2018


Holiday Greetings

December, 2018

Our 2018 race season ended with everything intact and, although we struggled, we feel it was overall a good one. We spent most of the summer searching for the right tune up and the performance we wanted, but eventually it paid off when we made our fastest and quickest pass ever in this car (see previous posts).

Steve giving the students a lesson in horse power
Steve giving the students a lesson in horse power

Our last race was in October, the NDRL Finals in Bowling Green, KY. The following week, I flew to Tampa, FL, and joined 4000+ other Juice Plus representative at our National Fall conference. When I got back we had on more activity on our schedule for the race car. Before we put the car away for the winter, we took it to Macomb Community College for their Student recruitment event. After that, the care went in the shop for the winter. With the trailer and motorhome parked and winterized, we were ready for our end of year activities.

The first weekend in November we headed to Indianapolis for the NDRL banquet, hanging out with our racer friends and celebrating our class champions. Right after that we left for our annual scuba diving vacation in Bonaire. It was nice to go somewhere warm and relax for a week since winter in Michigan came early this year. We were home for Thanksgiving this year and spent it with Steve’s family in Pentwater, MI.

Enjoying some R & R
Enjoying some R & R
Gearing up for a night dive
Gearing up for a night dive
Ocean view from our balcony
Ocean view from our balcony

We were back in Indianapolis for the PRI (Performance Racing Industry) trade show the first weekend in December, This is a huge event and we do a lot of walking, talking, and shopping at this show. It’s a good opportunity to gather valuable information and connect with important people in the industry

Steve chats with Mark Meza at AJPE and gets talk to Alan Johnson himself
Steve chats with Mark Meza at AJPE and gets talk to Alan Johnson himself

The next weekend we said good bye to our dragster that we’ve owned and raced over the past 25 years. It was sad to see it go, but we knew we wouldn’t be racing it anymore and it seems to be going to good people who seemed excited to have it.

Loading up the dragster to go to its new home
Loading up the dragster to go to its new home

As I put the finishing touches on our Christmas decorations and mail out the last greeting cards, it seems a good time to pause and reflect. It’s been a good year and we have so much to be thankful for; our family and friends who enrich our lives, the sponsors and supporters who help make it possible for us to continue racing, and our fans who encourage us along the way. We are truly grateful for all of you and wish you all a

Merry Christmas


Oct 12-13, 2018

Nostalgia Fall Classics

Beech Bend Raceway Park
Bowling Green, KY

NDRL Race #6 – ET Genie Fall Finals

Our 10 hour drive was uneventful and we arrived at the track late afternoon. We had no trouble finding a place to park and went to work getting our pits set up. There were already a lot of race teams there and many more would be arriving throughout the night. Since there was nothing scheduled until the morning, we had time to relax and treat ourselves to a nice dinner; a nice fresh salad, grilled steaks, smothered in grilled onions and mushrooms.

Picture by Jimmy Buffalo Hall
Picture by Jimmy Buffalo Hall

We usually have extremely hot weather at this track but this time of year it cools off. This weekend it was obvious that the weather was going to be our biggest challenge. Temperatures were unusually low and the forecast was for rain on Sunday, the day eliminations were set to take place. If the forecast didn’t change, no doubt there would be some changes to the schedule.

Day One, Q1

Cars started going down the track at noon on Friday but our qualifying wasn’t scheduled to start until 4:00 pm. If they changed the schedule due to weather, and moved eliminations to Saturday, we might not get all our qualifying passes in. With this in mind, we decided to take advantage of the early afternoon test session. The sun was out but it was cool. The groove on the track was narrow and the car got a little loose on the top end. I stayed in it as long as I could but lifted around the 1000 ft. mark. I ran 6.94 @ 174 mph. It would have been even quicker if I hadn’t lifted so this meant some adjustments were needed to keep it under seven seconds.

It was close to 5:00 pm when they called us to the lanes for our first qualifying run. Temperatures were in the low 60’s and corrected altitude was just under 100ft. To slow the car down a little, Steve and Norm had made changes to the blower pulley and the fuel. I was in the right lane and part way through the run I experienced some vibration, making it hard to see down track, so I lifted a little early again. My time was 7.09 @ 178 mph this time, slower than we wanted. We weren’t sure what was causing the vibration, but as it turned out, this ended up being a good qualifying run since so many others were running in the 6’s. Qualifying runs continued for the rest of the teams until the rain drops starting to fall and they had to call it a day, leaving just 10 cars left in the lanes. They would have to come back and finish in the morning.

Friday Night Festivities

Each year at this event, the NDRL Race teams and their families get together for the Fall Feast to celebrate the end of season. It’s a huge potluck with nearly 200 of us gathering under the pavilion to enjoy food, friends, and live music. It’s a fun time, until the rain came and put a damper on it. Temperatures dropped into the low 40’s and it continued to rain hard all night.

Day 2, Q2 and E1

We woke up Saturday morning to 40° temperatures and, thankfully, no rain. There was still 100% chance of rain for Sunday so a revised schedule had been announced; we would get one more qualifying session in the morning and eliminations would start at noon. It was around 11:00 and it had warmed up to all of 51° degrees and corrected altitude was 69 ft. That’s right, only 69 ft. I took the left lane this time even though we knew it wasn’t the best. It’s always a good idea to run in both lanes during qualifying because you never know where you’ll end up in first round. This time I was able to make a full pass and ran a 6.90 @ 197 mph, just a little too fast. The engine vibration was still there but not as bad on this pass so I was able to finish the run. Now back to the pits to get ready for eliminations.

We only had a couple of hours to get ready for first round. Steve would try another pulley change and hope for the best. I ended up qualifying #4 and would be racing #11 qualifier, veteran racer Preston Davis in his front engine dragster, Southern Pride. Just about everyone in our class is a tough competitor so no matter who I’m racing, I just try to focus on cutting a good light and not breaking out. We were second pair out following the opening ceremony and National Anthem giving me plenty of time to calm my first round jitters. I was ready, too ready I guess, because I red lit by just .003 seconds, giving the race to Preston at the start. Even with a green light start, I’m not sure I could have finished the race. The engine vibration was back and part way down the track it was so bad I couldn’t see to drive. I knew I had already lost the race so I lifted, feeling frustration and disappointment of defeat all at once.

The race was over for us and so was our season. Before we put the car away, we wanted to find the cause of the vibration. It took some time to figure it out but we think we know what happened. The combination of the bigger blower pulley and too much fuel in these conditions resulted in poor combustion. In his attempt to slow the car down in this cold weather, the engine was misfiring. One more lesson learned.

Although we didn’t get past first round today, we’ve had a pretty good season. We changed a lot of things this year and learned a lot. We are getting a handle on this new engine combination which will be helpful when we get back out next year. Thankfully, we didn’t break anything and the annual overhaul this winter should be pretty straight forward.

It’s been a good season, with 10 races, one trophy, several personal bests, including a team record run of 6.60 and 209.75 mph. We have one more event on our schedule, a school visit to Macomb Community College next Tuesday. The Susie Q Funny Car will be on display at the Technology Lab for a student open house. We’ll have a chance to engage with students from many area high schools, hopefully winding them up a bit about education and career opportunities in the automotive industry, punctuated with some noise from this blown alcohol hemi. After that is over, the funny car will be put in the shop for a long winter’s nap.

A big thank you to the Nostalgia Drag Racing League (NDRL) and their sponsors for giving us a great group to race with, and to our friend and promotor, Steve Timoszyk, for inviting us to some really great exhibition races. Thanks to Uncle Earl’s Hand Soap for our website and for supporting our racing effort since the beginning; to Parker’s Hilltop Brewery and Restaurant, our newest sponsor; and to all the other companies (listed on this page) that give us quality parts and support. A big thanks to Norm, our crew man, we couldn’t do this without you. Last but not least, to the many fans that come to the track to watch us run. Thank you for following us and stay tuned for more adventures coming next year.

