Unlike any other event over the course of the season for a drag racer, no matter what level, The U.S. Nationals is the golden jewel of them all and just to compete there is quite an experience. For racers like Britt Cummings, from Hammond, Louisiana, who make it through the nearly weeklong event for a shot at a coveted U.S. Nationals NHRA Wally during the Super Comp final, it's an absolute huge accomplishment.
Cummings competed in Super Comp and made it to the final round
Britt Cummings' Super Comp Dragster at the U.S. Nationals
"It's long, drawn-out," said the K&N racer of the event. "Every time you go up there, you have to really get up for it, because most times, it's been so long since your previous run. Plus we had really big weather swings from when we started the event until later on. It was like one hundred on Friday and Saturday, during the first three rounds of eliminations. Then by the time we finally got back on the track for round four, it was after ten on Sunday night and low seventies."
The car Cummings competed with in Super Comp was actually the car he normally competes with in Top Dragster. "I just put a throttle stop on it and had three runs with it before we showed up at Indy," he explained. "I unloaded it and went an eighty-three [8.83] and believe it or not, I never changed the timer during the time runs and I went eighty-three every pass. In eliminations, well when we had the big swing in the weather, I wound up putting like six-hundredths in it and I was still going eighty-three."
In a class like Super Comp and particularly those classes who use a throttle stop, where you are adding just one more variable, it is extremely important as a driver that you are able to trust the car and the number you have dialed it for. "It is so critical," admitted Cummings. "If you don't know that your car is going what you think it is, you are going to lose with the way we drive the finish line."
Cummings reflects on one of the memorable rounds that lead him through the weekend. "You know we had to wait more than a whole day to run again after third round on Saturday, it was Sunday night for fourth round and I had to run Tommy Phillips," he said. "We each run division four and we see each other race every weekend, so we know how each other races. I was going eighty-three again and I think he was going either eighty-four or five. I knew that he would hit the brakes harder than I would to kill his. So I rolled up behind him to set up and wait for him to drop. When he dropped, I dropped and I got lucky to get there by two thousands [six inches]. You know, that was the plan going in and it worked."
Until 2011, even with the plethora of racing success that Britt has acquired over his career, making a final during the U.S. Nationals had eluded him, and now he has a new feather in his cap. "Oh definitely," he said of the high importance his new accomplishment. "When Samantha Coughlin went red on me in the semi's and I just saw Brian Folk win, it was already like winning it right there. The Folk's were pitted right next to us and our families have been close for years and to be great friends and both in the final together at Indy, the biggest race of the year, it was just awesome."
"Getting ready for the final was hectic," he explained. "They had all the sportsman lined up in the staging lanes, then a stocker blew it up on the line and oiled the track down. So they [NHRA] went ahead and ran the pros in front of the rest of us, because of TV time. I was all suited up, ready to go and everything. So we had to wait about thirty minutes longer than we had planned to run the final and up until that point, I hadn't looked up at the bleachers or anything and then I just happened to notice how many people were there. There was just a lot going on, and I'll admit, I just kinda lost my focus during that time."
"I was set up for a twenty on the tree and I went a forty-eight, so I missed the tree," he confessed about his reaction time in the final against fellow K&N competitor, Brian Folk. "Brian was just more ready for it than I was."
"It was a super experience making it to a final like that at the U.S. Nationals, through all the days and the weather changes," he continued. "That's a lot of rounds and it says a lot about all the parts we use on our cars. We know we can trust what we use like our K&N Oil filters and the K&N Air Filter products."
"Besides K&N, I want to thank the whole crew and especially Jimmy, my crew chief, without him [paused] you know all I have to do is sit in the car and drive it and he does everything else."
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