As I sit down to write this blog, I am unsure of a title. There are so many things that have been and are going on. There are two parts of this blog. I wrote right after St. Louis but then it got so crazy trying to get ready for the last two that I got side-tracked from sending it. So grab some popcorn... this is a long one! :)
As most of you know we did not have the weekend we wanted in St. Louis. We lost the first run to the fuel shut off cable. Then we were just trying to get a baseline for Q2... it smoked the tires which we kind of thought that was going to happen. Then we thought we had changed enough for Q3 that it wouldn’t, but we were wrong. So we slowed everything down enough that it would have to make it. Unfortunately the risk you take when you do that is that it’s possible to drop a cylinder because there wasn’t enough load out in the middle. That’s exactly what it did. It dropped a cylinder and then Boom... the body was soaring into the air and all I could think was.... where did that come from? Is he ok? Then I noticed he was still going straight so I figured he was fine.
I know on Terry’s interview he said it could put us out of business and if we were easily discouraged it could have. However, I have never in my entire life met someone like Terry who is so willing to keep trying. He is the most incredible person in the world. So other than trying to get the race car back together we have been crazy busy in the shop. Terry has been working so hard and I am just starting to be able to help him. Then we had another problem pop up... Braiden has been seeing a surgeon about some issues. We decided that we would have his surgery this week. Terry went to see Kailen over the weekend and then flew home all night so that he could be there. Braiden had surgery and is doing well.
So then we move on to Vegas and Pomona. While many people think we failed at both of those races we don’t. In Vegas we missed the first run because we weren’t ready and we weren’t leaving the pit unless it was perfect. Then we went to start the car and while it started it just didn’t sound right. So we found that when we ordered our new cams they gave us a 4 7 swap which changes the firing order. So when we found it we could have made the second run but didn’t want to risk it not being right. So we double check everything and got ready for Saturday. It smoked the tires both runs, but we learned from each run. So then it was onto Pomona... What an exciting race that was for the fans! On the first run it went out and shook, but the one great thing is we finally got it to 60 foot the way we wanted! It was #1 with a .885, then on the second run it was again in the top 5 60-foot times and shook again. With all the changes that had been made, we were needing to keep adjusting the clutch. So finally on the Q3 it made it to half-track and the belt came off. We had great numbers at the 330, again the best we had all year. We ran 2.35 and Alexis ran 2.33 and she went on to run a 4.10. So I would say we are on the right track. On Q4 we thought it was finally going to go, but because of some oilsdowns the air continued to get better and better and Terry was already strapped in the car so he couldn’t make any adjustments. So it went out again with a great 60 foot and then shook... HARD!
That is the end of our season, but next season is looking up. We went to the banquet and had a great time with some great people! Then we headed home. We were only home a few days and we headed to Seattle to see Kailen and that was the best part of my week! I planned a surprise birthday party at Chuck e Cheese (which he loves)... some of his friends from school came! It was a great time. Also while we were there he got to practice on his skateboard, which he was so excited!
We came home and worked for a few weeks, then Terry went and spent 3 more days with Kailen and went to his first Parent Teacher Conference. McKailen is of course doing great in school and we are so proud of him. Then on Wednesday they flew home for Thanksgiving. While he was here we decorated our tree, went to a light show, had family pictures done and then went and saw Santa. He played like a maniac which was great to see. The last night he was here we went bowling! It was the funniest thing i have ever seen! But he tried so hard. Then he tried Chicken wings! Anyone who knows this kid it was a miracle! But he loved them... We had a great time.
Now it’s back to work! Sorry for the delay, and I promise to write more over the off-season! Getting ready for Kailen to come home for Christmas, even though we have him for the first half of Christmas break again it will be fine because he loves being here and we love having him. Have a great week!
SOOOOO....We finally did it! We got married. It has been a long time coming and there have been some hurdles. Since the Norwalk race we have been home working, and it has been crazy! We hired a crew chief, finished our wedding plans, left for two weeks, and then came back in time to go testing!
So we hired Wayne Dupuy as our crew chief. We are very excited! I can’t wait to get to Indy. He has been at the shop for a month, and we went through the car from front to back! Even while we were gone for our wedding, he was there working. We were all a little nervous the first week and were on our best behavior trying to find our places. By the second week, we were all back to ourselves, and it made it more fun. Terry and Wayne have been working hand in hand, and they are really a great team. Our entire team is looking forward to seeing how this goes…
Sorry for the delay... Indy caught me off guard, and I am still trying to catch up. So where was I? Well after we had Wayne at the shop for a week, Terry, Braiden, and I left for Seattle. We went up there early and got our normal visitation time with Kailen. We went to the race, which was fun but it is very hard to be a spectator. We hung out in Alexis’ hospitality and then spent some time with Densham. We handled a lot of business while we were there too... We went both Saturday and Sunday, and by second round, we were ready to go, so we left and enjoyed the next few days just hanging out.