Steve & Susie Q

More on the Nostalgia Fall Classic

Pictures from the Pits

Steve, doing what he loves, giving kids and their parents a lesson in the physics.
Steve, doing what he loves, giving kids and their parents a lesson in the physics.
This was the first race Robyn had ever attended. She wasn't too sure about it, until Steve talked her into climbing into the driver's seat of our funny car. Now look at that beautiful smile.
This was the first race Robyn had ever attended. She wasn’t too sure about it, until Steve talked her into climbing into the driver’s seat of our funny car. Now look at that beautiful smile.

Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals.

Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals. Halloween costumes are part of the fun at the NDRL Fall Finals.

A Smoother Ride for the Motor Home

We put about 6,000 miles on our motor home each year going to and from races. Some roads are worse than others and far too many roads are just plain rough. Even with the trailer on the back, riding along on these bumpy roads beats the heck out of everything. If you tow, you know.

Earlier this summer Steve decided to put air suspension on the motor home. After quite a bit of searching, he settled on an air suspension system from Kelderman. With a not so small investment, and at least 40 hours of knuckle busting work, the motor home is a whole new ride. The improvement is unbelievable making the 1,100 mile round trip to Bowling Green a whole new experience. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress.

Here are a few pictures of the work in progress. VHere are a few pictures of the work in progress. Here are a few pictures of the work in progress.

Want to know more? Check this video out.


September 22, 2018

Funny Shakedown at The Nostalgia DragsFunny Shakedown at The Nostalgia Drags

Milan Dragway, Milan MI

This is the third race at our home track this summer and each year this event gets bigger and better. It starts on Friday with the pits filling up with race teams and nostalgia cars of all classes. We arrived in the afternoon to get parked even though we were not scheduled to make passes until Saturday and Sunday. Susie Q was one of eight funny cars booked in and, based on the line-up, it was going to be a very good show. The weather looked good for the weekend although it started out cool and very windy. Temperatures would mild, dropping down into the 50’s at night, but at least it would be dry.

Eight Awesome Funny Cars

Saturday morning was chilly and we were glad to have our jackets along. The track was filled with people and the sounds of race cars engines warming up. It was cool enough that Steve plugged in the oil heater for a while before we fired up the hemi for a warm-up. With the ignition problems we’d had at our last race, we weren’t sure how the car would run, but Steve was confident it was fixed. It sure sounded like it when we did the warm up.

First call to the lanes was around 2:00 pm. The weather was still on the cool side; around 62 degrees and just less than 1000 ft corrected altitude. Bill Hallet, in the Red Barn Cuda, and Susie Q were first pair out. He smoked the tires and had to lift, but we had the ’57 Chevy dialed in and went straight down the track. All eight cylinders were firing and it went 6.997 @ 192 mph.

Steve Crooks in Feelin’ Groovy ran and Nick Tilley in the Shyster, and Monty Stotz in Blue Thunder ran Bill Anderson in the Road Show, all making really good passes. The last pair out were Steve Timoszyk in the Detroit Tiger and Mark McElwee driving the Buzzy’s Nitro Bomber Camaro, the one and only nitro funny car in the group. It wouldn’t seem like much of a match except that Detroit Tiger had been running in the low 6’s and this was still a fairly new ride for McElwee. Both cars put down good numbers and it made for a great show.

We made our second pass around 6:00 pm. The weather hadn’t changed much but Steve made some changes to the tune up to speed the car up a little. This round I ran Nick Tilley in the Shyster Corvette. I took a little nap at the starting line and he left on me for a hole shot win. Still, it was a nice fast pass at 6.81 @ 198 mph. Everyone in our funny car group put on a good show with lots of smoky burnouts and some extra fast times. Hallet made one of his best runs ever at 6.50 seconds, Timoszyk went 6.32 @ 206 mph, and McElwee went 5.65 @ 258 mph, the quickest of the weekend.

This round I ran Nick Tilley in the Shyster Corvette
This round I ran Nick Tilley in the Shyster Corvette

The funny cars were done for the day but racing in the other classes continued on until well after midnight. Our group gathered for an end of year potluck to celebrate a very good season. Meanwhile, back in Timoszyk’s pits, the crew was flogging. He hurt his motor on the last pass but wanted to make Sunday’s show. He and his crew spent the majority of the night tearing down his motor, replacing pistons, pushrods and other parts to get it up and running again. That’s determination.

In Timoszyk’s pits, the crew was flogging
In Timoszyk’s pits, the crew was flogging

The Best of Times

Sunday started out cold but the sun came out and it soon turned into a beautiful day. Two of the funny cars were out; Hallet, in the Red Barn, hurt the engine on his last pass, just enough not to want to do any more damage. Mark McElwee, in the Nitro Bomber, who also ran his personal best on Saturday, wasn’t broke, but had other commitments and had to head for home. We still had six funny cars in the show and Steve decided it was time to turn up the wick a little.

Even though this was exhibition racing, there is always some competition. This weekend the challenge was for having the best reaction time. The two drivers with the quickest reaction time on Saturday would run each other for the trophy on Sunday. I’ve had some really good lights this year, but some days I’m not on my game, and Saturday was one of those days. I’d made two good runs, but both times my reaction time was way off. I knew I wasn’t going to the finals this time. Instead, it would be Bill Anderson and Nick Tilley, who has earned a reputation for having some of the best reaction times in our group., made up the final pair.

It was around noon when we lined up in the staging lanes. Timoszyk had his car back together and was in the lane next to me. There’s been some friendly rivalry between Timoszyk and I. A few years ago, I out ran him several races in a row, but he has since stepped up his program, a lot. Steve and Norm had the car tuned for a quicker run, but Timoszyk’s been the fastest car in our group all season so I didn’t think I had a chance of winning this one. I cut my best light all weekend and left first. He was already catching up by 330 ft marker, but then he must have broke. I crossed the finish line and never saw him. This was my fastest and quickest pass ever at 6.60 second time @ 209.75 mph.

This was my fastest and quickest pass ever at 6.60 second time @ 209.75 mph
This was my fastest and quickest pass ever at 6.60 second time @ 209.75 mph

This pass captured on video, thanks to Gray Brehmer.

We have one more race coming up, the NDRL Fall Finals, in Bowling Green, KY, on Oct 12-14th. The car is running great, and just maybe we can finish our season with a win. This is always a fun event, so no matter what, we plan to have a good time.

Susie Q

Highlights of the Weekend

A Field of Funny Cars 
A Field of Funny Cars
Our gang of Funny Car Drivers. So much fun being part of this group.
Our gang of Funny Car Drivers. So much fun being part of this group.
In the finals, it was a close win for Nick Tilley over Bill Anderson; 6.87 to 6.93.
In the finals, it was a close win for Nick Tilley over Bill Anderson; 6.87 to 6.93.
Former funny car driver and Hall of Famer, Della Woods and her brother Bernie stopped in to say hello. So good to see them out here at the race track.
Former funny car driver and Hall of Famer, Della Woods and her brother Bernie stopped in to say hello. So good to see them out here at the race track.

Meet Daniel Seddiqui, another one of our guests this weekend.Meet Daniel Seddiqui, another one of our guests this weekend. He is the author of “50 Job in 50 States”, published in 2011. He is currently exploring cultures of America, sort of a 50 State Bucket List Challenge. He picked this Nostalgia Race for his Michigan experience and we were asked to show him around. He plans to write another book and share his experiences through social and mainstream media. Daniel spent the better part of the day with us and we did our best give him an experience he won’t forget.


