Karen Stalba A/Fuel Dragster 

Subtitle

2011-2012 Seasons

Rocky Start to Season, Looking to 3 week stretch to turn corner..

After losing second round in Charlotte at the 4-Wide Nationals, we seemed to have lost our way.  Three non-qualifiers in a row at three Regional races had us quite down on ourselves.  Division Champions one season, then looking like rookies the next.  We chased a problem that we thought we had and it turned out to be only a minor problem that took us away from the major problems.  We are getting ready to start a three week stretch of racing, of which one week in particular is super exciting.  Among all of our struggles, we managed to hang on to our lead and clinched a spot in the JEGS ALLSTARS!! 

Richmond, Virginia's Regional race was the last place that drivers from Division 1 could gain points towards the Allstars.  After a tire smoking first qualifying attempt, we were shut off on our second attempt due to a large fuel leak.  The best we could do was sit back and wait.  Dan Page and Dan Mercier once again seemed the only two drivers with a chance to catch us, and when Page did not qualify, it was a nail-biter in the stands to see how far Mercier could go.  Turns out he lost first round, and we all went crazy.  Both Dans are terrific guys and great competitors, but we wanted this bad.  We are hoping to turn things around in Lebanon Valley next weekend so that we are prepared to represent the Division 1 Team well and have a serious chance to go some rounds.  It is pretty intimidating with some of the best cars in the country and an entry list of 27 teams so far, but we are going to give it our best and be proud of our accomplishments, even if we haven't done well as of late.

On another note, we made the trip out to Norwalk, Ohio for the Calvacade of Stars, which is their Regional Event.  For an event that did not have any Professional Categories, you would not believe the crowd!!  I participated in an autograph session on friday and saturday, and I have to say the Bader Family sure knows how to make the Alcohol Racers and all the sportsman racers feel like royalty for the day.  I never signed so many hero cards and thanks to all those fans that packed the place on all three days.  They had to turn people away it was so crowded.  I met some great people, and even rekindled a young girl's interest in things mechanical! I will put a link to some photos when I can find them.  In the meantime, check out these 2 links for some recent news on the team!

http://rpm2night.com/view/stalba-qualifies-for-northeast-division-jegs-allstars-team.8900/

http://summitmotorsportspark.com/PrintNews.aspx?NewsId=831&News-Name=Quarter-mile%20moms:%20Karen%20Stalba

When I put things in perspective, even though we are struggling, I can't complain about a thing in life.  I am here on the eve of my first born Paul finishing preschool tomorrow.  Yes it is only preschool, but it is still amazing to think that this little guy is going to be in kindergarden next year full time and it will be me and Emily home during the day.  I hope I don't cry too much! 

I know it has been a while since I updated, but since we've got some busy weeks coming up, I'll do my best to keep some info coming here, and in the meantime, you can keep up with me on Twitter @KarenStalba, I'll try to update after testing and qualifying next weekend in Lebanon, and I'm sure I'll have a lot to tweet about at the AllStars!  In the meantime, check out the store and pick yourself up a t-shirt!  Thanks for checking in!  Also in the meantime, be sure to check out our sponsors, http://www.aaautosalvagenj.com/ and http://www.lucasoil.com/ and http://www.mxindustrial.com/, and thanks to Sheetz Electrical! 

Almost forgot, can't thank my Dad and Erick enough for the hours away from the track that they put into this car.  They have been spending a lot of time trying to find out where we took our wrong turn, and we hurt a head in the process.  They spent a lot of time putting seats in 2 heads and having them ready Norwalk, so thank you! 

LONG OFFSEASON!!  READY FOR RACING!!!

Hi Everyone, I know it's been a while but I've had a lot going on.  After a busy few months gathering up new parts, taking care of the businesses that keep us racing and chasing Tommy and our kids, we finally got some family time and went to Disney World.  It was definately a fun trip, but I think we will wait until Emily is at least 4 or 5 before we go again, she wiped me out!!  Tommy's parents went with us and we had a great Villa at Saratoga Springs Resort by Downtown Disney.  I done good!  This year's trip was much more casual and relaxed than last year's. 

 While I was out goofing off in Florida, my Dad and Erick were busy working on the race car.  Thank goodness they love it so much or I might maybe make 2 races a year!  Without their dedication and time investment, I know I would not be out there like this. 

