Perseverance prevailed for Performance by Fisher Racing's Kevin Fisher during the team's recent trip north of the border for the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals. During the first race of the weekend, the Lima, Ohio based driver wheeled the K&N/Ohio Crankshaft/Armor Coat Top Dragster to not only his first final in the ultra-quick sportsman class, but put a period on the day's race by taking the win light in the final for his career first IHRA Ironman.
Kevin Fisher gets his first IHRA Ironman at IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at Grand Bend Motorplex. Photo by: BME Photography.
K&N/Ohio Crankshaft/Armor Coat Top Dragster takes Kevin Fisher to Victory at IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals. Photo by: BME Photography.
"This has been such a long time coming," admitted an elated Fisher. "I cannot begin to express the feeling of getting rid of that monkey and putting this Ohio Crankshaft/K&N ride where she belongs. We certainly have a race car now and have finally been able to get a better grasp of the combo that we started running last season. The work and support from all involved has ultimately provided the results we have been striving for."
Although the IHRA event at Grand Bend Motorplex was an all-run for the Top Dragster class, or a non-qualified field, Fisher's entry proved to be the quickest sportsman car on the grounds. The 547ci BBC and it's F2 Pro Charger combination opened time runs for Top Dragster with a 6.45 and would stay in the 40's throughout the event.
"There were a couple of time runs for all sportsman classes Friday evening," Fisher pointed out. "We knew that the weather conditions on Saturday were going to be so much different. It was really hot and humid Friday with temps in the mid-nineties and water grains around 125, we elected to hold off until Saturday to make any laps. It turned out to be a good decision, since we still were able to make two before eliminations and both were in the 6.40's."
Top Dragster driver Kevin Fisher grabs victory in his first final racing sportsman class at Grand Bend Motorplex. Photo by: BME Photography.
Fisher's opening round of Top Dragster would find him paired with Chris Cadle and he took his slight starting line advantage on to the stripe for 6.481 on his 6.46 dial and the first win of the day. Next he would face Kevin Knight and with a .009 to Knight's .044 at the tree, Fisher was well on his way to a second round victory even before Knight's car broke shortly past the eighth mile mark.
"As we went through the day, the track was really starting to pick up some heat," he noted. "By the time we got into the third round, the temp was up to 133 and even though the starting line was still good, it was down track where she was searching and wanting to use up more than 1320 feet. This was a run where I knew I had scrubbed some off going down track, just by the way she was moving around on me. I knew I was safe and just kept my foot in it."
Again Fisher left the starting line with a slight advantage over his competitor, Tom Orr and with a 6.495 on a 6.48 to Orr's 6.872 on a 6.89 breakout, Fisher was headed to the Top Dragster semi-finals.
"There was a small moment of excitement in the staging lanes prior to that run," he added. "I was already strapped in and ready to go when I hear some commotion from behind me. They said the coil mount had broken and it was only partially attached. I surprised we didn't see that earlier, but they threw a quick zip tie on it and it was just enough to barely make it through that pass. We were able to get what we needed to fix it thanks to Dave Elrod and be ready for the semi's."
Continuing his streak of better reaction times, Fisher launched to a nice .014 advantage over Melanie Simmons-Salemi, catching her well before the stripe for that exact margin of victory.
Fisher was now headed to his first Top Dragster final where he would face Ron Biondo.
"They called all of the finalists up to the lanes, since we were supposed to run right after Top Fuel," he explained. "Well, a fuel altered or something completely oiled the track and we were all up there hanging around for quite some time. The sun was starting to go down behind the tower and the track temp was really coming down. Shortly before they started back up again, we checked and it was down to 94. I knew it should really pick my sixty foot back up again and just hoped I was putting the right number on the car. We already had runner-up and that wasn't what we were there for. It was time to go for it and get the job done."
Now 9:30pm and three hours after the Top Dragster semi-final round, Fisher lined his Ohio Crankshaft/K&N ride up for his first true shot at the Ironman. Dialing down to a 6.45 for the final, he kept up his string of better reaction times after Biondo left with a .036 light to his .028. He easily tracked Biondo down and dumped to a 6.508 for his first ever IHRA Pro-Am victory.
"I told Ron before the final, when we were all hanging in the staging lanes during the clean-up, that I owed him one after Pittsburgh," Fisher said jokingly. "I had run him in both races there earlier this year, one where I messed up and the other the car just couldn't get there. Needless to say, I felt like the odds should at least be in my favor."
"I am so thrilled to have accomplished this for all who have been involved and behind this car," said Fisher. "It has really been quite a joint effort and making the switch from trying to run the nitrous alcohol and gas set up to the Pro Charger was a fantastic move for this car. Sure, we know we still have a few items that we are working on to iron out, but for all the fantastic people, companies and their top-notch products, this was for them. First, it's such a great privilege to have been able to work on this project with Stan & Scott Ray and the entire crew at Ohio Crankshaft."
"The custom K&N filter that Jere Wall deigned and fabricated just for our combination is nothing short of fantastic and really helped us get this thing dialed in compared to last season," Fisher stressed. "That filter is in addition to many of the small breather type K&N filters on various tanks on the car and the K&N billet reusable oil filter. We are still huge fans of the Wrench-off K&N Oil Filters that we used on both cars for many years, but this new reusable filter is nothing short of awesome when it comes to quick changes and the conveniences it offers."
"I can't begin convey how happy I am to be able to get this win for everyone involved," he added. "What a great team of people and companies we are privileged to work with."
Fisher's road to his first Top Dragster victory at Grand Bend Motorplex will be featured on an upcoming episode of the team's online reality show, "Married With Dragsters", now in its third season.
"Canada races have always been good to our team for some reason," Fisher added. "We don't get a chance to race up here every season, but this was our team's fourth final up here and three of those coming right here at Grand Bend Motorplex. The Canadian fans are just something else and we really appreciate them coming out and supporting this event each year. It's always a great time and to get my first win here will always be memorable."