The licensing weekend came around so fast, I started to get nervous on the Friday when me and Dad drove down to Santa Pod. When we arrived we helped set up the pit with the rest of the Shockwave team. On Saturday morning I did my timed escape test, about 20 minutes after Ian Marshall had left, everyone was ready and we were going to make the first run. I sat in the van and said to Dave “I can’t believe I’m doing this”. He replied “you asked me ten years ago to drive this, now it’s happening!” I don’t think at that point it had still sunk in that I was going to make my first pass in a fuel funny car!
I was strapped in ready to go and brought round to the startline ready to fire, I sat waiting for the track to be prepped looking down to the finish line, nervous because I had a lot to prove on that first run, not only to my observers but the Shockwave team, other racers and myself. A few minutes later they gave me the nod to fire up. It felt so powerful having the car in my control, especially when the engine is sat roaring away in front of your legs! When the body came down my nerves disappeared. Once I had done the burnout, reversed and staged I was happy, the team around me were calm and professional which kept me calm in the driver seat. On the first stage I took a moment (milliseconds) before I pulled up the fuel and went into stage. When I launched it felt like an explosion, so much noise, vibration and power, it was a massive hit. (0.91 to 60ft). After the run I was buzzing to have another go, my legs were like jelly and I couldn’t stop laughing. The team came and met me at the top end, everyone was cheering and hugging, my Dad even had a tear in his eye! It was a great feeling. I could then look forward to the next run, confident with staging the car, only this time I could keep my foot down longer! The second run was a smooth 1/8 mile (4.17 @ 157mph) after lifting clocked (6.13 @112mph) at 1000ft.
We had a total of five runs over the weekend and the fourth pass was the most fun for all of us! I ran the straightest half pass, it was so smooth but pulling so hard, I clipped off just pass the 1/8th and popped a 4.60 @ 206mph to 1000ft, the 1/8th was a speedy 3.54 @223mph.
On my final pass I lost traction on the line and launched a bit sideways, but no sweat that’s what we love about funny cars! Some fuel also came into the cockpit so I got off the gas and brought it back to the pits in once piece. It was a shame we couldn’t of got in a full pull to end the weekend, however we all left on a high. It was a great weekend and everyone worked so hard, especially to get three runs in on Sunday, it was a tall order but the team managed to do it with ease. Shockwave Racing are an awesome team and I’m excited to go out and play again. We haven’t got a solid date in plan for finishing the license but it will hopefully be at the end of the season, after Gordon has raced the Finals. We will also be at there with the Altered running with the Super Pro family again which I am really looking forward to.
A big thank you to the Shockwave Racing team for an awesome weekend, they didn’t stop grafting all weekend. To the Santa Pod crew for prepping a great track and making sure everything ran smoothy. To Dom Romney for coming down to get some wicked shots of the team at work and to my sponsors; Wheel-Whores.com, Peter Walters Race Design, SimpsonLids, RW Custom Services, Trophy Queen, Custom Coach Trimming and WrapKings.