You can't really argue that racers of all types are a little on the superstitious side. From the way they do things, like the order they get dressed in their safety gear to even which side of the car a driver must always enter their dragster. While most of these things really have more to do with the importance of repetition and consistency, some simple occurrences can easily sway the mood of a team or driver, especially those that bring back great memories or feelings of good luck, and for K&N's Michelle Furr, she had a good feeling about repeating her trip to the winner's circle from the moment they set up shop for the 3rd Annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals.
We are so happy to have been able to go out there and do it again for all the people who are such a big part of what we do as a team and as a family.
Furr, who hails from Galax, Virginia, was already quite excited to return zMax Dragway where she made quite a splash in the history books last fall, when she went to two NHRA National Event finals and picked up the win in Super Comp. As she and her family rolled into the facility, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, they immediately picked up a feeling of déjà vu when the NHRA officials parked them in the same exact spot as they had been last fall. "It was just so cool," she said. "You know we actually kept talking about that with everybody and it was kind of like a good karma thing or something. Or at least we were hoping it was going to turn out that way."
While Furr returned to the NHRA event with both of the same cars she went to the finals with during the 4th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals, for the first time she would be competing with her 1968 K&N/Ohio Crankshaft Camaro in the quicker 9.90 Super Gas index class, instead of the 10.90 Super Street, which is only offered at select NHRA National events. After some off-season prep, both as a driver and for the car's set up itself, Furr made a good showing in Super Gas during the event. "We had been concerned of how the car would react to the tree, going from a .500 pro tree to the .400 in Super Gas," she explained. "Well, we got it figured out that the car could launch and we will get it dialed in, it just wasn't meant to be for this event as I went .003 red in round one."
Not one to let the misfortune in one car or class get to her, Furr was full steam ahead in her 2002 K&N/Ohio Crankshaft Undercover dragster, not missing a beat from her last Super Comp appearance at the track. "We thought we were going to get three time runs, but we only ended up getting two," she said. "I was feeling pretty good about round one, because during the last time trial I really tried to go out there and put it on a ninety [8.90]. I ran an 8.897, so we knew we were dialed."
Like many other events, schedules are made but always subject to change with all of the variables that an event like this is subject to and this event was no different with first rounds of Super Comp being pushed to the end of the day on Saturday. With many hours after the classes last time on the track, sometimes that can make it hard to dial a car and its throttle stop timer. Prior to pulling out onto the track for that first round Rick, Furr's husband and crew chief, said a little something to her that would end up carrying on throughout the entire event- "Don't let them forget, this is your house."
With random pairing for first round, Furr would find herself facing Mandy Teets-Seal and with luck on her side, needn't worry about how her car was dialed when Teets-Seal broke before staging which allowed Furr to test not only her time on the tree, but to take a free lap down the quarter-mile. Furr was dialed. With an opening round one .007 reaction time and a 8.891, Furr showed she was more than ready for whatever the competitors in the rounds to come had to throw at her, after all this was 'her house.'
Next would be Ken Griffiths in round two and even though he went red, Furr laid down .011 package with her .006 light and what would be the beginning of quite a string of dead-on runs, an 8.905. With the jumble to the schedule, NHRA stated that they would get through the first three rounds of Super Comp that evening, and even Furr admitted that she had her doubts that many would be completed. "They called us to the lanes and I still was thinking they would end up sending us back or something, because we ended up having to wait for them to clean up and oil down, but they got it in."
Furr's motto all weekend was plain, simple, and strong- this is my house!
Then came the match up with Troy Williams, Jr., and the two were no strangers to one another from all their years of competition in IHRA. The third round lights were completely out of character for both drivers, but it would be Furr with the lesser of two evils and when the pair of 8.908 E.T.'s came up on the boards it would be Furr's holeshot that would turn on her win light. "I celebrated every single round," she said. "Knowing after third round that I would once again be racing on Sunday was huge."
Furr would wait from that third round Saturday evening shortly after 9PM to mid-afternoon the following day for her fourth round pairing with Jason Lynch. "I've known Jason for years, but I don't think I've ever raced him," she said. "I saw that he hadn't been hitting the tree in the first three rounds and I know that's not like him, so I don't know what was going on over there. For some reason, I just felt like he would against me and I had to be ready for it."
With another tight light and a dead-on 8.900 time, Furr pushed Lynch under the index by letting him have just .005 of the stripe. "It's not because we didn't really know a lot of the other drivers, but when I won that really good round against Jason, we just had a feeling that it was going to again be our day," she pointed out.
Now deep into the rounds, the statement that Rick had made to Michelle prior to her first round had now turned into a question with him asking, "Whose house are they in?" and right before she would pull onto the track, she would look up and answer beaming a smile through her helmet, "My house!"
In the semi-finals, Furr would use her top end skills and trust the number they had the car set up for to earn her way into the championship round. With a .022 light to Shawn Fricke's .010, Furr wheeled her K&N dragster to another dead-on the index pass and her 8.901 to Fricke's 8.887 meant she was going to the final, where she would have the opportunity to defend her NHRA Super Comp title at the track.
In an all-female Super Comp final, Furr faced Lauren Freer. It was over as quickly as it started with Freer turning it .003 red and the 3rd Annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals Super Comp Champion was K&N's Michelle Furr.
"I actually did a fist-pump when the car was on the stop," she laughed when explaining her reaction to seeing her win light. "I thought, do I want to just lift and roll down or, you know I always think when watching a race that that kind of thing is always disappointing, so I decided to go down there and see if I could hit another ninety."
"Well, I missed it a little with the 8.896," she smiled. "I actually just made all of the right calls over the weekend and you know there were times that Rick and I didn't even agree on a few of them. I was making changes and my stop was not staying the same. It was just like this feeling of calm and confidence and it was just like back in September."
With the latest NHRA Super Comp National event win, Furr jokes that she had her silver, the 60th Anniversary Wally and now she has gold. "We are so happy to have been able to go out there and do it again for all the people who are such a big part of what we do as a team and as a family," Furr stated. ""I have been blessed to be partnered with the best in the business, the companies like K&N that produce the products that will get the job done, give us peace of mind in performance and make my job on the track look easy. The new K&N scoop that we just added to the dragster not only helped us pick up a little mile-per-hour, but it sure looked good in the winner's circle."
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