Days Of Thunder
Thomas Lancaster, Senior writer RHR
DAYS OF THUNDER
It was a blistering hot County Fair day leading to a balmy night ending with a thunderous race.
Early in the day the Naake Klaurer Pick and Pull Chevies were prepped
and ready for qualifying in the NASCAR PCS 100 lapper in Roseville California. All three teams utilizing the Rex Hutchison NASCAR Racing Engines were Dyno’d and loaded with low-end torque.
This track is hard on motors so it was a particularly time-consuming build to get them right for all three teams.
The anticipation grew as it was announced that NASCAR driver David Gilliland was being helicoptered in from theCup race at Sonoma.
As he landed he was engulfed with fans wanting his autograph and lots of people pop’n off selfies. It was right out of ‘Days of Thunder’. The big shot flown in, the youngster moved out of the way for him and of course, the NASCARveteran was allocated the “A” car and team with Dylan assigned the chauffeuring duties for the “B” car. Although the 84 Wake Island, RaceCraft Products, Mike Kelly Construction Late Model wasn’t perfect Dylan felt it was very driveable
Qualifying was done via transponder and to the Naake Klaurer Pick and Pull Motorsports IMG_0743Teams surprise David Gilliland in Wake Island 88 Chevy only managed the 10th spot in the field, but worse yet was 19yr old Portuguese sensation, Dylan Hutchison never saw a clean lap and was relegated to nearly last place on the grid starting 16th.
Dad and Dylan review strategy
The young ‘Fireball’ had been here before and even worse, so he knew what he had to do. Patience was a must along with all his years of racing experience was going to be what would pull him through this challenge.
Talking with Dylan before they lit them up, he was calm, cool and very collected. Obviously not happy with the qualifying, to say the least, he was very serious with what lay ahead. The team mounted their hats on backward while whispers to order new fenders for the Rex Hutchison Racing Engines, RaceCraft Products, Mike Kelly Construction racer were circulating within the team.
As the cars were being rolled out to the starting grid the team was silent and with his father leaning in the racer a prayer was said, the belts were tightened and the crew sent him off.
The young NASCAR racer is to himself now an all were conscious of the difficulty of moving from the back of the pack to the front on this bull ring in Roseville California. Just ask NASCAR veteran and Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip who ‘Fireball’ moved out of the way last year during the K&N West Race for a monster finish. It was at this time the two-way radios with the driver and crew were discovered inoperable with no time for repair. Dylan will not only have to start from the back of the field in the ‘B’ car but will not have the necessary spotters ubiquitous with NASCAR teams. Dylan will be entirely on his own for the next 100 laps.
The soliloquies out of the way the field formed up. As the green waved they were very tightly packed and already you could tell this was going to be one of those short track nights.
The field wasted no time and the racing was very hard-nosed right from the beginning. How hard-nosed you ask? Well, the big Cup star was unceremoniously dispatched by lap 12. The spinning NASCAR Cup veteran careened out of 4 sideways rippings through the in-field flinging dirt and clouds of dust everywhere while nearly collecting half of the entire field. When it cleared, David Gilliland was out and the powerful and vaunted Naake Klaurer Pick and Pull Motorsports, Wake Island 88 Chevy is broken and done for the night. The NASCAR Cup Driver will catch the next helo flight back to the race in Sonoma while his teammate Dylan has moved up 4 positions already.
On lap 16 there is another yellow for a local legend, Mike Philpott in the Philpott Garage number 50. This is IMG_0764going to be a long night for the Philpott Garage racer and a long week at the shop for repairs. Dylan has miraculously moved to 10th where the NASCAR Cup star, David Gilliland had started earlier.
By lap 19 the ‘Portuguese Fireball’ is putting on a masterful driving show ‘par excellence’ passing veterans on the high groove. Remember he has no communication with anyone; he’s flying nearly blind without his spotters.
It was at this time the youngster showed his savvy by driving high and wide like NASCAR Hall of Fame legend, ‘Handsome Harry Gant’. It’s now lap 34 and ‘Fireball’ is in 4th. He’s nearly passed the entire field.
It’s now lap 53 and Mr. Philpott is ‘U’ turned again. It’s after this yellow the drivers are becoming more impatient and are leaning very hard on one another.
Lap 55 the number 84 Naake Klaurer Pick and Pull Motorsports racer is caught in traffic and for the first time in the race Dylan gives up a couple of spots. It was later the team found out Dylan saw the heat gage moving up and his experience told him to get some ‘clean’ air on the radiator.
It has been a very aggressive race to this point, lap 78 will have teammate Danny Allen being punted along with nearly all the cars and drivers in beef with each other.
The grandstands are erupting with fights on every caution thrown now.
Man, this is short track race’s, forget about ‘Bowman’!
it’s now lapped 81 and ‘Fireball’ is starting in 4th with first and second in a massive all or nothing fight that’s just getting nastier each lap. Dylan could see what was going on between these two the whole race. He later told an interviewer that he knew they were going to crash so he and the 6 car just backed off waiting for what was about to happen.
It was lap 97 of 100 when the two leaders who had been banged ’n it out for the last 50 laps finally an inevitably had enough of one another. They crashed hard. OMG, the grandstands long past volatile, had cops scampering everywhere with arrests for disorderly conduct reported.
With the red flag out, Dylan decided he was not going to let the 6 car beat him on the restart and was ready to fight it out hard to the finish. You see Dylan knows you have to first finish to finish first and this kid knows when it’s time to go. You see his decision-making process and the kid is on the money when he makes his moves, he’s a pro.
Well, once all the debris was cleared and the fights finally broken up- for now, the officials decide to call the race and give the win to the 6 and second to Dylan in the 84 Naake Klauer, Pick and Pull, Wake Island, Rex Hutchison Racing Engines, RaceCraft Products, Mike Kelly construction Chevy.
It’s not over folks’
Dylan, with several of the leaders, are sent to a tech for inspection, the obligatory interviews and hat dance. As Dylan is waiting there are no officials’. Someone asked where are the tech inspectors? One of the crew members said. “I just left our pit stall and there are steaming, smoldering wrecked cars and fights in every corner of this facility.” Dylan’s car was the only car with no damage throughout the entire race.
It was a near pandemonium celebration that had hot chicks hanging all over this kid. From a nearly hopeless start to one of the most
exhilarating finishes the young NASCAR driver has had, the Dylan ‘Fireball’ Hutchison Story is just starting up. So get your motor run’n baby!
Thomas Lancaster, Senior writer RHR