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Pedaling in Pomona

November 7-10, 2013
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
NHRA Finals

As the NHRA finals arrived in Pomona, California everyone was excited for the season finale. The Litton Racing team was very busy making final preparations subsequent to some major engine damage at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Western Regional the previous week in Las Vegas.

Pomona Newsletter 1

The first qualifying run on Thursday afternoon resulted in a good starting point.  Driver Bill Litton slapped the accelerator and completed the run in 5.56 at 256 mph. The run was a little slower than hoped for, possibly due to a problem developing in the clutch department. This qualified the team and put them in the 14th spot.

Pomona Newsletter 2

Friday was a big day for the Litton Racing team with two qualifying runs ahead of them. The first qualifying run of the day was around noontime. With the sun beating down on the track, the team pulled out another decent run at 5.63 at 261 mph. There were still some lingering problems with the clutch that the crew had been addressing since the Las Vegas races. More adjustments were made in the pits in anticipation of the third and final qualifying run.

The third qualifying run was toward the end of the day on Friday, when the sun was setting near the end of the track, which made the visibility difficult.  The car launched smoothly and had a good 60 foot time of .95 seconds at close to 100 mph.

Pomona Newsletter 3But the tire shake started to come on really strong and seemed as if Bill was going to smoke the tires. Litton had to adjust accordingly by “pedaling” the car. “As the tire shake was coming on, I thought our season was going to end unqualified at Pomona. Sometimes tire shake comes on gradually enough that you can drive through it, but this time I felt it coming on with too much intensity so I backed off the accelerator about half way and then slapped it back to the firewall.  The tires calmed down and grabbed really well then the car pulled hard to the finish line,” commented Litton.  If a car needs to be “pedaled” due to tire shake or tire smoke, it is rare to be able to qualify based on that run. Even with pedaling the car the Litton Team ended up with a better time and qualified for final eliminations. The clutch and electrical gremlins appeared to be fixed and the crew put in extra effort so they would be ready to go head to head with the world champion Jim Whitely in the first round of eliminations.  The Crew Chief, Anthony Dicero, knew he had to step up the tune up to compete against Whitley’s 5.21 run time. “Tomorrow is going to be exciting and we are not going down without a fight,” stated Dicero.

Pomona Newsletter 4Saturday was a big race day for the team. Litton against Whitely, an almost David and Goliath match up. The team was as excited as ever to be racing in the elimination round in front of all the Litton Financial supporters. The Litton team was in the bump spot taking on the toughest car in the series. The car had a strong launch with a good 60 foot time, but Whitely pulled ahead and held it all the way down the track.  As the two drivers were shaking hands after the run, Whitely told Litton, “I knew you were gunning for me.”  The Litton team had a solid run with a 5.55 at 262 mph… strong enough to take Whitely if he stumbled and a strong run to end the 2013 race season on.

As the season comes to an end, Dicero had some closing thoughts, “The Litton Financial team is going to regroup over the winter and come back stronger and better than ever next year. From everyone at ADR we appreciate all the hard work from Litton Racing and Litton Financial and all of their supporters. We also appreciate all the help from Lucas Oil and Boninfante Friction. We could not do it without you and we look forward to a strong 2014 race season.”