 The Division 1 Banquet was in January and we all had a great time.  I think my speech was a bit long, but it was the first time (and hopefully not the last) that I got to get up there and thank all of those that support our racing efforts, so I didn't want to miss anyone.  I hope that I didn't bore the crowd too bad, but hey, I was pretty darn excited!!  Meanwhile, Paul and Emily danced the night away with all the other little future racers and that was a show in itself!  Erick received the Wrench of the Year award which is terrific for our team and as I'm sure Erick agrees, it is a team effort, and a lot of credit goes to my father Tom also so I just wanted to let him know he's the best crew chief a daughter could have!  Love you Dad!

 

Karen giving her speech

 

 

 

 

             The whole gang!

 

 

Just recently received a great package of Lucas Oil Products for our 2012 season, including a few drums of the 70 weight oil we use.  The race shop is packed with product!  We are getting ready to start our season off at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, NC in April.  Tommy has already started his season, in Orlando then in Gainesville, and he is heading to Valdosta, GA this weekend for his third Lucas Oil Series Points Race of the season.  Then we will both head to Charlotte to compete.  Below is a tentative schedule for the season.  We had hoped to pick up more, but we will see as the season progresses.  A 2 and a 5 year old can dictate a lot of how we proceed!! ;) 

Anyway thanks for checking in and stop by to visit if you get out to the races!  In the meantime, check back here, I'll be updating a lot more as we get going this year, and you can follow me on Facebook and Stalba Motorsports and on Twitter @KarenStalba.  Thanks again and let's get racing!

 

NHRA 4WIDE Nationals             zMax Dragway Charlotte, NC                 April 13-15

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series       Virginia Motorsports Park                        April 20-21

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series       Norwalk, Oh                                            May 18-20

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series       Maple Grove Raceway,  PA                     May 25-27

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series       Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL                    June 8-10

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series       Lebanon Valley Dragway, NY                  June 22-24

O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals      Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL                     June 28-July 1

Summit Racing  Nationals            Summit Motorsports Park, OH                  July 5-8

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series      New England Dragway, Epping, NH          July 20-22

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series      Cecil County Dragway, Rising Sun, MD     Aug 17-19

MAC Tools US Nationals           Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, IN          Aug 29-Sept 3

O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals      zMax Dragway, Charlotte, NC                  Sept 14-16

UniSelect Auto Plus Nationals     Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, PA         Oct 4-7

 

 

   

 

Summer-Like weather in New Jersey makes it feel like we should still be racing!

We have been having some t-shirt weather days here in New Jersey and it seems like we should be heading over to Atco Raceway to do some testing!  Instead, we have been busy eating Turkey, putting up Christmas Decorations, and getting ready for next season.  Erick, Tom and Larry spent a Sunday 2 weeks ago taking things apart and getting things ready to send for re-certification.  I didn't make the trip out to Erick's since I had the kids and Tommy was on a plane home from Florida. 

Although we are in the off season, Tommy, Erick and I are heading to the Performance Racing Industry show in Orlando for a few days this week.  It will be good to meet some of our suppliers face to face and see what's new for next year.  It will also be a good time to do some bench racing and get fellow racer opinions on the new points structure for the Top Alcohol Dragster class for 2012.  The NHRA has made some changes to the schedule and now the TAD classes are split into 4 Regions instead of the current 7 Divisions that the sportsman racers will run.  Good or bad, it will be interesting to see what happens.  Looks like our team was the last Division 1 Alcohol Dragster Champion!  Only sad part is that our 2 New Jersey track with Points races will not be hosting the Alcohol Classes.  Sign of the times with Business I guess, but I hope in the future maybe we can find a way to help them be more profitable with the TAD cars so we can race at their great facilities again.   

We had a great Thanksgiving here at the Stalba house, with a lot to be thankfull for.  We have great friends and family and had a great season between me, Tommy and Shane Carr.  Shane recently won the Million Dollar Race, and also won a $10,000 Gamblers race in Florida at Palm Beach International Raceway.  With over 10 finals between three of us this year we have a lot to be happy about.   Paul is our new daredevil riding the golf cart and doing power slides on the driveway!  He learned a lot watching Doc Hudson in Cars turn right to go left!  Too much!  I think he's going to need his quad helmet from now on! 

