Sept, 6

After a long 2 weeks at Bowling Green, KY and Indy, I was ready for a weekend off, but of course, I
still cleaned and serviced the race car the following week in case I decided to go anyway. Even by
Friday, I still wasn't sure if we were going to go and went to work that night and thought I would
decide when I got up from my nap Saturday morning. When Melissa woke me up, we decided it was
too nice to stay home, so we threw some stuff together and headed to the track. At the time, we
didn't know this was the going to be the best weekend of my racing career.

Saturday was the National Dragster Challenge Wally Race. A race where the winners of each class
wins the coveted wally trophy and Sunday was the big money race with $3500 to win in Super Pro
and $1500 to win in Pro. It's been 2 years since we won our last wally race and we wanted another
so we had our work cut out for us.

In the 1st round we won a close race against Phil Bryant. At the hit of the tree, he had slight
advantage but in the end it was our killer car that ran closer to the dial for the win. The 2nd round
was over before the race even started when I red lighted giving the win to my friend, Zip Donnan in
his Chevy II. Now it's the 3rd round and time to start racing, no more buy backs and if you lose
you're done for the night. As I pulled into the lanes, I see I'm going to have to run Zip again. I hadn't
planned it that way, but I knew I had a job to do. When the tree came down, I had a decisive reaction
advantage and took it to the stripe running closer to my 5.19 dial giving us the win. In the 4th round, I
was in trouble when Ed buckles had a .004 light to my .013 but our car pulled us through again when
my 5.216 on a 5.21 dial was closer than his 7.547 on a 7.52 dial. The 5th round, it was dead even at
the starting line with a pair of .012 lights and now we had to see who was dialed closer, Shane
Meehall in his Mopar powered Dragster or the, Motorsports Unlimited, Lang's Body
Shop and Painting, Lidy Graphics, APT Powdercoat, Davison Service & Equip, Crow's Hybrids,
Mean Machine Dragster. In the end, it was us that prevailed when I ran a 5.202 on a 5.20 dial to his
5.345 on a 5.33 dial. By this time, things are looking pretty good but when you have Bob Paul to run
in the semi's you better have your a game on and we did. My .015 thousands package beat his .031
package sending us straight to the final. The drama was building in the final when Ryan Romine in
his dragster was dialed only 2 hundreds slower than I was making a nearly heads up final round and
it was the race was even closer than that. My .007 reaction time to his .011 was just enough of an
advantage to beat his .023 thousands package to my .018 thousands package making for a .005
margin of victory.

This was our second Wally race win and they aren't getting any easier. We still had Sunday's race
and we all know how I perform after a win, but this story isn't over yet.   
Sept 7

If you have been following my stories, you have probably noticed a pattern, that when I win a race, I
generally bomb the very next race. Well, I'm very proud to tell you I have broken that jinx and won
the very next race, on the very next day and this wasn't just any race, it was Coles County
Dragway's big money $3500 to win race. In this race, you could enter your car multiple times for the
chance to win the big purse, but with my track record, I decided to only enter once and use my entry
money for buy backs if I should lose in one of the early rounds, after it was all said and done, I didn't
even have to use my buy back money.

After the hard fought race we had the day before, it definitely wasn't any easier this day. I had to use
a string of good lights and dead on runs to beat one of the toughest group of competitors in the
country. This group included Rick Willenborg, Bill Jarret, Charlie Stewart, Chris Sullivan, Tim Paap,
Phil Bryant, and in the final, Jason McConnell.  Jason is no stranger to the final and I had my work
cut out for me. It took a .007 and a 5.222 on a 5.21 dial to beat his .020 and 5.479 break out, on his
5.48 dial.

Just think, we just about stayed home and who would have thought it would have turned out this
way. That's what keeps us coming back.
Sept 12-14

This is the week of the Div 3 ET Finals in Indianapolis IN. The ET Finals is a gathering of all the
bracket tracks in a specific division in the NHRA. Each track brings a certain number of competitors
from each of 5 classes including Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, Motorcycle and High School with the
winner of each class being crowned the division champion and will advance to the national ET
Finals Championship race that is held at the NHRA World Finals race in Pomona CA and the winner
out of the 7 divisions being crowned the national champion. In Division 3, there were 23 tracks
competing with the hopes of one of their drivers winning the main title. When we started the year out,
we hadn't planned on racing one particular track which would enable us to compete at the ET Finals
race, but with the rise in the cost of travel, we decided to stay closer to home and concentrate on the
closer divisional and national events and bracket race at our closest tracks, Coles County Dragway
in Charleston IL and Action City Dragway in Terre Haute IN. Over the coarse of the racing season, we
managed to go enough rounds to qualify for the Coles County team and even though we hadn't
planned to participate at this event, we decided to compete anyway.

