Rapid's "What I did Last Weekend Story" (1 Viewer)


Nitro Member

Well this report is so late it almost can be called “What I did the other Weekend!” There has been so much written about the event, most of you know I was asked to drive Danny and Dorothy Miller’s Nostalgia Nitro Funnycar at Indy last weekend. This is a brand new car that had no track time prior to loading up and going to Indy. “Chi Town” Dan Brown will drive it; after he gets his license runs in. Since the car was not completed earlier, they needed a licensed driver to race the car.

I picked Chi up at home on Friday and we were off to Indy to meet up with the team. Danny Miller, car owner and crewchief. Jack Convy is his long time friend and has raced with Danny all their careers. I believe Jack told me that he had never missed a race with Danny. Chi Town did the diving this weekend. Seth is the youngest of the bunch and is an employee of Danny’s at the Rear Gears shop. Allen Middendorf was also along for the weekend.

We were fighting traffic, and unable to get to the track in time on Friday to make a run. We did get to do a warm-up though. Man what a nice car this is. I spent some time looking it over, the details on the car are first class all the way. We discussed it with Jeff Gaynor and he called the Good Guys rep, who approved us making a hit on the car at 9:00AM. We were to be the first car to go down the track on Saturday morning.

Saturday we were up early and at the track. We checked everything over after the warm-up and towed up to the line. This was it; I was about to make a pass at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the Premier track of the NHRA. It is the home of the US NATIONALS the 1st national event I attended back in 1979. I have been here with Super Chevy back in my Pro-Mod days, but I had NEVER raced down this famous strip myself. To say I was excited would be a major understatement! We had discussed the starting procedure back in the pits. Danny said how long a burnout are you going to do? I asked him if we had any heat issues or if he needed me back to the line in a hurry. Nope, we should be fine he said. I told him I would go “somewhere” past the starting line then. Humm, I wonder if he thought about the fact that the whole track was “somewhere” past the starting line. I did a much shorter burnout than in our AA/FA. I let the car roll a ways after the burnout and came to a stop around the 330- foot cone. Now most people won’t believe this, but after the burnout, while the car is slowing down is one of the coolest times to enjoy the car. It is crackling thru the headers at idle. The body, and head sock under your helmet muffle the sound. The whole deal is so calm, just the opposite of the screaming the car was doing a split second ago boiling the hides. I slipped it into reverse and headed back to the starting line. Behind the line this car has a few different things to do. Once I give it a once over I pull to the beams. It has a high-low lever on the fuel system that gets pulled on after I pre-stage. At the signal from Adam I know that the car is close to the beams. I pre-staged, pulled on the car on the hi-side, and staged. For this run I didn’t even care about the tree, I just wanted to make sure I could see it, and get the car down the track. At the hit the car made it 10-20 feet before it knocked the tires off. It moved to the centerline, then back towards the outer wall. Hey, this feels like all my runs in the altered last year, pretty fun but not so productive in the ET dept. After a few pedals it finds the finish line and starts to make a decent run at it. I had to stay with it as we wanted to check to make sure the chutes, brakes, etc all work. If the event had been shown on TV, it would have gotten Danny some extra TV time for sure. I know this because the car stopped just short of the turn out. The guys pushed it the last 10-feet to clear the track.

We went back to the pits, serviced the clutch and looked the engine over. Tom Motry come over and helped set the clutch-stop in the car after Danny adjusted the clutch pack and spring pressure. We hurried to get the car serviced for the first qualifier at 11:00AM. The call to the lanes came and we were able to get in line. I was to be the last funnycar to run in this session.

