The 2011 Bounty Race season came to a close this past weekend. I made it to nearly all of this year’s events, but I’ve had so many other things going on that it’s severely cut into my time at I-40 Dragway. For the April race, I had to go to a wedding in Asheville, North Carolina the same day. After finishing the wedding, and cleaning up afterward, we trucked over the mountains and into Crossville to watch and photograph the race. It was a valiant effort by me, and my very understanding wife, whose sister got married earlier in the day.
Here’s a link to the complete gallery of photos: http://byrdphoto.smugmug.com/Cars/I-40-Dragway/October-2011-Bounty-Race/19805337_CM72wD#1556909411_5MJm3t4
May and June Bounty Races went off without a hitch, but I had to leave early from the July event to follow through with other plans we’d already made. Didn’t get to go to the August event, because I had to be in a wedding. September race was good…no interruptions. For the final event of the year, I had a huge obstacle in the way, but I went to the track anyway, and spent a few hours shooting photos. Then it was time to go home and help my wife get ready for her first vending experience with her side business, Bite Size Bakery. So, I stayed from 1 to 4:30pm and shot the preliminary test passes, as well as one round of qualifying.
Considering the very cool temperatures (high in the low 50’s), Jim Howe and the I-40 Dragway crew had a wonderful turnout of cars. Plenty of index cars, a handful of Cheap Street cars, 15 Pro Street Bounty cars and two outlaw dragsters. In the one round of qualifying I witnessed, I saw what I would consider the best action all season long. The Valdez boys rolled in a little later than everyone else, but quickly unloaded and pulled into the staging lanes for a test pass. The car launched very hard, immediately going to the wheelie bars, but not so hard that it allowed the rear suspension to unload. On a killer pass, Valdez traveled to at least half track before the front tires touched the surface and held it wide open the rest of the way, running a 4.83. This is the quickest pass all year for the Pro Street class and he did half of it on two wheels!
During qualifying, there were a few good wheelstands and several wild rides, so it was fun to watch and fun to photograph. Unfortunately, these wild rides would later evolve into a serious crash, involving Randy Petet’s turbocharged Porsche 944. I wasn’t there to witness it, but the big block Chevy-equipped Bounty car spun the tires way down track, and went head on into the Armco barrier. The hit was hard enough to send the car into a violet barrel roll, which completely destroyed the very popular Porsche. Randy was uninjured in the crash, but the car doesn’t look to be salvageable. The car had been around for many years, running in many of the big outlaw races held at Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip. Before the turbo setup, it had a crazy big block with the biggest blower I’ve ever seen. Just for fun, here’s a picture of it when it had the huge supercharger.