Hello again everyone. I’m writing this NHRA.com blog entry as Don and I head north on I-65 heading back to Chicago from Indy. We spent the afternoon at Riley Hospital for Children,where we had a wonderful announcement this afternoon.
We joined Terry Chandler, TJ, folks from Riley Hospital for Children, and our DSR staff to announce the #RileyDreamRacer program for the U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway. Tommy Johnson Jr. will pilot the Riley Red Wagon Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at Indy this year and we couldn’t be more excited.
Riley Hospital is Indiana’s only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children and has provided care and support to children and families since 1924. For more info on Riley, visit www.rileykids.org.
DSR will host our ninth annual Open House to benefit Riley Hospital this Aug. 29, the Friday of the U.S. Nationals. To date, we have raised more than $240,000 through the amazing and generous support of the NHRA community. We’re thrilled to top the $250k this year. If you’re coming to the 60th annual U.S. Nationals this year, please visit our shop during the Open House.
It’s been a busy few days following our exciting weekend at Epping. Tuesday morning I flew from Chicago to Southern California to attend Courtney Force’s surprise birthday party. Courtney and I are very good friends even though our families are rivals on the race track. I spent the day with my good friend Alex Medina before we heading to Newport Beach to join Graham Rahal and Court’s family for the big surprise party. We had a blast and I’m so excited I got to attend.
After the party I took a red eye flight to Indy where I landed around 10:30 this morning. Leah Vaughn from our front office picked me up and we made a quick pit stop at the DSR shop before we headed downtown for the Riley announcement. Needless to say, I’m ready for my own bed tonight.
Don and I were supposed to fly home, but our flight from Indy to Chicago O’Hare got cancelled, so we’re driving back to the Windy City in one of the shop trucks. The Midwest has had some crazy weather over the past few days. There were tornadoes not far from the shop yesterday just a few towns south of Brownsburg. Our thoughts and prayers to those affected in the Plainfield twister on Tuesday. Mother Nature can truly be very frightening at times.
OK, let’s go back to last weekend at Epping. Antron Brown and the Matco Tools TF team earned their second pole of the season. That was our third No. 1 qualifier of 2014 for DSR. Coke and Mello Yello now give the No. 1 qualifying teams these cool green No. 1 qualifier hats, so thanks for Coke for recognizing the accomplishment being the car that paces the field at each of the 24 NHRA Mello Yello Series races.
It was a terrific race day for DSR. Epping was race 11 on the season and we finally scored our first double-up for 2014 and our first since Brainerd last August. When Ron Capps knocked off Alexis DeJoria in the Funny Car final and Tony edged Doug Kalitta in the final round, it was DSR nitro double-up No. 39 for our organization and wins No. 228 for DSR. It was very cool because Ron broke a 17-race winless drought and The Sarge is now just one win away from 75.
It certainly would be fitting if Tony won his 75th career Top Fuel race at our home track at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago this weekend. They Army team won the Joliet race last year and we’ll see if they can make history this Sunday afternoon.
I’m going to get back to keeping Don company on our three-hour drove home. I hope you all have a great weekend and I’ll check in again next week before Norwalk. Hopefully, with some more exciting news and winning stories. Oh, and make sure you all check out the cool patriotic paint scheme on Ron’s NAPA Auto Parts car this weekend at Joliet.
Have a great week.