I better be going.  Time to get to work on my banquet speech too.  I have bits in my head, but I feel like I did in my college days with final exams or projects..I do my best work a couple nights before an assignment is due!  I want to be prepared so I don't leave anything out, but it is not easy finding quiet time here in our Nuthouse!  until next time...

2011 Division 1 Top Alcohol Dragster                                                Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Champions!

Although there is one more Divisional Race left in the Country, mathematically no one in the division can catch us so we are about to become Division Champions!  Fast News, wanted to check in but more update will follow along with a quick recap of the Maple Grove Event and plans for next year!  Thank you to all of our sponsors and those that have provided support! A.A. Auto Salvage, Lucas Oil Products, Sheetz Electric, MX Industrial, VP Race Fules, Goodyear, CV Products.  Visit our Links Page to Learn more about the companies that help us succeed!

Time to get "Up to Speed"  ---Brief Recap from our Back to Back to Back to Back Races!  (Update 10/13/11)

Yes, 4 weeks of racing was tough on the team, but they were troopers!  Even had my mother-in-law fly to Indianapolis to help out!  I wish I could buy more hours in a day but this update is better late than never!  As I sit here with with my first few hours of quiet time in days, the kids are sleeping, Tommy is on his way to Reynolds, Georgia for his final points race and the sound of the rain is helping soothe my head.  I love a good thunderstorm late in the evening when all is quiet.  This weekend could decide the Division 1 Championship battle and I am hoping that we come out on top! 

 Let's take a step back..Cecil was rain delayed, but the team prepared for Charlotte, NC and the Divsion 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing series event at the end of August.  We decided to head to zMax Raceway to pick up an extra points race.  We qualified 4th with a 5.59 and unfortunately the only 2 ladies in the 7 car field had to face each other first round.  We faced Jackie Fricke in the car owned by Tom Jones that I used to drive.  Jackie is a great leaver, so I was worried about her with reaction times, and Tom can step up any time, so we had to be on our game.  Jackie did leave on me, but my guys gave me the power to get around her and we ran a weekend best 5.43, setting up a second round match with Duane Shields. 

If we have one edge over some of our competitors this season, it has been consistency.  We are continously trying to make steps in the right direction without defeating ourselves.  In this instance, that consistency paid off when Duane lit up the tires at the hit and we went right down the track with another 5.43 run putting us in ANOTHER FINAL!!!   We were to face Sidnei Frigo, the Brazilian driver who is tuned by Tom Conway, one of the best in the business.  My starting line struggles continued.  Although it was a great drag race, I lost the race on the starting line.  Sidnei and I both slowed up in the final (we only ran a 5.55) but he had me by .05 on the tree and that decided the race.  Still, it was great for the A.A. Auto Salvage/Lucas Oil Dragster to get to our third final round in just our second season with the A/Fuel combination.  

 

What did i just say above about loving a late night thunderstorm?  Just had a boomer that almost made me jump out of bed! It was a close one because things around here buzzed a second!  Ha!  Anyway, after the exciting weekend at zMax, our plan was to have Tommy take the car out to Indianapolis for the U.S. Nationals.  The Big Go.  My first time racing there.  Somewhat exciting, but also worried about the super hot weather that was on tap.  Mom didn't make the trip out with us, and she probably needed the break after all the weeks in a row.  Luckily I have a pretty great mother in law, and she got on an airplane and flew out with our clutch man, Mike, and she helped with the kids.  

 

Indy didn't go as planned. We knew there would be great competition there, the best in the country, but we also did not expect to have half the problems we had.  After 3 runs where we dropped cylinders immediately off the starting line, we took all of our ignition items to the MSD Ignitions trailer where Joe Pando checked everything out.  Turns out we had a bad Ignition Coil and some of our brand new wires were also not functioning.  We couldn't run better than a 5.60 and were not qualified after the 3rd session.  The Drama Season continues!  Between the rained out Cecil County race we had yet to complete and the fact we were close to not making the field at the biggest race of the year it was pretty crazy in our pits.  (Photo--Larry, Erick and Dad retorquing heads)

Two brand new Coils later and replaced spark plug wires, we were able to creep into the field into the number 14 spot!  Yes!  We qualified...bad news---we had to run Chris Demke first round, one of the best supercharged cars in the country.  We were lost.  We didn't know what to do with our tune-up, knowing that most of the year we have been struggling with ignition problems and still getting to finals in spite of ourselves.  We went to give it our best, and the air changed drastically while we waited to run first round.  Chris ran a 5.34, and although I had him on the tree .030 to his .090, we were up in smoke immediately.  Too much power!  So it was great that we figured all of those ignition problems out in Indianapolis, otherwise we would have gone to Englishtown and had no chance to try to go some rounds to keep our points lead. 

