Sometimes plans don't go according to the way they were first laid out and for Lima, Ohio's Jacob [Jake] Elrod the chain of events that took place during the IHRA Nitro Jam Nationals in Grand Bend, Ontario Canada, weren't necessarily a bad thing.
The Elrod team's 9.90 Corvette Roadster showing off its new K&N Composite Scoop with Jacob behind the wheel at Grand Bend.
Jacob taking his turn earlier this season in the team's Top Dragster at Indy.
Elrod, along with his brother Tony, father Dave and their good family friend, Pat Forster of Pennsylvania, make up the Elrod Racing team that is comprised of a strong stable of five cars, which they each share the driving duties from one event to the next.
For this particular event, Jake started off behind the wheel of the team's Super Rod [9.90 Index] Corvette Roadster and while things didn't go well for him in that car when he made an early first round exit, there were other exciting things in store for him.
"Dad was running his car in Top Dragster and it was having some sort of ignition problems that we really didn't get figured out until just before first round," Jake explained. "During first round, dad knew it was fixed and it was just a little dark down at the finish line. He knew he couldn't keep it to the floor or he would breakout, but just ended up giving her the stripe back. So after he didn't get past first round, I asked him about getting into the bracket race, which was $5,000 to win. You know by that time it was late at night and he said we would talk about it in the morning."
"The next morning, I was sitting there eating my Lucky Charms," he chuckled. "Pat [Forster] walks up and asks if dad was going to get into the bracket race, which I didn't think at that point he was. So we thought maybe he would let me run the car in it. We went ahead and got the car out, got it ready and waited for the call for the No Box class. When they called that class, I went in, woke dad up and asked him if he was going to get in the Box race, he said no, I'm not running it, it's too hot."
Elrod asked if it was OK to go ahead and run the car himself, "since the car was already all set to go, it was hard for him to say no."
It pays to have lots of information on hand to study, like the Elrod's have available due to the switching of driver's from race to race. Jake had not made a pass in the team's Top Dragster car, but was able to come up with a dial fairly easy. "I did like a weight calculation, the difference between him and I, plus I had an idea of what he was hitting the tree at and I know generally about how much quicker I normally am," he noted. "So, I sort of had an idea of where to start on everything. I actually padded the box just a little bit, because I didn't want to go red first round. I ended up getting paired with a ten second car first round, he ended up being later on the tree than I was, so that round win actually became like a time run for me."
Where Elrod didn't have his usual success in the index class, he more than made up for it in the bracket race, making his way through five rounds of competition to find himself in his first final of the weekend, the Box final and paired up with the racer who suggested they enter the bracket race in the first place.
"I had to run Bill Riddle in the final round of Box," Elrod pointed out. "Saturday night, he had actually come to us and made the suggestion that we get into the bracket race. So he was the one who talked us into running the race and then we had to face each other in the final. We were actually pitted right next to each other, too."
Where Elrod was .006 green on the tree, Riddle was that much on the wrong side and the redlight win sent Elrod to the money round, where he would meet up with the No Box Champ, Will Steckly.
"I didn't know who he was, but apparently he's won the Summit Super Series like twice," he confessed. "It worked out, I was .029 on the tree and he was .043. So I just did my normal thing. I didn't really think he would have some 'double-oh' package as a No Box car, but if he did God bless him. I just wasn't going to go up there and try to set up to go red or anything."
Elrod easily chased down Steckly for the over ET Clash victory, taking home $5000 along with a decent handful of contingency awards. Not bad for a race that he never planned on competing in when he rolled into Grand Bend Motorplex just two days earlier.
Elrod Racing is proud to join K&N in 2011 and utilize numerous K&N products on each of their racing entries. "All of our cars use the K&N Wrench-Off filters," said Jake. "It's really nice, because we have a couple of different oil pans between the cars and there is a size for everything. Of course we use the K&N air filters on all five cars, which I just love. There are just so many things that could get sucked up in there and you don't have to worry about that when you are protected by K&N. Plus we have the K&N composite scoops and the 2nd Generation ones for the dragsters look so nice, we didn't even paint them. We just cleared them because the carbon fiber just looks way too cool to cover up with anything."
Jacob's victory adds to several other NHRA and IHRA accomplishments already racked up during this year. Look for a whole lot more from the Elrod Racing Team, as they are only just beginning the second half of their 2011 season.
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