It's not every day that you run two final rounds at one drag racing event, but that was on the schedule for Dale Brand and crew at Earlville on Sept. 5-7. The Co-Line/Goalsetter Top Alcohol Funny Car team needed to finish what they started at the NHRA 33rd annual Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, MN, back in August, which was postponed due to a rain. As one of the crew's qualifying rounds for the Earlville race, Brand faced Scott McVey of Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Brand had the better reaction time, but moved to the right of the groove at about 400 feet. He couldn't get the car back and had to lift. McVey went straight down the track, recording a winning 5.796 at 250.55 mph to Brand's losing 6.698 at 155.60 mph, earning McVey the Wally trophy.
With Friday's events rained out, Brand only had two qualifying passes, one the final round of Brainerd, and another one on Saturday. Team Co-Line/Goalsetter qualified fifth out of a small six-car field with a 5.761 second quarter-mile pass at 251.63 mph.
On race day, Sunday, Brand faced the No. 2 qualifier, Ray Drew of Hales Corner, WI. Brand was first out of the gate and never looked back, clocking a winning 5.636 pass at 259.46 mph, his fastest pass of the weekend and the class’ fastest pass so far. In the semi-finals, Brand took on Kirk Williams of Glenwood. Williams had traction trouble early, pedaling twice before he gave up, and Brand earned the win with a 5.667 second pass at 258.47 mph.
In the finals, once again the Co-Line/Goalsetter-sponsored car just had too much power for less-than-desirable track conditions. Brand nailed the reaction tree with a 0.047 light to McVey's 0.131. But Brand was all over the track, pedaling the car as he saw the center line and guard rail. McVey won another final round with a 5.718 second pass at 252.90 mph to Brand's losing 5.986 at 249.26 mph.
For once, Brand was a man of few words, summing up a very disappointing weekend for the team: "Earlville is just not enough track for the Goalsetter race car!"
Team members for the weekend included Dale, Tana, and Eric Brand, deWayne Lemons, and Marty Van Wyk. Honorary crew member Carter Brand was also in attendance as well as many local Lynnville and Sully fans. The team is on to North Carolina this weekend to compete in the seventh annual NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, NC.