I arrived on Thursday to cloudy skies and a real threat of rain this weekend. Friday looked to be a
complete wash out, but with a lot of work from the hard working crew, they were able to give the
sportsman and pro class a qualifying run and able to complete the Race of Champions race. The
Race of Champions race is the a run off of the qualifying champion of each track in each of the
specific classes. This year, one of Coles County Dragway's finest, Bob Paul, was crowed the Race of
Champion winner in the Super Pro class. Due to time restraints and extremely wet conditions, the
Super Pro qualifying run was cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday morning.

Saturday's weather outlook was a little better and we were able get our time run in to get set for first
round in the afternoon. You know by now with my track record after winning the previous weekend
at Coles, the pressure was on to perform the impossible and win a 3rd race in a row. Even with all of
this, I still was very positive and felt very confident about our chances. I pulled into the lanes for 1st
round and who did I get paired up with? One of the greatest sportsman racers ever, Edmund
Richardson. I was still very confident in my abilities and knew I had to be on my game, so I
hammered him with a .004 light but he was right behind me with a .005 and now the race was to be
decided at the finish line. I was dialed a 5.24 and he was dialed a 4.84 and as we reached the finish,
line he nosed around me closing the stripe to within .005 of a second, I ran a 5.264 to his 4.858
sending me back to the trailer. On the other side of the track, my brother, Lance was running for
Action City Dragway and luck was on his side winning his first round and winning his next 2 rounds
on Saturday.

Sunday morning, Lance was back at it, going rounds and kicking some butt, but it didn't look like the
weather was going to cooperate and as Lance pulled into the water box for the 8th round after
putting away some of division 3's best, the rain finally arrived putting a halt to all the racing action.
The Pro and Sportsman classes had already crowned their champions and all that had to be finished
was 3 Super Pro cars and the entire High School class. After some attempts to dry the track, it was
determined that the High School class was to be ran at the Fall Classic race in October and the
Super Pro was to be finished on Monday morning at 10:00, so we headed home so I could go to
work and Lance could get some rest.

I got off work Monday morning at 7:00 am and went straight to Lance's so we could head to Indy to
finish the race. When we arrived at the track, it was so weird because there was nearly no one there,
only the 3 remaining competitors, a couple of  their supporters and the track crew. At 10:00 o'clock
on the dot, Lance pulled into the lanes for a quick photo shoot and a time run and now he was ready
for the 8th round. The pairings were the same as Saturday with Lance scheduled to run Brian Merkle
in the 8th round, in his dragster. At the light of the tree, Brian red lighted giving Lance the automatic
win, sending him to the final. Bob Locke had the semi final bye run and now the final was set. When
Lance returned to the lanes for the final, a coin toss was how lane choice was determined and of
course, Lance loss lane choice and got put in the left lane, the lane he hadn't run a single round of
eliminations in. As Lance and Bob pulled into the water box, there was an energy in the air with the
way this race has come about with the weather and change in schedule and one of these drivers
was going to be the division 3 champ. They both lit the pre-stage bulbs, Locke staged first, Lance
followed shortly after, the top bulbs lit both drivers released their trans break buttons, Lance was
.004 thousands Quicker with a .017 light to Bob's .021. Now the chase was on, Bob was dialed a 6.38
and Lance was dialed a 4.84.  As they reached the finish line, Lance was closing in very fast and just
a few feet from the finish line Lance finally over took Bob pulling a little of the brake handle and back
into him running dead on his dial to the thousands with a 4.840 to Bob's 6.403 for the win. Lance has
won a lot of races in the past but nothing could even compare to this. The response from Lance's
fans and friends was overwhelming and now Lance has to plan for his trip to California for the
National title.

