Drag Boat Updates 2006

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Monday, November 27th, 2006

OUR TRIP TO THE WORLD FINALS IN PHOENIX ARIZONA

I would like to try and explain just how challenging, but rewarding, our trip from St. Louis to Phoenix, and back
really was.
The racing was only a piece of a ten day adventure.
Let me start with our equipment.
We have two rigs to have ready, one being a 1982 vintage motor home, with many miles
Paint, lettering, tires, bearings, oil, belts, spare parts, etc. etc. etc.

Our Team
We have Keith, Terrie, and Donna, on work schedules.
We have Ashly, who is the youngest licensed female drag boat driver in the nation.
We have Jordan, my seven year old grandson, to get out of school, and momís permission.
We have Donnie, a seventy one year old gentleman, but a legend, nationwide in racing.
To slightly elaborate, Donnie had a stroke about eight months ago, and really should not be with us on earth. I
will surely take a beating when he reads this.
BUT, his spirit, and the desire to be a part of racing is so strong, we decided to deal with whatever, to make him
a part of what might be his last big adventure. No Problems At All.

Day one was quite uneventful, We left my house at 6.00 am. and made it into western Texas by about 10.00
pm. We did check, and adjust, a lot of equipment that day.
Generator power, (no plug in electric on the road, or the track)
Refrigerator and freezers, (enough food for all of us for ten days)
Heat and Air Conditioning, (30 degrees at night, and 86 degrees by mid afternoon)

Day two was different.
We drove into New Mexico, and right past the scales, with our RV and trailer. This is procedure in most states.
BUT NOT NEW MEXICO.
At our first stop, we were greeted by a very large Indian heritage POLICEMAN.
I assure you, that he explained the law to me.
This man was just getting off duty, so he took all my paperwork, down the road a little, to an associate, who
would return and deal with us.
After about 20 minutes, the same man returned and told us that it was our lucky day.
His associate was tied up with another trucker, and would be there for a WHILE.
In the middle of NOWHERE in New Mexico, the truck they were dissecting was
RICH LUTRELL, of Lutrell Marine, in St. Charles OUR HOME TOWN
I owe Rich a drink on that one.
Before I wrote this, I spoke, with Rich, he has agreed to right an article to explain some
of the laws, if people are hauling their boats or RVs in some of these states.

Next, we developed an oil leak, and had to deal with it.
Next, we started experiencing 70 mph winds for about 100 miles (some from the side, some from head on).
Absolutely no relaxing at the wheel.
Then came the dust
Then came the narrow construction lanes.
Everyone in my vehicle was very quiet, knowing that I had my hands full.
In my mind, I am thinking, GOOD LORD, what stupid thing could happen next.
In about 3 seconds, he answered me. The wind tore the awning off the side of the motor home in the
construction area.
Workers looking up to a crashing, 16 ft wide mess rolling at them
Jumping over a bridge, Hiding under barricades, and seeking protection where ever they could, until I got
stopped.
In the two or three minutes it took to get the metal wok off, we had traffic backed up as far as you could see.
As I was making my way to the truck stop at the next exit, I wondered just what ever happened to the actual top
cover. We never saw it in the confusion.
As I pulled into the truck stop, I FOUND OUT, It was on top, and when the wind changed, it was now on the side
and pretty much in front. Now I can see nothing.
We were the laughing stock of the whole area. Just like in the movie.

DAY THREE
We started out by waking up in the mountains below Flagstaff..
Even though we had to go down two 6% grades at 12 miles each, the scenery was great, and the rigs did just
fine.
We stopped on the north side of Phoenix,, washed all our equipment, filled with water, purchased ice, and other
incidentals, before arriving at the track.
The rest of the day was spent setting up camp, doing entry paper work, and unloading equipment.
At about 11.00 pm, I get a phone call from Terrie.
She, Ashly, and Donna, had arrived at the airport, picked up the rental car, and made it to the track. But the
track entry stopped at 10.00 pm.
I made my way to the gate to discuss our situation with security.
I found that, about the only English the man could speak was I DONíT CARE
AGAIN I had to deal with the POLICE, but all went well, and we got some sleep.

DAY FOUR
Day four was test and tune. It is the opportunity (for $150.00 pr. Boat) to run your equipment, get licenses, etc.
It was a great day. Ashlys wave runner, and KWITCHABITCHIN, both ran just fine.
It was finally a time, under safe, controlled , circumstances, that we could put Ashly in KWITCHABITCHIN, and
let her feel the explosion of 1100 horse power. (0 to 100 in 3.5 seconds)
She did outstanding. She loved the ride, and handled the boat like a pro.
(She is now a pro.) Her license was obtained in two passes. Most take months.

