Las Vegas Western Divisional
November 6th – 9th, 2014
The Strip Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV
The gamble appears to have progressed in a positive direction last weekend with a new crew and dragster for Team Litton Racing! Teaming up with Mike Walsh and Brooks Brown, Team Litton may be moving closer to winning the jackpot!
Mike Walsh is well known around the track as “Movie Mike” for his work on hundreds of cars for Hollywood and the film industry. Mike’s career as a car customizer began at an early age when as a child he modified his first Hot Wheel to make it different from those of his friends. Mike was greatly influenced by his father, “Pops”, who is an avid car fan and a customizer in his own right. Pops ensured that Mike was exposed to all that the Southern California custom car scene had to offer. Taking his young son to car shows, racing events, and custom shops, Pops introduced Mike to the elite customizers in the business. During his career, Mike has worked almost every job in the industry relating to cars, including as a car carrier driver, a stunt driver, a picture car captain, and a transportation coordinator.
Brooks Brown has many accomplishments in the sport of drag racing. He has been a national event winner, a national record holder, a mechanic and crew chief to the stars. He is generally one of the more versatile guys in the sport. Brooks has been especially successful in a world where success is measured by the fact that you can keep eight cylinders lit for an entire quarter mile; the world of the very fickle, fuel injected, nitro burning dragsters. Together with his dad, the late Tom Topping, Brooks was part of one of the hottest cars back in the early and mid-1990’s. “Our car was pretty good,” Brooks said. “We ran with everybody and beat most of them. Those were good times.”
Brooks summed up the new association by adding “we’ve been sitting out for a little bit then Bill called us up and here we are! We have changed a few things on our motor and it has woken right up!”
On Thursday, Team Litton worked out the kinks with a test and tune. While driver Bill Litton “was hoping for a full pull, great solid run” he settled for snapping back the throttle and saving parts after smoking the tires at the hit of the throttle and he coasted to the finish line hoping to qualify the next day.
At 4 p.m. on Friday, the new team’s first qualifying run experienced some tire shake but Chief Brooks commended Driver Bill Litton for “keeping his foot in and driving through.” Excited by Litton’s determined maneuvering, Brooks was positive about Saturday rounds saying “We are going to try and hop it up for tomorrow!”
When Saturday arrived, the team was hungry for a spot in the elimination rounds. Crew member Glen recalls “The car started up pretty good. Looked good, sounded good, everything was normal. Burnout was good. Car looked pretty tight as it took off for the burnout. On the stop, the car was popping pretty hard. But the car wouldn’t go into reverse.” Team Litton had to fold their cards for that hand and wait for the next round.
With the chips all in on the last round to qualify Team Litton and “Blue Thunder” (as some fans have affectionately named the car) were ready for pay day! The car launched a little bit soft. It ran strong through the center of the run but then dropped some cylinders about 200 feet before the finish line. Driver Litton said he “could feel the car nosing over and that’s probably what kept us from getting into the eliminations here.” Still, it was certainly a great run and moving in the right direction!
This was the largest field in the history of this divisional race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 25 dragsters competing for 8 elimination spots. Although the team didn’t make it to the eliminations, they persistently stayed in the game! Blue Thunder and Litton made the best run the car has ever made! A thundering 255 miles an hour in 5.51 seconds. One of the crew members gave insight into the accomplishment by explaining “5.51 at 255 miles an hour would normally get into a field at a national event, a sixteen car field. But this being a divisional race, with only eight cars getting in, we came up a little short this time.”
With the entire pit fired up, it was clearly a successful trip with what is sure to be a gamble that continues to pay off.
The entire crew has high hopes for what’s to come in the lower density altitude of Pomona, California where the finals will be held this weekend, November 13th through the 16th. Don’t cash in your chips yet!