September 7-8, 2018

15th Annual Funny Car Nationals

US131 Motorsports Park
Martin, MI

NDRL Race #5 – Scottrods Hotrods NationalsNDRL Race #5 – Scottrods Hotrods Nationals

The weekend started out cloudy and cool, pretty much stayed that way all three days. We arrived on Friday, and got in line. Motorhomes and trailers had started arriving the night before and were stacked up outside the gate waiting to get in. Fortunately they started letting us in early so we didn’t have a long wait before we were in and parked. This track doesn’t have a lot of paved parking but we found a good flat spot right along the fence at the 1/8th mile, a good place to watch the action, so we didn’t mind.

This event is titled the Funny Car Nationals. Featured race cars included a field of eight Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars, Dom Lagana’s Nitro Ninja Top Fuel Dragster, Bob Motz and his jet-powered 1998 Kenworth truck and the Nostalgia Drag Racing League (NDRL). We were the only funny car with the NDRL this weekend and not part of the exhibition show.

Since we were there to compete in the Pro 7.0 class, we needed to find our seven second tune-up. We had three opportunities to qualify, two Friday night and one on Saturday afternoon. The track and the conditions were much different from our last time out. Steve decided to stay with the same tune-up and use this as a base line to tune from. We made our first pass (Q1) about 7:30 pm in very cool conditions. It was only 62 degrees, about 1300 feet, and windy. The car had a good 60 foot, went straight down the track and through the lights in 6.79 seconds @ 206 mph. We expected the pass to be a little fast, not that fast. This was the fasted pass ever for Susie Q; exciting, but if we were going to run our index, we needed to slow it down a bunch.

the fasted pass ever for Susie Q
The fasted pass ever for Susie Q.

Our second qualifying (Q2) was supposed to be at 9:00 pm. Once we finished our first round of qualifying, the exhibition cars came to the lanes. The Nitro cars put on quite a show, some making mid five second passes, close to 250 mph. After the Nitro show was over it was time for the NDRL’s second qualifying session. It was already late but then we were delayed even more when someone oiled the track. It was nearly 11:00 pm by the time it was cleaned up and we able to make our run. To slow the car down some, Steve and Norm had changed to a bigger blower pulley and pulled out some timing for this pass. Fortunately the dew hadn’t set in but the temperature had dropped to 60 degrees and corrected altitude was now at 1100 ft. The car chattered the tires on the launch and then only ran a 7.27 @ 190 mph; much slower that we were trying for.

Back in the pits, looking at the recorded data, it showed #4 cylinder had gone cold about half way through the run. Running on only seven cylinders would explain why we went so slow, but now we had to figure out why that happened. The only thing that Steve found was an injector that might have had some dirt in it.

We had visitors on Friday, Steve’s sister Joan and her husband Jim. They have followed our racing adventures for a long time and this was the first time they had ever been to a drag race. It will be a while before they will forget the excitement of standing on the fence when those Nitro cars went by. I think they had a good time and we enjoyed having them.

Visitors on Friday, Steve's sister Joan and her husband Jim.
Visitors on Friday, Steve’s sister Joan and her husband Jim.

Saturday started out cool and cloudy and pretty much stayed that way all day. We had one more shot getting closer to the 7.0 index and a better qualifying position. It was around 2:00 pm when we were back in the lanes for Q3. The corrected altitude was now 1670 ft and it was 67 degrees. This time the engine was firing on all eight cylinders and ran a 6.83 @ 201 mph. I was a little too fast again and ended up qualified 10th out of a field of 13 cars.

We had a couple of hours before Eliminations. Steve made another blower pulley change hoping to slow it down just a little. I had the Bruiser driven by Jeff Sanborn in first round; a tough competitor on the lights and at the finish line. I was all strapped in the car ready to run when one of the cars ahead of us broke a rod on the burnout and started leaking oil. Fortunately he pulled over to the wall but it still took another 20 minutes for the cleaned up.

In the staging lanes waiting for First Round
In the staging lanes waiting for First Round

It was close to 5:30 before we got under way again. They guys pulled the car up to the water box, they fired the motor and lowered the body. I pulled through the water, did my burnout and backed up. The engine sounded a little ratty to me, but there was nothing I could but try to just focus on staging. My reaction wasn’t great and Sanborn got out on me. My only hope was to catch him but he just kept pulling away. I was in the left lane and the car started pushing hard towards the wall. I had the steering wheel cranked all the way to the right but couldn’t bring it back so I had to lift. The race was lost from the start and the car only ran a 7.50 so I never had a chance. I just hated that we lost again in first round. Sanborn, on the other hand, went all the way to finals but lost to Robbie Freels when he turned on a red light at the start.

Sanborn pulling away from Susie Q
Sanborn pulling away from Susie Q.

Back in the pits we had a chance to review the data recording to see what happened. It showed #7 cylinder wasn’t firing, which is why we lost so much power. That’s what I was hearing on the starting line. One cylinder out on the left bank, and all four cylinders still firing on the right, was enough exhaust force to push the car to the left. We could explain why the run was so slow, but the challenge now would be to figure out what caused it. Hopefully it wasn’t anything serious and we would be able to fix it before our next race.

Back at home the next week, Steve had a chance to go over everything again to try and find the problem. At first he suspected dirt in the injectors but could find anything wrong there. When he inspected the distributor cap, he discovered that the center button was burned off and the rotor contact had burned through. This would explain a misfire and it’s surprising that the engine ran as well as it did. All parts are replaced and we’re ready to for our next race.

The center button was burned off and the rotor contact had burned through.
The center button was burned off and the rotor contact had burned through.

Coming up next on September 22 -23, is the Funny Car Shakedown and the Nostalgia Drags at Milan Dragway here in Michigan. This should be some great side by side funny car action with both Nitro and Alcohol funny cars. Hope we see you there.

Susie Q


August 24 – 25, 2018

Rock N Race

Dragway 42
West Salem, OH

It was mid-afternoon when we arrived in West Salem, Ohio after a little less than a four hour drive. This was our first trip to this 60 year old facility and we were impressed. New owners did a complete renovation of Dragway 42 (https://www.dragway42.com/) and reopened it in the spring of 2017. It’s obvious this was designed as a multipurpose facility; besides Drag Racing they can host Autocross Racing, Tractor & Truck Pulling as well as plans for Concerts and Music Festivals.

Dragway 42
Dragway 42

The track runs between sloping hills, making it feel a little like “Thunder Valley”. There are built in bleachers on both sides with plenty of open lawn for casual spectator seating as well. The pits were well marked so we could pull right in to the designated parking area. The pit area was all grass, but it was relatively flat and not a problem.

The track runs between sloping hills, making it feel a little like "Thunder Valley".
The track runs between sloping hills, making it feel a little like “Thunder Valley”.

In spite of some rain throughout the weekend, they gave us a good track to run on. There was just enough shut down and although the turn off was a bit tight, it was manageable. Upgrades may not be complete, but this is definitely a track we would come back to in the future.

Friday; Round One Under the Lights

The schedule was for us to make one pass on Friday night and two passes Saturday. The Funny Car line up included Steve Timosyzk in the Parts Peddler, Nick Tilley in the Shyster, Monty Stotz in Blue Thunder, and yours truly, Susie Q. Our Friday night run was supposed to be around 8:30, just when it was getting dark. Things ran late and it was closer to 9:30 when we finally got called. Sometimes, the dew sets in about this time of night, fogging up the windsheild and making the track a little slippery. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case and we had good conditions to run with under the lights.

Steve Timosyzk in the Parts Peddler
Steve Timosyzk in the Parts Peddler
Nick Tilley in the Shyster
Nick Tilley in the Shyster
Monty Stotz in Blue Thunder
Monty Stotz in Blue Thunder
Yours truly, Susie Q
Yours truly, Susie Q

To keep things interesting and competitive this weekend, we all agreed on a 6.90 second index. The two cars closest to that number during the first two passes would face off in the third and final round and race for the trophy.

