Steve Petty had a dream and on Thursday night at South Georgia Motorsports Park it (almost) came true.
“I actually dreamed last week that we ran a .58 with a 6 and it went .58 with a 7,” crew chief Petty remarked after his driver, Kevin Rivenbark, became the first to the .50s with a 3.587-seconds pass at 206.67 mph over the eighth mile at South Georgia Motorsports Park. The 60-foot time was .917 and Rivenbark ran 2.39 seconds to half track.
“It actually had the front end lift up and went a little bit left and he had to steer it back over so that’s probably where my thousandth went,” Petty added.
The record-setting run came in the last of five qualifying sessions on Thursday, with at least three more planned for Friday at promoter Donald “Duck” Long’s Sweet 16 event that eventually will pay $101,000 to the winner Saturday night. It placed Rivenbark and his ProCharger-boosted ’69 Camaro firmly on top of what’s already the quickest RvW field in history, anchored by current 16th-place holder Jamie Hancock at 3.731 and 195.39 mph.
Following Rivenbark on the qualifying list after day one was Daniel Pharris and his twin-turboed ’17 Mustang at 3.61 and 214.08 mph, just six thousandths short of the then-record-setting pass of 3.613 seconds set by Rivenbark last month at SGMP while qualifying for Long’s Lights Out 10 event.
“Man, I can’t believe we came here and set the record again,” the Clinton, NC-based driver said. “It’s been unbelievable how good this car has been right from the start. The ProCharger is just so much smoother off the hit and it’s just a nice, smooth ride all the way down track. It’s so good now, but I think there’s even more there if the conditions are right.”
Petty confirmed the smooth application of power is critical to the unprecedented elapsed times the Pro Line Racing Camaro is now posting.
“The whole secret to it is the FuelTech, the power management capabilities in it,” he said. “I think that’s one of the things that blower power is missing. I really think electronics is going to be the future and somebody needs to jump on it. There’s a tip for someone out there.”
Heading into Friday’s action, Steve Jackson and his screw-blown ’15 Camaro sat third (3.63/210.14), Marcus Birt was fourth in his nitrous-fed 2016 Corvette (3.65/204.32), and Lights Out winner Alex Laughlin rounded out the top five at 3.65 seconds and 210.60 mph in the Speed Society supercharged C7 Corvette.
Beyond setting records, Rivenbark also has his sights set on redemption after leaving with a red-light start against Laughlin in the Lights Out semis.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but man, I feel like we should’ve won Lights Out and I really feel like we can win this one,” he said. “That one (LO10) was on me, that was my mistake, and I sure don’t want to let everyone on our team down. They all work so hard, Steve and the guys here and at FuelTech and Pro Line, and I also want to thank my team owners, Mr. Earl Wells and his wife Peggy, for all they do for us. I just want to finish the job this time.”
Indeed, it would be a fitting end to a dream weekend.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019