DAY FIVE
Qualification started
Ashly did very well, I am not sure of her numbers, being busy with the other boat.
On the first pass, KWITCHABITCHIN turned a 9.12 run (9.00 being perfect)
You get more points by starting slow and speeding up, rather than going to fast and slowing down.
After a slight tune, our next pass was 9.02, We were now in third place in qualifying.
Out of thirty two boats in our class, the top fifteen were 9.10 or faster.
One more step on the tune, and our last pass was 8.999. One thousandth too fast.
Think about it. O MPH to well over 100 MPH in ľ mile in nine seconds, and that many boats are within one tenth
of one second CRAZY

DAY SIX
It was a long crazy day. Fast tunes, equipment maintenance, staging, line ups, etc.
It was too hectic to record and tell you all the details.
So here are the results
Ashly took third in PWC. We can not wait to see her national standings results
KWITCHABITCHIN lost in the World Finals, over a matter of seven thousandths of one second.
KWITCHABITCHIN ran 9.008 and the other boat ran 9.001
With over 200 boats, in a four day period, this would be over 1200 races.
With over 1200 races, these were the only two boats to make a perfect 9.00 passes in the entire weekend.
There were a few tears by all in our team, but for a lesson in sportsmanship for my seven year old grandson,
our entire team went and congratulated the other team.
This is something we all sometimes need a lesson in. We are still proud.

DAY SEVEN
We packed, loaded, and set out for the next part of our adventure.
THE SALT RIVER CANYON
For those that donít know, It is a passage way through the mountains
We dropped from 6000 ft at the top of the mountain, to 2000 ft. in six miles.
By the time we got to the bottom, YOU COULD SMELL OUR HOT BRAKES.
We spent a day, looking at some of the most beautiful scenery, I have ever seen.
Although touchy to drive through with the rigs, I strongly suggest that people take the time to go through the
area. It is WELL worth it.

DAY EIGHT, NINE, AND TEN
They were uneventful, but safe, other than a few broken lug nuts, and one alternator.
They were also the start of our plan for next season.
After 10 days of complaining, from Donnie, of where we stopped to eat.
WE STOPPED AT WAFFLE HOUSE IN ST. CHARLES to make him happy.

You can see many pictures of this trip, and other racing events of Little Johns Motor Sports, by going to my
website www.LITTLEJOHNSINC.com/Phoenix2006

Little John
And the team
 


Monday, November 06, 2006

Our clock is running, we are leaving for the World Finals in seven days.
With Ashly in school, and real jobs for the rest of us, itís not been easy, but, we are about ready.
Our big engine has been freshened up with new bearings and computer.
Ashlys wave runner has a fresh pump and carbs.
Our race trailer has been totally redone with white Imron.
Our new lettering scheme will be done next Sat. (thanks to Ann Lewis & Lewis  Boats)
The Motor home has a new set of heads, and a lot of detail work. 
Keith Ruf, myself, and my seven year old grandson Jordan, are leaving Monday
morning with the rigs on our 3500 mile adventure.
Jordan has been allowed time off from school to be with us.
He is to report in with details of the trip as a school project.
He is also a big part of our team. 
Terrie, Ashly, and Donna Spain are flying out Wed. night to meet us in Phoenix.
If things work right, we may be making as many as 30 passes, per boat, in the four days of racing.
The trip is expensive, the pace grueling, but the adrenaline rush is priceless.
We are very proud of our equipment, and enjoy showing it off
With this in mind, if anyone wants to come by Little Johns on Sat. or Sun, the Rigs will be here and ready to go.  A warm send off would be great.
 
WISH US LUCK

Little John

October 2nd, 2006

A quick update on what we are doing.
We finally got a decent picture of what the launch looks like with KWITCHABITCHIN
We are now going from 0 to 90+ in about three and one half seconds
(notice the drivers head sunk back in the helmet)
The IHBA point standings are coming in, We stand in fifth place in two divisions.
Ashleys points can not really be totaled until after the world finals
If we stop now, we have done very well for our first season.

We are now doing maintenance, and getting ready for the World Finals in Phoenix.
Our consistent progress this season, gives us a very good chance of winning this thing.
If anyone out there wants to be a part of, or, help us offset our fuel expense for the trip, that is really all we need.
It would be AWESOME to bring a world championship back to our group.


Little John


September 18th, 2006

This is the new crew member to the KWITCHABITCHIN race team.
His name is Hayden.
With Little John, Randy, and Hayden, we can proudly say that we are a three generation team.

Little John

Click here to see the latest addition to the race team, Grandson Hayden!


September 12th, 2006

KWITCHABITCHIN again was #1 qualifier in New Athens Ill.
We were # 1 qualifier in 4 out of the last 5 races,
Won 2nd in the whole show.
The stage is set for final point standings for the year.
It looks very promising.
In two weeks we are going to Melbourne Arkansas for an outlaw race.
$5000.00 pot for our class, one winner, and winner takes all.
A little maintenance to do, but we are dead on our numbers.
After that we will get ready for the World Finals in Phoenix.
This race will be the determining factor for Ashley Ruf.
She does stand a very good chance of being in the top five in the nation.
After a hard year of very consistent running, in our first year, our budget is getting thin.
If anyone out there wants to help us get to the world finals, It would be appreciated.
One way or another We Will GIT R DONE !

