Team Latus Top Fuel – St Louis, MO & Atlanta, GA – 2009

Well after a short winter off and allot of work rebuilding the bike we left for St Louis feeling pretty good about what we accomplished. With a completely new motor including new heads, larger intake and exhaust valves, intake manifolds and bigger bore pistons and cylinders and a new state of the art fuel system we are off. We got to St Louis on Friday afternoon. We unloaded the bike looked at the current conditions and made a complete guess as to the tune up. I lined up thinking that I would be lucky to even get off the line. The track did not look that good. The bike left very hard and straight. By the 1/8th mile I knew it was my best 1/8th ever the thing was really moving. Just about 200’ later the bike went fat from to much fuel. I knew it was still a good pass but when Slonaker got down to pick me up I could tell he was ecstatic. He would not tell me the time he made me read the slip. 6.36 at less than 190 mph! We had a 4.11 1/8th @ 179 mph. That was our best 1/8th ever. We just went back and serviced the bike and decided no more testing was needed. For round 1 of qualifying we went 6.34 @ 213 mph for # 1 qualifier. Also the bike ran most of the way down track but shut off early. We are getting close. The second pass we made a change and went a little slower 6.4 but still had the # 1 place. The third round of qualifying ended up getting rained out so we stayed # 1. This is the good news. The bad news is that the rain never stopped and we got rained out. Next stop is Atlanta the next week. We unload the same bike out for qualifying on Saturday and it is a pig. It will not even go down the track. We come back and make some adjustments and go a little better but we are sitting # 7 with only one pass left. We had enough bikes to make a 16 bike field but one of the riders had an accident in the pits so we were one bike short. That makes it an 8 bike field. We knew that there were at least 5 bikes behind us that would probably run a better number than what we had so we knew we had to run better the last pass.  We did not and somehow they also did not so we ended up # 7. Not a good place to be but at least we are in the show on Sun. That night we went through the top end and Slonaker found a very small piece of rock stuck in one of the rear injector jets. We removed it and when we fired the bike it sounded great. The problem we had was we had no base line for tune up. We had to take a guess and we had to race Tommy Grimes who qualified # 2 with a 6.34 so we had to give it everything. We lined up and I treed him by allot and the bike was on a great pass. At 330’ we went fat and Tommy passed me at the 1/8th mile. We were very close but just a little too much. We went out for the Outlaw class and made a very small change and even in the heat of the day we had a perfect pass. We went 6.32 at 219 mph.

This was the fastest pass of the day and the second fastest pass of the weekend. Just a little too late. Jay Turner won the race with a 6.46. Next race will be June 6 & 7 in Norwalk Ohio. Below is a post from Drag Racing Online Magazine

As always special thanks to George Latus – Team Latus Motors Racing for all the continued support and the crew Mike Slonaker, Mike Stegmann and Digger. Not only for the help at the races but all the very long hours and nights working on the bike at home I could never do any of this without them and their dedication to the team. I can never thank them enough.