Well, we're back for another year of drag racing. For me, it was a pretty good day on New Year's Day at Sacramento Raceway Park. Finished up in the Semi's in Sportsman, but went out E-1 in Pro (forgot to put my 1/8th mile head on before racing!
This is my 1973 Chevrolet Vega Kammback station wagon. The motor has been swapped out and currently runs a 350 cid small block Chevrolet “roller” motor with Edlebrock Performer aluminum center bolt heads that have recently been decked and “knifed”, Iskenderian triple springs, Edlebrock Torker II aluminum intake manifold, Comp Cam, Sanderson custom 2½-inch coated headers. Power is transmitted to the ground through a GM TH 350 transmission with a new (May, 2018) Huches 3000 stall torque converter. Rear drive is a Chrysler 8-3/4-inch rear end with a 3.73 Sierra Racing gear set and a Richmond PowerTrax locking system. As seen above in 2007, the car ran mid 14 second ET's @ 95+ mph at Sonoma (formerly Infineon) and Sacramento Raceways. In March of 2009, “Bad Vega” turned in the mid 12.59 @ 111+ mph and has won several races at Infineon Raceway. In 2009, “Bad Vega” won the March Madness CMI Rear Wheel Drive class at Sacramento Raceway and taken the runner up spot at an NHRA Allston Chassiworks ET Points Race at Sacramento Raceway and a 3rd place finish at an NHRA Summit ET Series Race at Infineon Raceway and has culminated in a win in the Sportsman class at the 2014 National Dragster Challenge race at Sonoma Drag Strip and a Wally trophy! See notable details...below.
The Bad Vega was shown on Virginia Street during the 2007 and 2008 Hot August Nights show at various venues in Reno and Sparks, Nevada.
Bad Vega at the races. Driver, Hot Rod Bob Choisser, Bob Edmonds; Stuart Kanagaki, Guy Boardman and Brady Caldwell. Photo taken at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma California, 2008.
The Bad Vega, driven by Bob Choisser, was Top Eliminator in the Street Trophy Division at the NHRA Summit Racing ET Series Bracket Race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma on Saturday, March 22, 2008. Bob Edmonds.
Bad Vega scored a 3rd Runner Up in the Street Trophy Division at the NHRA Summit Racing ET Series Bracket Race in May 26, 2008 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. Bad Vega also was Runner Up in the Wednesday Night Drags Jackpot Division at Infineon Raceway on October 22, 2008. Bob Choisser, Driver and car owner.
Bad Vega scored a win in the Rear Wheel Drive Division at the 14th Annual CMI March Mayhem Bracket Race in Sacramento Raceway, March 8, 2009. Results.
The Bad Vega is still running great and winning with a new transmission by Roger at Jim Dandy Transmissions, Inc. in Vacaville. At the last Summit ET Bracket Race of the the 2010 season, The Bad Vega driven by Bob Choisser, scored a Semi-Final 3rd place finish in the Sportsman division at Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA. on Sunday, November 28th, 2010. In all Bad Vega ran 8 elimination runs, loosing just one race to the ill-fated red light; the only one of the day for Choisser and the Vega Kammback wagon.
The Bad Vega finally put a big win together at the Infineon Raceway drag strip at the Thanksgiving NHRA Summit ET Bracket race on Sunday, November 27, 2011. As depicted in the photos above, we finish in third place a year ago (2011). We struggled a lot in 2011 with inconsistencies which got fixed on the Friday before this race. The fastest Bad Vega has ever run was 110.649 @ 12.579 at Sacramento Raceway in 2009. On Sunday, November 27, 2011, in the final (photo above) we ran 111.08 @ 12.493 for the Sportsman class win. Bad Vega never ran slower than 12.617 in ten passes all day long. (http://www.infineonraceway.com/media/news/599965.html).
Almost the best recognition ever! After winning the street division at the April 1, 2012 Summit/ChassiWorks E-T races at Sacramento Raceway, the above photo appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of the NHRA's National Dragster magazine, page 63.
This is a shot of the final race in the Street Division at Sacramento Raceway on Saturday, May 19, 2012. Bad Vega won with a 12.653 on a dial-in of 12.65 and an RT of .043! Caught him right at the stripe for the win. The little ugly Vega puts the big bad Vet on the trailer...again!