If I couldn't win the ET finals I'm glad my brother, Lance could and I'm very proud of him. Kick some
serious butt in California Lance!!!!!          
Sept 20

This weekend, we returned to Action City Dragway, riding on the high of Lance's big win at the ET
Finals. What a lot of people don't understand is, Lance and I run together as a team, and even though
we might not be at the same track every weekend, we still compare notes throughout the week and
even by phone during the weekend to better our chances of winning. Also, we feel, when I win,
Lance wins and when Lance wins, I feel I have won and not only have we won, our families have won
too, so when we are able to race together at the same track, we are able to reap the benefits of each
other's successes and failures and become a double threat to our competitors at that particular
track. This particular weekend though, we were only a threat to ourselves. Lance was out of
competition after the 3rd round and after some tough rounds, I was out by the 4th round. I was able
to get past Jeremy Lawson, Zip Donnan and Terry Tapscott before breaking out against Bill Hein
when we both had a pair of double 0 lights and I took too much win stripe at the other end, ending
my chance of winning the race.

We'll be back at Action City Dragway in a couple of weeks to see if the tag team Stillwell's can beat
up on the Action City guys and gals or if they're going to kick our butts again.
Sept 21

The Marshall Fall Festival is this weekend and the kids and our fans expect us to be there for the car
show. It's always fun to let the people from in and around our hometown sit in and be apart of our
race car. Some of the kids have gotten to sit in it for many years, collecting the newest pictures each
year. This year, we had close to 100 people sit in the race car, all with smiles, laughs and stories,
asking all kinds of questions. A slight sprinkle didn't hamper the spirit of the show, we just put up
the canopy to keep the fans and the car from getting to wet.  

We look forward to this weekend and hope to do this for many years.
Marshall Fall Festival
Click to enlarge
Sept 26-27

This is a racing weekend away from the track. The Terre Haute Street Fair promoters asked us to be
apart of their program this year. The Terre Haute Street Fair was similar to the Clabber Girl Brickyard
BBQ program we did earlier this year with food, music, a car show and other interesting
entertainment in the same area of Terre Haute with the same people putting it on. We had attended
the Street Fair Car show the year before and the people who put the program together enjoyed the
interaction between us and the fans so they asked us come back this year and not only do the car
show but be apart of their kids program on Saturday. On Friday evening we set up a small display at
the car show where people could come by get an autograph, sit in the race car and get their picture
taken. Many people came by, enjoying a beautiful evening and checking out some awesome hot
rods at the car show. We took a lot of pictures of racing fans in the dragster and did some serious
bench racing while we were there.

On Saturday morning we set up for the kids program, with a variety of things to do including a
practice Christmas tree simulator, a Hot Wheels track with a bucket of car for kids of all sizes to play
with and we had the race car out for kids and race fans of all ages to sit in get a picture and enjoy.
With all of this going on we had an extremely busy day starting before we could get it all set up and
ended with people still coming by while we were putting our display away. A lot of the people had
never been that close to real rear engine dragster and were very interested in the technology
involved in a modern drag car and most were amazed at the size of the car. The practice simulator
became a favorite attraction when the fans realized they were competing against the driver of the
dragster they just sat in. By the end of the weekend we had over 200 people sit in and get their
picture taken in our race car and many more coming by checking it out, asking questions. Anytime
were able to give back to the community in this way we consider it a huge success.        
Sept 27

We left our Display at the Terre Haute Street fair for short time while my mother and
father in-law Larry and Pearl Davison helped watch the display, so Melissa and I could
go to Action City Dragway, for a presentation to my brother Lance, from the mayor of
Terre Haute, Duke Bennett for winning the ET finals and in representing the city in
such a manner. The mayor presented Lance with a proclamation that September 27 is
Lance Stillwell Day and congratulated the entire Action City Dragway team on their
success at this race. This was the first time in the history of the track that a driver has
won a race on such a national level. Earlier in the year there was a lot of question as
to the survival of the fairgrounds at which the dragstrip and the dirt circle track is
located, to the building of another strip mall. With the history and future of these two
tracks this reaffirms the reason to keep the fairgrounds and the two race tracks in
their present location, for future racers to be able to achieve such goals.  
Terre Haute Street
Click to enlarge
September 08