Jok Nicholson’s STRANGE Tales from the Road – First Five-day race complete, Project 10 holds up pretty well.

First Five-day race complete, Project 10 holds up pretty well.

The trip to Immokalee went pretty smooth, other than the fact it was 1600+ miles and we burned up some diesel fuel. I had been to Immokalee Regional Raceway a couple times over the last five years or so and I love the place!

Built on the property of the Immokalee Regional Airport (hence the track’s name, right?) it takes me back to the days when I first started bracket racing at Eddyville (Iowa) Dragway when Eddyville was a piece of asphalt on top of a hill with cornfields on one side and Longhorn cattle on the spectator side during the off-season. Just the basics: “line ‘em up and see who trips the win light”.

Enter the Florida Winter Series. It starts at a very basic eighth-mile strip run by the nicest father/son duo, Ralph and Thomas Hester. The Hesters and event promoter Mike Fuqua had posted $12,000 a day to win as long as there were 119 entries. At $200 a day to enter it was not an inexpensive start to a month’s worth of racing. To that end, Barb and I decided to enter one day at a time.

The Immokalee starting line.

First Day was a success

The first race was very satisfying for the “Project 10” Firebird. We got down to the final four cars and took home a check that would cover entry fees for a couple days. The car was deadly all day and into the evening, running dead-on the dial-in four times (4th round it was dead-on with zero) in 6 rounds and less than a hundredth off the other two rounds.

I was “killing it” by my book on the start line too with RTs of .006, .003, .011, .0006, and .024 on the bye. I earned the bye-run with the .0006 at fourteen cars, so when we rolled up with seven cars remaining it was the 6.81-second Firebird sitting in the lanes with the bye and six 4-second dragsters getting paired up .0004 in semis (and no win light!). How do you lose with a .0003 in the semis, right?

The other lane was filled with Jason Lynch and he was .0007 at the start. At the stripe I was .0005 under the dial and he was .0003 to the good. WOW! I broke out, but it is the closest race I have ever been in. Just came out the wrong way for me this time.

The payout? That is always one of the first questions you get from other racers. There were 58 entries (less than half the required 119 needed for full payout) so the semifinal pay was pretty weak at $480. The Runner-up got about $1600 and the winner got a tick over $5500 if I remember right. No mention was made of splitting it up.