Michael Johnson Associate Editor
December 1, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Knowing the Poster Child would be a handful, I decided to attempt to take it easy on my first pass. So much for best laid plans. After a brisk burnout I staged, taking care not to redlight, and dumped the clutch at about 1,800 rpm. Nothing. The car didn't move an inch. I pushed in the clutch and tried to ease it out. Once it did move, the tires were spinning uncontrollably. I should have aborted the run right there, but I'd never had less traction. I thought for sure the car would eventually grab. It didn't. Instead it was moving toward the wall. Finally I snapped out of the tractionless trance, hit the brake, brought the car under control just inches from the wall, and put it down the track.

I was embarrassed, but I didn't crash. Determined to get back on the horse, I first checked the rear-tire pressure. Not that I could blame it all on the tire pressure, but there was a lot of air in the rear tires for the dragstrip. After adjusting them down to 20 psi, I went out for a second hit. I was rewarded with a 12.05 at 125-not the 11.69 I ran with the other TVS GT500, but still a nice pass. One, of course, that I could never duplicate. I managed some 12.50s and 12.30s during my practice runs, but I was chasing myself.

Once eliminations rolled around, I had one goal-not to redlight in the first round like I had the past two years. After a nice 12.16/126 practice hit, I was feeling good going into my first-round fight with Liz Miles of Popular Hot Rodding. It didn't start well. I spun and she beat me over the head with the Tree. I didn't, however, redlight. Goal achieved! It looked like I had lost the race, however. Once the car found traction, I hammered it hard to try and catch Liz. She thought she had the race in the bag, so she let off on the top end to avoid a breakout, which gave me the opportunity to drive around her for the win with a 12.75/122 to her 14.58/96.71.

Alas things didn't go as planned in the second round. I lit the red bulb again trying to get the jump on a slower but more consistent competitor, Sam Abuelsamid from Autoblog. It was silly, but the adrenaline was pumping. Still I had made 11 passes in a quick GT500, and I didn't have to worry about breaking it like I do with mine. It was a great time, but I think it's time to pass the baton and let one of our hardcore staffers give it a shot next year. It sure will be hard to pass up seat time in another FRPP ride, however. Well, I have time to change my mind before next year's Milan event ... -Steve Turner

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