 

As with anything this year for us, there is never a dull moment.  Tommy decided to ride home with us in Dad's motorhome, and we lost a line from the turbo on the way home and had to pull over to fix so we could have power to get home.....   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Off to Englishtown... The conclusion of the Cecil County Lucas Oil Race and our Final Division race of the year--Englishtown's Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Event. 

 

After the crazy week at Indianapolis, we headed to Old Bridge to conclude our Divisional Season.  1st Qualifier Saturday was to be our time run to get ready for Q2, which would double as second round of the Cecil County points race.  We were scheduled to race Mike Kosky.  Since we ran the 5.36 in Cecil County to defeat Dan Page, we had lane choice against Kosky.  Our struggles continued, for in Q1, we went out and smoked the tires again right at the hit.  We came back and regrouped for Q2, knowing that it was not only Round 2 of Cecil, but our last chance to qualify for the Englishtown race.  PRESSURE?  Nah, not for us!!!    Mike did beat us 5.43 to our 5.46, but we qualified 5th, so we got in the show for Englishtown.  We had some help with our Points situation when Dan Mercier lost second round.  Crazy thing though, we were scheduled to run Mike Kosky in round 1 of the Englishtown Race! 

Yet again, the drama and silly season set in!  After we did our burnouts, Mike was unable to get his car in reverse to get back to the starting line.  Lucky break for us to get to move on to second round!  Only problem--his burnout was so far down track, that I was not able to make the run for safety reasons, the officials not wanting to chance that I crossed the line and ran into Mike's car so far down track.  Bummer, for we totally needed the run to give us date for the second round.  Our second round opponent was to be Duane Shields, and he had been running low 5.30's in qualifying and had just run a 5.26 first round. We surely gave him a great race, we left about even on the starting line, but his 5.31 was just too much better than our improved 5.40.  Although we did not move on the the final to gain points, I am proud of our team for the effort and the success we had on the Divisional side this year.  It has been awesome.  I can't believe we are in this position and hope we can hang on. 

Thanks to all of our supporters and sponsors for contributing to our success this season.  It's time for me to hit the sack so I can get up and take Paul to Preschool, so I will have to save the Maple Grove National Event update for later this weekend.  We are planning to test this weekend too before we park the car for the winter, so if anyone is local, come on down to Atco to watch some big money bracket racing this weekend and see us test.  Tom Jones will also be there licensing a funny car driver in a dragster so there will be some loud stuff going on!  

Please visit our Sponsors.  http://www.aaautosalvagenj.com/   http://www.lucasoil.com/   http://www.mxindustrial.com/ 

Thanks to Jill and Ken Sheetz and Sheetz Electrical and Ernie Kendall at MX Industrial for your confidence and support. Thank you also to Matt Giangrande at CV Products and Tom Braksator at VP Race Fuels. 

Thank you especially to my family and to Erick and Dad for busting their tails on this car even when I can't be there to help.  They spend countless hours in the shop and on the computer and I am grateful!  Thanks to Mike for hanging in there with the ribbing you get and doing a great job on the clutch!  Thanks to Larry and Donna for Parchutes and my suit!  Thank you to Mom for putting up with me and keeping my kids safe while I go up to race and the rest of the things you do.   And Thank You to my husband Tommy for giving us the opportunity to get out there and race.  I and so grateful for your support! I love you!  Hope we can bring home the big Wally but no matter what happens it has been a terrific season! 

Until next time.. 

    

Cecil County Delayed By Rain but the A.A. Auto Salvage Team takes over points lead with Round 1 Win!

