Each year at this time, Ernie Neal and his son, Davey, are heavily involved in preparing their cars for competition in the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.
The cars are the same ones that they ran last season. The younger Neal drives a red Pontiac Sunfire while his father drives a gold Cavalier.
Earlier this year they hauled their cars to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they both qualified for the U.S. Nationals. The younger Neal had a time of 9.15 seconds and his father had a time of 9.20 seconds.
They plan to run their cars again at Columbus, Ohio, as a final tune-up for the Nationals.
The elder Neal had hoped to have his ’91 Corvette ready for Nationals competition.
He has built the L98 engine that will power the car and preliminary dyno testing indicates that it should be north of 560 horsepower.
He has some new ideas that he plans to incorporate in the chassis. He earlier won an award for the best engineered car and he would like to win a similar award with the Corvette.
Ernie Neal, who worked at Cummins until his retirement, has been involved in drag racing most of his adult life. He does all his heavy machining himself. Through the years, he has learned a little with each car that he built for himself or for a customer.
Drag racing is very expensive and it is difficult to secure meaningful sponsorship. Many racers get some assistance from suppliers in the form of parts and supplies or at least reduced prices on them. Neal’s ability to continue to race for decades under these circumstances speaks volumes about his talent and his determination.
IMS Kids Club
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced two racers’ club for kids — one for kids 2 to 12 and one for kids under 2. The cost of the club for the younger kids includes an IMS bib, pacifier holder, and a BPA free sippie cup. Along with this comes a keepsake hand and footprint.
The club for the older kids includes IMS Kids Club T Shirt, white T-shirt, membership card with lanyard, activity booklet, tire tote bag, character sticker sheer, turbo sticker sheet, ear plugs, “Passport” for IMS Scavenger Hunt and school supply items.
Also included are temporary tattoos, Mattel Hot Wheels car, free admission with paid adult GA ticket to the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500, Super Weekend, and the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, birthday card, holiday card, 15 percent IMS Retail Discount, email newsletter (to parents), track scan discount, Children’s Museum discount and Indianapolis Zoo discount.
Tim McKinney writes a weekly racing column for The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5632.