Holiday musings and a little testingMonday, January 06, 2014
Posted by: Michael Ray, Gottspeed Racing Buell

Well first off let me start by saying Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that you all had the chance to see family, friends, and loved ones over the holiday season. I know this year was especially cool for Jennifer and I being able to have our families come and celebrate with us in our new home. I remember Jennifer's father Roland telling me on Thanksgiving, your house, your bird, you cut. I thought to myself I better not screw up this turkey because it was the only one we had. But all in all it worked out, we all ate good and watched some football. Then for Christmas my mother and father came over so that we could do a little Christmas brunch then it was off to Del Rio to see Jennifer's family. The shop was closed the 24th and the 25th so we did my family Christmas Eve morning then peeled out for Jennifer's family. This year was pretty special for Jenn being able to stay Christmas Eve night and experience Christmas morning with her family. With them living a few hours away and our limited holiday time off we usually have to come flying in to town, stay for a few hours and peel right on out again.

This year when we were opening gifts it was really funny. I only asked for socks, a coffee maker, and Home Depot gift cards. So when I was opening presents to find these gifts I was like a little kid again! I mean come on, who doesn't need something from the Home Depot? I really wanted them so I could get some paint and finish painting the inside of my house, but I already burned them babies up too! I got some paint that I like and started a bathroom, but I really used them on myself for my mancave. I completely finished the mancave, building shelves and what not so that I would be ready for playoff season. As most of you know I am Baltimore Ravens fan and have been for quite some time. I always get the weird look being in south Texas when I roll around with my Ravens jersey on but who cares right! Last year was a great year for them but like most teams right now spent all their money on their QB and we just had to let go of too many good players to keep him, the 49ers being the biggest beneficiary to the trades, but that's hearsay. They missed the playoffs so the mancave will have to wait another year before we host a home Super Bowl party for the Ravens. Then yesterday the Packers went down at home! But I still got good ol' Tom Brady and the Patriots to root on so there is a chance a favored team of mine will go all the way. The shop has been doing pretty good the past few weeks since winter time and the holidays have come through. The weather around here has been a little crazy for this time of year around here, pretty wet and cold for right now so naturally everything has been a little slow around here. All in all it's been actually nice since we had such a killer year to be able to close down the year right, get all the paperwork ready for that ol' guy Uncle Sam and recharge for when the weather breaks and we go crazy again.

Back in the middle of December Rugger and I had the privilege to fly to Americus and spend some time at the shop. This was really cool for him because he has never been to the shop and seen how everything works day-to-day from that standpoint. With me having worked there and lived in Americus it was just like being back home for me. Plus he had the chance to meet the team that's responsible for all the success that we have at the track every day. It was really unfortunate the night we flew in our flight was delayed about an hour and a half getting in because we were late for the annual Star Racing Christmas dinner with all the family there. We came rolling in late as usual so we got to spend some time with a few of the guys and their families but most of them had roll to get home so we had a few drinks and left. The next morning is when we went to the shop for a few hours, I showed Rugger around the awesome mega city that is Americus, Georgia, then it was south to go testing.

I know you remember George talking about getting a Suzuki going again and trying to make that thing fast again, well the monster has been built! Ken really did an awesome job building this bike and making everything fit how he wanted and some of the little things that they did to the body and chassis make this bike really cool. We tried to get it down the track a couple of times with no real numbers on the board that we wanted to see because of a bad tire that wouldn't stop spinning, but we accomplished a lot in my eyes. We built a brand new bike that goes straight, it shifts, and most importantly it stops. So even though we didn't set the world on fire it wasn't a bad attempt at a Suzuki for the team, after all it's been 10 years since they ran a Suzuki in NHRA.

Another reason we went down and tested was needed to make sure that we fixed our problems we found with the Buell program. The last half of the season we really couldn't find any consistency with our engines, they would run great for about 3-5 runs then be just dead slow for no reason and the 3-5 runs it would make weren't stellar. The numbers on the computer showed everything really fast, but they didn't translate over to the time slips and the run sheets. So when we got back from Pomona these guys went to work and found quite a bit of things we needed to fix. So when we went testing, Chaz rode the Buell and made several consistent runs that were fast. The big thing we wanted to see was consistency, the elapsed time was nice to see be fast, but we needed to see it happen all day instead of once or twice. We got wrapped up for the day said our goodbyes then Rugger and I were out of there to get back home for a few weeks. I will go back down at the end of this month and run the Suzuki again, hopefully now we will have the tire problem fixed and the new motor combination that NHRA is going to allow us to run. They (NHRA) really did a good job this year with helping the Suzukis, they have always been behind the curve since the Buell came along and really changed the dynamic of the class so this year should be exciting.

You guys please remember to bring in your animals this time of year! I don't care what it is, a dog, cat, or a giraffe, no one likes being cold so neither do they. Bring em in and give em a blanket.