Our wedding photo
The view from our room
Kailen swimming with dolphins
Testing with Wayne
On Thursday we left for Hawaii. I was super nervous about how Terry and the kids were going to do on a 5 and 1/2 hour flight. They all did surprisingly well. So we arrived and so did the rest of my family. We made it to the hotel and decided that we were going to go to the Luau that night. My photographer went with us, and she, of course, took photos everywhere not just at the wedding. So we enjoyed the evening but not without a little excitement. Now that Kailen is losing teeth, we knew there was a very real chance that he may not have teeth for our wedding. Both of his front teeth were loose. While we were at dinner, he decided he was going to pull it out, and I kept telling him and Terry no. I wanted him to have teeth in our pictures. So he stopped before it came out. However, he bit into his corn and out came his tooth! We are now one front tooth down. He then wanted to pull the other one out, but Terry told him to wait until Sunday. On Friday we planned to go to Pearl Harbor, but it was booked, so we decided we would take Densham’s advice and go snorkeling. The whole family went. It was so much fun. Terry had never done it, but he did a great job, and we had a ton of fun and great underwater photos.
Then Saturday was the big day! We decided since we were all on vacation we would only be able to see each other until noon. Now I know it’s usually the whole day, but there was nowhere for us to split up to. So the kids wanted to play in the pool. Terry and the boys had fun... they then went upstairs to get ready, and I went to my parents’ room. My hair and makeup artist showed up along with my great friend Lacy who took all of our photos, which you can go to Facebook and see some of them on either mine or Terry’s page. It was a great day. The kids were perfect, the weather was perfect, and I was marrying my very best friend. So after the ceremony our photographer told us about this place she wanted to take photos. We of course said sure we can do it. Then we got there... it is called the blowhole, and it is this huge hole with cliffs and water and caves. Terry and I climbed down for what felt like forever, but we have the most beautiful photos. I can’t complain.
We then went to dinner with my family, and then my parents took the kids. We had a great next day just the two of us. We are very into Pearl Harbor and old planes and history. On one of our last days we took the kids to Sea Life Park and let them swim with the dolphins. They did such a good job. We want to go back but we think next time it will just be us.
So when we got back to Seattle, Terry stayed to get his other visitation days because we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it back. Braiden and I flew back so that he could see his dad. When Terry finally got home it was “on the gas” to get everything back together so that we could go testing. We went down to Houston and had a productive weekend. After all the rain we got in a couple of laps... then it was on to Indy.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that Indy was going to be sooooooo long! We arrived and set up, went through tech, and thought we were ready. On Q1 we couldn’t get the body to shut. It was so frustrating! So we lost that run. Then it rained, and we weren’t sure what was going to happen. On Q2 and Q3 it left hard but then went up in smoke, and we weren’t sure what was going on. We then thought it was over because Sunday it just rained and rained. They called it on Monday, and then they decided to reopen qualifying. With this happening we had to call our sponsor and see what he wanted to do. He decided that he wanted us to come back. I had to get a rental car and drive home so that I could pick up Braiden. We then drove back for the race.
On Q4 it went down the track, but boy was it slow... I believe it had a 1.020 60 foot, which is crazy. When we got back to the pit we serviced everything and were ready for the last try. On Q5 it left better than Q4, but then it was done. We weren’t sure what exactly happened so we took the valve covers off and you could see on my side of the motor there were two broken rockers. We decided it was best to put it all away and dissect it at home.
We finally made it home and for a couple of days, and we worked like mad people to get it apart and figure out our plan. Then I sent Terry to go see Kailen. It had been more than two weeks, and that’s just too long. He is there right now while I write. He will be back tomorrow morning, and we will work hard to get ready for Dallas. Since it’s in our backyard, we are going. Then we are going to St. Louis. After that we are going to evaluate everything and hopefully attend the last two races.
Now that you are caught up on everything I am going to move on to my next project! Hope everyone is having a great week, and I will try to write again after Dallas. However, I have to help Terry with his On the Run story first.
