Mother Nature made for an interesting race weekend at the drag strip for Team Co-Line/Goalsetter Aug. 8-9 at the All American Hot Rod Showdown in St. Louis, MO. This was the first time Dale Brand and crew had raced at this picturesque track with the St. Louis Arch in the distance. Rain on Thursday canceled the testing Brand intended to do. Rain also delayed the first round of qualifying. An electronics failure in the first qualifying pass cut the ignition, and Team Co-Line was on the outside still looking in with only one more qualifying pass remaining.
The second qualifying session was also rain delayed, pushing the session back to approximately midnight. Brand dominated the session with a 5.594 at 257.97 mph to take the number-one qualifying spot in a field of eight cars.
In the first round, Brand faced Wayne Butler of Forest City, IL. Brand was first out of the gate and never looked back, recording a 5.641 second quarter-mile pass at 257.83 mph to Butler's losing 5.792 at 248.61 mph.
In the second round, Ray Drew of Hales Corner, WI, broke a blower shaft in the burn-out, giving Brand a single pass. Brand clocked a 5.596 at 259.46 mph, losing lane choice to Steve Harker of Gainesville, GA, by only six thousandths of a second.
In the final round in the wee early morning hours of Sunday, Brand was first off the starting line with a stellar 0.004 reaction time. About 40 feet out, Brand overpowered the track, losing traction, and did an impressive job driving to keep the car off the wall and from crossing the center line. Harker, in the other lane, also had trouble but further down the track. Harker won the event with a 6.294 at 229.82 mph to Brand's losing 12.333.
"We have strong race team and a very strong race car," said an excited and tired Brand. "I’m looking forward to Brainerd, MN. Our challenge is to keep 3,000 horsepower under control and hooked up to the track! It's going to be exciting!"
Team members for the weekend included Dale, Tana, and Eric Brand, deWayne Lemons, and Marty Van Wyk. The team will compete Aug. 14-17 at the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.