MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts (July 25, 2017) – For the last several races, the Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car has been knocking on the door of success.
This past weekend, the team finally kicked that door down, winning the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional event at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.
Driver Phil Burkart, crew chief Anthony Terenzio, team owner Jay Blake and the rest of the team took advantage of being on home turf at the legendary drag strip to break through for their first win of the 2017 season.
And they did it in commanding fashion, winning for the first time ever at NED. Not only was Burkart the No. 1 qualifier, the FAD Chevrolet Camaro had the quickest elapsed time and fastest speed of all cars entered in the event, and capped it all off with the win.
It was as close to a perfect weekend as you can get in drag racing, indeed.
Burkart sailed through the field, winning his first round of eliminations matchup, enjoyed a bye run in the semifinals and defeated Aryan Rochon in the final round.
“This was a great confidence and morale booster for the team,” Blake said. “We’ve been close a couple of times, we’ve been fighting some issues and have worked through those, the car was very consistent and did what we asked it to do.
“When Anthony made a change, the car did what Anthony asked it to do. So that gives Anthony a great ton of confidence, gives Phil more confidence, and the team got a lot of confidence, too.
“Anthony has never given up through all the struggles of this year, kept working and working on it, everyone else kept working together and this is the reward.”
Burkart laid down an excellent run en route to the victory in the final round with a 5.572 seconds ET and a very stout 266.27 mph speed to Rochon’s 5.728 seconds ET and 259.46 mph effort.
“The win was great,” Blake said. “We tested on Thursday and broke two valves on the burnout. So, Thursday didn’t start good.
“We got everything ready for Friday and qualifying went well. We made two passes – a 5.60 and a 5.64. The third qualifying pass, we tried something different and shook the tires.
“Then the eliminations began Saturday night around 5 p.m. (part of the track’s ‘Night of Fire’ event). We ran the table.”
The win had special and significant meaning to Blake, who is from nearby Marstons Mills, Massachusetts, and considers New England Dragway his home track, a place he’s been going to drag races as both a competitor and spectator for more than 30 years (the track first opened in 1966).
“It was a great day and first time to win at New England Dragway,” Blake said. “It’s one of those monumental places you want to win at.
“It’s the very first place (drag strip) I’d ever been, I’m in the Hall of Fame there and it’s home, it’s really, really cool to win there. We’ve been trying for a number of years and we finally pulled it off this year. It was great for the team. You wish all of them were like this.”
Following the previous race at Joliet, Ill., July 7-9, Blake had all but predicted that a win was right around the corner for the team.
“We know we can win, we have the right sponsors, the right team, the right people – we have all the right pieces,” Blake said. “And when you get a win, it’s a great shot in the arm for the team.”
With the win, Burkart moved up to sixth place in the TA/FC national standings.
The Follow A Dream team enjoys this weekend off, with Blake and several team members taking some well-deserved vacation time. They hopefully will store up on the R&R, as August will be the team’s busiest month of the year.
On Aug. 4-6, the FAD TA/FC takes part in another Lucas Oil Drag Racing regional event at the renowned Atco Dragway in New Jersey.
After that, the team heads to another LODRS regional event in Cecil County, Maryland (Aug. 18-19), the weather-rescheduled LODRS event in Richmond, Va. (Aug. 25-26), and then the big daddy of them all, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis (Aug. 30 – Sept. 4).
“We’re going to be very busy and hopefully we’ll be able to get another win or two during that time,” Blake said.