It has been a while, but with so many races in a row, we have not had time to update here, so I hope to keep it all straight and bring you all "up to speed!"  The Division 1 LODRS event at Cecil County was delayed by a massive rain storm that left a river running through our pits and washing over our feet! 

Rains caused Top Alcohol Class Semi-Finals and Finals to be postponed for completion at the Englishtown LODRS event 3 weeks later.  In the meantime, the entire Stalba Motorsports Team had a great weekend.  Our A/Fuel team made a test pass on Thursday before the event, and the car blubbered down the track!  Seems we had not fixed our ignition problem, so we changed the igntion coil and points box for the magneto that had not fired (our new coil wire did not seem to fix the problems that troubled us at Atco).  First qualifying pass on Friday afternoon was a 5.40 run that put us #1, however that did not last when Dan Mercier and team put up a terrific 5.33 to take the #1 spot. 

Qualifying so well we figured we had fixed some of our ignition problems, and as the ladder fell, we would face a first round pairing with Points Leader Dan Page.  In my years of racing this was one of the biggest rounds I was about to enter.  Knowing that we had a car that was capable, I was hoping not to let the team down and that I could give it my best.  Sleeping that Friday night was not easy, but at the same time, it was exciting thinking about all we have accomplished with this car in the past 2 seasons. 

Once the engine started for first round, there was no time to think about anything but that run.  In the end, we ran a career best elapsed time of 5.366 seconds to take the win over Page's 5.48.  How exciting!!  The momentum would be halted though; since first round had been delayed so long due to rain, the semi-finals were moved to Sunday morning.  However, the rains came again and delayed Sunday's start, and eventually the postponement of the Alcohol Cars to Englishtown. 

On another note, husband Tommy Stalba and team driver Shane Carr both continued to race Sunday when the track was dried.  Tommy won his quarterfinal match-up which earned him a single run in the semi-finals to automatically put him in the final, while Shane reached the Semi-Finals in both Super Stock and Super Comp.....only to have the rains come again to put their elimination rounds on hold until Englishtown also!!  DRAMA.  For details on Tommy and Shane, Check out http://www.thomasstalba.com/ shortly (Hopefully I can update that website soon!) 

In the meantime, keep on checking back for more updates.  Hoping to have summary updates for Charlotte, North Carolina's LODRS Division 2 race and Updates from the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the final results from Englishtown, NJ LODRS Divsion 1 race.  Thanks for reading!  Also, check out the webstore, T-Shirts now on Sale!     

Getting Closer to a Goal!  Tommy and Karen Stalba both reach Finals at Same Race, 1 Winner, 1 Runner-up!

Tom and Karen Stalba have a goal of reaching the winners circle together in the same weekend at a race this year, and they came close to that goal this past weekend at the Lucas Oil Divisional Points Race at Atco Raceway in New Jersey.  Karen reached the final in Top Alcohol Dragster with her A.A. Auto Salvage/Lucas Oil A/Fuel Dragster while Tom Won in the Final of Super Gas in his A.A. Auto Salvage/Hoosier/Lucas Oil '63 Corvette Roadster.  In addition, the team won Best Appearing Crew again!  They must think we are some sharp dressers! ;) 

 

                                 Karen vs. Mike Kosky in the final of Top Alcohol Dragster

The weekend started off with Pre-Race testing on Thursday.  The team ran 5.42 seconds and had much confidence going into friday Qualifying.  Then friday came, and it was a big disappointment.  Our team made changes to the tune-up that we thought were in the right direction, but the car fell on its nose!  We only ran 5.58 seconds and had a few cylinders stop firing near the 1000 foot mark.  Back to the trailer to figure things out.  Well, in the second round of Qualifying, we picked up, but only to a 5.52 which put us in the #7 spot of the 8 car field. 

Our first round matchup was ironically against Dan Page in the car owned by Arthur Gallant, the same team and car we beat in the final at our last race in Epping.  They say every racer needs a bit of luck sometimes, and we got our lucky break in the first round when Dan double stepped the gas pedal and left before the tree was activated giving us the round win.  We were very lucky because the car slowed to a 5.82 and we torched a head gasket, hurting 2 pistons and one cylinder head. 

After a very quick turnaround to change the head and pistons, the guys made a fast tuning decision with the engine timing which paid off.  The car ran a 5.46 in round 2 to defeat Richard Bourke in the Cantrell Brother's supercharged machine.  On to another final!!!  It was awesome to be headed to the final after qualifying in the bottom of the field. 

