February 5th – 8th, 2015
Pomona Raceway, CA
Litton Racing started off the season this past weekend in Pomona for the Winternationals. There was much anticipation as Driver Bill Litton and the crew of Premier Racing hadn’t seen each other since the end of last season. The team was unable to test in the off season so the pressure was on to perform well at the season opener. The reunion happiness soon gave way to fierce determination as the Dragster on it’s first run couldn’t be put into reverse after the burn out.
Car owner “Movie Mike” described the run and what went wrong. “First day of qualifying, car was set up, hopped up to really run a good number. Normally it’s the little part that breaks, the 99 cent part that gets ya. But it was the $1,200 part that broke so you can’t be too upset. There’s another day, we’re back, and we’re going to go lay down a number.
The crew worked tirelessly the rest of Thursday in order to get ready for the second qualifying run on Friday afternoon.
In the second qualifying round, the car performed well during the burn out. The burn out procedure normally ends just short of half-track. At that point the driver stops the car and allows the nitro pressure to stabilize, then trims it to the optimal pressure to maintain engine temperature. Driver Litton trimmed it a little too lean and began to back up to the starting line when the RPM started to climb due to the lean nitro. Litton comments, “I knew the motor wasn’t happy so I richened the nitro a little, then a little again… but not enough, fast enough and the motor died. The feeling was terrible. I should have just gone to the high side and dealt with it at the starting line.” Litton, ever the optimist, kept a good attitude and described the experience by re-quoting a racing friend, “things sometimes look different inside the pressure cooker!”
As the crew set up Saturday morning for what would be their last chance at qualifying, they were blessed by the amount of support they received from the arriving Litton Financial clients that offered much encouragement. As adrenaline heightened, the fans settled in and the dragster came to the starting line. The burn out and staging appeared to be text-book… Blue Thunder had an awesome launch with a great 60 foot time, then went into tire shake. Litton drove thru the tire shake but unfortunately, the shake was enough to slow the car to a 6.5. Not quick enough to beat the bump time of 5.50 seconds.
Movie Mike had this to say about the weekend “You keep learning and keep learning because if you don’t learn, then it’s a waste of time. You need to learn from everything and that’s how you get experience.” Litton Racing learned more about the car this weekend, and Driver Litton shook off some of the rust that comes with being out of the seat for a while.
We continue to learn as we go, but there is one thing everyone in the racing world knows to be true. Racing is fickle–you ride the ups and downs throughout the season and keep going because the passion overrides the dread of loss and there’s always the next race, the one that could catapult you to the winners circle. For Litton Racing, that next race is coming up April 10th-12th at the Summit Nationals in Las Vegas, and you can be sure to bet that they’re gambling on a big win!