Wow! What a wild weekend! Our Dote Racing team just got home from the 4-wide race at zMax Dragway. We qualified in the No. 11 spot after only making two qualifying runs. Then we faced a tough group in our first round. Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short, but our team is getting better with every run. We are gathering data and learning a lot. It won’t be long, and we will be running with the best of them.
At this point we just need to make more runs. Most of the other teams have had five races and a lot of testing already this year. This was only our second race. We will continue to work the rust off my driving and crew chief, Doug Kuch, will continue to figure out our new car and all our new parts and pieces. It will be nice when we secure additional funding and can race the full season and test more. In the meantime, we will do our best. We have terrific team owners, smart, hardworking team members, and all the best parts.
In my last blog, I told you about what Doug, Tad, Brandon, Justin, and I do before the rest of our team arrives. Our team owners, Connie Dote, flew in on Thursday with her father in-law Lynn Dote. Connie is the manager for our team. She works really hard at making sure the team is organized and well prepared for all the events. Connie used to be a softball coach so she is also like a coach to us. She’s always very encouraging and gives good advice when she sees that I’m nervous or not happy about my performance. Also she is the eyes and ears for her husband, Mike, who has to stay home back in upstate New York and run their business. His Dad, Lynn, is able to escape for a few days. He mixes our fuel and makes sure everything runs smoothly. I took this picture with him and Doug.
Glenn Camp, our car chief, also flew in on Thursday. He is in charge of blowers, but when he’s not at the track, he works at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. The week before the race he was working 12-hour shifts from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. He arrived Thursday afternoon with no sleep after his twelve hour shift and flight. Then on Sunday after the race, he was back at work that night for another 12 hour shift. That’s dedication.
Our whole team is very dedicated. Besides Glenn, three of our other guys also have full time jobs and use their vacation time to work on our team. Charlie Zellman, who works on the clutch and buckles me in the car, flew in Thursday after a busy week of work where he is a Transportation Engineer with the Maryland State Highway Administration. Steve Moore, clutch assistant, and Chris Cycak, right side engine, drove in on Friday morning and had to be to work bright and early on Monday morning. All in all, these guys are great and I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys.
The fan turnout was awesome at zMax Dragway. I met people who came from Australia, Costa Rica, Aruba, Michigan, Maine, and lots of places to see the 4-Wides in person. It seemed like there were a lot of young people there too which was really cool. I always like for everyone to sign our fan banner. It means a lot to have so much support. We will keep the banners forever.
My boyfriend, Matt Hines, flew to Charlotte for the race even though his team had the weekend off. It was really nice to have him there. He, Connie, and I went to our first ever tweetup at Dave and Busters on Saturday night. A tweetup is where people who communicate on Twitter get together and hang out in person. John Amorosano, @NitroJohn, organized the event. It was nice to finally meet some of the people I’ve been talking to on Twitter. They are all so supportive and encouraging. Other drivers went, and it’s always good to talk with them too since we all get so busy at the track and don’t have much time to hang out. Doug Herbert, Larry Dixon, Blake Alexander, Alexis DeJoria, Terry McMillen, and Andrew and Dina Parise were all there.
Matt and I also had the opportunity to visit the Bruton Smith suite on Sunday and hang out with Kim Heard, her family, and some of our fans. It was awesome to hang out with them and watch 4-wide from that vantage point. It’s so cool to see that much horsepower at the same time. I’m thankful I got to be a part of it.
The next race on the schedule for our Dote Racing team is the Southern Nationals near Atlanta, GA. Doug, Brandon, Tad, and Justin are working hard at the shop. I’ll be counting down the days until it’s time to race again.