There was 1-qualifying run, then 1st round later in the day. My run was going to be a single run. Danny asked if I was going clear to the end of the track again on my burnout. Geez, car owners,,,,,everybody could tell I wasn’t a car length past the 330,,,,under power anyway. The other cars all went down the track from A to B under power they were all 6-second runs. Great,,,no pressure I just have to make the first pass of my life in a funnycar on a ¼ mile track anyway, in a car that has never been down the track, and oh yeah, there is only 1-qualifying shot. I pulled into the beams, and stood on the gas. The little car pulled the front up and started marching for the far end. There is no tach, so I wound it out a ways before reaching for the shifter handle. What, I forgot to mention this car doesn’t have an air shifter. I guess Danny wanted to see if I was any good at this or not right off the bat. I listen to the tone of the engine and pull the lever back into high. It feels great and the car is pulling like crazy. I am ready for the car to act up, but it is going perfect and straight as a string. Just past the 1000-foot line the car noses over. I lifted instantly, and pushed the fuel shut off, and hit the chutes. After the turn off, man what a feeling. It went to 1100 feet, it felt good, I caught it right as it nosed over and I have just made a pass at Indy. Life Is Good!

The crew gets down there and I told Danny it layed over but I caught it early I thought. He said he saw the death smoke from the starting line. Everyone is pretty happy, and Danny said, “You just ran a 6.436, my old record was 6.438! I started to feel bad at breaking his record, and he said, “No, that is great. I am a car owner now and it beat my old record on the first pass!”

Back in the pits we found out we qualified #3, and are moving on to 1st round in a few hours. That was the end of the good news. There was a valve train problem, and it ate 3-pistons. Bummer. The crew didn’t waste any time. Everybody jumped in and we were able to make 1st round. I have to tip my hat to all the other teams and the Good Guys organization as they all waited for us to be able to make the call. My guys were working out of a borrowed trailer on top of everything else.

1st Round I have Kyle and the Nitro Pony. What a great looking car Kyle has. Be sure to check it out if you have the chance. The car left well and was trucking. Later I heard the announcers were going wild as Kyle and I were flying down the track. Jeff Gaynor said our car had the front end still in the air past the 400-feet down track. It was feeling like a heck of a ride for sure. I pulled the lever and the car made a little move to the centerline. I started trying to move it back over, no dice. I pedaled it as I knew it was getting close to the cones. It stopped moving left, but still was spinning the slicks. I gave it another pedal to get it back in the groove, it slipped around a bit, so one more pedal as Kyle hadn’t come around yet. I managed to get it to the finish line and take the win. On the return road, I am given the news. We are disqualified for hitting the 1000-ft cone. It is the same cone John Dunn just hit. I asked if they were sure, as I didn’t think my car hit it. But, if I did, I did. Kyle hurt his pretty good however he had the parts to fix his. Back in the pits, we were happy the car ran 6.47 with 4-pedal jobs, but I was really bummed my Indy experience was over so soon. About this time Frank Kunkle came up and asked if I wanted to see a video of the run. Frank takes great video and his wife shoots stills of a lot of Nostalgia events around the country. His video is from the rear, and clearly shows I didn’t hit the cone. An official came over and congratulated us on our runs. We mentioned we had video showing I didn’t hit the cone. We went on to say if the call was final, then it was what it was. He said let me see the video and I will go look at the track. The video shows the car sucked the cone up as I went past and the cone came to rest in the middle of the track, still intact. It turns out that the silicon hadn’t dried prior to our run and the cone came loose. After checking everything, the Good Guys crew, informed Kyle they are reinstating us. So now Kyle stopped working on his, and we started working ours over. Everything looks good and we head to the motel.

Sunday morning we are in the semi’s against Jeff Gaynor and Bob Godfrey. Justin Grant with driver “Mini me” are racing Jim Broome with Mike Savage driving. We are the 2nd pair and I watch as Mini Me runs a career best 6.39, only to get beat by Mike. The bad news is Jim Broome’s car oiled my lane. Bob Godfrey and I are both strapped in and the outside temp is rising, but we don’t have time to get out of the cars. I looked down track and in the left lane, Jeff and Bob’s lane, I can’t believe it. They are spraying traction compound. Now how did Jeff pull that off? It was the right lane that was oiled, and Jeff gets his lane sprayed. Leave it to Jeff. Ha! When the get the oil cleaned up they sprayed my lane as well, so maybe he didn’t pull off anything after all. It was pretty funny though to watch. When asked he just said, “Hey us California guys stick together. I got your lane oil treated for you.”