Fueling up for the run
Fueling up for the run

Timosyzk and I were first pair in round one. Timosyzk has been tuning for future event and didn’t even try to slow it down. He ran a very quick 6.59 @ 210 mph. This was my first pass on a new set of tires and, sure enough, my tires spun at the hit. That killed my 60 foot time, but it still went 7.05 @203 mph. The second pair down the track were Stotz in the Blue Thunder, with a 7.24 against Tilley in his Shyster Corvette with a quicker 6.99 pass.

Saturday; Round Two In Between the Rain Drops

Rain was in the forecast; it was a mix of sunshine and sprinkles all day. This delayed our first run but, to the track operators’ credit, they kept the show going. It was Susie Q vs Blue Thunder this round. Stotz left first with a better reaction time and quicker 60 foot, but I was able to catch and pass him by half track. This time I ran 6.95 @ 203 mph to his 7.23 @ 185 mph. After Timoszyk and Tilley made their second pass, it was time to pair up for the finals.

In the Staging Lanes for Round Two
In the Staging Lanes for Round Two

Final Round, King “Queen” of the Funny Cars

It was time for our third pass and pairing for the finals. My earlier run at 6.95 and Tilley’s 6.99 put us as the two closest to the target. The rain was coming again so our scheduled run time was moved up and we were in the staging lanes around 8:00 pm. Tilley can be killer on the lights and my reaction times the previous two runs hadn’t been all that great, so I needed to be on my game. I was ready and barely got out on him with a .007 light to his .011 but his car got out of shape and he had to lift. Lucky for me because I peddled it a bit at the launch, but still ran managed to run a 7.03 @203 mph for the win light. We have had our share of struggles so far this season so it was rewarding to finally get a win.

Thanks to an Awesome Crew
Thanks to an Awesome Crew

Thanks to an Awesome CrewThanks to my crew, Steve, Norm, and John & Jodi Wunch for giving me a good running race car. All 3 of my passes were over 200 mph and straight down the track. I also want to thank Steve Timoszyk for booking us into this fun event and congratulations on your awesome fast runs. Thanks to everyone at Dragway 42 for giving us a good race surface and putting on a fun event. The pits were filled with lots of great looking cars and did I mention they had a bandstand next to the track with live music throughout the weekend? Even with rain they kept the show going. This really was a great weekend

We were supposed to make an appearance over Labor Day weekend at Great Lakes Dragway in Union Grove, WI, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to heavy rains.

Coming up in September 7-8th is a race with the NDRL at the Funny Car Nationals, US131, Martin, MI, then a car show on September 16th at Parkers Hill Top Brewery- our favorite local restaurant, then back to Milan Dragway on September 22-23rd for the Nostalgia Drags and Funny Car Shakedown. Drop by and say hello.

Susie Q


June, 2018

The Danchuk Tri-Five NationalsThe Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals

Beech Bend Dragway
Bowling Green, KY

4th Annual Tri-Five

This has become the biggest gathering of 1955, 1956, and 1957 Chevys in the country, heck, on the planet. It was reported that there were well over 2,700, maybe closer to 3,000 tri-fives, adding the race cars in with all the show cars.

In addition to the impressive collection of show cars, there was a huge swap meet and vendor display area, plus drag racing and exhibition runs scheduled for all three days. The weather was typical for Bowling Green; hot and humid. Rain interfered with on track activities to begin and end the event, but otherwise, it was a good weekend, making this Tri-Five Nationals one of the best events of the year.

Many activities were planned on and off the track throughout the week. To kick things off at the track on Thursday , “Under the Lights” racing and exhibition runs were planned. Unfortunately, late in the afternoon heavy rains came and put an end to Thursday night’s show. This disappointed a lot of people but we still had all day Friday and Saturday. The Susie Q “57 Chevy Funny Car was just one of five unique race cars booked in for the weekend. The others included these four beautiful Chevy hot rods.

Bob Mandell's Top Sportsman '55 Chevy
Bob Mandell’s Top Sportsman ’55 Chevy
Street Outlaw Jeff Lutz in his '57 ProMod
Street Outlaw Jeff Lutz in his ’57 ProMod
Jason Landsdown's '57 ProMod
Jason Landsdown’s ’57 ProMod
Massino & Sons Shake, Rattle, & Run, '57 Chevy driven by Kevin Lawrence
Massino & Sons Shake, Rattle, & Run, ’57 Chevy driven by Kevin Lawrence

On Friday, we had exhibition runs scheduled for 12:00, 2:00 and 5 pm. It had rained hard overnight and by mid-morning it was still pretty wet, however, it looked like it would clear up in time for our first run. We were going through our warm up around 10:30 when a line fitting broke, spilling hot transmission fluid all over. I shut it off but the damage was done. Transmission fluid was everywhere. No telling how many quarts we lost. Steve and Norm went to work taking the safety blanket and pan off to find and fix the problem. Meanwhile, I went in search of something to clean up the mess as well as some hydraulic fluid to replace what we had lost. We had to settle for 2 different kinds of fluid but the leak was fixed and the transmission was full. This was a couple hours of work and we just couldn’t get it done in time for the 12:00 call. We’d be ready for the next one.

A line fitting broke, spilling hot transmission fluid all over

A line fitting broke, spilling hot transmission fluid all over

It was cutting it close but we made it into the lanes in time for our afternoon race. This would be our first pass down the track for this event and we weren’t sure what track conditions. We were confident that the leak was fixed, but until we went down the track there was no way to know if the transmission was going to give us any more trouble. I made a single pass in the left lane, fortunately without any problems. The tires spun some at the hit and the car moved around down track, but I was able to keep my foot down and steer through it. The run was a little slow, 7.10 seconds @ 194 mph, but at least we knew where our tune up was. Steve could make changes for the next pass.

Experienced tuner, Adam Drzayich
Adam, thanks for your help!

We were set to run Bob Mandell at 4:00 o’clock, so it was time to pick things up a little. It just happened that a longtime acquaintance and experienced tuner, Adam Drzayich, was there tuning for his Father-in-law, Kevin Lawrence. He’d watched our run and came by our pits to offer some advice. Steve was already planning to change to a smaller blower pulley which would give us a little more power. Adam suggested lowering the wheelie bar. Changes were made and the car was ready for our next run. Mandell wanted the left lane so we took the right. The car launched hard, spun the tires and shook so hard I had to lift. It was ugly but I still had all my fillings. We simply overpowered the track. Even though it didn’t go as hoped, we knew we were going in the right direction.

Saturday’s exhibition runs were set for 12:00, 2:00, and 5:00 pm. It was warming up, temperatures were in the high 80’s and corrected altitude was 3,100 ft. The guys had made another wheelie bar adjustment and changed the timing, hoping this would be a better combination. These changes were really helping my reaction time and 60 ft. times, but unfortunately, the car didn’t leave straight. I got way to close to the wall and had to peddle it. I gathered it up and kept going but couldn’t make up the lost time. Mandell, on the other hand, made another really fast pass at 6.74 @ 204 mph. All I could do was follow him down the track.

