Where Hot Rods & Drag Racing are a way of life.....
Alyssa Jimenez (Daughter/Apprentice) made her NHRA back-up girl debut, filling the shoes or should I say "GoGo boots" of the iconic Alice Bode. She did great, according to Antron Brown, number of crew guys, fans, and most of all her dad!. Between plenty of ESPN coverage on her and signing autographs, it was a fun weekend!
West Palm Beach testing in January with Capco went great. I would like to thank the Torrences for calling upon my services as a Clutch Specialist for 12 races in the 2015 NHRA season.
NHRA 2015 Winternationals in February was a blast! I would like to thank Bob Bode for continuing to trust me and my daughter Alyssa to run his Clutch Program on his Nitro Funny Car team. We took out 17 time World Champion John Force first round.
John Stewart, Bobby & Dom Lagana, along with Aaron Brooks purchased a Nitro Funny Car. Freshly assembled for a part time 2015 schedule, will allow me to race with great group of guys!I look forward to dialing in that clutch.
Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Magazine featured a "New age Clutch and Converter" segment which I had a feature in. I will be posting the article on this page in the near future.
Rods & Racing had it's first sponsorship on National TV. It's just amazing to see our logo on the side of a Nitro Funny Car on ESPN!
Billy Torrence of the Capco Top Fuel team will be testing in Indy for 2015. I am in Indy currently getting the all important Clutch Dept. dialed in for the US Nationals Indy Race (2 weeks after testing).
Indy Testing went amazingly well! Myself and crew were able to get Billy his career fastest ET/speed (3.73/325 mph). Which was 2nd lowest ET of the week. Our Capco partner car (Steve Torrence/crew) were there for support and we couldn't have a tighter group of guys!
Latest Capco team news, we just learned about the hiring of Legendary Tuner/Crew Chief Alan Johnson. Alan along with Brian Husin will be consulting with Richard Hogan (Crew Chief) and Bobby Lagana Jr. (Car Chief) on both Billy's and Steve's Capco rockets in Indy and beyond. I better bring my "A" game with this star studded group.
Just wrapped up US Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indy with a #1 qualifier for Steve Torrence and #2 qualifier for Billy Torrence. Billy made his career fastest ET/Speed in competition (3.72/327.5 mph). To go #1/#2 in Indy is a dream come true. We won 1st round of qualifying, but went up in smoke in 2nd round (due to too much boost from blower). This was also my fastest ET/speed to date as a Clutch Specialist.
Billy was so pleased with the Indy results, he added St. Louis to the schedule. My services were called upon yet again to dial in the clutch, which meant cancelling a Hawaii trip I had planned for that week. Life of drag racing is NOT easy.
St. Louis had us qualifying fairly low at 14th (due to fuel jet problem making us put a cylinder out at the hit 3 out of 4 qualifying rounds). We made our 1st elimination round pass on Sunday with little usable data from the weekend, but our crew got us down the track to take out Legendary driver Larry Dixon. Mike Dunn (ESPN commentator) picked our team for the Patron Tequila Upset Alert, which meant we had the capability of taking out the higher qualified Dixon. His prediction became reality as we rocketed down the track at 3.73 seconds, which was lowest ET of the session. We continued our domination the following round, taking out highly favored Hall of Fame driver Tony Schumacher of the ARMY Team. The margin of victory was .003 of sec. which equals 4". On to the semi-finals against Antron Brown and the Matco Tools Team. Our team quickly became the talk of the ESPN coverage and track alike, being dubbed "The Giant Killer". We put on another great pass at 3.75 ET, but in a losing effort. Antron ran 3.73 ET. What a weekend, Hawaii could not even come close to moments like that in my world!
Dallas was the next stop for our team. We had recently came out in a National Dragster Magazine article talking about our ability to take out countdown contenders. The article was titled "Billy The Blocker". I will eventually post the article in our "Articles/Magazines" section (coming in 2016).
Dallas proved to be a very good race as we qualified #2 and had 3 of the lowest ET's of qualifying. Including a surprising 3.75 ET in the Dallas heat. We took on Pat Dakin and company 1st round eliminations on Sunday with a 3.74 ET/327 mph. 2nd round paired us against the popular Discovery Channel's own Gas Monkey Garage dragster. I will be making an appearance on that future episode of Gas Monkey. I had to sign the waiver and take a mug shot which gave them rights to show me on their coverage (always wondered how that worked). I had some background scenes and a short conversation with Richard Rawlings along side Dennis in the staging lanes before the 2nd round. The Discovery film crew had plenty of people to help them film that day. We went down the track against GMG with a 3.73 ET/326.71 mph to take the win. Richard had a bewildered look that ESPN captured as he stayed staring down the track in disgust. That run was to be the last time he backed a Top Fuel Dragster, he now sponsors in the Pro Stock class. Just a side note it takes approx. 6 months for those filmed episodes to air on TV. Unfortunately we went out in semi-finals.