Since I have been doing a little longer burnouts, I rolled thru the water and hit it. The car came right up and carried a nice long tire smoker. Backing up, checking everything twice and roll to the beams. On the flash of yellow I stab it and the car just doesn’t make a good move. I see Bob out on me and he is pulling a way slowly. I am not sure what is wrong, but the car is really soft. I decide to just pull it into hi-gear and follow him through. When I reached for the lever, what an idiot. I just left in high gear. No wonder the car isn’t charging like it should. I lost the race of course, but we won the war with the weekends results. We made it to the semi-finals, set new team records and exceeded my personal best in ET.

I guess if I had to get beat, it was by a fast good looking car. Jeff and Bob ended up winning the event by the way. Congrats to the whole team for a job well done.

I want to Thank Danny and Dorothy Miller along with the whole team for giving me the opportunity to live a dream and race a Nitro car at Indy. I know Chi would have loved to have been the driver, and it meant a lot for him to be involved in giving me the nod to take over. The team has a lot of good things coming there way in the near future.

I hope you enjoyed my “What I did Last Weekend” story.

Great story Rapid! Congratulations on the personal best E.T. Keep this up and your altered is going to start to seem tame.

Wow, your "What I did last weekend" story is a hell of a lot better than mine.

(Pulled weeds in the garden, and fixed some fences around it.)
Cool Story, will you in in Columbus this weekend?
Just want to add how much I enjoyed reading the story Rapid. You have a knack of putting the reader right in to the cockpit.

My weekend story was much like Gawboys, looking up this upcoming weekend as I'll venture out to our local track here and spend a fathers day the best way I know. A day at the strip with my kids.
Great story Rapid! Congratulations on the personal best E.T. Keep this up and your altered is going to start to seem tame.

Wow, your "What I did last weekend" story is a hell of a lot better than mine.

(Pulled weeds in the garden, and fixed some fences around it.)


That is funny!! I have a NUMBER of weekends that match yours! :rolleyes:


Just want to add how much I enjoyed reading the story Rapid. You have a knack of putting the reader right in to the cockpit.

My weekend story was much like Gawboys, looking up this upcoming weekend as I'll venture out to our local track here and spend a fathers day the best way I know. A day at the strip with my kids.


Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. I was up real late last night finishing that darn thing. Hearing someone enjoys it makes it worth while.

There were so many things that happened it was hard to keep it kind of short for you guys.

Have a GREAT fathers day this weekend.

Rapid - Awesome how you capture "the moment"! I felt like I was behind the wheel with you, lol. And to admit, on a public forum, that you left the line in high gear, well, that takes a real humble and honest man. Please continue posting all of your runs!
PJ, the answer was yes,,,until a little bit ago. Danny was taken to the hospital and we are all waiting on news. It does not appear we will be making the trip after all.


Wow, I hope Danny is okay.

Great story, but next time, how about some pictures?

Got my dad's gloves and jacket in yesterday!
Jon, It was a great race and they had a big crowd in the stands. I can see this event getting bigger and better every year.

JC, you guys get to ride along when things go well, and you get the straight scoop when I screw up. The good and the bad,,,along with the ugly so to speak! :D

I started the "What I did Last Weekend" for a few friends and it just grew from there. You can read anywhere what ET's were run and who raced whom. What you can't read or see on the TV is what the guys did to the car between rounds and why they changed things. You don't get to experience the fun of sitting in the car. That is the stuff I attempt to get into the stories. Thanks for taking the time to read it.


Glad you got the DJ stuff. Lets see if any of these will work.



well I hope he's alright and that you guys still make it, Zappy and I were looking forward to seeing you run
Thanks Kelly!!

I was able to race the car Ron drives for Jeff Gaynor, unfortuately I didn't beat it, and Ron wasn't in it! But,,,,,if he would have been I coulda been racing Ron Capps at Indy,,,,,now how cool would that have been!!!! :cool::)

Ways To Support Nitromater

Users who are viewing this thread