What a month! It has gone by so fast I can’t honestly say I remember a lot of it. Terry and I spent a week in Seattle with Kailen and did so much fun stuff. He graduated from Kindergarten and he was amazing. He is also losing teeth, so it’s funny to hear him talk. Then we went to the painting place, and he made me a Molly dog.... when we picked it up we also made some stuff for Terry for Father’s Day! We took him to the Wolf Lodge, and he is finally tall enough to ride most of the rides, so we spent the whole day climbing stairs to ride on slides. We also went downtown and got Kailen and Terry measured for their tuxes... I know it’s a beach wedding, but Terry wanted all the boys dressed up so they are... Super cute! When we came home it was crazy. My 10-year high school reunion was that weekend, so I got to see some of my friends from high school. Then we had Braiden back for the weekend so I played with him every second of every day!
Chicago is the biggest race of the year for us, so we were beyond stressed when we knew it was coming. Both of our boys were away for this one, which is probably best even though we missed them so much. We always want to do well but this one more so than any of them. Our sponsor brings out 100 of his employees. We always have a great time. When we arrived on Wednesday we got the pit all set up and called it an early night. We then worked all day trying to be ready for Friday. Thursday night we hosted an autograph signing with many of the hero drivers! I can’t thank Alexis, Jeff Arend, Matt Hagan, Todd Lesenko, Terry McMillen, and Cory Mac for coming to hang out with us. It was great food and company. Our sponsor had just had his second child and we were so glad that he had a happy and healthy baby girl. This week was only going to get better or so we thought.
Friday it was miserably hot. On Q1 we went out and ran 4.36. We were happy with it because it put us towards the back for Q2. We were really hoping to get a low .20, however, as most of you know, Terry hit the wall! I don’t normally worry about him because I know he can handle just about anything. But the wall is an animal all of its own. So we ended up outside of the top 12. Along with the body damage Terry was very sore. So we started to work at once. Luckily for us, we brought the Toyota. It wasn’t ready, but we mounted it in the pits and got everything ready for Saturday. On Q3 it shook, but we kind of expected it. So on Q4 it went out and ran 4.35, not our best but with the weekend we were having we were happy. Unfortunately, Terry set off the fire bottles on accident. He went to grab the brake and the fire bottles went off too, so there was a clean up after our run. So again we are sorry for that But We were in. We faced John Force Round 1. We lost but it was ok. We were so proud of our team for working so hard and getting the car ready to go.
So after the race, both Terry and I got on planes to different places. I came home to get Braiden and Terry went to Seattle to pick up McKailen. They spent a few days there and went on the crazy big ferris wheel, which is kind of amazing since Terry is afraid of heights. It was our first 10-day break with him out of state for this summer. Our second one is next month. They had so much fun... they played all day every day at the track! Our weekend however didn’t go the way we thought. We thought with as tough of a weekend as we had at Chicago that Norwalk would be better. That is far from the truth. We had a fuel leak in Q1, which we were fine with taking it back. We didn’t want to do anything to get us in trouble. So on Q2 it left hard and was going well, but then it started drifting. Terry said he tried and tried to steer it back and he couldn’t get it so he lifted. It ran 4.51. So we got it back to the pit and started servicing it, and we decided we were going to check everything because it didn’t make sense why it wouldn’t steer back. So they took the steering box out and there it was: the worm gear inside had broken. We believe it must have broken the previous race and then the pieces finally moved around enough that it wouldn’t steer properly. Well we looked everywhere for a replacement, however, most teams have changed their steering boxes and don’t use the same as we do, but the we found the Toyota show car. This car had the same box, so we spoke with the people over there, and they let us use theirs, so we fixed it and we were really looking forward to Q3. We knew it was hot and it wasn’t going to be a good day for fuel cars. On Q3 there was a crew mistake and the breather we have for the rear end was left outside of the puke tank where it belongs and it was leaking, so we were shut off for that. When it shut off it backfired... we didn’t think anything of it. We found the leak and fixed it, then we found there was a problem in the clutch cannon so Terry started to work on that. We were ready and towed back up there, however, in the midst of all of this we didn’t start it because we knew it only had a burnout on it. So he goes to start it, and it is idling too high. He shuts it off and knows that we were done for the weekend.
So that is the end of our two week endeavor. There are some really great things that came out of that two race fiasco. First, the announcers and interviewers at Chicago made it sound like because we were a small team that we wouldn’t have the parts and wouldn’t be able to get everything fixed. This in turn didn’t make our sponsor very happy, so he decided he would boost the amount of help we are getting in order to buy new parts. So since the races we have been making deals left and right on new parts. The best part is we are not even going to use this stuff until Indy. The second great thing is that with speaking to some of the other teams and drivers in particular our sponsor is going to make next year our best year yet! We are already making plans for the off-season, including testing, which we have never been able to do! He wants us to be as successful as possible and do it the right way, so I am hoping that we can continue to move forward, which will make next year that much better! I am so excited!
