Team Latus Top Fuel – Salt Lake City, UT & Bristol, TN – 2009

We went to Salt Lake for the WHRA race. We have never raced at that elevation. On the average track the corrected elevation is usually between 800’ and 3,500’. 800’ being very good air and 3,500’ being bad air. In Salt Lake we and a corrected elevation of 7,500’. The race was to be run Chicago style which was all 8 bikes would run 3 passes on Saturday and your best 2 times would count. The one with the lowest times would win. The track paid our purse and it was their Nitro Nationals and they wanted 4 pairs of bikes running every pass. On Friday we were able to make 2 test passes. Since we had never ran at this elevation we had no idea where to start. The first pass we spun the tire instantly. The second pass was not much better. We were able to make one more on Saturday am. This one went a little better. Still not a full pass. On the first elimination pass we made the best pass of the field with a 6.9 still putting out a cylinder very early. We stepped it up on the second pass but made the wrong changes and went slower. On the third pass we were sure we had it figured out and decided to run a little on the conservative side because that would give us a guaranteed second place finish. Phil Schmidt has ran there 3 other years and has if figured out. He ran a 7.0 the first and a 6.7 the second pass. With our 6.9 and 7.2 we needed to run a 6.7 which we did. Phil ran a 6.6. We thought we could have ran the 6.6 but if we went to far it would have put us about 4th or 5th. We had a great time and learned allot. Well off to Bristol the next weekend. We showed up on Friday to test. First pass we spun the tire at the hit. Made a big change and had a fair pass. Went out Saturday for 1st round of qualifying and ran a 6.702 @ 206 mph. Nice easy conservative pass. Put us #4 out of 16. Second pass 6.610 @ 188 mph. We were on a great pass but went fat very early. Still 4th. We stepped it up for the 3rd pass. Really wanted to be in the top 3. We ran a 6.534 @ 203. good pass still went fat a little early. Qualified # 3. Sun first round of eliminations we had Furr. I had a .035  6.806 to Furr’s .266 6.885. We actually took power out of the bike to make sure we made it through the first round. It back fired and we spun the tire 3 times. I was able to peddle it each time and keep it going. We got lucky on that one. Second round we had Dean Comunal. He was running good. We put the same tune-up back in from the 3rd round of qualifing. I had a .020  6.540 to Dean’s .081   6.563. This was a very close race. Third round we had Doug Horne. Doug qualified # 2 with a 6.4 and was running them consistent. We knew the track would take it and knew we needed to run at least a low 6.4 to win. I left the line with a .041 reaction to Doug’s .027. By 60 feet I had passed him. By 330’ I could not see or here him. The bike was going a little left and I was trying to get it back. Just about the 330’ cone I was out of the grove and spun the tire. It took Doug till after the 1/8th to pass me. We were on a great pass and would have had enough to win. We lost but had a great weekend. The national points after the race Turner is in 1st with 314, Sternotti is 2nd with 309 and we are 3rd with 295. Each round won is worth 20 points. We have only two races left so it looks like it will be very close at the last race. Woodburn next weekend.

Below is AHDRA write-up from Kansas City.

In Screamin’ Eagle Top Fuel, Joe Sternotti from West Collingswood Heights, NJ, took the Ray Price nitro Harley to the number one qualifying spot for the third consecutive race.

Jay Turner and the Turner Racing team from Julian, NC, made it to the finals against Steve Dorn and Team Latus Motors from Milwaukie, OR. Turner ran a .108/4.453/166.82 against Dorn’s winning .046/4.506/166.85.

“I think any win in Top Fuel in the AHDRA comes with many obstacles. It seems that everyone at the race has a chance to win. No one dominates this class and everyone that races knows that any win has special meaning,” Dorn observed.

“We had very hot temperatures and tough track conditions, and had Tommy Grimes first round and then Joey Sternotti second round. Both are very tough competitors and very hard to beat. Then to have Turner in the finals is as tough as it gets. There were no easy rounds that day, that’s for sure! I have to really thank my crew: Mike Slonaker, Mike Stegmann, and Digger. All the right decisions were made. Everyone worked very hard for this. I also need to express many thanks to my sponsor, Team Latus Motors. Even with the bad economy George Latus has stuck with us and made this win possible,” commented Dorn.