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© 1999 Brian F. Schreurs
Even we have a disclaimer.

Peck has stuff to do.

Capitol Raceway, Crofton, Md.

Test Session: Saturday, March 20, 1999

The season finally starts!

It's been opening day of the 1999 season for about three weeks. Each week, it rained on raceday, as if to taunt us after a week of clear, cool weather. When we stopped inviting Peck, it cleared right up and we got some track time.

We took out the Paradise Garage Firebird, and Josh met us at Capitol Raceway with his Mustang GT. The Mustang sat out the winter without racing, unlike the Firebird; since last time it was on the track, Josh added headers, a shift kit, trans and oil coolers, and a power tune-up, and he lowered the suspension. The Firebird remains stock.

The Firebird and Mustang patiently wait for tech to open.
The Junior Dragsters ran over a bit, so we spent a lot of time inspecting other people's cars. The gates opened at 11 but we didn't hit the staging lanes until 12:30. Tech was no problem, although one question would prove to haunt us.

"How fast ya planning on running today?"

"Huh? Oh, not faster than 14s."

"Good, coz, if you break 13.99 you gotta have a helmet. Have fun."

No problem, our best to date was 14.2.

We lined up, but unfortunately not next to Josh's Mustang. It would prove to be us vs. a Grand National. Hoo boy, we knew how this would go before we even got to the lights. The tree went down, we took off, and we watched the GN fade off into the distance.

Oh well.

But the good news was waiting at the timeslip booth. Well, both good and bad news. The girl at the booth had a look at the car number -- a "4" overwriting a "2", thanks to an error in tech -- and asked, "Are you car number four?"


"You hafta wear a helmet to race."

This seemed odd, until we had a look at the timeslip. A 13.66 at 104! That didn't just beat our previous best, that killed it. The problem? Now we needed a helmet to race. We eventually found a speed shop nearby but they were no use. The day was over for the Firebird.

Josh, meanwhile, was not restricted by the helmet rule so he went on to make five passes. All five passes were better than his previous best! The best of the best was 14.56 at 95 mph. He ran away from a Dodge Ram truck and easily beat an IROC Camaro, but barely lost to a couple of Fox-body Mustangs and was wasted by a maxed-out, trailered Omni GLHS.

Capitol Raceway turned out to be a really nice track, and certainly no further away than 75&80. We may spend more time with these guys. And with the 13-second barrier cracked, the goal is now to better John Hunkins' 13.5...