On the Run by ProQuest

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									                                                                                  matchups, and we all felt like we were just hitting our stride here at the end.
                                    On the Run               with Tim Wilkerson   It’s been a long year, and we’re all pretty tired, but it almost felt like we just
                                                                                  ran out of time, right when we were getting a great handle on the Levi, Ray
                           driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup ’09 Mustang Funny Car & Shoup Shelby Mustang.
                                                                                      Now, the goal is to take a hard look at everything, both in terms of the

                            Y   ou hear about different sports teams having a     stuff we have in the shop and in the trailer, and at how the season went, so
                                philosophy that winning is everything, and that we can improve from last season when we weren’t running as well as we
                           finishing any place in the standings other than the    should’ve been and get better than we were during the good times. Racing is
                           top spot just means that you’re “losers” because       racing, and sometimes you do everything right but still lose, so you can’t
                           you didn’t win it all. Some of that, I suppose, is     look at those rounds and regret anything. What you need to do is look at the
                           self inflicted by teams, players, and owners who all   rounds you maybe gave away or messed up in, and try to fix those mistakes.
                           put an emphasis on big success and demand the          If you do that, the rest of it will come to you. It’s like we were saying on
                           most from themselves. I think some of it comes         Sunday in Pomona when we were all doing the math to figure out how we
                           from the fans and media, though, like with the New could move up from the sixth spot in the standings. Finally, we all agreed
                           York Yankees. Seems to me the Yankees can play         that the bottom line was that we just needed to win rounds, and the rest of
great, win a ton of games, and go all the way to the last game of the World       it would take care of itself.
Series, but if they lose there, the whole season is a failure. I think that’s too     As we head into the very short off-season, I almost wish we could just
bad for everyone involved, and I know it’s                                                                              head straight back here to Pomona and
never going to be like that with us.             “That’s the goal: Come out strong, get going again, but we need to recharge
   We just finished the 2009 season, and          run as well as we can, and let the and rebuild a little bit. The Kragen
we didn’t win the championship. Was the                                                                                 O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals will be
year a failure? Of course not. We finished            results be what they will be.”                                    here before you know it, so we’ve got to
fourth in points and had some real                                                                                      get right to work to make sure we come
highlights this year, including the Seattle and Sonoma back-to-back wins, but     out firing and at the top of our game. I guess if there’s one thing that hurt
the thing that has us all the most pleased is how the car has been running        us more than anything this season, it was that we made so many changes in
at the end of the season. We went 9-6 during the Countdown to the                 the off-season last year that we had a bit of a rough start. If we can start
Championship and finished strong by being the runner-up in Richmond, then 2010 anywhere close to how we
went to the semifinals in both Las Vegas and Pomona. Along the way, we            finished up 2009, we can be
beat some great teams and really raced hard, running low e.t. of a number         right in the hunt the whole way
of qualifying sessions and eliminations rounds.                                   instead of having to rally later
   As we packed up and tore everything down on Sunday night in Pomona,            in the season to catch up.
we had a lot of time to talk and rehash how it all went, and I don’t think            That’s the goal: Come out
there’s anything wrong with us being proud of what we accomplished this           strong, run as well as we can, and
year. We want to win the big trophy and get the big check as much as any-         let the results be what they will
one, and we all know we’re good enough to be right in the mix every year          be. It’s going to be a busy couple
now, but it doesn’t make us any less motivated to be happy about what we          of months, and all of us are
did accomplish. We won 31 rounds, two races, and a lot of tough side-by-side      pumped up to make it happen. ND


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