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Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer securing all the pieces to put him on top of Top Fuel

Magic Dry pro Scott Palmer securing all the pieces to put him on top of Top Fuel

LAS VEGAS (April 2) -- After starting the year with a slew of personal best runs in his Magic Dry Organic Absorbent Top Fuel dragster, man-of-the-people Scott Palmer is convinced he's drastically improved his stock in the fight for class dominance heading into this weekend's 20th annual Denso Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals.

Straight after the completion of the Gatornationals on March 17, Palmer and crew headed to Indianapolis to take delivery of a brand-new MLR chassis. While there, they made some necessary updates to the car that carried Palmer to all those big numbers with hopes of making it a reliable back-up once the new car goes into service.

"The new car is in the trailer but we probably won’t run it until Charlotte (April 26-28)," Palmer said. "We are waiting on a new paint scheme and some other things and then we will roll it out. It’s the first car I’ve ever had that was built 100-percent for me. Everything on it is new, so I’m not going to rush bringing it out. We want to make sure it's good to go from every aspect.

"What's cool is the car we have been running was front-halved and freshened up while we were at MLR so it's basically new. It had a lot of runs on it and we found some problems. It's been wanting to go sideways in the burnout and then when I step on the gas, even on a good run, the back end would try to washout.

"Even our good runs sometimes looked like we shouldn’t have even made it down the track. We couldn’t figure out what was happening so the guys at MLR put it on the jig and discovered the front end was off. We decided to front-half it, fix some other stuff and now we are going to go run it again for the next two races to see how it responds. Then we will put it upstairs as a complete spare and run the new car." 

Like a teenager with a set of keys to not one, but two hot rods, Palmer did take a minute to thank the people outside his own crew that made all this happen.

"We spent a week at MLR and Richie Crampton (fellow driver and chassis builder) and all the guys at that shop absolutely dropped what they were doing to front half the car so we could have something to race in Las Vegas. They front-halved that car in two days, got it back to us in great condition, and we were on it fast, putting it back together. 

"Once we left MLR with the new car and the front-halved old car, we went to (reigning champion Steve) Torrence’s shop and built out the new car. It's incredible the help those guys give us. Jason McCulloch wired and plumbed it and the rest of the CAPCO boys jumped in with all the other stuff. They got it all handled so quickly my guys were able to go home for a few days. It’s pretty cool to have the world champions helping you build out your car."

Now Palmer and crew have new optimism as they roll to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend's unique race.

"This is the new four-wide race and I love racing four-wide," Palmer said. "And I remain very excited about our chances. This car was already running well with a tired front end. I mean, we posted career best numbers and have qualified well at every race. With all the improvements we've made, I think we'll start doing better on race day now as well."

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."