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2005 Super Chevy Denver, August 19-21. I didn?t go to the Friday extra-entry-fee time trials, had to work. Showed up Saturday, first thing I did was run out of gas getting up to the gate (but I had 5 gal with me). Two time trials and then a ?Bonus? jackpot race if you wanted to spend another $35. I have never gotten more than a round or two in these things, certainly never close to the money, but being a glutton for punishment, I put my $35 down. They separate the box and non-box cars for the first few rounds to give us poor footbrakers a chance, 210 cars total entered. My 1st round was an easy win, .2-sec advantage at the tree. Then half-way through the box class, it started to rain and they called it a day. They?d pick it up Sunday.

Sunday morning no TT's, I?m entered in the DOT class (mufflers & DOT tires required, no boxes or tranny brakes allowed). We run first; I have another .2-sec advantage at the tree, another easy win. 2nd round is called, I?m paired with a 11.6 sec 2nd gen Camaro, I see the last yellow, take off and my first thought was ?I took too much light,? then my red light came on: -0.018. Grrrr. Oh, well, he had a .001 sec RT behind me. But, I?m still in the Bonus Race running.

After the nitro coupes, jet cars, and wheel-standers, they finally call us for the 2nd round of Bonus. I?m fed two 11- and one 12-second cars, and manage to come out on top. 4th round was my worst light in competition (other than the red, of course), 0.057 (how apropos) but the other guy bulbs and I move on. 5th round I get pulled over to the left lane because everybody was in the right, I cut a .005 light and take another win light. In that round, the wind shifted from a weak cross-head wind to a strong tail wind with cooler temp, so a lot of people broke out (the .050 advantage I had off the line helped keep me from that). They put us with the box cars and laddered the next round, based on 5th round RT ? 7 cars left; I get the bye into the semis based on best 5th round RT. I go ahead and run it, 13.731 @ 98.55 MPH, the quickest and fastest it?s run at altitude (but wind-assisted).

Semis, I?m paired with a mid-10-sec Chevelle who has been tearing up the track; no box, but he entered the Bracket I race and went rounds in it against the box cars, and took out a box car in the Bonus Race quarter final. We do the lane choice thing, he wants right, I give it to him. Roll down, check the wind, dial .001 slower than my bye run because I also had to add gas again and I didn?t want to dial quicker than it could run if the wind died down. They got my dial-in wrong, we sit after our burn-out waiting for them to correct it, stage, and I take off. He?s not catching up; I brake in the traps, run .002-over and get the win light. He treed me .010 to .051, but could only run a 10.50 on his 10.43 dial. I?m in the finals against an 8-sec delay box rail ? the first time I remember running a rail, certainly a car with a box.

After a brief cool-down, he wants right lane, I give it to him. I dial 13.72, 0.01 slower than I figured I would have run in the semis, not knowing what the wind was doing and what the car would do in this round-robin situation. He dials 8.78, enters the data in his box (he?s using cross-talk), we do our burn-outs and stage. I take off. I?m almost half-track before he takes off. 1000?, he?s barely to half track. I keep watching him in my right side mirror, I can still see him a ways back at the traps - I brake, go across the stripe, my win light doesn?t come on. I figured I broke out because I didn?t see him beside me until after I crossed the line.

Get the timeslip, here?s what it said:
He ran an 8.80 on his 8.78 dial.
I ran a 13.80 on my 13.72 dial.
He took 0.03 stripe (that?s about 4 feet; he was doing 153 mph to my 90.25).
I figure I would have run a 13.73 if I had run it out.
The real kicker: His RT, .047, my RT, .014.

Rats! $750 less payout because I couldn?t keep my stupid foot off the brake...

Still, my best outing at Bandimere in a couple of years. Too bad it wasn't an ET Finals-qualifying series.
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