By Kristal Cowle
Photos by johnboyy & mcpixels
The pride within the main players of the series at gaining the support of RPM Lucas and M/T was obvious and fueled the anticipation of our first ever guaranteed payout events along with the the locker room talk of who would be coming out to get in on the action!
One thing we didn’t plan on was Mother Nature showing us she can be just as extreme…Aug 2nd she got the best of us and the event was a wash out. Not before Eric Tuuri (who was featured in the June issue of RPM) could knock out his 1st ever 8.90 pass in his ’66 Charger. Eric went 8.909 just before the sky opened up and spoiled the fun.
Rescheduled to September, we’d not only have those RPM backed purses to run for but an additional bonus payout carried over from the Aug 2nd rain out. That made for payouts totaling just shy of $8000 across the 4 Index Classes…the biggest paying event in RRA history!
We awoke Saturday morning to Mother Nature again wreaking havoc on our plans. Low temps, a wicked wind that just cut to the bone and of course RAIN! Jim Curtis of Thompson Raceway Park has had our backs from day one and he knew how important this event was to the racers of the RRA. When most assumed the day was doomed to fail, Jim watched,
waited and then he made the call to open the gates and let us run. In the end the day belonged to the racers of the RRA. Two hours behind schedule and limited to an 1/8th mile program we still put on a hell of a show!
Ray Galvin took home the win in the JIM MIKESINA 8.90 INDEX. This win was a first for Ray within the RRA who devoted much of his time in the seasons past to crewing on
Dave Hinzman’s Mustang in our Outlaw Limited Street Class. It’s was about time we all got a chance to see what he could do behind the wheel of his 1964 Pontiac GTO.
Vito Gambino and his 1969 Camaro fought through some of the best racers the RRA has to offer to take the victory in the 2 Fast Garage 9.90 INDEX. This was also Vito’s 1st event with the RRA, but something tells me it won’t be his last.
You want EXTREME, check out Gary Wojnowski, his pass during the semi-finals is as extreme as it gets! His ’66 Olds was .000 on the tree and 6.700 down track, making him the first racer in the series’ 5 year history to ever put up a perfect package. Everyone was picking their chins off the ground for that one! Gary would go on to take the win for the Chumley Motorsports 10.50 INDEX in the finals to round out his night.
James Davies came out to run with the RRA for the 1st time as well and came out on top of the Jim Clere Memorial 11.50 INDEX Class in his 1980 AMC Spirit. The RPM event became a family affair for this class when the final round pitted grandfather (Jim Slaughter) against grandson. Jim came to tell me this right before they ran and you could see in his eye how proud he was to line up on that starting line against his grandson.
The odds were definitely stacked against us yet we pulled together to put on what may be the most intense rounds of eliminations of any event to date. Almost every racer who lost throughout the night didn’t pack up and head for home like they have all season long. Instead, there they were, standing on the starting line cheering their fellow racers. The excitement in the air was palpable, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride, I have not seen anything like it in a long while and Tommy had to be smiling down on all of us at what we have accomplished.
After all these years together, not just this special event but the faith that Chris and Trish of RPM Mag put in our program has renewed a fire inside of all of us. On behalf of the RRA I want to say thank you! We are truly grateful for everything you have done and we look forward to the future with RPM Magazine by our side.