Bowling Green Report
NMCA’s call to pull the plug — the right call
NMCA’s race in Bowling Green, Kentucky was suppose to have been kicked off with TT and 1st Round of Qualifying on Friday April 30th, Finish up Qualifying Saturday, and Eliminations on Sunday. In recent years, the event has had rain being a big player in running the event — with last year’s race cancelled and not rescheduled, and the year before seeing racers have no Time Trials and I believe we had just two Qualifying passes.
The event for my team started weeks prior. We’ve been having problems sorting out the black 65 Coronet that Dallas will be running in NSS, and I was unfamiliar with the "Vitamin C" car, having made only 7 passes — all in Bradenton. We couldn’t get track time (since returning from Bradenton) to work out these problems. We took the untested black Coronet to Dallas two weeks ago hoping we had it fixed. We didn’t. More late night’s thrashing on it and then a chassis dyno Thursday night. We only made two passes on Dyno before blowing a tube in a slick — but felt like we had the problem worked out.
Replacement parts over-nighted, and we finally had the cars ready, loaded, and the coach prepared late Tuesday night. There was a lot of chatter on the boards about people not planning to attend because of the 40% chance of rain Saturday and Sunday — but we are running the whole series and aren’t afforded the ability to be "Fair Weather Racers" We left Texas on Wednesday morning, as we need to get to the track on Thursday — as it gets harder to find a spot (and negotiate around a crowded) for an 84′ rig on Friday. We pulled into a West Nashville WalMart parking lot at 1AM Thursday and got a full night’s sleep. At 10 AM we were just crossing the border to Kentucky when Scott Sparrow called to ask if we’d left Texas yet. "Left Texas — Hell, were 50 miles from the Track"!
Scott said that the chance of rain had increased to 80% with flooding — and that Charlie might have to pull the plug, so he was posting for people to not leave for the race until a decision was made at 4PM. The message was too late for us — as we were almost to the track — so we continued on. There was a long line waiting to get in when we arrived at the track — and everyone had gotten the word with everything being on hold. The gates opened at noon to get us off the road, and NMCA staged us — without taking our fee, which wasn’t encouraging. While waiting, I was walking by the Power Mall at about 2:30 when I overheard Charlie Harmon give the word to not set up the store any further. At 4PM we got word that the plug for the event was pulled.
Rumor was that the Rousch team wanted to rent the track for a T&T on Friday — and so a group of NSS racers decided we’d like to do the same. Heck — we wanted to have the 6-7 of us there to race for the event’s points as long as we were already there. Arrangements were made to rent the track Friday for $150 per car — with a $1500 minimum. They wound up having 20 of us take advantage of the opportunity, and I was the first car down the track at about 9AM Friday morning. My Vitamin C car is sorted out (11.04, 10.99, 10.97, and 11.03) with me figuring out what RPM it likes to launch and shift at — but we still have problems with the black Coronet Dallas is running. We now believe it to be electric — and will try to work it out before Maple Grove. At about 5:30PM, with the storm quickly approaching from the west (obviously the direction we’re going), we were one of the last to leave the track. We wanted to get as far away and South as we could from Bowling Green. At about 1AM the driving was near impossible, and we had a bracket holding the coach’s mud flaps break and start to drag in the road — so we pulled into a WalMart (that looked to be on high ground) parking lot in West Little Rock, to rode out the first wave of the storm. We left at 10:30AM and finally pulled into the shop at 7PM.
While we were at the track for testing, the rumor was the race would be rescheduled for July. The NMCA site says that they should have an announcement on Tuesday.
Finally, some of us had a run of bad luck beyond driving cross country for a cancelled race. Damon Kuhn (Fugly – 61 Plymouth NSS) and his crew Chief (Slim), had a trailer flat going through Franklin, KY — and stopped in Nashville to get a replacement spare for the rest of the trip home to Texas. That put them behind the eight ball with beating out the storm — and so they pulled into a motel in Jackson, TN at about 10PM. During the night the motel’s parking lot flooded and a large sink hole formed under Slim’s new truck. The truck had water over the dashboard (see photos of water in the glove box), and Fugly has an inch of water on the floor. The truck is a total loss, the trailer questionable, and Fugly will need some checking out. They’re currently stuck in Jackson, TN as I-40 in both directions is closed, as is I-65. They need to wait until at least Monday for the Insurance adjuster and a tow vehicle to come home. Click Here for a thread with details and photos.
The bottom line is that the hard decision to pull the plug on the race as early as it was pulled, was by far the right decision. While it didn’t help about 20 of us that have to leave early — it did help the majority of racers. Had we sat through the weekend at the track in the hope of getting some of the race run — there most likely would have been a lot of damage to many cars. I don’t envy NMCA as their decisions are usually going to be a "Damned if you do – damned if you don’t" calls.