With the second generation driver at the wheel, the 1969 Chevy Camaro that is a part of the Herem family's racing stable found its way to the final round of Super Street during the 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway after Ryan Herem battled his way through the rounds by showing some fantastic driving skills.
Herem is no stranger to NHRA National event finals after successfully duking it out in 2011 at the most prestigious event each season on the NHRA schedule, the U.S. Nationals, where he slipped behind the wheel of Craig Anderson's K&N Corvette to take the Super Gas victory. Herem currently competes in Super Gas in a Corvette of his own, as well as the 10.90 Super Street class in the 1969 Camaro equipped with a 555ci BBC that is more than capable of sliding into the 9.90 category itself.
I used to run the Camaro in Super Gas before I started running the roadster.
"I used to run the Camaro in Super Gas before I started running the roadster," said the K&N racer from Quartz Hills, California. "At Phoenix, the Camaro has about 146 MPH on the stop and there are only maybe five or six guys during that event that had a little mile-per-hour on me. So most of the time, I was doing the chasing and I'm really happy where the car is at right now."
During Herem's most recent NHRA National event, he was very pleased during qualifying or time trials for his Super Street car. "I had changed a bunch of stuff around on the car, so when I went out for the very first pass, everything was a really lucky guess," he explained. "So having a 10.915 and .015 on the tree, I was really happy with starting off there and having that close of a run to start with. When I came back for the second pass, I had a better light and was .915 again. Everything just seemed to be working really good actually all weekend, the only hiccup I had with that car was in the final, where it really threw a curveball at me."
Both time runs for Super Street were held during Friday's festivities and first round wouldn't come until Saturday morning, where Ryan was able to get by and begin to prepare for round two much later in the evening. Now on a ladder for round two, Herem would be paired with Chad Barclay in his 1970 Ford Maverick, who had the starting line advantage and just never seemed to look over his shoulder and took a huge chunk of the stripe for a 10.846 on the 10.90 index to send Herem safely on to round three with his 10.915.
Next came Kyle Lawrence who managed to hold .013 from hit of the tree, but was unable to run the number on an extremely consistent Herem and his 1969 Camaro. Herem just three thousandths of a second difference from his day before reaction time and a nice 10.908 during round three sent him to a very pivotal quarter-final round and a chance to earn a bye into the championship round.
The car had been incredible all weekend, very dial-able.
"That was a big round," he admitted. "Especially moneywise when you think about it, going from a possible four hundred to four thousand real quick, just if you can earn the bye to the final. Winning that round and knowing that I was already going to the final was definitely easier on the nerves."
It was quickly over and decided in the semifinals as to who would get the all-important bye when Steve Parsons turned it the wrong color on the tree by .008 and that fast, Herem was going to another NHRA National Event final round, this time a little closer to home.
After a normal semi-final bye, with a good light paired with a time that Herem was shooting for, how the car acted in the final round still leaves Herem baffled to this day. "Man, the car just really picked up quite a bit," he explained. "I don't know why, I'm actually still trying to figure it all out. The car had been incredible all weekend, very dial-able. Because of that, I just totally put my trust in it and it really picked up. It was just a major brain malfunction at both ends of the track. Having that bad of a round in the final round and it's not my first, in all honesty I didn't deserve to win driving like that."
Herem missed this tree to the eventual winner, Ray Drew and while trying to hold him off came out on the wrong side of a double breakout time slip, but with a good handful of both NHRA National and Divisional wins already to the young driver's credit, it's shouldn't be long before we see him acquire his next.
While Herem takes good care of the engines in both his winning race cars, he's also very particular about the motorhome that gets him to the events. "Both cars have K&N air and oil filters and I know K&N has their new fuel filter available and I've been reading and hearing a lot about it. That will be the very next item to get installed on both cars," he pointed out. "Anything that I can protect with a K&N filter is a major plus as each of their products that I have used, have always been second to none. I also just installed a new K&N Heavy Duty air filter on my motorhome and it really made a difference in fuel mileage. It all adds up and the trip to Phoenix was the first trip with it installed. Over past trips to the same track, just as a comparison, the new K&N Heavy Duty air filter seemed to give my motorhome a drastic pick up in fuel mileage. I am so very happy with being able to pick up such great advantage like that by making such a small, simple change."
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