Las Vegas here we come! We all look forward to the Vegas race which is on Halloween weekend and marks the start of the SEMA show. This event marked a milestone for Rods & Racing's very own prodigy child Alyssa Jimenez. Her Top Fuel crew services where called upon by the Formex/Lagana Family dragster tuned by a good friend and Famous driver John Stewart. This would mark the 1st time Alyssa would crew on a team that her father was not on. She was a popular addition to the team and carried out the Jimenez Family work ethic very well, which impressed most not familiar with her skill set. Billy's Capco Team qualified #2 and we had another strong weekend. As irony had it, Alyssa (Daughter) and her team qualified at 15th, which paired her up against Mono Jimenez (Father) and the Capco Car. So much hype was being spread as Father/Daughter faced off while crewing on opposing teams. While sharing the same Luxor Hotel room, Alyssa tried her best to intimidate Mono as they both got ready to do battle on Sunday's eliminations. Her playlist of morning music consisted of songs such as "Eye of the Tiger", "We Will Rock You", and "Hear Me Roar". All no doubt played to distract the Clutch Veteran's train of thought. The staging lanes stares and nudges between us were purposeful but anybody who knows us, knows that there isn't a tighter pair out at the track. Our Capco team continued it's success as we rallied around a 3.77 ET to take out young 19 yr. old European driver Noah Stutz and the Formex team. As we quickly raced backed to the pits for the next round, I remember a powerful moment as I made eye contact with my daughter as she gathered with her team and she gave me the thumbs up and I pointed back to her! I couldn't be more proud to see my grown little girl do such amazing things on her own and to be there with me as I do mine. Our team has been on a wave of great passes. Even Alan Johnson is raising his eye brow once and a while in approval. The 2nd round had us taken out yet again by Antron Brown and the Matco team. This race will definitely go down in my bucket list memories.
Pomona Finals wrapped up a whirl wind year for the R&R shop and the respective race teams that we crewed on. Billy Torrence and the Capco team was not done yet, as we ran 3.72 ET/331.61 mph which is the 6th fastest pass in NHRA history to date. We ended up #2 qualifier and went on to 2nd round in eliminations. Although we didn't win a race this year, we were the "out of nowhere" team. Such an exciting year of racing for the R&R crew. I can't wait to get back to the shop, but I also can't wait for the 2016 NHRA racing season.
2016 NHRA racing came earlier than I expected. In mid-January I received a call from Indy. It was my good friend and Car Chief Bobby Lagana from Steve Torrence's car, informing me of some grim news. My good friend and clutch counter part Gary Pritchett (Leah Pritchett's Husband) was hospitalized by severe burns stemming from a shop incident. While I was taken back by the news, I was aware that the situation called for immediate action for Steve's team as the new season approached. Since Gary and myself delivered our clutch services in such a similar fashion, it was an easy decision to jump in and help. After getting Gary's blessing, I was rushed off to Arizona for 2016 Testing at Wild Horse Pass Track. This marked the debut of a brand new concept in chassis design from Lucas Racing and with Gary being down, it made for an even more nerve racking weekend. Being the professionals that make up the Capco core, it was all business to absolutely dominate testing; which consisted getting down the track 11 out of 12 times with low ET of the day set by us each of the 3 days. A high point included continously improving Steve's career best runs, including a sub 3.70 ET run that was clocked at 3.69 ET, which was a 1st for all the crew. Under the knowledge of Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana Jr., and Alan Johnson, we continued to impress the fans and attendees. We all pitched in to update Gary as he lay in his Indy hospital bed, obviously whom must of been mentally pacing in his mind as to what was going on at the track. I assured him that his "Clutch Brother" had him covered! That is how you start a season considering the circumstances!
Since the injury to Gary held an unknown recovery time, I was contracted to continue as the Steve's team Clutch Specialist through the first two National events in 2016. We were all surprised but delighted to learn of Gary's effort in a speedy recovery, which allowed him to get clearance by the Doctor to attend the Pomona race as an adviser. We went into this race with a very high level of confidence which was given to us at Arizona testing 2 weeks earlier. Along with new television coverage from FOX Sports and it being the Winter Nationals, it was a very anticipated event. We went #1 qualifier with a career best 3.70 ET. Being announced on stage with our #1 qualifier green hats in the pre-race ceremony on Sunday was a dream come true for me. We were the team to beat. Which proved nearly impossible that weekend as we took out Steve Faria 1st round, Morgan Lucas 2nd round, and Ritchie Crampton in the semi- finals. Which paired us up with Doug Kalitta in the finals. Both cars left the line hard and were firing on all 8 cylinders, but we had the faster car which gave us the coveted victory at Pomona Winter Nationals. When the win light came on and it hit me that I won my 1st National Event on FOX Sports Live and in front of thousands of fans, I just went crazy on the line with my team mates! The fireworks went off and the crowd was roaring as we beat the MAC Tools car by inches. The photo finish says it all. We celebrated like the world was ending the next day. Between the emotional phone call to my daughter back home, the magazine photo sessions in the winner circle, the ice water bucket shower, and the 40 ounce beer spraying instead of champagne was like a celebration overload! It was the best day of drag racing ever! I was wearing my R&R Shop shirt under my line shirt that day for luck!