Photography & Motorsports

          

 

 

 

 

 Grass Roots Sport Compact Drag Racing - A New Experience & Fun

 

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First off, I have to thank Russ, Dee, Gary & Mike for loading up my car, parts and tools in there transporter so that I could compete in this very different format of sport compact drag racing.

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Second, to Pito for promoting and hosting this event and giving us "USA" guys or "Gringos" a chance to run head to head with some of the fastest PR & local cars in Florida.

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Last but not least, to Tito (Tito Chassis) for his hard work and commitment to making "his cars", my RX8 and Dee's Mazdaspeed 3 some of the very best 3/4 Chassis Cars in our series and in the world. The event finals comprised of Tito Chassis built cars , a very memorable moment in history.

    

The location for this Match Race was Lakeland Motorsports Park, located between Orlando and Tampa on I-4 which includes an 1/8th Mile Drag Strip and featured Brent Rau, Dee Karagiannis and myself. We all said to ourselves: Gee, this is really different. No pressure, a lot of fans with lots of questions and some good old fashioned grass roots drag racing and some really good food. Some good pictures and video were taken by Racing Scene Magazine and AG Racing Photo.

On Saturday morning the three of us were invited over to do a live 1-hour radio interview at Spanish La Grande 1030 AM station hosted by Racing Scene Magazine and RPM TV & RPM Radio's LUIS & MAGDA ITURRINO. What a blast! We took some good questions and were challenged by the fans calling in. It was a great set up for the Sunday Match race.

The weather was great on both days and we had the opportunity to make a pass on Saturday evening during the test and tune session to get the fell of the track. I made one pass and ran a 7.89 at 145 mph driving through the clutch. Then I experienced the short shut down having to use the chute every time. Happy with the car that had the "spare" engine, I decided not to make any additional passes and just service the clutch for Sunday's match racing.

On Sunday, I elected to make a single Qualifying pass running a 4.90 @ 148 mph and the clutch dialed in for the track conditions. I elected not to make any chassis adjustments and following the qualifying sessions, we were paired up for the first round of competition. Video:  Ken Scheepers 4.90@140mph

I was paired  up with "Chamo Racing", a first generation RX7. I was able to win the round (see the video) Chamo 5.02@145 vs. Ken Scheepers 4.95@146 One step closer to see who would prevail, the USA or Petro Rico!

Round two would be the "race of the day" I would run the number one qualifier (4.97 @ 149 mph), "Indio Racing" Datsun with 13B Rotary power. I wish I had have had an in car video of this race as it was probably the best side by side race I have ever had and for the event. Video Ken Scheepers vs. Indio  The results: Indeo 5.00 @ 148 vs. Ken 4.99 @ 145. Toward the end of the run, the exhaust header split and lost power and it sounded terrible.

As we were celebrating and rolling up the chute, a local competitor ran off the end of the track "resting" about 30 feet into the bush at the end of the track. His chute was dragging behind the car and I didn't see the brakes lock up either so you can imagine the rest. We were fortunate as this accident provided just enough time for us to remove the header for Tito to come through again and weld up the 4" split in the stainless bend. Also a big thanks to Gary for helping me get the car ready for the final.

Ah, this was or should have been an easy round for my car. I was up against the "Alicia" Toyota 4 cylinder who I believe ran a best 5.3 ET. I totally screwed up and took a break at the line. See this video Alicia vs. Ken Scheepers  The results: Alicia 5.23 @ 135 vs. Ken 5.23 @ 148. A terrible .85 reaction time, a 1.43 60 foot and a 5.23 at 148 out the back.

The best man won and my congratulations to "Team PR" for an outstanding performance.

We ended the event with a delicious Spanish meal, a few "cold ones" and great conversation up in the tower. Again, thanks to Pito and for everyone who worked so hard to make this a great event and I look forward to another some day.

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