The grandstands were full of spectators for the 2:00 show. The temperatures had climbed to 90 degrees and the track was hot. We were staged behind the water box, ready to fire as they played the National Anthem. The starter gave the signal; we fired up our race cars and did our burnouts. Just a note: Bob Mandell does one heck of a burnout. It didn’t take long for us to back up and stage. This time we made it an exciting side-by-side race. I was a tad quicker off the line, but Mandell had a quicker car and was ahead all the way down the track. He ran a quicker 6.773 second pass @ 204 mph to my 6.90 seconds @ 203 mph. The Susie Q was a handful on this run, but I stayed in it. Maybe if I had gone straight, I’d have had a quicker time. Even so, we were happy with the 203 mph; our fasted pass so far. (Video of this pass)

our fasted pass so far
Our fasted pass so far

We were looking forward to one more pass, but just before our 5:00 run, the rains came and put an end to racing. I was suited up and the car was ready to pull into the lanes when the rain drops started. It was a mad dash to put the car in the trailer but we managed without getting it soaked. Even though the race was over, they still held the show car awards and the big give-away, a gorgeous 1955 custom Chevy. Maybe next year we’ll hold the lucky ticket.

a gorgeous 1955 custom Chevy
A gorgeous 1955 custom Chevy

Steve will have some work to do on the transmission when we get home. We put new tires on the car a few races ago, and we’ve had handling issues ever since. We now know we can’t keep running these tires if we are going to pick up the speed so we’ll deal with next week as well.

The Tri-Five Nationals is one of our favorite events and just plain fun. A huge thank you goes to Chris Sondles of Woody’s Hot Rodz for inviting us to be part of this. We also want to thank everyone working this event over the weekend. From the time we arrived and parked, the way the racing was run and the way the track accommodated us, we couldn’t have been treated better. It was wonderful to meet the other drivers and have so many spectators stop by our pits. We learned a lot with our tune up (thanks again Adam), and we made our fastest pass ever. I guess I have to say it was a great weekend.

Next we’ll be heading to Dragway 42 in West Salem, OH, on Aug 24-25, for our next event, Rock n Race Reunion; Nostalgia Drag Racing, Rock n Roll, and Rockabilly. Sounds like a party .

Susie Q

Check out this link for pictures of some of the many beautiful cars at this event, Super Chevy Top 25

Interested in going to Tri-Five Nationals next year? The date is set. Mark your calendar for Aug 9-10-11, 2019. Here is a link to the Official website.

Pictures from the Pits

I first met Katie two years ago at this event. So much potential and love her beautiful smile.
I first met Katie two years ago at this event. So much potential and love her beautiful smile.
Impromptu drivers meeting with Bob Mandell and Jason Lansdown
Impromptu drivers meeting with Bob Mandell and Jason Lansdown
Just waiting for the rain to stop
Just waiting for the rain to stop
She just might be driving her own some day
She just might be driving her own some day

Summer school for some young tuners

Summer school for some young tuners
Summer school for some young tuners

One of the coolest cars we saw all weekend.

One of the coolest cars we saw all weekend.
One of the coolest cars we saw all weekend.

Susie Q


July 28, 2018

Kickin’ It Old School

Milan Dragway
Milan, MI

New BlowerNew Blower

The quest for more power continues. We started the season with a 14-71 Gibson/Miller blower that we acquired with the crate motor we purchased last summer. We never ran it though. When he built the new motor for this season, he decided to try the Gibson/Miller blower expecting it to give us plenty of boost. After our first few outings, however, it became clear that it was just too worn out to make the boost we needed. He started shopping for another blower, one that would fit our application, and our budget. He found several good options, but finally settled on a refurbished 14-71 SSi High-helix blower.

Steve and Norm got busy and changed over the blower the week before this race at Milan. We fired it up outside the shop just to make sure everything was good. It took some changes to the fuel set up, but once we got it running it sounded good. The car was loaded back in the trailer and we were ready to go racing Old School.

Time to TestTime to Test

The weather on Saturday at Milan was perfect; sunny and in the mid 70’s. This is a fun one-day event with lots of racing, a big car show plus a swap meet. Exhibition runs were for 1:00 o’clock and again at 4:00. Since we hadn’t been down the track with this new blower, we decided to make a half track test pass around 11:00 am. Everything went great. It ran good, sounded good, and it was our fastest 60 ft. time so far this year. The new blower was definitely making more boost.

Four Funnys

The funny cars booked in for this event included Susie Q, Blue Thunder driven by Monty Stotz, the Shyster driven by Nick Tilly, and a newer member to our group, Feeling Groovy driven by Steve Crooks. First pair out at 1:00 would be the Shyster and Feeling Groovy. Tilly got out first and made a nice 6.95 second pass, his quickest of the weekend. Crooks, on the other hand, caused some unwanted excitement when he crossed the center line behind Tilly and took out some timing blocks mid track. I was suited up and in the car ready to go but had to wait while the track workers replaced the blocks. Monty Stotz was in the other lane and, after the burn out, had some issues before he was able to stage. It gets pretty hot, sitting in the car all suited up, and as much as I try not to let it, it sometimes does make a difference in my performance. I screwed up on the starting line and wasn’t able to make a good full pass. Stotz’s pass was quick, a 6.99 seconds, putting him into the finals with Tilly. Hopefully our next pass would go better. Without any useful data, Steve decided to leave the tune up as is. We weren’t going to earn the trophy for the fastest pass today anyway, and we were OK with that. We knew this new set up was eventually going to help us go faster, but we want to sneak up on it.

Four Funnys
Four Funnys
Feeling Groovy driven by Steve Crooks
Feeling Groovy driven by Steve Crooks

I was set to run Crooks for our second pass at around 4:00. It’s hard not to think about the car in the other lane, but it did cross my mind that it would be nice if Crooks kept his Groovy Feelings to his own lane this time. We had nearly identical reaction times and, fortunately, both went straight down the track. Crooks got the win light with a 7:11@ 189 mph, his fasted pass of the day. I ran a 7:15 at 187 mph, much slower than we expected but a good clean pass. The finals were between the Shyster and Blue Thunder. It was a close race but Tilly out run Stotz and took home the trophy.

I was set to run Crooks for our second pass.
I was set to run Crooks for our second pass.

Honorary Pit Crew

A few weeks ago we participated in a fund raiser for American Cancer Society at Parker’s Hill Top Brewery in Clarkston. We parked the funny car in front the restaurant for the day and they raffled off the opportunity to be our special guest and Honorary Pit Crew for this race. The winners were Mark and his wife Sue. We did our best to show them a good time and let them experience, first hand, what goes on before, during, and after each pass. Based on their smiles, we think they enjoyed it.

Honorary Pit Crew Honorary Pit Crew Honorary Pit Crew

Next stop is the Tri-Five Nationals, Bowling Green, KY, Aug 9-11. They are expecting over 3,000 ’55,’56, & ’57 Chevys to show up for the weekend and we are looking forward to being one of them.

Susie Q


July 13-15, 2018

NDRL Summer Jam at the Lingenfelter Performance Blue Suede Cruise

NDRL Summer Jam at the Lingenfelter Performance Blue Suede CruiseSummit Motorsports Park
Norwalk, OH

This all started on Wednesday with a three hour drive to Ohio so we could park overnight in the Norwalk Walmart parking lot. This was a first for us but turns out that this is a happening place. There were maybe 20 other rigs there, all so we could get in line for a good parking spot at the track on Thursday morning. On Thursday there was not much to do but wait in line until noon, when we finally got into the track. Once we were parked, we set up our pits, caught up with our NDRL racer friends, and ended the day with tasty grilled steaks and onions

Too Fast FridayToo Fast Friday

It was our first day of qualifying and we were scheduled for two runs. We expected our first call to be around around 2:00 pm. Steve likes to warm up the car about two hours before, so we fired up around noon. Then we waited. When they finally called our class it was closer to 3:30. The temperature was 87 degrees and corrected altitude was around 3100 ft. The track surface was all new this season and first pass down the track confirmed it was smooth, but a little green. It didn’t have as much grip as we’re used to here at Norwalk and I had to really steer the car going down the track. I kept my foot in it and went a little too fast for our 7.0 index. I ran under with a 6.98 @ 198 mph, putting me near the bottom of the field. We had left the same tune up in the car from our last race in Bowling Green and I think quite a few of the Pro 7.0 class cars must have done the same because about half of them went too fast as well.

