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Disappointment at the Derby posted Dec 15, 2013  


(Van Buren, AR) Dennis and crew are headed home after a disappointing 46th Annual Snowball Derby. During several practice sessions Dennis felt as though he had a good car but just couldn’t find the setup key that would unlock his ability to “roll the center” of the corners better. “Lap times are really made when you can enter the corner with maximum speed, allow the car to set and then get back in the gas as quickly as possible,” Dennis commented. “We reached a plateau in our practice and even though we made some significant changes, we just couldn’t get “Thumper” to really rotate in the middle of the turn so I could get in the gas quicker and lower our lap times.”  


After analyzing all the changes he had made, Dennis decided that after qualifying he would make one more change and replace the rearend center section and return to his old tried-and-true locker rear gear assembly. Unfortunately Dennis and his crew didn’t get the opportunity to execute the final portion of their game plan. Dennis was the 59th qualifier to hit the track which is normally a good spot in the “later is better” qualifying order. As Dennis left the pits for his warm-up lap, all appeared normal, but as he came to the green flag for his first qualifying attempt, Thumper started missing and popping losing power as he entered turn one.


“I knew we had just lost the engine so I coasted to the pits, extremely disappointed,” Dennis related after crawling from his crippled mount. “It appears something in the valve train let go, either a dropped valve, broken rocker or lifter. It was catastrophic as we discovered water in the oil along with a small hole in the oil pan. We’ll have our engine builder perform an autopsy to determine the cause but in the end, it’s just more racing bad luck.”


“We will re-group over the winter, go back to our rear locker assembly and determine our schedule for 2014,” Dennis commented. “For now it’s get home, repack and head to Indianapolis for the PRI Show.


We would like to extend a sincere thank you to all our loyal sponsors for 2013; Schoenfeld Headers, Rick’s Used Auto Parts, Frost Oil Company, CSM Corporation, Charlotte Plating Inc., Motorsports Designs, Bad Boy MTV’s by Bad Boy Mowers, Kluhsman Racing Components, Racing Electronics, Allstar Performance, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Floors by Design and Midwest Automation.