Pictured are Dennis Bowman (left) from Marysville and the NHRA's best Tech man Paul Brandner (right) and me accepting the winners trophy. After besting me in the third round of the Sportsman division eliminations, Dennis in his '69 Camaro went on to win the Sportsman division. Bowman and Choisser were the Fatboys Racing Team.
End of the 2012 season...almost...at the King of the Track Race at Sacramento Raceway on October 14, 2012. That's me on the left with the biggest belly of all, Dennis Bowman in the middle...(don't ya love his hat) of Marysville and Craig Renke who is the engine builder/tuner and friend. We enjoyed lots of fun times and drag racing too this year. The “Fat Boys Racing Team” will be back and even better in 2013!
The 2013 drag racing season has started off on the right foot. The now defunct Fatboys Racing Team scored a win in Sportsman for Renke, a win in Street for Choisser and a 3rd (Semi) finish in Street for "Dead-On" Dennis Bowman at Sacramento Raceway's NHRA Summit ET series bracket drag race on Sunday, February 24, 2013...and the crowd went wild!
A great race day result for me besides it being my first visit to the Redding (CA.) Drag Strip, was to win the NHRA Pacific Division 7 Sportsman class on Saturday, June 1, 2013. It was a very special race as I raced fellow Fat Boy Dennis Bowman, in the final elimination round...always a very tough opponent . As we told anyone who would listen, it was an all “Fat Boys Racing” final. But it wasn’t as “fat” as it could have been as Craig Renke, Fat Boy I, was retired early in the day with a hurt motor. Fat Boys Racing will return to Redding...probably in October.
Another year comes to a close (almost) at the Sacramento Raceway Park's Awards Dinner in November. No awards for the Fat Boys this year, but we had a good year racing at Sacramento, Sonoma, Redding, Bakersfield and Las Vegas drag strips. Fat Boy-1 Craig Renke finished in 5th place in the Sportsman class at Sacramento. The 2014 season will start on New Year's Day at Sacramento and we plan to score very well to start our year off on the right foot.
Starting off 2014...things looked good, but broke a transmission...7-inch crack in the case, fuel pump and regulator went south, ignition crapped out. All replaced with top line parts...10-inch TCI 2400 stall converter, B&M trans kit, MSD Pro-Billet Race distributor, MSD Ignition Digital Controller Box and MSD Blaster coil are just a few of the new parts were installed.
Finally the first decent day in 2014. And not a bad day at Sacramento on Sunday, March 9th. First, it didn't rain! BV finally ran pretty well. Daddy Craig's work produced the results. Went to the Semi's in both Street and Sportsman; ran 12 passes in all. BV was very consistent, but the driver was tired and lost concentration in the Sportsman Semi against Tom Spellman. I "treed" him by .04 then could not find him in my mirror and didn't hit the brakes until it was too late. Ran a 12.92 on a 12.96 dial giving it all back to Tom on the big end. Let's just call it his early Christmas present! In Street, I forgot to put fuel in the car and was low enough to sucked up some air in the fuel line at high rpm on the 2-1 and 2-3 shift. Motor stumbling and I ran off my dial. Did get $'s and a trophy and moved up from 25th to 13th in the Sportsman team points at Sacramento Raceway.
After a pretty terrible start in 2014 and lots of new parts, BV has her her stride once again. On a spur-of-moment decision, I decided to go to Sonoma for their Wednesday night Bracket Drags. It was sunny, but a 30+mph very cold wind was blowing right into our face. As the sun went down, it got colder and a bit more windy. In spite of the WX, over 200 cars showed up for the competition with 70 racers in Street. Despite the odds, we persevered, going rounds and ultimately winning the class in the final elimination race against Dwayne Oppermen and his Marc Powers prepared '69 Camaro. "Oppie" beat me like a drum in 2013, but this night was mine! I ran a .042 package and he never caught me! My average RT for eight passes for the evening was .0468! And my 60-ft. times were never better and in the mid to low 1.80's.
Another pretty good day for the Bad Vega and me. Sunday, May 26th at Sonoma...a good time, but the FB's went home early...couldn't buy a first round win. However on the Memorial Day Monday holiday it was a different story for the Fattest Boy. Won the Sportsman Run for the Money with a .042 package...collected $105 smackers to get things started! Then went three rounds in Sportsman...lost to Joe by .0278 with my worst RT of the day! Continuing on going to the Semi's in the Trophy class...11 passes for the day! Oh and we got some BBQ leftovers from Mike Eling...yummy!
