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Special relationship between Scott Palmer and his sponsor now extends to crew

Special relationship between Scott Palmer and his sponsor now extends to crew

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11) -- The relationship between Top Fuel driver Scott Palmer and sponsor Tommy Thompson is definitely different than most. Palmer and Thompson are friends, first and foremost, and they're also partners in a winning drag boat team. The fact they are able to promote two of Thompson's businesses -- Magic Dry Organic Absorbent and CatSpot Organic Litter -- is merely a bonus.

"My deal with Tommy is so much more than business," Palmer said. "It's a personal friendship between me and him. We just happen to love the same things and we have figured out a way to use our passions to promote his companies, which is great, but we're very close whether we're racing or not."

With two open weekends between the NHRA's last stop in Phoenix and the upcoming 50th anniversary Amalie Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, Palmer decided to forego his usual diversion to his race shop in Missouri and work out of Thompson's facility in Locust Grove, Okla., instead. There was a very specific reason why Palmer made this stop.

"We needed to go through everything in our trailer," he said. "We needed to freshen up our parts, check the cylinder heads and do all the usual stuff we do between races. We always go through everything with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it’s just right for the next race. We just did it at the boat shop this time, which was cool. 

 "The guys worked 12 hours a day but they got to go to lunch and dinner with Tommy every day and just hang out with him. I want my crew to know him as well as I do. Like I said, it’s not your average sponsor deal. It’s more than that. I wanted everyone to know what a genuine person he is. He deserves everyone giving their all every minute because that’s what he does for all of us. I wanted them to absorb his passion for our success, and I think it worked."

After a pair of top-half qualifying efforts at the first two races of the season, Palmer and crew are excited about Gainesville, mainly because it's going to be warmer than the unseasonably cold weather the tour has experienced so far.

"Our car has run great both races but the temperatures didn’t do us any favors," Palmer said. "We are still learning how to race on cold tracks. We can run a qualifying number on them but it’s a whole different story when it’s 50 degrees on race day and you are running a 10,000-plus horsepower Top Fuel car. The teams with the most experience definitely have the advantage. We just don’t have the experience yet. 

"Gainesville is going to be more realistic conditions for us and that will put us back where we are a little more comfortable. I'm expecting big things. I know the crew is motivated."

Historic value of 50th Gatornationals not lost on Top Fuel Harley rider Rickey House

Historic value of 50th Gatornationals not lost on Top Fuel Harley rider Rickey House
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 8) -- Even though the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Series is a relatively new addition to the NHRA schedule, the historical implications of racing at the upcoming 50th anniversary Amalie Oil Gatornationals has not been lost on Magic Dry Harley rider Rickey House.

"Fifty years of the Gatornationals? That’s a special thing right there," House said. "I've seen all the news stories and to have all the legends of the sport there makes it very cool for all of us. Heck, we all grew up admiring those people. Plus, if you look down the list of everyone who has ever won that race, you pretty much see every star our sport has ever produced. I'd love to add my name to that list, for sure.

"It’s also the first race of the year for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class so I’m pretty excited about that also. It's fun to race with those guys and girls. We're friends with a lot of them."

Gainesville Raceway isn't a new facility for House. Aside from his two trips there as part of the NHRA, he also raced at the historic facility numerous times with the AHDRA.

"We know the track, for sure," House said. "We qualified No. 3 there last year, and that was big because there were 20 bikes trying to get into just an eight-bike field, but on race day we had a freak thing happen in Round 1 when a rocker arm broke. We need to eliminate these little freak things because we could say the same thing about the first two races of this season. I’m hoping my freak deals are used up. 

"At the last race in Phoenix we lost air pressure and the transmission burnt the clutch pack out of it. That put us out early. Since then I went through the transmission and put a new clutch pack in. I also went through the motor but didn’t find any problems. I just put a new set of rods and pins back in it and honed it, re-did the valves and got it all back together. I just need to do the usual pre-race maintenance on it and we should be good to go."

House's experience racing in Florida also has him prepping for different conditions then he faced in chilly Pomona and Phoenix.

"It's central Florida and we're racing in the middle of a swamp so I'm expecting lots of humidity," House said. "I've been watching the weather and it looks like it'll be hot, especially during the daytime. The tune-ups will definitely change from what we've had so far."

Magic Dry Top Fuel Harley rider Rickey House sets sights on 2019 world championship

Magic Dry Racing - Rickey House

HOUSTON (Feb. 5) — Rickey House has been a multi-time national event winner and solid title contender in the two years since the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series has competed on the NHRA stage. This season he wants to add “world champion” to his list of accomplishments.

That quest begins in earnest this weekend at the 59th annual Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., the first of 10 events on the Top Fuel Harley schedule.

Matched up against the best in the sport, House has bravely fought against his adversaries, and with the continued support of Tommy Thompson — this year through the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent brand — he shows no signs of slowing down. And even though he’s a small operation out of his own motorcycle repair shop in Humble, Texas, he routinely shows the ability to run with the top bikes.

“We stopped by Phoenix to test on the way out here to Pomona,” House said. “I really just wanted to make sure we’d put the bike together properly and that the engine was ready. I told myself if we ran a 6.35 or quicker I wouldn’t make but one pass. Right out of the trailer we ran a 6.338 at 221 mph, and we stumbled a bit during that one, so I loaded it back up and headed out.

“I just decided not to push my luck. That motor has to make it seven more runs so I don’t want to wear it out yet. I’m pretty satisfied with what we did. We were going to run that motor once and then change it out and test the other one but I decided not to after it tried to drizzle a couple of times. I didn’t want to get everything switched out and then watch it rain.”

Since he assembled both of his powerplants exactly the same way, House feels confident he’ll be ready to go this weekend in Pomona and two weeks later when the NHRA tour returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the 35th annual Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals.

“That’ll be a huge race because Magic Dry is the title sponsor,” House said. “We want to win them all but winning that one would be extra special. Hopefully the weather will be a little bit different. I don’t care for the rain and high winds we had last weekend.

“I always run pretty well in Phoenix but for some reason I go to Pomona and struggle. I got lucky and made it to the finals in Pomona last year but I feel like I’ve got to change something up to repeat that this weekend. I’ll be working on a tune-up this week. We’ll look at the track prep and the weather and go from there.

“We only race 10 times so every event is big. If we want to be champions, we need to be ready every time.”

Top Fuel Harley qualifying for the Lucas Oil Winternationals is set for 2:15 p.m., Friday, and 11:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday.