August 2002
Thunder Valley Raceway
"Well folks! Here we go! Oklahoma. . .through my eyes. Thanks for stickin with me on this one. It's been quite an adventure trying to put aside the time to write but your notes looking for the story really kicked me in the butt and made me get it together! So thank you all and here it is.
"O K L A H O M A"!
Well lets go back to August, nasty, sticky August and the setting is at "Donavan shop" where we work on the car between races(thank you so much Woody!). The Dually is in Camarrio at "RCS" Chris Hedge's shop for a fix on the transmission and brakes. That is a story in itself. There are many aspects of the Oklahoma prep that gets me rollin but I have to say is that my favorite is:

The perfectly good race car computer that is going in for a check up and an upgrade. . . one tiny little oops, a little flame and some smoke and there goes the main chip so they pirate one out of this other computer and poof there goes that one and the computer is rendered to the status of a vegetable and here starts the "marathon relay" Slick calls Brett and they find a chip and they send a radio transmission out to T-Swain who just happens to be out in the Torrence/Gardena area and he rushes over and picks up the new computer chip from Brett Johansen at TRW and relays it to Dave Stellar at Culver Carberators who has it ready for T-(boy I'm tired)Slick to pick up on his arrival from Sleezy Valley and returns it back to Sleezy Valley at 5 o'clock on a Friday to Competition Dynamics. . .and. . . .it looks like it's gona work! yeah team! They were heard to exclaim "I wonder why it blew the second chip"?
We were all looking so forward to the Boise race and it was such a disappointment to not be able to make it. The parts and the pieces we much needed to make it all happen were simply not available in time. Just not in the cards I guess.
So Todd Shappee and T-Slick are finally on their way to Oklahoma with the car and just about Phoenix they blow a trailer tire, Tom called me I called Paul Nae, Paul Nae called Tom and told Tom to call Bill Tourney who called the tire shop and set it all up who then called Tom who then called me so that I could Frank and let him that everything was OK! Frank said huh? So then they all proceed to Tucson for the half hour tire change that turns into a 2 hour meal, but to know Bill Tourney is to love him and finally they are back on the road to meet us in Las Cruses but while they are stopped for dinner the starter goes "kaput", "Frank told him not to shut it off!" but we're not going there. . . AND of course no exhausted mechanic should be without some last minute brake work, this I picked up out of the small mumbling print of the conversation. So they finally get the Dually started and are now 3 hours from Las Cruses and it is time now for us to leave for Las Cruces from Glenwood. Frank asks! "Are we ready"? Let's see I say "Franks luggage and wallet, Frank's horse and tack and. . .my luggage, my camera, my battery charger, my computer, my computer bag, my purse, restraint bag "oops forget that" my dog, my dogs bed, my dogs bag, my bird, my birds bag, my birds cage and cover, my horse, my horses saddle, my horses food, my banjo, my banjo bag, my music bag, and oh yeah my yodelling CD (which Frank loves). "Frank said my, my, my hmmmm!. So were off, oh wait, gotta stop at the post office, oh yeh and we gotta make a deposit in Silver City. Great only 2 hours to go and "OH crap, I forgot my Inverter and Baccardi"(Frank just rolls his eyes, I told him they're gona stick that way). So Las Cruces is in site and we are suppose to meet them at the road side rest with the great big Road Runner out front "you know the one". So we continue on to Oklahoma without any further problems, thank goodness!
By the way, did you know that Frank and Walt have been at the racing scene for over 40 years. . . . .and here we are again in Oklahoma with an almost new car and a "Sean Bellemier" standing in for our techno "Tim Gibson". We're pretty excited about the possibilities.

Well! Here we are pulling into Thunder Valley on Friday morning listening to the 4th version of "Cattle Call" and two versions of "Happy Trails". We pass a group of locals and Todd Shappee says "do they sell meat by the pound out here"? Franks says "No! but they do in New Mexico!
Now we are at the track and I get a real good look at the car. Hats off to Bruce Dida for the sweet new tanks. We also have a completely new fuel injector set and we are anxious to try it out and see how it works. These new changes have come at no small cost. The crew has been struggling to get things up and running and make it better at the same time. The tank has a scoop on it that makes it look like a submarine so I'm thinking of how to cover it. Perhaps an eye ball would look great. Dave Stillar says "stick a condom on it" I say "don't you think that will melt"? Dave says "No! It will swell and shrink! I say "So that is your experience?" Dave says "So, Yours always melts"? ba dump pa!!!
It is so muggy and humid, however, Frank thinks its great in comparison to Missouri! One thing about sweating heavily, it's great when the breeze blows. We have the same crew as 2 years ago, minus a few extras. Frank was out of the action due to the emergency surgery on the detached retina. Frank had to sit in the bleachers and watch the crew pull a 6:21 (low ET of the meet). It was a great day. So with that memory in mind - we proceed.
Today is Walt Stevens Birthday!
Patrick and I gotta get all the BD stuff. 300 Candles, hats, and fire extinguisher! And Oh yeah. . . .Cake!
Walt wants a Piniata! Ya right! I'm gonna find a piniata in Noble Oklahoma!
How do you spell piniata?
Frank and Sean are discussing the car and what he's to expect and how to talk to Frank after the run. This will be Seans first time in a Top Fuel Car. Frank's been watching Sean for some time now and is pretty impressed with his performance at the light. We shall see. . . . John Barrett stopped by, he has his new shop up and running and is selling motors like crazy, Soooooh if anyone is looking for a 32-39 coup at a good price?
Hey I just found out that I am walking in the foot steps of "Doris Herbert and her Drag News and the woman who wrote the drag report Joan Peters known as the "Yellow Rose.
Great, got the cake and candles.
The cake decorating theme we've decided to call it "help from the handicapped." The candles look like a ton of crooked teeth. Now if the generator will just stay running long enough to get the candles lit.
Patrick and I set out to prepare the trailer. Found a crate to put the cake on and get all the candles lit before Walt walks in, and as we are lighting the candles they start catching on each other and soon whoooof the flame rushes around the cake and before we knew it, there was an inferno infront of us. So to call everyone in. . . Well we really didn't have to because everyone ws rushing in to see what the smoke was barrelling out of the trailer. Smoke coming out of a trailer full of fuel is a very scary thing! Of course by the time Walt got inside the trailer the candles are now one huge candle all over the top of the cake and he takes a deep breath (as we are all singing to him) and blows the candles and the flames appear to blow out and suddenly they come back up and he takes another breath. I couldn't have bought trick candles that worked as well. Third time was a charm and they went out and what was left was a smoldering mass of chocolate, frosting and wax and dough. Someone askes me; Hey how old is Walt? I said "I don't know, I ran out of candles"? Walt giggled!
Kate and Dale Suhr are here!!! Gould backed out of the 2QR so it looks like the shoot out is between Troy Green and Sean Bellemier. Night racing with guys that can barely see in the day time and they managed to line the car perfectly on me, I guess the metallic patches that I stuck on my boobs was helpful. Now as luck would have it Troy smoked the tires and Sean won his first race in a top fuel car and he was extatic he came back to the pits just wired for sound! Sean is heard describing the event as follows; "There were these 2 flaming candles and I had to drive between them and the blower and I could see the center line. Frank told me to peddle my heart out, so I did FLAME UP! FLAME DOWN! FLAME UP! FLAME DOWN!"
As all of this excitement subsides I can see Patrick in the back ground with the party hats waving them at me, "Oh No! In all the exitement we forgot about the hats, shoot. But soon the hats do not go to waste. Did you know that party hats make great robot elbows, knees, and other convenient body parts. So Patrick puts a party hat on Walt and gives him his cards and then porceeds to put the remainder of the party hats on himself. I hear in the distance Vicki Proctor laughing histerically I turn around to find Patrick completely covered with hats standing to the side of Tom "Slick" Shelar and Brett Johanson as Tom and Brett are concentrating on the computer and the car. Without turning their heads they roll their eyes in Patricks direction. A voice from behind me says "Look how proud he is" and at that point we all loose it and are laughing histerically. Neither Brett, Tom nor Patrick even crack a smile and that sends us into even greater histerics.

"Done! Gotta Go! Vrooom Vrooomm"
(Photo by Mike Boersma)