We had a brand new set of slicksWe had a brand new set of slicks on the car that turned out to have almost 3/4″ different rollout side to side. This can cause the car to steer off in one direction but I wasn’t noticing that. Instead the tires seemed to be slipping more than normal adding to my handling issues. Between rounds the guys took the smaller tire and over inflated it in hopes it would stretch. Sometime around 7:30 pm we finally got called for our second round of qualifying. Conditions were about the same and we needed to slow the car down so Steve made changes to the timing and the shift points. Well, the car went a little faster instead and ran a 6.94 @ 197mph. It’s still a guessing game because we have so little tuning data on this new combination. Luckily we still had another couple of chances on Saturday to try and run the number.

I’ll add a note here that on both runs I red lit by just a little; -.003 and -.004. Normally my reaction time is not great, but lately it seemed that I was getting just too fast. During qualifying, it doesn’t really matter but I like my practice runs to be just like an elimination run so this could be a problem. I’m mentioning this because of what happens later on.

Not Slow Enough on Saturday

The schedule was about the same on Saturday, with one afternoon and one evening qualifying run. The weather had changed from hot to hotter and very humid. The temperature was 90 degrees and corrected altitude was 3400 ft. We wanted to slow down, but not too much. The top qualifying run was a 7.003 and in this class there were bound to be a lot more running close to that 7.0 index. It was after 3:30 once again when we pulled up to make our pass. I ran a 6.997 @ 197 mph, just .003 seconds under the 7.0 index. I was still too fast and still at the bottom of the qualifying sheet, number 18 out of 20.

Not only was the car too fast, my reaction was way too fast. This time it was a -.062 red light, which was enough to affect all the incrementals down track. When I staged and set my transbrake, the car should be completely stationary, until I let go of the button. Instead the car appeared to roll. Several people noticed it and when Steve looked at the recorded data, it showed the drive shaft was moving before I let go of the transbrake. We weren’t too sure what was causing this, but one possibility was trans fluid level. We added fluid in hopes this would help. That’s about all we could do without actually physically taking the transmission apart.

We had one more qualifying run on Saturday to see if we could slow the car down to a 7.0 for a better qualifying position, and if the added fluid fixed the problem. On our fourth qualifying pass, things didn’t work out as hoped. We both staged but the other car left so early that the tree never activated. Even though I waited about a second, there was never a green light and neither of us got a time slip. To add to our frustration, for some reason there was no drive shaft signal on our data recording so we had no way of knowing if the car rolled during staging or not. We were going into eliminations not knowing what the car would run or if the trans brake problem was fixed or not.

Sunday – Red Light and Blue

Eliminations started at noon with our Pro 7.0 class first in line. Weather conditions had not changed much; it was 87 degrees and 3500 ft. corrected altitude. We were set to race Corey Millet in his bright orange ’32 Bantam. He was qualified #3 with a 7.005 and currently sits 6th in points. He would be tough to beat. I was to give it my best shot. We staged and when I let go of the button and saw the red light, I knew our weekend was over. Whether it was the car or it was me, something had to be fixed.

Video of Round One of Eliminations.

Other Highlights of the Weekend

Some of the best times are those we spend with our racer friends. This weekend, we had two of our fellow Michigan racers pitted next to us, Mario Orlando with his beautiful ’41 Willys and Dave Bommarito in his bright yellow Front Engine Dragster. On Friday evening, we got to sit around and enjoy a bottle of Dave’s homemade wine. According to Dave once a bottle of wine is open, you must finish it. We all went along with that of course. There must be something good in that homemade wine because Dave, although qualified last, went on to win the Pro Comp trophy that weekend. Congratulations Dave.

Dave Bommarito in his bright yellow Front Engine Dragster
Dave Bommarito in his bright yellow Front Engine Dragster

Our friend Glenn Lever and his crew chief wife AnneOur friend Glenn Lever and his crew chief wife Anne, all the way from Rochester, NY, made their first Pro 7.0 appearance in their beautiful green slingshot style Front Engine Dragster. In previous years, he has raced in the 8.0 Pro Comp class, but wanted to step it up so he can run with the faster cars. Over the winter he did a complete engine swap. The changeover turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than they expected but he finally has the car running and was able to make his first few passes down the track. We expect he’ll be tough competition later this summer.

If you wonder about where the next generation of car enthusiasts are, look no further than the families wondering the pits at an event like the Blue Suede Cruise. These young fans are wide eyed and full of passion. This young fella wasn’t sure he wanted to climb into the driver’s seat of the funny car, but once he did he was ready for action.

Next generation of car enthusiasts.
Next generation of car enthusiasts.

Next generation of car enthusiasts.

These have to be my favorite fan club. These kids have been coming to see me for years and I’m literally watching them grow up. They cheer me on, even when we don’t do so well. How can it get any better than that.

My favorite fan club in 2018.
My favorite fan club in 2018.
2017
2017
2016
2016
2015
2015
2014
2014

This is just one shining example of the great Summit Motorsports Park staff. They are some to the friendliest and most helpful people ever. It’s just one of the many things that makes racing at this facility so much fun. Even when we don’t do so well.

one shining example of the great Summit Motorsports Park staff.

Of course one of our favorite parts of the weekend is the Saturday night festivities, which include an Oldies concert by Phil Dirt and the Dozers followed by a dazzling fireworks display, a true signature of the Bader Family.

Video of fireworks.

Last but not least, my son Derek and family were able to stop by the race track for a short visit. They were starting off on their family vacation and made this their first stop. Not sure if it was us, the race, or the 1 pound of ice cream for $1, that was the attraction, but we were happy to see them.

my son Derek and family
My son Derek and family.

Catch us at our next race, Kicking It Old School, July 28th, at Milan Dragway. We will be testing a brand new blower so stay tuned for our next update.

Susie Q


June 9, 2018

9th Annual Detroit Dragway Reunion And Funny Car Shakedown

9th Annual Detroit Dragway Reunion And Funny Car Shakedown

Milan Dragway, Milan, MI

A Very Damp Dragway Reunion

After a slow start to our racing season, we finally were heading to our first event, the Detroit Dragway Reunion. We always look forward to this race because it’s close to home and lots of our friends show up for it. There’s always a great variety of cars and some of our local legends come out as well. This year they invited a couple of nitro funny cars and plus some notable cackle cars. It was shaping up to be a really big event.

To kick things off and help promote the event, we joined some other Milan racers in the Channel 2 parking lot for a Friday morning news feature. This was about an hour away so this meant leaving our driveway at 6:00 am so we wouldn’t get hung up in rush hour traffic. We unloaded the car and lined up with the others, then waited. All this for a few seconds of video coverage while our friend and promoter, Steve Timoszyk gave the interview. It didn’t seem like much, but I guess it worked. The word was that after it aired, the phones at the track started ringing off the hook.

Once that was done we headed to the track to get parked and set up for the weekend ahead. All week it showed rain in the forecast but we were hoping for that to change. We decided to make a couple of passes during the Friday night test session just to see what the car would do. Steve had installed some new fuel nozzle holders from Kinsler Fuel Injection. We hoped to get closer to the 7.0 second tune up we needed for our next race, the Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, KY, coming up the following weekend.

It took a little tuning to get the fuel system sorted out during the warm up. Everything is different on this motor and we are just starting to get a baseline on the set up. It was good weather and the track was in pretty good shape. On the first pass I moved around on the track some and I only ran a 7.09; a big improvement over our previous attempts, but still but not quick enough. Later that evening, with a few minor adjustments, a little cooler air and a little better driving, I managed to run a 6.95 @ 194 mph. We were pretty excited and with felt sure we could make some good passes on Saturday.