This was a hard fought win for the Bad Vega against a very tough Super Pro car and driver, Jessica Opperman at the August 10th NHRA Summit E-T Bracket Race at the Sonoma Raceway Drag Strip. The final round went to...wait for it...ME! Jess had beaten me last year in a final race by .003 and it was my turn to get her with a "Hole Shot" win by .0113! And here is the video https://vimeo.com/104762716
Oh Man! What a day. I got the brass ring today. Won the coveted Wally trophy in the Sportsman class at Sonoma Drag Strip. It was the annual National Dragster Challenge, last points race of the season and there were 44 cars in the class! Had to beat the track champions from Sacramento and Sonoma as well as many of the top points racers. Qualified 4th quick with an RT of .004, raced six elimination rounds without a bye pass to win it all! Can't thank my Fat Boy Racing partner "Dead-On" Dennis (FB-2+2) Bowman for all his assistance and encouragement in getting the Bad Vega and me into the Winners Circle with a Wally Win!!! Craig Renke is the engine builder/tuner and friend!
The Final Elimination Round for the Wally trophy at the National Dragster Challenge at Sonoma (Sears Point Raceway), Labor Day, Sunday, September 1, 2014. Dial: 12.76; RT. .030; 60-ft. 1.866; ET 12.718; 1320 Speed 106.48 mph. Double breakout win.
Time Slip, September 1, 2014 Final in Sportsman
Having started off the evening with four passes on seven cylinders and ready to pack it in and go home, a racing buddy Mike Eling helped find the culprit...a shorting plug wire on No. 3 cylinder! Got it fixed and it was off to the races! 43 car field, went to the Semi's and put myself out with a -.001 yip (foul/red light start)! But the above statistics come out for the evening and I'm sitting with the 1st, 9th and 11th best packages out of all racers there (about 200 cars and bikes)...not a bad showing for an old guy and a broken down old '73 Vega!
Bad Brad, Fat Bob and Hell Boy...my "Sonoma Buddies"!
Wednesday, April 22, 2015. Did it at Sacramento...won Lane 4 Bracket race. They really run a tight program...ran out of trophies by the time I got there...turned the lights out on me while I was loading...no pit crew...no dinner (which was the worst thing of all)...home by 11 p.m. At least the wife had it together...a McDonald's burger and fries was waiting for me :-)...love it!!! Had lots of fun...and TCI didn't give up!
Saturday, May 23, 2015, Sonoma Raceway (Sears Point)...Gave it away to Hell Boy (Bobby Garbrian) in the final of Street with a -.006 red light foul.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, Sacramento Raceway. Former Fat Boys Racing did pretty good in the NHRA California State Drag Races. Winner in Sportsman, Dennis Bowman, Runner Up in Sportsman, Craig Renke, Gun Moll Terri Sullivan and Winner in Street, Bob Choisser...Wally plaques for both Dennis Bowan and I.
The 2015 Fat Boys Racing Team at Sacramento Raceway. A big thanks for this great photo taken by Linda Marie Stiles fellow racer and photographer at Sacramento Raceway.
Thursday, October 3, 2015, Fontana Raceway in southern CA. One of the first few passes down the track at the 2015 Summit ET Finals...and the Minion Express Bad Vega just kept getting faster and faster. Took a 2nd place and $200 in the Run For The Money on Friday night. Thanks to Vinnie for the new door decals.
Another Year coming to an end for the Fat Boys Racing at the Summit ET Finals at the Auto Club Raceway in Fontana, CA. We'll be back in 2016 with lots more wins and much fun! I can't thank my buddies Dennis Bowman and Craig Renke enough for helping to make 2015 one hell of a year!
2015 is almost in the bag. New Motor is really breaking in right. Ran a personal best quarter mile 11.71.3 @ 116.21 mph on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at Sears Point Drag Strip. And the last bracket race of the year produced a first round win in the Pro Class and a runner up finish in the Street/Trophy Class. A big thank you to the Fat Boys Racing Dennis Bowman. He helped make it possible for me to be in the money or a trophy the last four out of five times with the new motor.
2016 has started off much the same as 2015 ended with the Fat Boys Racing wins! Fat Boy 2+2 went to the Semi's in Sportsman and me, Fat Boy 3.5 went to the Semi's in the Street Class and Fat Boy 1 Craig Renke, won the Sportsman class. A very good start for the team. Helping us win are my friends Gun Moll Terri Sullivan and Scribe George Guynn Jr. For me, that makes five out of six events with a trophy or cash win since the new Motor was installed in the Bad Vega. Thanks to Stephen Justice for the photos!
Just goes to show you that it's as much driver as it is car...my buddy Dennis Bowman raced the Bad Vega to a Sportsman win on April 24th. Congrats Dead-On Dennis!
Wow...best day of drag racing ever! Number One qualifier with a "Dead-On" pass at the NHRA 2016 Division 7 Summit E.T. Finals at the Las Vegas Strip! A cash prize of $750 went with the win! Pictured with me are John Terry, Vince Cardinal, (me), Craig Renke (engine builder & tuner), Steve Parrish, Joe Brown, Dennis Bowman, Katy Caesar, Kevin D'Adamo and Nick Bublitz. Thanks to you all for cheering me on to the win!!!
Burnout for Semi Finals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the 2016 NHRA Summit ET Finals Friday night Sportsman Shootout, Friday, October 7, 2016.
VIDEO: See all four passes right to the Winner's Circle...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS_FhWdv3Ow
2017 March Meet
Early pass at the 59th running of the 2017 March Meet at Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA.
My March Meet pals...Terri Sullivan, Katy Sullivan, Greg and of course me!
CAR's...(Craig A. Renke) The Square Nova!
Smoke 'em if ya got 'em...get'n ready to win Round 2 or Hot Rod class!
...and my friend and NE-I skinny car driver Greg Means!
Sacramento Raceway Park, April 24, 2017
Ha...ha..ha...David Rudd...got photo bombed in the Winner's Circle on Sunday, April 12, 2017.
Had a great day at Sacramento Raceway Park on Sunday, April 23, 2017. Finished in the Semi's (3rd) in Sportsman and was the Winner in the Street class...Almost pulled off a "double"!
13 passes in all. 9 of them between 11.998 and 12.042...not bad! New Monster Coil did the trick!!!
May 7, 2017, getting ready to run the Semi Final Eliminations Pass against the guy who built the Bad Vega, Craig Renke...giving him the "Kiss of Death" :-). CAR shot his own self with a yip at the start.
Missed the Division 7 National Open Pro class win and a Wally
Trophy by .022 against Jeff LaSalle.
Good race "tree'd" him .018 vs. .023 (foot breaker vs trans breaker)! It was a double breakout loss...about 6 inches! I believe Mark Power was riding with me!
Here are the Quarter Final, Semi Final and Final elimination rounds for Pro ET
...and what a night it was at Sonoma Raceway Wednesday Night Drags...on May 24, 2017. Me: RU in Comp Rod class; Hell Boy (Bobby Greybrein): RU in Street class: The Croaker (Eric Coaker): Winner in the Street class; Nick At Night (Bublitz) driving the Meatball Express: Winner in The Swedish Meatball class and Vince Cardinale, winner in the “Shifty” class...all having a great time at Sonoma (Sears Point) Raceway!
Another win for the me and the Bad Vega on Saturday, June 10, 2017 NHRA Division 7 Summit ET Drag Races. Pictured are Chris Neal, Sportsman winner; Don Caesar, Motorcycle winner; Me, Street winner and Dennis Bowman, wannabe winner at Sacramento Raceway.
Happy 4th of July, 2017...to me! Won the Sportsman Division at Sonoma Raceway's NHRA Summit ET Series Bracket Race!
The 'ol Bad Vega still gett'n it done!
Thanks Steven Justice!
...some tight races on Independence Day 241 at Sonoma
The Fat Boys back together again...sort of...Bowman (FB-2) Racing for the Sportsman Class Redding Team; me FB-3 Racing for Team Sacramento in Sportsman & Pro Classes as is FB-1 CAR in the Pro Class. All did pretty well. I went five rounds deep in the Pro Class...it took 9 to win it.
2017 Summit Racing ET Finals Team Sacramento with Ron “The Hammer” Nickels who was celebrating his 40th ET Finals appearance.