                              Team Stalba wins Best Appearing Crew for the 4th time!

 

In the final, we faced the tough, long-time division 1 racer Mike Kosky.  They had their ups and downs through qualifying and eliminations also, but had the performance edge in the final where they ran a 5.46 to our slowing 5.87.  Congratulations to Mike and Janet and their whole team, they had to change a rear gear friday night after qualifying so this was some big satisfaction for them to get the win.  We found that we had an ignition coil wire go bad, for the car only fired on one magneto.  We will be fixed up and ready for our next outing in Cecil County, Maryland in 2 weeks!  With the runner up finish, the team moved into 2nd place in Division 1 and 12th in the country! 

For complete results visit http://www.dragracecentral.com/ and http://www.nhra.com/ and http://www.nhradiv1.com/

 

 

 

 

 

TEAM STALBA WINS IN EPPING, NH AT FIRST NHRA DIVISIONAL IN 20 YEARS in NEW ENGLAND!

It was a great weekend for the team, but we are pretty exhausted from the trip home.  Check out the highlights at the link below from Phil Hutchinson!  Great Job to Tom Benkovich, Erick Cindrich and Mike Murphy for working their tails off in the sweltering heat!  Thanks also to Donna and Margaret for the pit support and chutes/baby duty!!!  What a team effort and I can't be happier!  Thanks to A.A. Auto Salvage and my best friend, my husband Tommy!! 

http://northeastdragreview.com/2011/07/24/new-jersey-takes-top-alcohol-in-new-hampshire-as-manzo-and-stalba-win-at-day-2-in-epping/

Listen LIVE Monday Night to Karen on the Sam Auxier Jr. Radio Show!!!!

Click below for a link directly to the page to listen to the show!  See a preview.  Karen talks racing, family and more!  Listen Monday July 18, 2011 from 7-9pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 http://www.thesamauxierjrshow.com/racing-news/show-for-monday-july-18th/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Phil Hutchinson http://www.northeastdragreview.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Husband and Wife Semi-Finalists at Lebanon Valley Lucas Oil Divison 1 Event!

Even though we both didn't make it to the finals in our respective classes, Tom and I both had great weekends.  In the A/Fuel Car, we had a terrific pass in the Second Qualifying round.  We had another career best ET, but just can't reach that 5.3x mark!  Although upon looking at the computer, I lifted at 5.33 seconds so we were on a 5.3x pass.  Hats off to Erick, my Dad, and Mike Murphy for a great racecar!  I feel bad I lifted, but it was enough to hold on to the #2 spot in the order.  First round, we defeated a great guy Rich Bourke.  We went 5.47.  Then, before second round, there was a long clean-up on the track, and the weather and track were hot.  So was our Nitro.  We raced Dan Page in Arthur Gallant's car, and they had the same disadvantages as us, but had a slightly better hot weather tune-up and beat us with a 5.67 to our 5.74.  Overall a great weekend.  I had visions of an all ladies Final vs. my bridesmaid Jackie Fricke in the car I used to drive, but it wasn't meant to be!  We both lost in the Semi's.

Tommy also had a great weekend.  Last minute decision to run the Lebanon Valley race in Vinny Barone's B Street Roadster in Comp Eliminator.  First 3 passes hooked hard left, but the luckiest man in Drag Racing Tom Stalba got a bye run first round.  Then second round, he defeated former Champ Frank Aragona, which earned him another bye run into the semi-finals.  He was late on the starting line, but the car wasn't going to run a number for him either, but overall a great weekend for him in an unfamiliar car.

 

Special thanks to Mom and Donna for holding down the fort with the kids..I think that is the hardest part of all! Thanks to my Dad, Erick and Mike for working their tails off in the heat.  Stay tuned for results from the next race from Epping, New Hampshire.... 

(photos courtesy of Phil Hutchinson http://www.northeastdragreview.com/

 

 

 

Semi-finals at Summit Racing Equipment Norwalk Nationals!!

We sure made the drive to Norwalk, Ohio worthwhile!  Friday found us waiting in the rain hoping that we only lost one qualifying session to the weather.  The officials tried but the rain just wouldn't let up.  They changed the schedule to give us 2 instead of 3 qualifying passes and then to run first round on Saturday night. 