The pits were filling up with racers all day Friday, in spite of the forecast. Drag racers are very optimistic bunch and with all the race days lost to rain already, everyone was anxious for more track time. It did rain over night but quit by morning. When the gates opened on Saturday morning there was a long line of racers and spectators ready to come in. The Milan crew got busy drying the track and they did get some racing in, but only for a while. Each time we thought we might get to make a pass, the rain would start, the racing would stop, and we were left sitting under our awning.

Fortunately we made those two passes on Friday night, because we never got to run on Saturday. Even so, it still was a fun weekend. Lots of friends and spectators came by our pits to say hello. The cackle cars put on a good show, which probably was the highlight of the day for many. It just wasn’t the event the track was hoping for and the Milan crew sure earned their pay. We were disappointed we didn’t get to put on a show but we’ll be back for a couple more events later this summer.

Sorry, it was such an odd weekend, I didn’t even take any pictures.

Susie Q


June 14, 2018

2018 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion

2018 Holley National Hot Rod Reunion
Photo by Jimmy Buffalo Hall

Beech Bend Motorsports Park,  Bowling Green, KY

A Very “HOT” Hot Rod Reunion

This would be our first NDRL race of the 2018 season. We missed the first the one in St. Louis in May because we just weren’t ready for it. We look forward to racing at Beech Bend but this event has gotten so big we have to arrive on Tuesday just to get a decent parking spot. Even then, it seems that getting parked is always an ordeal. At least our drive down, which takes about 10 hours, was uneventful. The forecast showed rain on and off all weekend and sure enough, it started raining just as we got close to the track. It stopped about the time we got there and we managed to get parked and set up for the weekend but then rained pretty hard during the night.

The only thing on the schedule for Wednesday was tech inspection. This is required before the race and involves every race car and driver to show that all their safety equipment meets NHRA standards and is up to date. The inspection is very thorough and although it is kind of a hassle, it does force racers to be cognizant of the condition of their equipment. With hundreds of cars already on site, and many more arriving during the day, the lineup got pretty long. Steve and Norm had some work to do on the transmission first thing in the morning then we towed up and got in line. It took a couple of hours but at least we didn’t have any trouble getting the car teched; everything was up to date.

First qualifying session was on Thursday at around 1 pm. It was 91 degrees and corrected altitude was 3200 ft; hot and humid, but not as hot as it would be on race day. We took the left lane and went straight down the track; a great pass with a 7.006 @194.32 mph. This landed us #1 qualifier out of a 20 car field in our Pro 7.0 class.

Going through Technical Inspection
Going through Technical Inspection
After First Qualifying
After First Qualifying

There were two more qualifying sessions scheduled for Friday. We didn’t need to improve much, or so we thought, but with so few passes on the car we needed all the run data we could get. Track conditions seemed good but things were heating up. The temperature was up to 93 degrees. I was grateful to have my cool vest from All Tuff USA. First pass was in the right lane around noon. The car launched just about right but got loose around half track. It was a ride but I stayed in it and was able to run 7.079 @ 191 mph.

The next pass was around 3:30 pm and the corrected altitude was up to 3500 ft. I was back in the left lane and went straight down the tack with no problem. This time I ran 7.069 @ 193 mph. Not as quick as we wanted but at least we were consistent. Meanwhile some of the other cars in our class managed to improve and bumped me down to #3.

Second Qualifying Pass photo by Martin Lambert
Second Qualifying Pass photo by Martin Lambert
Third and Final Qualifying Results
Third and Final Qualifying Results
In the Lanes for Round One
In the Lanes for Round One

As Saturday rolled around the temperatures continued to be brutally hot. The thermometer on our motor home was reading 100 degrees and track temperature was 147 degrees. Our weather station reading was showing corrected altitude was up to 3600 ft. Round one of eliminations was set for 2:00 pm. Three of our fellow racers had broken down, so our ladder was down to 17 cars. If I had stayed #1, I would have had a bye run but I was not so lucky. Instead, I was paired up against another Funny Car, one of three that came down from Canada just to run this event. This was a ’70 Barracuda driven by Darrell Webb from Alberta. I don’t think these guys were accustomed to the heat, but they sure made a good try. Fortunately for me, he red lit, automatically giving me the win. On to round two

Second round we were paired against a front engine dragster, driven Dick Schmid, out of Sharonville, OH. We had mixed signals from the starter personnel and after starting the car, had to shut it down and then restart it. The car got hot, the driver was hot, and I ended up bowing out with -.003 red light.

Billy Smith in the left lane, and current points leader, Robbie Freels in the rightThe final pair in our Pro 7.0 class ended up being last year’s champion, Billy Smith in the left lane, and current points leader, Robbie Freels in the right. Freels left first and took the win. It was even sweeter for the Freels family as Robbie’s sister Kelly Freels Key also won in the 7.50 class. This was a great finish to the 2018 Hot Rod Reunion.

Over all, the weekend was Ok. We made some good passes in the car, were reunited with our fellow NDRL racers, met new people including the 3 car funny car team from Canada. The rain stayed away and it was of pretty much non- stop drag racing all weekend. There was everything from door slammers, gassers, altered, dragster and funny cars, the loudest and fastest being the featured nostalgia nitro funny cars and dragsters.


June 23, 2018

Super Chevy Show / Night of Thunder

US 131, Martin, MI

Super Chevy Show / Night of ThunderThree Races in a Row

It’s tough to do back to back races, and this weekend would be our third in a row. To make things even more hectic, this race just happened to fall on same weekend as the NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, OH. We have been spectators at this race for years and didn’t want to miss it, but we had a commitment to race ourselves at US 131 on Saturday as part of the funny car show for Night of Thunder.

We decided to go to the NHRA Nationals just for Thursday. We would only get to see the sportsman racing as the Pros don’t start qualifying until Friday, but Friday was looking like a total rainout anyway. Once we got there, we walked through the pits to say hi to the people we know, visited the Simpson trailer for a Hans recertification, picked up a new set of slicks for Susie Q from the Hoosier trailer, watched what racing we could, and were back home by midnight.

On Friday, we hooked up the motor home to our trailer and headed for Martin, MI, about a three hour tow. Even though we weren’t running until Saturday, we had to get in to the track and be parked by Friday night. Not only was this our third race in a row, it was the third weekend with rain in the forecast and it started before we even got there.

It was wet on Friday and Saturday’s weather was iffy. The day started early with the tracks regular race program. Cars and spectators started arriving as soon as the gates opened at 8:00 am. It rained several times during the day, enough to need the side covers on the awning to keep the car dry. This didn’t seem to discourage the fans though. We had people stopping by all day.

We were scheduled to make two passes, one at around 6:00 and again around 9:00 pm. First the nostalgia Pro Stocks would run, then nitro funny cars, then our group of six nostalgia funny cars, followed by two jet powered funny cars and two jet powered dragsters. The fans would get quite a show.

With all the rain, we weren’t certain what the track conditions would be, but the nostalgia nitro cars got down the track OK. We were the 3rd pair and I was in the left lane. Nick Tilley in his Shyster Corvette was in the right. Both funny cars that went down ahead of me had trouble and so did I. He got a big head start with a .004 reaction time, and made a really nice pass. My run wasn’t so good. I had a 1.04 second 60 ft. time, shortly after I launched the car started moving around. By halftrack it really got out of shape so I lifted.

The sun was going down by the time we were to make our second pass. It was still pretty damp out and we had to put a towel over the windshield to keep the dew off. This time I was running in the right lane and the Red Barn Cuda was in the left. It was driver error on the starting line and the Red Barn got the win. At least the rain didn’t keep us from making it a show, the promoters were happy and fans all seemed to have a good time.