Run for the Money on Friday, October 6, 2017. Not too bad...didn't win it, but went to the Semis against C.W. Hofer. Beat him last year, but couldn't do it this time.
My good friend Terri Sullivan helping me bring the Minions back...King Bob returns to the Bad Vega in 2018!
Celebrating CAR's 63rd birthday!!! Good times...good dinner (thanks Terri) and good friends...Anita (Mrs. Pod Ben), me, Dennis Bowman FB-2.2, Terri Sullivan (The Salsa Queen) and Craig Renke his self...otherwise known as FB-1...or “Grumpy II”.
Sacramento Raceway 2017 Team Awards...complete surprise!
Wow...what a day it was to bring in the new year. Went to the Semi's in both Pro and Sportsman classes at the first Summit ET race of 2018. Also, was the first time out on the e85 fuel change...made 18 passes in all and never opened the hood once! Thanks to Crag Renke for all his work on Bad Vega!
New Year's Day, January 1, 2018. Thanks Wayne!
Well...we're back to racing after more than a 3 month exodus. Some things got fixed...some didn't, but made 9 passes...and went to the Quarter finals in Sportsman class.
It's a new year and a new day...2019. Well not so much. Started out on New Years Eve day with what turned out to be a cracked head and a severe electrical problem that had been bugging us for a long, long time. New Years Day found me sitting at home watching (yuck...football). And it was to be another 3-month stretch in the shop (Sullivan's garage ). But we did make it (with about 48 hours to spare) to the March Meet in Bakersfield...
The 2019 March Meet...good passes; 1st pass...11.999 @113.91...2nd pass...11.947 @114.13!!! Not half bad on a brand new top end. Truth: switched from aluminum heads to GM 1492 iron heads...and the magic touch put on them by the man his self at Ferrari's Machine Shop in Marysville, CA. And that was about all the good new there was for the Bad Vega...fouled on the first round of the Hot Rod class...on the trailer and a "pit bitch" for Jason Herbst and his NE II skinny car. But it was a good time seeing a lot of people I hand not seen in a long while...
Staging lanes, 2019 March Meet, Bakersfield, Famoso Raceway, CA.
The Herbie’s Racing Team from North Platte (where ever that is) Nebraska...Justin “Wally”, Sam (Samantha Hot Chick), Bob (Pod Ben), Terri (Mama Bear), Ken (Vega Vick), Doug (Mister Quiet) and Grumpy CAR (CAR Built)!!! Had a great time!!!
Greg, Katie, Bad Bob and Mama Bear!!!
Grumpy Car...make 'n a pass!!!
Semi's at the CMI 24th Annual Spring Jam, Sacramento Raceway Park. Bad Vega is consistent now. just have to get the driver to do his job!!!
The “coupe de grace” for me and the Bad Vega. Won the Wally trophy at the NHRA Pacific Division 7 National Open Series Championship race in the Sportsman division at Sacramento Raceway Park. Cinco de Wally!!! Beat the pesky Bobby Grabrian and his HELL Mustang in the Final round.
Yep! A very proud moment for me. And a big THANK YOU to Craig Renke (Grumpy CAR) for all his hard work on the Bad Vega...and finally...the driver got it down the track for a big win!
Well, after a crummy start, ended up Runner Up in the Street Class at Sacramento Raceway Park ET Summit Bracket Race on Sunday, June 23, 2019.
Well how about that. Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner at Sonoma Raceway on our nation's birthday, July 4, 2019. Interestingly, it is the 3rd time I have won on the Fourth of July holiday race at Sonoma/Infineon/Sears Point Raceway. Pictured in the inset are Kyle Siepel, Drag Strip Manager, Dennis (Fat Boy 2), Terri Sullivan (Mama Bear/Salsa Queen) me and the guy I owe a whole bunch to, Grumpy Fat Boy One, Craig Renke, who builds the motors for the Bad Vega. Racing in the photo in the Sportsman Final is Odo Richter of Oakley, CA. in his "Frank The Tank" car.
the Sportsman Ladder for Sunday, July 4, 2019
First time to race at Samoa Drag Strip on the ocean at Eureka, CA. Not a bad day, finished 3rd (Semi Finals) in the Summit ET Pro class. Had lots of fun and just love the facility and the all volunteer crew. Thanks for a great time!