After we struggled the first qualifying pass and smoked the tires, we ran better and better each pass.  We qualified 6th with a 5.44 at 244 MPH. First round we faced Rich McPhillips, who was having a tough weekend to start when his truck broke down towing to the track.  Rich beat me off the starting line after rolling in to deep stage (Rich is killer on the tree..) but we hung in there with the quicker car for the win at 5.42, 258 MPH.  Second round we ran Mike Comella, who also seem to pair up with in Qualifying everywhere we go!  I was quicker off the starting line, and then Mike had engine trouble and we ran stepped up to a 5.40 at 261 MPH.  It was awesome!  Headed to the semi-finals, I thought we had a real chance, since we were running close if not better to what some of our competitors were running. 

 

We had some help at this race, Steve Boggs, who has tuned some of the best to championships, and he gave us a ton of pointers on reading the computer run data, how I need to stage the car, and some nitro basics.  I learned that the way I was staging the car was creating too much heat in the motor and wearing the clutch before we even left the starting line, so before the 2nd qualifying pass, I changed my staging procedure.  It took a bit of getting used to, because in the semi's, I had a little brain fade!!!

Brandon Booher was our Semi-finals opponent and his blown alcohol dragster has an automatic in it, and I forgot it briefly as I went to stage and lost my concentration on the staging procedure.  I was LATE!  But the car also didn't run a good number, it got hot and we don't have a good hot weather tuneup up yet. Our 5.57 was not enough to run down Booher.  Altogether, it was a great weekend!  I can't thank the guys enough for busting their butts! 

We didn't quite come home empty-handed though----we won BEST APPEARING CREW again!  Someone likes the way we look ;)  We'll take that trophy too!  Next stop--Lebanon Valley Dragway in New York for the Lucas Oil Divisional Event.  Hope to keep the momentum heading to the Valley!

Englishtown 2011 getting ready to warm up car

Englishtown Raceway Park Results

Another weekend without a round win, but major steps in the right direction.  We qualified the A.A. Auto Salvage Dragster in the #9 spot out of 17 dragsters in attendance.  First qualifying pass on Friday was a 5.45 at 263.10 mph.  CAREER BEST SPEED!!!  Thanks to Erick and Dad for working so hard to make this car right!  I will kick butt soon!  Thanks to Steve Boggs also for helping us with a baseline.  This A/Fuel engine is so different than the Supercharged cars we've run in the past.  It has given us a base to move forward from.

The second pass we made a few changes but they didn't work for us, it slowed up bigtime.  So for the third and final pass on Saturday, we turned the program around and went a career best Elapsed Time of 5.401 seconds in the 1/4 mile.  We were paired up with Bill Reichert in first round, who is the reigning Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Champ in Top Alcohol Dragster, so it was no easy matchup.  Though Bill didn't out-qualify us by much, we know he is always capable of stepping up.  I was sleeping on the starting line, although we had a spark plug strip out of the #8 cylinder at 2.7 seconds into the run, so it only went a 5.43, which is pretty amazing considering we only had 7 cylinders most of the run!  Overall it was a great weekend and thanks to the race fans that show up and stay to watch the Alcohol Classes. 

Thanks to Mom for helping so much, I know it is not easy with the kids and all that is going on but I could not do this without your support!  Also without Donna this weekend I had to find my own firesuit!  Off to Norwalk, Ohio for the Summit Nationals in a few weeks and looking for our first 5.30-something run!  Watch for my big face on the back of Erick's Trailer going down the highway!  Good thing I know a good Auto Salvage company that can get us some windshields in case my mug cracks a few! :) 

 Also happy that fellow competitors Brandon Greco and Monroe Guest were not hurt in a pretty serious crash during first round.  I know what that is like and it isn't a fun ride.  Cars can be rebuilt, people can't so we are grateful their safety devices and precautions all worked the way they should. 

MAPLE GROVE RESULTS>>>>Consistency on the track and slight panic in the pits!

We are sitting here shortly after a big hailstorm at Englishtown so I thought I'd take a few minutes to catch up on the results here....

