Leg 3 of the four-stop 2017 ‘Havoc’ U.S. Tour saw the British altered team travel to US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin Michigan for the Northern Nationals.
The Northern Nationals is a huge weekend bracket race enhanced by an invited ‘pro show’ on the Saturday which comprised quarter-mile top fuel dragsters, nostalgia fuel funny cars, jet dragsters and a field of six classic AA fuel altereds.
The Michigan track is a great facility and quite unlike anything we are used to in the UK. Full concrete quarter mile, permanent high quality stands on three sides and purpose-built tower. Attendance was huge in terms of both racers and spectators and the appetite for autographs and hero cards quite unlike anything we have come across before. With only 3 of us running the car including the driver, we almost had to allocate ‘autograph sessions’ in order to get work completed on the car. But not quite….!
The fuel altereds in attendance consisted of ‘Havoc’, Ron Hope’s ‘Rat Trap’, Randy Bradford’s ‘Fiat’, Dave Hough’s ‘Nanook’, Dave Hilsabeck’s ‘Arizona Thunder’ and a late addition to the field in the form of Troy Martin’s big-winged Martin’s Moonshiner.
We hadn’t run the car since electrical gremlins curtailed events at Bowling Green in June so we were eager to ensure that we were back on track. A busy schedule for the Rat Trap team, responsible for a whole host of things on our behalf on the ground in the U.S., amongst which the important roles of logistics and transportation, meant that they reached the track around lunchtime. We were due to run at 5 so got to work.
All ready and warmed-up with an hour to spare. Called to the lanes and matched against old adversary Rat Trap for the first round. We were the last pairing and had the car set-up with the ‘mudslide’ tune that we thought would get us down most tracks without breaking any records and hopefully too many parts in the process! Put into the right lane by Ron, burnouts completed and inch forward into stage. Tree runs and the car leaves. Dropping cylinders at the start but quickly picking them up. Didn’t see Ron on the pass and went through with a 6.34 at 234.99. PB on the speed was a welcome surprise.
A two-hour turn around until the next pass and we were to run with Vince Generalao in Nanook who had not only run 6.26 (nearly a tenth quicker than us) in the first round but also come off second best after our match race with him in Kentucky. Vince and the Hough team would want revenge, no doubt. With that in mind, and knowing that the next time we would see the car after this weekend would be in Bakersfield for the Hot Rod Reunion where the field would be fast, we took the decision to try and move the car on a little in terms of performance.
Ready at the call, we towed down and took the same lane as before. Cars fired, burnouts completed, into pre-stage and wait. And wait. Neither driver wanted to go in first. Eventually I took Havoc in, Vince quickly followed and the tree ran. Unfortunately, 100’ feet out, the cylinders re-lit and the extra power helped Havoc climb onto it’s, now shorter, wheelie bars. We realised at this point that we had them set too high as the car climbed, turned right and got out of the groove. By the time it came down it was too close to the wall for comfort and Nanook was long gone. They obviously wanted to win badly as ‘death smoke’ at the top end bore evidence of a couple of sacrificed pistons. Congratulations to them and 1-1 for the tour.
That was the end of proceedings for the weekend for Havoc and the car was in good condition for the final round at Bakersfield in a couple of months.
Thanks so much to our tour partners, without whom none of this would be possible. We use your products and are extremely happy with their quality and performance. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.
Tour partners are Geoff Stilwell at Beech Underwriting Agencies, The Hope family and the whole Rat Trap team, Lawrie Gatehouse and the NFAA, Stewart Bassett and U.S. Automotive, Lucas Oil, ARP Fasteners, Goodyear Tires, Motorstate Distributing, the Sherratt family and Tony Thacker and Friends.
See you in October!