We have a couple of local car shows coming up and then on to our next race; Lingenfelter Performance Blue Suede Cruise, Jul 13 – Jul 15 at Summit Motorsports Park, in Norwalk, Ohio.

Pictures from the Pits

Bill Anderson and his crew with their Road Show funny car gets the win with the best pass of the night.
Bill Anderson and his crew with their Road Show funny car gets the win with the best pass of the night.
Steve Timoszyk’s Detroit Tiger
Steve Timoszyk’s Detroit Tiger
Nick Tilly’s Shyster Corvette
Nick Tilly’s Shyster Corvette
Bill Hallett’s Red Barn Cuda
Bill Hallett’s Red Barn Cuda
Monty Stotz’s Blue Thunder Camaro
Monty Stotz’s Blue Thunder Camaro
Vanessa Stotz’s in her Jr. Dragster, Lil Blue Thunder did a good job driving too.
Vanessa Stotz’s in her Jr. Dragster, Lil Blue Thunder did a good job driving too.
Last year this beautiful funny car, owned by Artie Mcelwee III (Buzz), was running on alcohol and ran with us in the Pro 7.0 class. This year they are running on nitro. First time down the track, driven by Shawn Bowen, and they made a couple of great passes.
Last year this beautiful funny car, owned by Artie Mcelwee III (Buzz), was running on alcohol and ran with us in the Pro 7.0 class. This year they are running on nitro. First time down the track, driven by Shawn Bowen, and they made a couple of great passes.
And that’s what we do – “Chase our Dreams”
And that’s what we do – “Chase our Dreams”

Susie Q


May, 2018

May Madness

Unfortunately we didn’t make the race in St. Louis. The car was back together and running but not tested. There was no sense driving 10 hours to a race without a single pass in the car. We’ve only managed to make two trips to our local track for testing this month because the weather has not been the best. With so many things different on this new motor, we started out with a very conservative tune up. First time out we were only able to make a couple of passes. The car was really slow but at least we confirmed that everything is working. On our second trip, we only got two passes in before the threat of rain forced us to pack up and head for home. Steve and Norm made changes hoping to pick up the performance. We are closer but still don’t have the right combination figured out.

In the meantime, some problems were brewing with the motor home. We had lost 3 gallons of coolant on our way home from our final race last fall. Steve thought he had found the problem, a failed radiator cap, and he replaced it. When we made our first trip with the trailer a few weeks ago, we discovered the problem was still there. It turns out we had a much bigger problem; the head gaskets were leaking. With less than 60,000 miles on the engine, you wouldn’t think they would fail, but evidently there are issues with this 6.0L International diesel engine. This had to be fixed before we could go racing.

It was no easy task finding a repair shop that was willing and able to work on this diesel engine in the time frame we needed. We needed it fixed right away if we were going to make our races in June. Fortunately, we found Matt Dunavent at MAD Diesel Performance, and his shop was just a few miles away. He had the time, and the skills, to get the job done right. As long as we were getting the head gaskets replaced, Steve decided to step up to some better gaskets and fasteners, and a new set of heads. He found some heavy duty aftermarket heads by Kill-devil, from KC Turbo. These heads have a whole list of improvements over the factory heads and should provide some performance and durability benefits for the life of the engine.

The last day of the month, May 31, was a scheduled test day at Milan and our plan was to be there. The repairs on the motor home were done and we were picking it up that morning. When we arrived, however, there was a new problem, and the motor home wouldn’t start. It took Steve and Matt a little time, but they found the problem. For no apparent reason, one of the batteries just failed. We were stuck there until we could find a couple new batteries, install them and get the motor home running again. Needless to say, the plans to go testing that day were shot.

the motor home in good shape for the race seasonThe month of May has been more than a little crazy. At least it’s good to have the motor home in good shape for the race season. We’re hoping all our troubles are out of the way now and we can focus on racing for the rest of the summer.

Next up is the 9th Annual Detroit Dragway Reunion/Funny Car Shakedown at Milan Dragway on June 9th. This has grown into a really big event and we are really hoping to put on a good show. We’ll be one of six alcohol funny cars there, along with two nostalgia nitro funny cars, the Great Lakes Gassers, and a whole lot of other great nostalgia race cars. The following week we will be on our way to Bowling Green, KY, for the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion ( ) June 14-16, at Beech Bend Motor Sports Park. Can’t wait to start smoking some tires.

Susie Q


April, 2018

The Pre-season Update

It’s been a long winter and a busy one at Christophersen Racing. We’re finally getting close to having the car ready to go. As some may recall, we had catastrophic engine failure last year in the middle of our season. Although we found a replacement engine to finish our last two races, it had issues and was not going to get us through our 2018 season. So Steve shopped around and was able to pick up some good used parts over the winter. He’s been working hard at putting things together, and with some help from Norm and a little from me, he’s built an entirely new engine.

We now have a 521 ci Hemi, made up of an Alan Johnson TFX block, with Total Flow billet heads, Reid rocker arms, Victory titanium valves and Trend pushrods and adjusters. We have a new Kinsler fuel injection system and a 14-71 Gibson/ Miller blower, which we acquired last year but have never used. That required a different blower restraint from DJ Safety. Our Lencodrive bell housing cracked at our final race in Bowling Green, so we replaced it with a brand new Boninfante bell housing and mid plate from Jeff Bohr. We’re using the same Moroso dry sump oil pump, but had to order a new custom Moroso pan. Steve installed a new dry sump tank built by Patterson, which of course, created more plumbing challenges and reconfiguring. We have our same Lencodrive transmission, Neal Chance converter, and 9.5″ Strange top loader rear end that we freshened up and are ready to go. The rotors were so worn they had to be replaced. The new rotors from Strange and new pads from TBM Brakes are installed.

This has been as much work as the year we first built the car, and at least as expensive. We want to keep racing so we’re not complaining. Every step of the way has been challenging though, and with our first race only two weeks away, we are thrashing to get the car done. Now we just need a few warm days to do some testing. With the cold weather we’ve had, there’s a real possibility we won’t get to the track before our first race, which is May 11-12, near St. Louis, MO. That’s just too far to go without at least a few passes down the track. We are staying hopeful.

Susie Q

521 ci Hemi with AJPE-TFX Block
521 ci Hemi with AJPE-TFX Block
Total Flow Heads with Reid Rocker Arms
Total Flow Heads with Reid Rocker Arms
Patterson Dry Sump Tank
Patterson Dry Sump Tank
Boninfante Bell Housing and Mid Plate
Boninfante Bell Housing and Mid Plate
Strange Rotors and TBM Brake Shoes
Strange Rotors and TBM Brake Shoes

New Associate Sponsor for Susie Q

Parker’s Hill Top BreweryChristophersen Racing is excited to announce a new associate sponsor, Parker’s Hill Top Brewery, located in Clarkston, MI. This is one of our favorite places to eat so we are thrilled to be able to partner with them for this race season. Their logo will be on our ’57 Chevy Funny Car all summer and the Susie Q will be making two appearances in front of the restaurant this summer, dates TBD. We will also be offering a very special Honorary Pit Crew opportunity to one Hill Top’s customers. Details will be announced later.

Parker’s Hill Top Brewery, located in Clarkston, MIParker’s Hill Top is an upscale brewery which offers a unique casual atmosphere, a perfect place to kick back and relax. It feels like your favorite pub with big screen TVs, a family restaurant with table games and darts, and a fun place for a group to party and socialize, all under the same roof. Much of what comes out of the kitchen is cooked from scratch. The menu offers a just the right variety of choices from burgers to filet, pizza and pasta, soups and salad, and one of their specialties, handmade pierogis.  Enjoy Hill Top’s signature brews, made on site from start to finish; a great selection including some seasonal favorites and a few specialty brews.

Parker’s Hill Top Brewery