Little John


September 7th, 2006

Two weeks ago, we took a trip down into Kentucky. KWITCHABITCHIN was #1 qualifier and took third place overall.

Ashley started doing a couple of exhibition runs, and ended up running grudge matches with some of the locals that thought they had hot wave runners.

This weekend, Sept. 9th and 10th, we will be in New Athens Ill. We will have all 4 boats for this race. Also we are planning to take Ashley's new boat for a couple of safety passes on the clock to see how it does.

New Athens is only about an hour from here and they have are having a town day that is really a lot of fun.

Lets try to get some people over to hear the noise, and cheer us on.

Little John


August 14th, 2006

Had another fun weekend of Drag Boat Racing.

Little John's boat "Kwitchabitchin" lost in the first round of eliminations. The other boat put a hole shot on Mike Buerck good enough to win even though the times were identical, 9.11 seconds.

Brutus Utter in "Dick Tater" failed to start at the line in it's first round and then ran an exhibition / grudge match to lay down the fastest time and speed of the day, a 6.52 second, 181.74 mile per hour pass beating the other boat by more than a full second!

Ashly Ruf made some exhibition passes with her waverunner and then on Saturday her parents, Keith and Teri Ruf, presented her with her 16th birthday present, a stock eliminator flat bottom!

Check the Pictures Gallery page for photos / video or go to:

 http://www.littlejohnsinc.com/DragBoatRacesEvansville2006/


August 1st, 2006

What a crazy weekend of racing we had
There was no class for Ashly, So Mike Buerk, (my driver) and I left Wed. night
to meet the rest of the team in Gadsten Alabama.

The countryside was beautiful, and an uneventful trip down.
We woke up Fri. morning to find out that Mike's house had burned in the night.
It was an expensive trip, but I made it clear that if he wanted to come home,
that is what we would do.
He decided to do our best racing, and deal with the problem on Monday.
(he did lose everything)

DEAL WITH RACING HE DID
KWITCHABITCHIN was number one qualifier
DICK TATER was number two qualifier
In the finals, we developed a prop problem and had to go out. (not Mikes fault)
DICK TATER went well up in the rounds (3rd. I think)
We just keep going up in the points

We did have a funny but not funny event
For people that dont know, The driver holds on to a starting rope in front of the lights.
When the lights flash, he has 20 sec. to start the motor, prepare himself, and be
at the line at 0
On a capsule boat, the same deal but they have to shut the lid.
On a top fuel hydro boat, 8000 hp, when you shut the lid, a sequence of things happens.
Computers start running, pure nitro pours into the system, replacing the alcohol, etc.
NO TURNING BACK without a lot of problems

One poor driver, doing all of this, SHUT HIS FINGER IN THE LID !!!!!!!
He ran about 230 mph in about 5 seconds with one hand
You should have heard the screaming on the other end of the radio
Rescue was there immediately to open the lid, and six stitches later, he was back on track
the next day.

On Friday, we are off to Fort Worth Texas to do it again.
On Aug 12th and 13th. we will be in Evansville Ill. with some surprises for every one.
Please try to come over and watch the show.
Its only about an hour from St. Louis

Little John


July 21st, 2006

We had a great weekend in Oklahoma City last weekend.
Right at 200 boats entered.
KWITCHYABITCHIN took 5th in its class.
Ashley with DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL took 5th in her class.
We just keep climbing on the points ladder!

The boats will be on display this Sat. 7/22 from 11.00 to 4.00 at
Chiropractic Center Of St. Peters (Midrivers Mall Drive)
Dr. John Spraul is doing School Physicals for $25.00 per person.
Stop by and get your physical out of the way and see our boats.
We will start them up a few times so you can get a real grip of raw power!

Little John
 


July 10th, 2006

The KWITCHABITCHIN boat took 4th place, and Ashley Ruf  also took 4th in her class.

These wins were a week ago in Waco Texas.

The trip was safe and uneventful.

We didn't break ANYTHING

We are now geared up and ready to leave this wed. for 5 days of racing in Okalahoma City.

Other than the world finals, this is one of the largest races of our season.

Probably 40 to 50 boats in our class.

Our equipment is the best it can be, and we really feel good about our chances of a win.

Incidentally, if anyone out there is interested in a possible sponsorship, it would sure help offset our fuel costs

Little John


June 29th, 2006

After a pretty nasty issue with my back, and thanks to Dr. John Spraul (Docs nephew)

for getting me back on my feet, we are ready to load the rig and head back to Texas.

Keith, Ashly, and myself are leaving early on Friday morning to race on Sat. and Sun.

WISH US LUCK

Little John


June 7th, 2006

Ashley Ruff Takes 3rd Place in Texas....... .As most of you know Ashley is a member of Little John and Big Dick's Racing Team driving a wave runner named "Daddy's Little Girl". "She is is well on her way to a great season for her first year "

Little John