 Maple Grove Points race was a big success for us, even though we didn't go rounds.  Considering 14 dragsters showed up to try and make a 8 car field, we are super happy that we were able to qualify 4th with a 5.430 at 262 miles per hour. that was a career best mile per hour for me, and all of our runs for the weekend were at 260 mph or better.  We just missed the tuneup for first round, the air came around more than we thought it had.  If I had also had a reaction time like those in testing at Atco Raceway, .080 or better would have won the round, but can't worry about that.  We ran Daniel Mercier first round, and it was a great race.  We were identical on the starting line, but his 5.48 beat my 5.50.  Still, it was a great weekend.  To know we out-qualified 2 former world champs and some great division cars is still a thrill!  No pictures yet to post, but hopefully I'll have some ready soon! 

Then things got silly..  the parking brake on Erick's truck popped out, the truck rolled and took out my dad's awning on the motor home...those tired guys moved quick when the truck started to depart the pits!  Then Erick had a tire blow out just as he got on the PA turnpike to go home.  At least my drive up to Raceway Park was not too eventful except for the detour for the bridge that has been out for over a year!! 

 Just got back to Raceway Park after a quick dinner.  The weather isn't so great right now, but at least it is cooling down with the rain.  We are going to get set up and go through tech tomorrow and then be ready for qualifying Friday.  We run at 11:30 and 2 on friday.  It's going to be a tight turnaround, but we'll get it done!  Stop on by and say hi and come get your t-shirt! 

Testing was positive, looking forward to racing now!

After testing 2 saturdays ago with positive results, the A.A Auto Salvage A/Fuel Dragster is ready to head out to our first points race of the year.  Our first pass that weekend was a 5.57 at 248mph and we beat out the rain to get our second pass in, and with some fuel and timing changes, we stepped up to a 5.45 at 259mph.  It was great to see the changes the guys made were the right calls!  We tried out some new Hoosier Tires also and are happy that they worked well for us!

I have been asked by some people about Tommy's schedule too, and I have not had a chance to build his website yet, but will add a tab on this site so everyone can follow along with him too.  Tommy heads to Bristol, TN this weekend for a big Bracket Race so we wish him luck too! 

Next up for us is the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Points Race at Maple Grove Raceway.  See the calendar for dates.  Stop by to say hello! 

Pre-season testing this weekend at Atco

Come on down to Atco this weekend on Saturday and Sunday to support us!  We will be doing some testing to get ready for our first race, Maple Grove, on Memorial Day weekend.  Atco has a lot of other racing going on this weekend too, so it's a great day to spend at the track with the famiy.  We are looking to test some new tires out, along with testing after some of the problems the guys found wrong with the motor over the winter.  Should be a great day, hope the weather cooperates! 

Head on down and get yourself a t-shirt and avoid the online order shipping charges!  Hope to see you there!

-Karen

 

New Article Link in the LINKS tab.  Check it out.  Go to page 24 in the pdf!

Just a few weeks away from testing

Well, the guys are close to getting all the pieces back from certification and we are starting to think about racing!  The car is at Erick Cindrich's and he has been going over the entire car and through the motor.  He found some things that were causing us trouble last year and some reasons we were down on power a bit.  Hoping for some good weather coming up soon so we can start testing at Atco Raceway.  Our start to the season is still several months off, but Tommy has already been in Bradenton and Gainesville running Super Comp and Super Gas.  Had a rocky start with motor troubles, but there is still a lot of racing to be done.  He's off to Valdosta this weekend for a points race. 

I cannot wait for better weather so I can get rid of this month-long cough and get to racing.  In the meantime, I am keeping busy with the kids and the business and working on finding some monetary help for the season.  Every little bit helps, even to pay the travel expenses.  I'll also be participating in a Fashion Show here in Hammonton to benefit local businesses and the town's events committee, along with the Hammonton Mother's Club.  Should be interesting, and I'm hoping I don't fall down on the runway!  Hope everyone has had a good winter and hope to see you at the track, be sure to stop by and say hello!

Shirts now on sale!  Go to the Web Store page and get yours today!

                

Welcome to my website!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please don't mind, we are still under construction but it is exciting to start building this site to keep you all up to date!   For those of you on Facebook, you can also follow us at Stalba Motorsports!   http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Stalba-Motorsports/384406266263

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