Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lunch of Champions

My Dad has been a drag racer and engine builder since the early-60's.  His specialty is the 426 Hemi motor.  In 1968 Chrysler Corporation produced the Hemi Barracudas and Darts. The cars have never dropped in popularity and the Hemi Super Stock class is still the most coveted one in drag racing.

The most prestigious race of the year is held in Indianapolis, over Labor Day weekend, the U.S. Nationals.  At this race the Mopar Hemi Challenge is contested. For the Hemi racers that is the race to attend.  In 2004, with the quickest car in the nation, we found ourselves unable to get an entry to the race due to points (you must attend a certain number of events to earn points). To have THE car sit at home while THE race was being contested didn't sit well with us. At other races we attended we noticed that Pro Stock driver, Jeg Coughlin, was usually watching the Hemi's run. We approached him about driving our car for that event. As a former world champion the points rules are not applicable. He agreed, went on to be #1 qualifier and won the event.  It was a HUGE win for our team.
Jeg & I have stayed in touch over the years.  This past weekend the NHRA circuit raced in Sonoma (he is the reigning 2013 Pro Stock World Champion).  He was staying over to play golf and sightsee so we made arrangements to have him and his PR guy, Woody, over for lunch. Over a meal of grilled tri tip, tortellini salad, Caprese salad, baked beans and fresh melon we all caught up with each other and, of course, talked racing. For dessert I made a peach-raspberry crisp and homemade ice cream. The guys had to catch an afternoon plane to Seattle, and the next race on the tour, but I sent them away with full stomachs!

At 83 my Dad is retired from active engine building now, just does some small repair jobs to keep himself busy.  It was nice to see him smile while reminiscing about a great racing weekend.

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