Kathy Fisher Update

After a few minor successes this season in her Dragon Racing Fuels/K&N/Amalie/Ohio Crankshaft entry, Ohio based driver Kathy Fisher battled through the brutal heat to put her dragster in the Quick Rod final during the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at Grand Bend Motorplex.
“We had to miss our annual trip to Canada in 2010 due to a family emergency and it was great to get back up that way,” she explained. “The last time we were there I was able to make it to the final so of course I was looking forward to picking up where I left off. Plus it would be our first time in Canada with Kevin’s Top Dragster.”
The husband and wife team would have to make the trip north of the border without crewperson, Scott Simmons, due to the late nature of his joining the team and lack of time needed to acquire a passport. Thanks to longtime friend, Pete Hunt of Sarnia, Ontario Canada, they wouldn’t be completely shorthanded.
Qualifying for Quick Rod [8.90 Index Class] was held on Saturday with three attempts given to each class. Fisher laid down perfect .000 reaction time and a very nice 8.874 to get things started.
“That was a great pass for right out of the box in the conditions we had to work with,” she said. “From there, the car was just fantastic the entire weekend. From lane to lane and morning to afternoon, it was just amazing how tight the down track splits times were. I watch those quite closely for many reasons. Many of my runs over the weekend showed that my 1/8 mile to 1000 foot and 1000 foot to quarter mile split times were absolutely identical. I know that says quite a lot of the products we run and how we tune the car.”
IHRA qualifies entries a little different for their Nitro Jam events than others. Qualifying is based on the best package which combines reaction time and how close to index. Should a driver redlight or go under their index, it drops them down farther on the sheet.
“I had a decent 8.913 pass during the second session, but of course it pretty much got thrown out because I also had a .003 redlight,” she noted. “So it qualifies you by the redlight and not the elapsed time, therefore it was like running .003
under. Lane choice wasn’t all that important to me since I knew how to dial the car based on what lane I would be in anyway. Once you make it through first round of eliminations, drivers are re-qualified anyway to be placed on a ladder for the remainder of the event.”
Eliminations were scheduled to begin on Saturday prior to the two evening Nitro Jam sessions, but due to just a slight amount of sprinkles and a couple of minor oil downs, Fisher and her Dragon/K&N dragster would have to wait until Sunday morning for any more on-track action.
“I would have rather gone right into first round that day, since we were dialed and ready to go, but it was also nice to get out of the firesuit and take a break,” Kathy confessed. “And if we thought it was super- hot on Saturday, well Sunday was going to be worse. But based on what kind of numbers we had, we felt confident we would be ready to go right into eliminations in the morning.”
First round Fisher would find herself paired with Division 1 racer George Williams. Williams had lane choice and put Fisher in the right lane, but he may have wished he would have made another selection after he got a little too anxious and handed Fisher the win when he went .016 red.
“The way the tree and the boards are at Grand Bend makes it pretty difficult to know when your opponent has gone red,” she said. “I kinda thought maybe he had gone red, but I wasn’t even close to being one-hundred percent sure, so I still treated it like a regular round. When we got down to the stripe, I felt fairly confident where my car was running and I just played it accordingly.”
Fisher’s 8.895 caused her to just miss the number one qualifying spot by a mere five thousandths of a second, which would have earned her the only bye of the race, and set her up for a match up with Rick Stroud.
“It was about three and a half hours between round one and two,” she reflected. “I don’t know if I got tired or too hot or both, but I certainly didn’t have a light that I would ever want to repeat. I hate even thinking about how late I was and I knew it the moment I launched. I actually yelled in my helmet ‘You were so late’.”
“My car was just dialed to do exactly what I wanted and she totally bailed me out,” she continued. “Kevin was doing such a good job getting the motor and tranny cooled back down to the same temp as I went to the lanes the round before for every pass. Let me tell you, in the heat and scorching sun we had, it wasn’t exactly a piece of cake.”
A memorable round for Fisher would be the semi-finals where she would meet up with a very close family friend and fellow Lima, Ohio
resident, Bill Rudy. “I am going to be perfectly honest and say I don’t like to race Bill,” she pointed out. “Meeting in the final would have been better. I really had to forget about who was in the other lane that round. Bill and Connie mean a lot to me but I just had to remember, it’s racing and there is business to take care of. Good friends or not.”
Rudy had Fisher by .01 on the tree but wasn’t able to hold her off at the top end. “He had a wheel on me and then I saw him drop back just a hair,” she said. “I knew where the car had been and there was no way I was lifting too much, this was a round where I was taking that stripe.”
Fisher’s 8.927 and .012 at the stripe sent her to her second Quick Rod final in row at the Grand Bend, Ontario facility.
“I had a totally different feeling going into this final than I’ve ever had before,” she admitted. “It’s a little hard to explain, but for the first time I really honestly wasn’t going to be “OK” with just a runner-up. The car was running way too good and it was time to get the job done.”
Fisher’s final round competitor, Barry Ryan, had been on a roll of double-oh lights in the two previous rounds and while Fisher had sent him home early during her last trip to Grand Bend, this time it would be Ryan’s turn.
“I hate to say it, but I have no idea what happened in the final,” she said of her uncharacteristic hefty foul on the tree. “I didn’t change the delay in the box from the semi’s to the final and should have been right there with Barry. I saw the red right away, but I still wanted to know if the car was dialed on the 8.90 I had it set up for in the right lane so I ran it through the 1000 foot mark. Wouldn’t you know, heat and all she was on a 8.903 pass based on the numbers.”
“To be able to get the kind of consistent numbers we were getting from my Team Dragon Racing Fuels car all weekend is the kind of thing that wins races and championships, [laughs] when you don’t give it up on the line by going red of course,” Fisher said of the weekend. “Although I have all the say in what to dial and how to set up the fuel for my car, I just can’t thank Kevin enough for all that he does to maintain her for me between races and between rounds. It was pretty hot throughout the whole weekend and I couldn’t have gone the rounds that I did, let alone as consistent as she was
without the products that we use. It’s absolutely no lip service here. By running Dragon Racing Fuels Methanol, which only comes in lined drums, I never have to worry about what is running through my motor. It’s always the same high quality from one drum to the next and it’s one variable that I never have to worry about or deal with.”