“ Missed it by that much”
“Of course we’re bummed about not making the show but we had a great time here and we’ve progressed pretty far in a short period of time considering the car wasn’t even finished when it got here,” said D’Aprile.
Elma, NY – When the Mel Bush Motorsports transporter entered the grounds of Houston Raceway Park on Thursday, prior to the event, it was the first time that team driver Tommy D’Aprile had seen his ride since winning the Snowbirds in December of 08’. When the car was unloaded D’Aprile and the crew had very little time to admire the recently rebuilt Bel Air before getting to work.
“This off season we had molds taken of the body and several of the body parts have been replaced on this car including the front end. The car was repainted, plumbed and fitted with a new Jan-Cen screw blower engine,” said team owner Mel Bush. “When the car got here we had to finish the reassembly from the off season so it’s kind of obvious we haven’t had time to test before coming here.”
With no track time to test their new combination Bush and D’Aprile took advantage of the ADRL’s open test prior to Friday’s qualifying. The car left straight and seemed to take the power from the Jan-Cen power plant well but tuning to the recently ground Houston track surface quickly became an issue in the Bush/D’Aprile pit area.
Crew Chief Kevin Peters noted the track surface and the finesse it would take to apply the power from start to finish. “The starting line is great, it’s out a little ways that it becomes an issue. We’ll have to work our way through there without slowing too much,” said Peters.
On the teams first pass D’Aprile lifted near half-track posting a 4.35 pass good enough for the provisional 16th position. As the second and third rounds of qualifying progressed it became evident that nothing short of a three second run would make the field. When it was time for the “Big Red Machine” to hit the 660 D’Aprile drove through a bit of tire shake posting a 3.997 elapsed time but came up just five one thousandths of a second short of Mike Neal on the bump with a 3.992.
“Of course we’re bummed about not making the show but we had a great time here and we’ve progressed pretty far in a short period of time considering the car wasn’t even finished when it got here,” said D’Aprile. “Kevin (Peters) and the Jan-Cen guys have about a month to take care of some things on the car and get her ready for the Georgia Drags so, I’m pretty confident we’ll have something to show the fans when we get there.”
Mel Bush Motorsports consists of:
Team Owners: Mel and Johanne Bush
70 ½ Driver: Mel Bush
62 Bel Air Driver: Tommy D’Aprile
Crew Chief: Kevin Peters
Truck Driver/Mechanic: Fred Vinacco
Eric Fahy: Cylinder Head Specialist/Body Specialist
Jake "Snake" Fahy: Clutch Specialist
Mel Bush Motorsports is sponsored by: Melvin Bush & Sons Const. Inc.,
Headquartered at 2748 SW Casella St., Port Saint Lucie, FL 34953, is an underground utilities contractor specializing in Water Sewer Pipeline Communication Power, and Water and Sewer Line and Related Structures Construction.
Mel Bush Motorsports would also like to thank:
Carolyn L. Ashbee of Goodyear and NGK Spark Plugs