Stockton, California's Greg Boutte was looking to extinguish his dry spell in a big way after several first round losses in Super Comp competition and was hoping to begin that during the NHRA national event at Infineon Raceway.
Stockton, California's Greg Boutte
Greg Boutte at NHRA Sonoma Nationals
The national event would be the first of three scheduled events for Boutte and many other sportsman racers over the next week and a half at the facility, just outside of Sonoma, California, with the rescheduled Arizona NHRA National event taking place on the Monday following and a NHRA Division 7 event the following weekend.
"At the Sonoma Nationals I got pulled for the bye for first round," said Boutte. "Well you sit there for an hour and twenty minutes and your cross your fingers and hope that you are actually going to get the bye. That way you know you'll be racing in the second round of the national event."
Unfortunately, a bye wasn't in the cards for Boutte and he would be paired with Brad Plourd and the outcome meant he would have to wait until the next event to work on a round win.
"So I go back to the trailer and I'm like well doggone it, I got beat first round in Norwalk, first round at the Chicago National and Chicago Divisional and now this and you think to yourself, 'Where is this going?'," he said of his lack of on-track luck of late.
Boutte would have to wait through the completion eliminations for the regularly scheduled NHRA National before getting back on the track Monday to begin the postponed Arizona Nationals only to deal with what he refers to as the "Sonoma Head-Tail Wind Combination."
"It can drive you to drinking," he laughed.
"What happens is, they have an American flag right in front of the tower," he continued on a more serious note. "When it shows head wind, it could be a tail wind at a thousand feet. It is an absolute tuner's nightmare for sportsman racers. It can also be vice-versa, too. Because I have raced there for twenty years, I kind of have a feel for it, but it takes two or three people to keep an eye out on it and what it's really doing."
Unlike most NHRA events, which are spread out over several days, the rescheduled Arizona National would take place all in one day, with all drivers getting one time run to start of the day's activities.
"Getting to make your time run and then get called right back up for first round was great. I only had to change the numbers in my box by just a few numbers all day," Boutte said referring to the throttle stop timer in his delay box.
Much different than his recent events, Boutte not only made it out of first round, but all the way to the final.
As Boutte looked back over his six rounds to competition for the Arizona Nationals, second round stuck out in his mind.
"When I met up with Glenn Kern in second round, that was an important one and I knew it wasn't going to be easy," he said. "Glenn is a great competitor and I was able to just push him out which earned me a bye in the third round."
He went on to defeat Waggoner in the quarter-finals and Blaisdell in the semi-finals.
The final round was all Boutte's, as Steve Casner went for it and just missed the tree by two-thousandths of a second therefore handing the NHRA Arizona National Super Comp Championship win over to Boutte.
"As you know in the Super categories, you cannot take anyone for granted," said Boutte. "Anyone at anytime can put a one to two thou package on you and all of a sudden you are scratching your head and going, 'well how'd that happen'."
With little time to enjoy his NHRA National event victory, Boutte was back to work on Tuesday, but his mind not far from the Sonoma track, where he would return to in just a few short days to compete in the NHRA Division 7 event.
"I went back to Stockton and worked for three days and headed back for Sonoma for the next event," reflected Boutte.
With lots of information from the previous weekend, things went well for him during the first two time trials on Friday, and even though he had just won a NHRA National event, he decided to make changes to the car.
"This is what makes people go crazy about me, but after winning I wasn't happy with the car so I put a completely different set of wheels and tires on it and I put our new K&N 2nd generation dragster scoop on it. I did this all on Thursday night before the race," he chuckled.
"Usually when you put a heavier wheel and tire on the car, you should lose sixty foot and mile-per-hour, "he continued. "But with the gains from the new K&N scoop, it offset that and I actually picked up sixty foot and my mile-per-hour stayed exactly the same."
What else remained the same from his last time down the Infineon Raceway track only a few short days ago, was the outcome of the race in the Super Comp class. Boutte slashed his way through five rounds of heavy competition and earning a bye into the final, where he would meet up with fellow K&N heavy-hitter, Mike Ferderer.
What must also be noted is this was Ferderer's first time ever racing the car he was driving, a testament to his outstanding capabilities as Multi-time Champion sportsman racer.
"When a racer as good as Mike Ferderer can get into a final round with an unfamiliar car, that just shows you the quality of racer and tuner he really is," said Boutte.
Ferderer had an ever-so-slight starting line advantage over Boutte in the final, but was unable to match the top end numbers needed for Boutte's 8.908.
Boutte knows that races aren't won alone but with the help of fellow teammates and pointed out what a big help Matt Constant was after his loss in round four of Super Comp.
"He sucked it up and really helped me make the right decisions in those last few rounds," he noted.
"When I saw my win light come on, even right now I don't know what to say about that," said Boutte of his second NHRA Super Comp victory in less than a week. "There was just so much adrenaline going on at that moment. It was just something else."
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