|AAFO.COM Reno Race
Report - Day 1
It has begun - the great most anticipated day of the whole year has finally come and it was glorious! Lots of great sights & sounds. Walking through the pits the true race fan knew, he was truly home. I know you are really looking forward to our first report from the NCAR so....... let's get on with it!
First and most importantly, I did say that I will let you know what "secret weapon" that Team Dago will have in her camp this year in our first report. Dago was there, along with her new owner Terry Bland, Pilot Bruce Lockwood, Team Rep and all around good guy Dan Stout - and this year - heading up the job as team manager is none other than Reno legend Bill Kerchenfant. With Kerch in Dago's camp this year, this team *will* be the favorite to take all the marbles. The game plan for this team is simple - do only what you have to do to be one of the top 3 qualifiers (which do not have to race on Thursday) - keep yourself competitive throughout the event - try to get the inside pole position for Sundays' Gold Race - and then do what it takes to win. As you can see by the first round qualifying speed - Team Dago is following the game plan.
Voodoo (the "Chile" is now gone from the name) had her share of problems. During the first round of qualifying (1PM to 2PM) something went wrong with the aircraft as she suddenly pulled up just prior to pylon 8 with a mayday. Smoke in the cockpit caused pilot Bob Hanna to open the canopy and land ASAP!!! After the beautiful job Hanna did on landing - all were very relieved to see that Voodoo landed without incident. The cause of the problem - header stacks too short allowing the hot exhaust to enter the cowl. She didn't take to the pylons for the late afternoon qualifying period (5PM to 6PM) as Team Voodoo was busy changing out the header stacks throughout the remainder of the day. (Funny that when the AAFO staff viewed Voodoo in the pits - we were struck by the "extremely short header stacks stacks"). We hope to see what Voodoo can do tomorrow..... she *is* one slick looking aircraft, even with the "simple" all white color scheme.
"Gary has the rubber bands wound a bit tighter than last year" quipped Brad Haskin as Miss Ashley II screamed by overhead<g>. Now THIS was the way she was meant to be run! As we reported earlier - this year they will be turning up the wick and running at the "high" blower setting. Boy, was *that* apparent. The Griffon engine was humming like there was no tomorrow....... sending goose bumps up your spine on every pass. Reminiscent of the Red Baron of old - she was definitely there to strut her stuff. However, there were some early problems..... some av-gas residue in the ADI tanks (used for fuel on the trip to and from Oshkosh) was found on Sunday. Taking care of that problem was fairly routine. Today there were some other gremlins that the team is encountering and the team is very focused at solving these and was too busy to comment. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll have something more on these developments.
Czech Mate was there - and pilot Sherman Smoot was putting her through her paces during both unlimited qualifying time slots. Staying on the course for quite a bit of time, Sherman was (we assume) getting used to his new mount as he never called for the clock. It was great to see this aircraft once again.... and for those that are interested - the aircraft remains much the same as her last outing - save sporting a new paint scheme and new "stock" tail feathers.
The Dreadnought of Dennis Sanders came out of the sky like a thunderous herd! Just like always, this Hawker Sea Fury just purred around the course at her "leisurely" pace, seeming like she was not even close to taxing her R4360 monster radial engine. However, passing the others on the course at a blistering pace - you knew she was turning some pretty impressive speeds.
Ridge Runner and pilot Dan Martin had one hell of a qualifying run. This basically stock P-51D really made an impressive showing. On the course for barely enough time to call the clock - she posted the forth fastest time. What's her secret you say? Well, I'll let you know on Sunday <g>.
Riff Raff and pilot Hoot Gibson took to the course twice, and on the first run it did look like the aircraft was having some teething problems which was later confirmed. When asked what they were, crew chief Jim xxx stated (with a smile) "We have a couple of things that need tweekin". During the second afternoon qualifying run it appeared that the tweekin that was done, need further attention as the time Hoot spent on the course was short. We are very much looking forward to seeing this aircraft, along with the AAFO.COM logos on the fuselage, take her third attempt tomorrow.
Spirit of Texas and pilot Stewart Dawson did exactly what they said they would do with the new R3350 under the cowl. Looking to place well in the Silver Unlimited Class - they are well on their way to doing so.
Some of the no-shows to date are Jimmy Leeward's Cloud Dancer, Joseph Thibodeau's Crusader, the Thunder Mustang, Alan Henley's Alabama Hammer Jammer, and Brian Hoffner's Nooky Booky IV. Not to worry though, they have a couple of days of qualifying left. Overall, this was a GREAT day........ Stay tuned as the action has just begun!
Story By: Mark Kallio
(We apologize for not having any pictures of the event to upload for todays' story. This was mainly due to the schedule lasting until 6:00PM. Hopefully, we will have some to share by tomorrow.)
UNLIMITED CLASS QUALIFYING - ROUND 1
|Spirit of Texas
|Miss Ashley II
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