After the first few events were either scratched from their schedule or plagued by rain, the team cars of Performance by Fisher Racing were finally able to hit the track for the first time this season during the IHRA Division 3 season opener held at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in New Alexandria, PA, May 7-8.
Kathy Fisher Gets Quick Rod Victory in IHRA Div 3. Photos by: BME Photography.
The Fisher Racing team at Pittsburgh Raceway Park. Photos by: BME Photography.
Kathy Fisher, driver of the team's 8.90 entry, had quite a week leading up to the event.
"I started my week by first driving to just outside of Philadelphia for some of the TV work I do. Man that was a lot of driving," she laughed. "I left on Tuesday and when I was finished, met up with the team at the track on Thursday, hoping we could get some testing in since we really haven't been on the track much at all this year. It seems so strange to be getting such a late start, but that's Mother Nature for you."
"I was a little concerned looking at the forecast that we may run into some problems during the Pittsburgh event, too. But it was gorgeous for race day on Friday," she added.
Kathy Fisher's IHRA Division winning dragster. Photos by: BME Photography.
After only being able to get one hit at the track during the test session, Fisher was anxious to see what type of numbers she would be able to lay down during qualifying for Friday's race.
"We have made several changes on my car since last season, such as new Moser Axles, changing to a Hogan's Racing Manifold and my new K&N scoop, which is the second generation dragster scoop," she continued. "She picked up over two MPH in the eighth-mile compared to where I was at that track last year. I can only imagine what she's going to do on tracks closer to sea level and in the quarter-mile."
Fisher's first round match up was one of her memorable ones of the event.
"I knew I had to run whoever was behind me and I wasn't sure who it was," she reflected. "Then I see long time friend Bill Rudy pull up next to me, who just this year returned to running a dragster after years of competing in his Gremlins. I knew Bill was going to be tough, I knew what kind of lights he had in both testing and qualifying and he had his new car dialed. I've known Bill since I was nine or ten and in all these years, had never raced Bill before."
When the tree came down it was Fisher on top, with a .009 to Rudy's .015 reaction time, which as just enough to help push him at the stripe for a 5.709 to Rudy's losing 5.697 and a mere .005 margin when the cars went across the line.
The new IHRA rules for bye-run selection played right into Fisher's hand, as she had posted the best reaction time of the previous round and earned the only actual Quick Rod bye of the event.
"I had actually forgotten all about the change," she said in regards to her bye. "As strange as it may sound, I wasn't doing a whole lot of thinking about anything during the race, at least not when it came to the driving part. I was studying the computer and the data we have and after that, it was just get in and go."
Fisher continued to better each of her opponent's on the tree and even though the final round's reaction time was nothing to write home about, it was still a whopping .052 better than her opponents.
"I didn't get lane choice in the final and had a feeling Jeff (Martin) was going to put me in the right lane, which based on the way the track sits when you get to that time of day, it's a little tougher to cut a bulb," she said. "I certainly didn't want to take a chance at going red, so I only took a few numbers out."
"I knew when we launched I was late, but when I looked over I thought, 'Not near as late as he was, come on baby let's go'," she laughed.
Her huge reaction time advantage over Martin allowed Fisher all the room she needed to back into his dead-on 5.708, with a full hundredth of a second room to spare at the stripe, even as she only posted a 5.749 and knocking off about eight MPH.
"There was something about going up for the final that was different than some of my other finals," she paused. "The difference was me, mentally, my attitude. I have no idea of how to explain it, it was just a certain state of mind and by the looks of things, it was a good place to be."
The victory was Fisher's first IHRA Divisional event win since she started competing on the circuit in 2005.
"I have been to several finals, but to finally sew one up is just fantastic," she exclaimed while posing proudly in her new K&N firesuit alongside husband and fellow teammate, Kevin Fisher and first year crew members Julie Bean and Dustin Wlazlo, both students at UNOH. "My 'baby beastie', as I started calling her, was really doing her job and you know, not too bad for a twelve year old car."
"I know it has so much to do with all that is put into our program. We are so pleased to win this event for Dragon Racing Fuels, who are just getting into our part of the motorsports world," Fisher continued. "Between having Ohio Crankshaft parts in my motor, along with Amalie Oil and our K&N filters to protect them plus the consistency of Dragon Racing Fuels, I had all the ingredients to make it to the winner's circle going into the event."
"I want to first thank God for allowing me to do so many of the things that I truly love and to be able to do them side-by-side with Kevin," she added. "I'm so thankful for our huge racing family of partners, from the ones such as Dragon, K&N, Ohio Crankshaft, Amalie and Tom Hirt, our Snap-On Tools rep, who has been a part of our team for well over a decade, to the great people I work for like Frank & Lana Hawley and Ted Jones, who allow me the time I need to pursue my dreams."
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