During a weekend that only few can dream of experiencing, Michelle Furr drove both her Undercover dragster and her 1968 Camaro to the final round at zMax Dragway, nearby Charlotte, North Carolina for a Super Comp win and a Super Street runner-up during the Fourth annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Furr became only the second woman in NHRA history to go to two finals at the same event.
NHRA Super Comp Driver Michelle Furr
Michelle Furr drove her Super Comp Undercover dragster for the win at zMax Dragway
An IHRA racer for decades, Furr of Galax, Virginia only last year made the move to also obtain her NHRA competition licenses and began competing in both sanctioning bodies. This proved to be a smart decision for Furr, as she only had to wait a short while for it to pay off big time for her and her husband, Rick. Furr has found lots of success on the IHRA side during the course of her racing career, but with only a handful of attempts, she had yet to make an NHRA final of any type and was that ever all about to change for the K&N/Ohio Crankshaft racer.
"We completely changed our setup about three races ago," she said of her dragster. "We changed everything about how we leave, the throttle stop, everything. During time runs, I was a little nervous because I wasn't positive that I knew my ratio. We had every type of conditions to run in you could think of, headwind, tailwind, the altitude was going way up and down. It was kinda crazy, it really was."
Furr made it past Sikish in round one of Super Comp, after he left a little too early. This gave her a free pass down the track with another shot to test out her new throttle stop ratio and she never looked back. Round two would find Furr paired up with Lindsey Barker and a .013 advantage on the tree. Furr came out on the better side of a double breakout, just one-thousandth shy of a perfect run with her 8.899 to Barker's 8.893. She would then have to wait until mid-Sunday afternoon before she would take to the track for round three and prevail in another double-breakout win over Robert Edmonds.
The quarter final round was a squeaker with fellow K&N racer Ray Connolly. Both drivers trying to make the margin as narrow as possible at the stripe, with less than a thousand between them at the finish line. Furr's better .012 light and on the index 8.904, sent Connolly packing with his .032 and 8.884.
Over in Super Street, the 10.90 category, Furr was also blasting her way through the rounds. Again getting her lucky round right out of the gate after a redlight from her first round opponent, Furr ended up with some extra excitement in her 565 Chevy powered Camaro in round two. "I was pretty sure I had a better light than him [Edward Brooks] and when he went charging by me, I knew he had to be breaking out," she reflected. "So, I got on the breaks a little and it wasn't much, but that car got completely sideways on me. It was the closest I have ever come to being in a wreck. It was then I decided I wasn't using the breaks again in the Camaro over the weekend."
This is where the timeline started to get hairy for her and her husband. Furr pointed out, that as she got deeper into the rounds in both classes, it was a rather tough task keeping both cars ready to go and getting to the lanes when called, "We were pitted about as far away from the staging lanes as you could be over on the pro side. It was only Rick and I and to come back after a run, try to get the car cooled back down, throw the charger on for a second and get up to the lanes with the other car was really tough."
Furr went on in Super Street to make it by, Chuck Harris and Brian Funderburk and into her first of two finals where she would meet up with Dennis Hill. "Everything was so rushed to get both cars up to the lanes for the finals, we were doing the best we could and we certainly weren't messing around," she said. "I'm not blaming my thirty light in the Super Street final totally on the chaos of driving from over a half mile away to the lanes, after just jumping out of the other car and then being somewhat rushed, but I know it didn't help."
Furr admitted that she "totally put the Super Street final out of her mind" when she fired up in the lanes for her second final of the weekend, this time in Super Comp. She didn't have time to think about it. As she fired her dragster up, an official immediately shut her off in the lanes as she was dribbling a very small amount of water.
"Rick was already up on the line and I can't see what's going on or why they are shutting me off," she said. "A good friend of ours came over and saw it was just the overflow tank, we had not had a chance to drain it after the round before. So, he drained it, but now his hands are all wet and he can't get the little hose back on. By this time, Rick was back in the lanes to see what was going on and since his hands were dry, he put the hose back on. I fired up and the official looked over the car and nodded his head lightly, that it was OK."
Furr didn't let the moment distract her in the least and after leaving together, flat outdrove Shane Carr at the finish line, 8.904 to his losing 8.919 for her first ever NHRA National Event win.
"It's all still a dream," noted Furr of her tremendous weekend. "You want to make it to a final, you want to win and you think you can, but when it happens, it's like 'wow, is it really real?' I was just not going to think or over analyze anything this weekend and it really worked for me. As I went to pull out onto the track for the Super Comp final, I had hesitated just a bit. I see all these professional team members. I see all these people on the stands, they were packed and I thought to myself, this is what you have waited for your whole life. In my mind, I was like let's make this happen."
"The whole after race celebration was great," she exclaimed. "It was a lot of fun standing up there, talking to Leo [announcer] and getting that pewter Wally. I couldn't have done any of this without all the help from my husband Rick, and everyone who helps us with great parts and products for the cars. K&N is one of them and we have used K&N products for so many years on everything. Even our truck that pulls our 48' race trailer now has a cold air kit on it and that is awesome, just absolutely phenomenal the difference that it made. The generator, the cars, the truck, everything we have with a motor is protected by K&N filters."
"Always has been and always will be," the newest NHRA Super Comp National Event Champ added with a smile.
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