For this week’s blog, I decided to switch it up a bit and answer your questions about the U.S. Nationals this weekend. I hosted a Q&A on my Instagram story and got a lot of great questions from my followers. I answer my top 10 below:

What’s the most challenging thing about racing and car set-up at Indy to factor in?

With the U.S. Nationals being at the end of summer, it is typically really hot and humid – but we’re used to those conditions living in the Midwest. The hardest part is overthinking the tuneup; with all of the hype of the event and the high car count, history shows that some of the best can ruin a run by overthinking everything and not sticking to their gut.

Can your TAD chassis be certified for TF? Do you like the canopies?

No, our chassis is only certified to run up to 5 seconds. But a Top Fuel chassis can be used in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. I have no preference on the canopies. They are not allowed in our class, so I will never run a car with one of them.

Is there any extra prep your team puts in before going to Indy?

We have extra prep for media, and more travel than normal since this is the start of a three-race tour for us. We have a new layout of sponsor stickers to debut, a Menards retail display on Wednesday, TV interview on Thursday, Instagram takeover for NGK Spark Plugs on Friday and Saturday, and our new Intern will debut this weekend and we will have a couple interviews with him to promote those sponsors. Also, we make one extra qualifying run (four total) so we need more supplies, such as spark plugs, oil, fuel, clutch packs, etc. which adds up to be around $1,000.

How much does it cost to enter the race?

For a national event it is normally $250 plus $120 insurance fee for Top Alcohol Dragster. However, for the U.S. Nationals it is $300 plus $120 insurance fee. Since I was the champion of my region (Central) in 2017, I received a Gold Card for 2018, which means I get free entry to all races, but still have to pay the insurance fee.

How many runs can you make on a set of tires?

Anywhere from 1-30, honestly. We run Top Fuel tires from Goodyear, and no two sets act the same. Besides the compound of the tire, the longevity also depends on what track you run at and how hot the surface is. Typically, tires don’t chunk (have random missing spots of rubber) until after a driver lifts off the gas, usually when they pass the finish line, and that is when the track surface will grab the tire and take out chunks of rubber as it tries to slow down. At some tracks the driver can actually feel this happening if they know what to feel for. Because not all track surfaces are the same, we keep multiple sets with different rollout sizes and run counts stocked in our trailer, so we can change our performance based on the track’s conditions.

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