Year-round preparation for the husband and wife team of Kevin and Kathy Fisher, from Lima, Ohio, has brought them to their season end event just outside of Richmond, Virginia, and not just any event but the IHRA Tournament of Champions race at Virginia Motorsports Park. A race that will runoff those who qualified for it, in one way or another throughout the season, to determine the IHRA World Champions in all seven of the sanctioning bodies sportsman classes.
Fisher'a Fuels/K&N/Ohio Crankshaft/Amalie Boulton dragster
Drag Racers Kevin and Kathy Fisher
Kathy Fisher, who drives the team's 1998 Dragon Racing Fuels/K&N/Ohio Crankshaft/Amalie Boulton dragster in Quick Rod, qualified for the special event by her season end third place points finish in IHRA Division 3. Fisher utilizing only five of her available eight event claims on the IHRA Division schedule to make the special field and a shot at a 2011 Championship.
"We had a very tight schedule this season and did our best to run as many IHRA and NHRA events," explained Kathy. "To be able to finish third in the division with the amount of races that I ran is really great. We had a good showing when we did get to participate in those events and just one first round loss of any of my IHRA events this year, national or divisional."
"I guess, let me get out of first round and I seem to be able to make the most of the race," she added with a smile.
Before the Tournament of Champions race will commence, both Kathy and Kevin will first compete in the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular. A race that not only offers $5,000 and national event contingency to the winner's but the final berth for a driver from each class to move on to the "TOC".
"Kevin still has a shot to make it into the TOC in Top Dragster," she pointed out. "The car has become more consistent as of late and with the Sportsman Spectacular, we don't have to run it hard at all to be in the show, so to speak. One of the goals for the weekend is to have both team cars in for the TOC and we are already halfway there."
For Quick Rod, the 8.90 index class, Fisher is currently joined by twenty-five other qualifiers from all across the county and Canada. More notably, should the roster hold as is, Fisher is the only female to qualify in Quick Rod for the championship deciding race.
"I hadn't really put any thought into that until here recently," she confessed. "I looked to see who all made it into the field and then realized that. There are a lot of great female competitors in my class and I guess if I get to be the only one to represent for our gender [laughs], I hope to do us proud."
While Kathy looks to add to her three final round appearances from earlier this year and Kevin is anxious to wrap up his season on a high note. "I have to say that I am looking forward to this weekend more than I have many of the other events from this season," he pointed out. "While the racing will be extremely intense, like every other event, there's just a different mindset going in. The track will be fantastic and we will have absolutely no worries with the weather. We are looking forward to putting a lot of passes on this Dragon Racing Fuels/Ohio Crankshaft Top Dragster before we put her away for the season. Some races you just have a good feeling about, and for me this is one of them."
"We couldn't have accomplished any of this without the folks who work with us," Kathy confessed of making the TOC. "All those rounds that I won, the finals I made it to this year come from using the best products that are available to us. I can't say it enough, consistency wins races. As long as the driver shows up, I have a very consistent, very dialable car, mainly thanks to everyone at K&N. We have always used K&N oil and air filters on all of our vehicles, from our all of our race cars to the vehicles we drive day-to-day. Like so many others, we don't have an unlimited budget and we cannot take any chances with the engines or anything else on our cars. With K&N products, we don't have to worry about them no being protected the best they possibly could."
K&N oil and air filters are not the only products from the company's lineup that the team is proud to take to the winner's circle with them. "We started using the K&N second generation composite dragster scoops at the beginning of last season," said Kevin, who is also crew chief for the team. "The design is simply remarkable and not only do they look great, it's like instant bolt-on horsepower. Kathy's car picked up an average of four mile-per-hour by just changing to the K&N scoop."
While the weekend's events at VMP might be the final 2011 race for Team Dragon Racing Fuels, some things this weekend will be a first. The team will be joined this weekend by their new Assistant Car Chief, Chelsea VanCleave. VanCleave hails from Nashville, Tennessee and is currently studying High Performance Automotive at UNOH in Lima, Ohio. A veteran racer in her own right, VanCleave competed very successfully in the Jr. Dragster ranks from the age of seven and currently holds her NHRA 4A competition license.
"It's cool to have Chelsea come on board with us, we are very excited for her to experience this event with us," Kathy said. "I'm also excited to have our newest race dog in training with us for her first event. Hey, our shelties are a really big part of our team. Losing Mandy back in August after fourteen years was, and still is, rough. Miyah will now be joined by Mekoh, who just turned fifteen weeks."
"I don't know what I'm more excited about, her first golf cart ride at a race or the shot at the championship," laughed Fisher.
The IHRA Sportsman Spectacular and Tournament of Champions takes place this weekend, October 14-16.
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