After the races we brought both boys home and we got to hang out with them for almost a week. The trailer didn’t get home until Friday, but that was ok. He stopped off at our chassis builders who finished our new car. So now we have a second car that we are going to start putting together. The future is looking brighter every day.
It really stinks that we had to take McKailen back to Seattle, but we had such a great time. We are planning on attending the Seattle race. Then we are leaving straight from there to go and get married … Hawaii here we come! The stress of planning a wedding has been hard with everything else, but we also were unsure if McKailen was going to get to come. However, it all worked out in our favor, and our family of four will be at the wedding. Kailen is the ring bearer, and he is so excited! It’s going to be a great vacation.
The Western Swing is upon us... so good luck to all the racers running all 3 events.
What a whirlwind... we have finally made it home and thought it was a good time to get started on a blog to keep our fans up to date. So before the Englishtown race many things have been happening. Now that Braiden is 3, he has to spend a long part of the summer with his dad. While I am not against the time I have been very uneasy about how much time it is and how all the changes will affect him. He is such a great kid, and I miss him a ton. So on Wednesday before the race I went and took him to him, and I thought I was going to have a breakdown, but I didn’t cry in front of Braiden, so I thought I was doing well. Thursday morning I left for the race, which turned into an all-day affair to get there. We were going to go see Terry’s oldest son, but because I was late we couldn’t. McKailen is doing really well. He has been losing teeth, which is pretty awesome. He also is almost finished with Kindergarten. I received his class picture, and he is so cute, so I hung it in his room. Next year he will be attending a new school because he moved, and I know he is a little sad about it, but he is such an awesome kid I know he will make friends right away. We are going to see him next week and know it will be a lot of fun. Braiden was home for the weekend and so we made sure to spend every second playing... he is so funny.
So Friday... it always seems like we are behind by one run, so we knew that we weren’t going to be the fast. On Q1 it went out and shook because it was too weak. Then on Q2 it went out and ran a 4.25 the best for our car in the last two seasons. We could see how good the conditions were and knew we were aiming to get our first 4-teen, but we missed. Terry lifted early so it could have been a .23 but it wasn’t. We were so proud of ourselves and our team. We know that every race we are getting better and better. We are being more consistent and getting a grip on this new chassis. Even if we had run a little better we wouldn’t have made the top 12. So we started getting ready for Saturday. On the first run it put a pipe out which slowed it down tremendously. So we were 18, and on the second run of the day there was a crew error therefore we smoked the tires almost immediately. It was so frustrating. When we got back to the pit, we figured it all out, and it made us even more frustrated because according to the computer it was going to be our best run of the weekend. So now it’s back to the shop for the car.
Monday Terry and I stayed and went to NYC. When you live somewhere most of your life you don’t usually do the tourist things, and that is Terry to a T. So I wanted to go to the Empire State Building and Time Square, and, of course, we had to buy so Yankees gear. We had a great day. We finished it off by going back to Hackettstown, NJ, which is where Terry grew up, and we had dinner with his brother and family. It was great to see them.
Now we are back home and working away. The truck arrived last night, so we are unloading today and getting ready to service. Chicago is our next event, and we are really looking forward to doing well there. We will also be hosting an autograph signing at our sponsor’s bar, and we have a lot of great drivers who are going to be attending.
Now onto ESPN... this is a little bit of venting, but it is rather aggravating! So I was so excited when we got home yesterday the first thing I wanted to do was watch the race coverage. So I turn it on, and in Q2 they showed the second pair, which was great because Wilkerson ran such a great number, and we were to follow right behind him so I figured we would get some good footage! NOPE....they skipped right over us and Jeff Arend. Jeff ran a 4.06 and we ran a career best and I can’t believe that they would just skip right over us. Then we move on to Q4 and we are second pair, and we again get skipped right over! Now I know that we are not a big name, but how is it fair that they can just eliminate whoever they feel like. Jeff ran amazing and they cut him out... this may seem petty to some but if I can’t get any television time for my sponsors how am I supposed to make them want to increase the program. I just don’t understand. I mean Dave and Mike and Paul always do such a great job, but they take some of the small teams right out of the equation and that just doesn’t make any sense to me. Well then I am done ranting... :)
Chicago is next for us and we will be hosting an autograph signing in downtown Chicago at our sponsor’s bar. It is an amazing place and I can’t wait. Oh and lastly, on the wedding front invitations are going out this week... so there is no backing out now!! LOL... for him I mean. He is stuck with me!
Hope everyone has a great week in Bristol. While we are not running that race we will be working hard to get ready for the next one.