavier turned 8 yesterday and we wanted to race this weekend. They had said this wouldn’t be a problem. All we had to do was send in the paperwork a week early, they would get everything ready, then they would process it on his birthday and E-Mail or fax us a temporary license.

We sent everything in just as we were asked, and I E-Mailed to make sure they got it. I received a call back saying that the lady I had dealt with was “no longer with us” but the new lady assured me she would take care of it. Well, she didn’t. In the hustle of trying to get everything together for the weekend though, I didn’t call until 1pm on Friday. After getting no answer I assumed they were at lunch so I thought I’d wait and try again. As it turns out they leave at 12:30 on Fridays.

Needless to say I’m pretty upset. X doesn’t get to race this weekend, and it’s because of an NHRA administration failure!

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The 8 Year Old Quandary

The NHRA Jr Drag Racing League says that kids can start racing at 8 years old. First let me say that I understand that there has to be a line somewhere, and I’m perfectly fine with it being set where it is. The issue we’ve found though is that my son is pretty competitive, as I think are most kids drawn to drag racing (or racing in general). This means that he wants to start racing immediately after he turns 8, but I want him to have a little time in the car before he races. I want him to have some time with no pressure, no opponent, nothing to distract, so that he can focus on getting familiar with the car and it’s safety equipment.

Basically, I’m a dad.

We got lucky. We have a secret place we can go that has a little over 1/4 mile of unused road on private land. We’ve taken him there quite a few times since we got the car. Started him at a very limited throttle, even let him drive it with me on it to give him tips. The last time we went out he was up to about a 13 second run hitting just over 50 mph. The downside is that it’s hard to get too accurate on the times with a stopwatch, and he still hasn’t really practiced on a tree, but as a dad I feel a lot better.

The question is, how does everyone else do it? Is it normal for a kid to take his very first pass on an actual track with all the pressure of everyone watching and another car lined up?

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A New Helmet and a Sanded Dragster

Yesterday we got Xavier a new helmet. Specifically a Scorpion Exo 400 like this

Today we took it up to Moe at Bad Boy Designs so that he can paint it to match the car. While we were there he took us into the back and let X see the body of his car all sanded down and waiting for paint.

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First Sponsor

Today we met with our first potential sponsor, and I’m happy to announce that the XJRacing Jr. Dragster will be painted by Bad Boy Designs!

It all started when we purchased our car from Hayden Walton who sadly passed away last June. He’d been racing for years and had many friends at the track. Unfortunately, the car still looked exactly as it did when he raced it. As a long time racing family, we understand that racing is all about fun. Having a car go down that track that causes everyone to be sad is simply not acceptable.

Moe Madrid from Bad Boy Designs understood, and more than that he stepped up. Today when we met with him we got to look through some of the amazing work that he has done in the past, but the best part was that Xavier got to really share what he wants his car to look like. One of our good friends, Mike Bullock of Runemaster Studios, is a comic book writer. Xavier loves to read Lions, Tigers, and Bears, one of Mike’s comics. He loved the character of Minerva, a black panther with glowing green eyes. Mike sent us some art to take to the painter for inspiration:

We can’t wait to see what Moe does with the inspiration!

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Breaking 50 MPH

Today we went to the test track again. Xavier ran some really good clean runs. Doug was helping X stage then dropping his hands to start him. I was at the finish line starting a stopwatch when I saw the hand-drop so we could get some rough times. He’s running roughly 13 seconds and the GPS tattletale said he was breaking 50mph for his first time!

Sorry about the shaky video, I was trying to use the tablet but the wind made it impossible to hold it steady.

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