When the Going Gets Tough…….….March 2012
“I cannot tell a lie. It was I who chopped down the cherry tree” is a quote often attributed to George Washington (although research will tell you he actually did not say this.) “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is one of the well known 10 Commandments. I am sure all of you know about the laws pertaining to perjury and the consequences thereof. With that introduction, I would like to tell you three little stories that are not completely true.
Story # 1: It was a day in the middle of the race season. It was a points race and my car was really running crappy. During the time trial sessions, I could not get it to launch and it was ”popping and coughing” at the top end of the track. “Perhaps you need to adjust the floats on your carburetor,” was the suggestion from Dick Ardery, as fellow racer in my class. I had never done that and had no clue where to begin. However, Dick, being the friend-of-all, brought his wrenches and a screw driver to my pits. Not only did he show me how, but he actually did all of the work adjusting the floats for me. Wouldn’t you know that as the day progressed, Dick and I would be paired for competition – I believe it was the third round. Being the nice guy that I am and in consideration for the help that Dick had given me, I red-lit so that Dick could get the round win.
Story # 2: It was several years later and I was having a good day at the track. I was in the middle of the points chase and most likely would be able to earn enough points to make the Woodburn Team for the NHRA Division 6 Finals. Having won first and second rounds, I was now lined up for the third round. I was good at the tree and my opponent broke out giving me the win. It was on the return road that I noticed a little rumble at the right rear. I got back to the pits and found that the right rear slick had gone flat. In those days, there was no one at the track who could do an instant tire repair and I would be up-a-creek unless I could borrow a pair of slicks already mounted with the same bolt pattern as that trusty ’70 Road Runner. My tires were size 12.5 by 29. The only pair offered to me were size10 x 31 but I decided to see if they would fit. Sure enough, they cleared the fender. We bolted them on and now it was time to select a dial in for round four. What should I dial? The previous round it was a 13.15 but with taller tire, I doubted that I would be quicker. I selected a dial of 13.30. Unfortunately, again, I red lit my chances away.
Story # 3: My right shoulder had been giving me trouble for a considerable time. I treated myself with Advil and Tylenol and even did some physical therapy sessions but the pain and discomfort remained. I scheduled an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who had done my knees, but decided to wait a little longer. However, after Christmas I knew that I needed to get the surgery done. Rotator cuff surgery was performed on February 14th of this year. It is now two weeks later and my right arm is immobilized in a sling. I have three to four more weeks in a sling before I begin therapy again. However, I am glad to be back at work and am able to type with my left hand as I prepare this story.
You are probably wondering what is the “moral of the story?” As the 2012 racing season gets underway, as a racer, you will likely face a situation where you will need to make an adjustment or repair to your race car on a race day. As an individual, you may also be faced with a situation requiring repair or adjustment to your body or physical health. Fortunately, friends and family are always a source of support. We want everyone to know that your Woodburn Dragstrip racing family is always ready to assist. Do not hesitate to let us know if we can assist in any way.
Regarding the stories listed above:
Story # 1: In truth, I really did not red light when I raced Dick Ardery even after he had adjusted my floats. I treed him, beat him to the stripe, and moved on to the next round.
Story # 2: Actually, I did not red light. I launched with my normal pattern, ran it hard until I caught my opponent, and maintained my lead across the stripe to take another round win.
Story # 3: Yes my right arm is in a sling, but if I sit up close to the keyboard, I can type with both hands by moving my wrist and fingers even though my shoulder is immobilized.
Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Division 6 Bracket Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980, when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip. He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy ET Bracket, winning with his four-speed 1970 Plymouth Road Runner at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October 1980.
Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip. Hpefully you will enjoy reading them.