Our inaugural Zip-Tie Drags event went spectacularly. Of course, that’s in Roadkill terms, so you know there were plenty of parts that fell off. All the same, the Pioneer-sponsored cruise from Irwindale, Ca to Tucson, Arizona was completed with less than the expected drop-off. In fact, the cruise grew as we went, picking up participants on the way to Tucson Dragway, where there was a full-on party taking place with hundreds of racers, and campers roasting marshmallows and running test-n-tune on the strip. Many of the people in the staging lanes had never run a drag strip before, but all were hoping to be chosen in the raffle to run against Freiburger or Finnegan in one of the Roadkill cars on Saturday, Jan 14 in the Fans vs Roadkill Showdown supported by Gear Vendors Overdrive and Baer Brakes. To enter, racers just had to drop a card in the raffle box, and hope our guest of honor picked it as one of the lucky ten to race against F&F.
Let’s take a second to introduce our guest, since he’ll figure in much of our Zip-Tie coverage. Victor Gellineau is a 10-year-old car guy from Elk Grove, California. He’s fighting Sickle Cell Anemia, and his family got in touch with us through the Make-A-Wish Foundation–which helps kids with life-threatening illnesses get their wishes granted. Victor’s wish was to meet Freiburger and Finnegan, and they were stoked to have his help in picking car show winners, signing autographs, and pulling the raffle tickets.
With Victor’s assistance, we ended up with ten excellent cars for Freiburger and Finnegan to line up against. Only one issue, what were Freiburger and Fin going to drive? Freiburger was all about the Muscle Truck which was running some impressive low 13s, and of course there was the General Maintenance, all 707 horsepower of it. Vette Kart was up and running thanks to FiTech’s EFI system which was installed at the track and dropped the Kart’s ET by a tenth and a half in the quarter. Nascarlo was in the lanes, although both guys kept shooting reluctant and suspicious glances at it, like it might turn sharply at any minute and put itself into a wall, even while standing still. An attempt was made to bring the Crusher Impala over, but it caught fire and thoughts of driving it were abandoned. Draguar was good to go, except for a total lack of air in the front tires, which are the wrong tires to run low on a RWD car. Elana grabbed the air compressor out of the Hellcat and filled one tire, then blew the accessory fuse in the Dodge, so Fin had to ask one of the racers to borrow his cigarette lighter for power. That debacle made our lady of FB Live a little slow to start the video, so we missed the first round with Freiburger in the muscle truck.
Here’s the race.
The Roadkill cars showed remarkably well with no major explosions on the track, aside from the Crusher Impala’s flameup. Finnegan put the Draguar through its paces, running 12.90s in two runs. That pair of runs knocked out Matt Sicilia’s super-cool ‘59 Dodge Regent and Matt Henry’s suicide-door, 289-powered “PunishStang” ‘67 Mustang.”My car wasn’t fast,” said Matt. “It’s essentially a stock 50-year-old Ford smallblock motor, 3-speed auto, with the 8-inch diff, and manual drum brakes all around… against the 600 HP Draguar. I was told I could at least look fast as I would be required to wear a helmet. I even found someone in the tower at Tucson Speedway who willingly lent me one. I may have lost, but the way I see it, it was all dreams come true. I got to line-up on a real racetrack and do side by side burnouts with the Draguar. Then in front of a packed racecourse full of fans, I set my personal best time ever!”
Daniel Crocker squared off in his Nissan 240SX against Finnegan in the Vettekart. While the Nissan outran the Vettkart on the track by 0.07, Finn got away first and won with a holeshot. In what might have been the most entertaining run of the whole event, Finnegan drove the Nascarlo for the first time in half a year down the drag strip against Ken Dugmore’s 502-powered Chevy C20. The beat-up old circletrack car protested all the way down the track, then it just barely nipped the Chevy truck.
The people’s choice though had to be Jeremiah Sluyter’s bright yellow, 454-powered third-gen Camaro which totally won over the crowd as he racked up an impressive tally of kills. Aside from one pass where Sluyter spun the tires hard through the 60-ft, the Camaro sat nicely in the low-to-mid 13s. Not bad for an stick-shift F-Body running the 454 from a ‘79 Suburban with a .510 lift cam, closed chambered heads, headers, air gap intake, and 850 Holley double pump putting it down to the ground through a 9 bolt out of an ’86 Trans Am with 3.70 gears. His 13.34-second pass knocked out Freiburger in the Muscle Truck and he later took care of the Vette Kart with Finnegan aboard after getting Fin to promise not to pull the General Maintenance into play. Jeremiah knocked out Alonzo Vallecillo’s 2008 Mustang for good measure, too, and the whole time his mom and sister were cheering for him via the Facebook Live post. “A supportive family is really cool,” says Jeremiah. “I always feel bad for kids/adults who don’t have good relationships with their family for whatever reason. I always tell people at car shows (young/old) that my dad helps me work on it. Maybe I can change somebody’s mind about their parents. Or make some kid realize it’s okay/cool to work on your car with your dad.”
With only three cars left, Sluyter beat Justin Carroll’s silver BMW 5-Series on a holeshot. In the final round, Sluyter faced off with Forbes. While there was little doubt that the supercharged gasser was going to win, Jeremiah crushed Forbes off the line and went on to make his best pass of the day, a 13.07. Forbes’ 10.77 left plenty of distance, but Sluyter was the crowd favorite as he cruised his low-buck Camaro back down the return road. “It was actually pretty cool to see that car go by. Whooosh,” Jeremiah said, cheerfully conceding defeat.
In the end, Jim Forbes, took the event win with his 10-second Chevy II Gasser. HOT ROD Drag Week™ fans will probably know Forbes and his high-nose Chevy as a two-time class winner at Drag Week. The second Victor pulled his name in the contestant lottery, we knew we were a little outgunned. Still, everyone seemed excited to see the bright-red gasser rip down the track with the door-sill exhaust dumps snorting and the huge blower whining its victory song. Yep, gassers are rad, and Roadkill fans are rad, and we had a really good time racing you all. Let’s do it again soon!
Jim Forbes is going to take home a stack of goodies, including a Baer Brakes Sport Rotors and Pads Set, $1000 purchase credit towards Gear Vendors Overdrive purchase, Baer Brakes Gift Pack, Speed Strap Gift Pack, $250 McLeod Purchase Credit and a $100 ARP Gift Certificate. Jeremiah Sluyter won’t make out so bad either, claiming the runner-up prizes of a $500 purchase credit towards Gear Vendors Overdrive purchase, a Baer Gift Pack, a Speed Strap Gift Pack, a McLeod by Raybestos Automatic Transmission Rebuild Kit (hopefully he can trade that for a manual kit), and a $50 ARP Gift Certificate.