- Wednesday 16 April, 2014
CONCORD, N.C. (April 15) – As he anticipated, Top Alcohol Dragster driver/tuner Brandon Booher started his 2014 season in the same way he ended his last season; running in the low five-thirties and racing to the final round. The Champaign, Il.-based driver overcame powerful A/Fuel competitors and parts breakage to persist through eliminations at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway near Charlotte last weekend.
Booher made a statement in the opening qualifying session, posting a 5.324/274 MPH blast down the race track. He backed it up with consistent 5.330 and 5.327 elapsed times during the later two qualifying sessions, but it was his first run of the season that was good enough to place him sixth in the field of nitromethane-injected A/Fuel dragsters.
“It's what I wanted the car to do,” Brandon said of his first run. “I knew we could pick up right where we left off. That sort of went with the plan of getting down the track and having something to tune off of. The 5.32 at 274 was exactly what we wanted, but things didn't go as swimmingly as I would've liked after that run.”
Booher narrowly escaped his Saturday first round race against Rich McPhillips. Brandon had to pedal his blown alcohol dragster, ultimately knocking off the supercharger and burning a piston. The numbers were astounding; Booher left the starting line first with a .037 reaction time, McPhillips with a .038. Brandon was first to the finish line with a 5.447 elapsed time, McPhillips with a 5.448. Just two thousandths of a second separated the two.
Eliminations continued on Sunday, when Booher automatically defeated Don Nolan, who red-lit. The 2013 NHRA North Central Region TAD champion won his semifinal match over Jackie Fricke with a 5.369/270 MPH run. The Booher Racing team's good day went bad less than an hour later. Brandon had to be pushed back after the burnout for his final round race against Corey Michalek, then broke shortly after leaving the starting line. All damage assessed; an annihilated transmission, a connecting rod through the engine block, and a hurt crank. Still down after losing the race, the team went to work on the car, removing the spent engine and replacing it with a new one for the next race.
“The guys are hard workers; they know how to work and they know stuff has to get done. The last thing I was worried about was if there was a problem, whether or not we'd get it fixed. This weekend it seems like things were stacked against us as far as attrition rate and parts breakage. It was nothing that anybody did wrong, it was just one of those things that happens. The guys did great. The final round was definitely not their fault,” Booher claimed.
A preventable issue kept the AB Construction dragster from making a final round run at the trophy, leaving the ultra-competitive Booher extremely disappointed in the final outcome.
“We just didn't have enough time to do all of the required maintenance. I suppose both teams were dealing with the same amount of time, we just had more maintenance we needed to do. The car suffered a lot of damage in the final, and that all could've been avoided with fifteen more minutes of turnaround time,” Brandon commented.
The race results from this weekend's race at Charlotte told Brandon and his team that while they have a car capable of winning races, it won't be easy.
“There are some strong cars out there. I believe we're one of them. Look at how many A/Fuel cars were running in the five-twenties this weekend. As eliminations came around, things just sort of went our way. We got very lucky first round against Rich McPhillips. That's a car that can and has run five-twenties. Then Jackie (Fricke) smoked the tires mid-track. We had a good car, but going forward it's going to be tough.”
Brandon and the AB Construction/Torque MGMT. Top Alcohol Dragster team will next race at the NHRA North Central Region season opener in Indianapolis, April 25-27.
ABOUT BOOHER RACING
Booher Racing is a father-son NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster team led by owner/crew chief Aaron Booher and his son, driver/tuner Brandon Booher. The AB Construction team holds the title of quickest and fastest torque converter-equipped vehicle in the world. The 2013 NHRA North Central TAD Regional champion-winning Booher Racing team receives support from Motorsports Unlimited Performance Parts Distributors, Spitzer Enterprises, Torque MGMT, Bell Helmets, and PK Construction.
Follow Booher Racing on Facebook (www.facebook.com/booherracing), Twitter (www.twitter.com/booherracing), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/booherracing).