Pewter, Brass, Copper - Michelle Furr Marches On
This is Furr Racing's first season since 2011 running a competitive points schedule, but the team hasn't skipped a beat. Two finals in NHRA Super Street, coupled with consistently going rounds at all events has led to a favorable points position for Michelle Furr.
Many racers seem to have "lucky tracks" at which they perform well time after time. Michelle's lucky track would be Charlotte's zMAX Dragway. In 2011, she put both her Super Comp Dragster and the Super Street Camaro in the finals at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax, with a win and runner up, respectively. So it was no surprise she took the Camaro to another runner up finish at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Division 2 event at zMAX Dragway in April.
She would soon follow that up by winning the NHRA Super Street division at the JEGS SPORTSnationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky in May. For Furr, winning a Wally in Super Street was a bucket-list item that she and husband Rick had long desired to cross off. Although Michelle has multiple wins across different series, an NHRA National Event win in Super Street, with the car that gave Furr Racing its start, had alluded her and husband Rick until now.
"The Camaro is our baby,"? Furr explained. "It's the car we started with. It was really important to Rick. He said he can retire satisfied now."
"One of our favorite tracks to go to is Bowling Green, because of the Quick Fuel family,"? Michelle continued. "Marvin and Ruth Benoit, their daughter Angela and her husband Tim and their daughter Mikayla - they're like family. It's neat [NHRA] brought the SPORTSnationals back to Bowling Green, because that's one of our favorite tracks to go to every August for the division race. We were really excited to have another chance to go there and spend time with the Quick Fuel family. All the employees come out to the race. It's a great chance to get together with everyone. It's always nice to do well in front of your partners. I feel like Marvin motivates me to step up because I always do well there - whether it's the Moser Shootout or divisionals."
Michelle was certainly on top of her driving. Her worst light all day was .024. She took out Bethany Crick, Ray Todd, and Chris Runnels before an emotional match-up with good friend Bitsy Satterly, who has had a row of health concerns, in the quarter-finals. In the semi finals, John Kastner aborted his run early, giving Furr her one easy pass of the day, right into the finals where she met with Jim Bannister. In a double breakout decision, Furr let Bannister take the stripe, while she walked away with the win. Her driving feats on race day were perhaps even more impressive, considering the weekend had been stressful with a major parts breakage in the Super Comp dragster. "When we lost the converter in the dragster, Marco [Abruzzi, owner Abruzzi Racing Transmissions] gave us a converter and helped us get a transmission through Lynn Ellison. Marco really went above and beyond, making sure we could make the race," thanked Furr.
"I thank God, first and foremost, and Rick, Madilyn and Adiayn,"? she continued. "This has been an awesome year for us, spiritually. The kids were baptized on Mother's Day. We joined our church. Life takes on a little different meaning when you have peace, spiritually. We really feel blessed to have this success and get to do what we do."
Furr also appreciates the help of her partners, including Quick Fuel Technology, Ohio Crankshaft, Moser, GoodYear, K&N, Comp Cams, TurboStart, PowerMaster, Crossthreaded Customs, Wiseco, Jegs, Moroso, Smith Bros Pushrods, Shields Windscreens, RCI, MSD, Earl's, Hooker Headers, Melling, Collector Tethers, SuperWinch, Maradyne, Total Seal, Hawk Performance, Digital Delay, Lucas Oil, Staging Light Graphics, Number 1 Stop, Shields, Smith Bros Pushrods, Jesel, Autometer, Red Eagle/Alto and Abruzzi. We have a group of partners we are welcoming to our family, Bill Mitchell Products, Suncoast Race Cars, Aerospace Components, Greg Russell Designs, Lokar, Simpson, DEI, RacePak, Trick Flow and Reid Racing.
A unique twist on Michelle's three NHRA national event wins is that each of her coveted Wallys is a different color. "My first one was pewter because NHRA was doing a 60th anniversary edition that year. The second was the next spring at Charlotte and it's a regular brass one. And the SPORTSnational one is copper," she explained.
It's already been a banner year for Furr with more good news on the horizon. On top of her on-track performances she was asked to contribute a racing family lifestyle column to Drag Racing Scene magazine. Her first column debuted in the 2016 summer issue.
Rick and Michelle have raised their two children at the race track and they followed in their mother's and father's footsteps in many ways, including piloting junior dragsters. As they get older, however, Madilyn and Adiayn are also exploring other interests, one of which took Michelle on an adventure she never expected. As part of the Junior ROTC program, Madilyn attended a week long boot camp. Michelle was asked to take on the experience with her daughter in the role of chaperone and now has an even greater appreciation for military.
"I made a decision to step back and observe from a distance,"? Michelle said of her week at boot camp. "I got to see a side of Madi that made me proud. She excelled at the JCLC camp for leaders. She was chosen in the top 10 of over 300 cadets to go before the board by military commanders. I connected with over 40 girls in my charge and left with a t-shirt signed with love and facebook/Instagram addresses. I did butt heads with the other hardcore chaperones and showed them I could get these girls ready for lights out without standing with a stopwatch timing three minute showers. I am thankful Rick didn't answer that quick text on the second day pleading with him to come get me like a kid away at camp for the first time. I would do it again."
It's been an incredibly busy season for Furr both on and off the track. She and Rick were nominated for USDA RD Manager & Maintenance Supervisor of the Year for the State of Virginia. For the first time ever, a husband and wife team won their respective categories in the same year.
Furr followed up her SPORTSnational win by going to the semi-finals in Super Comp at the Thunder Valley Nationals, June 17-19 and another semi-final finish in Super Street at the NHRA Division 3 event at National Trail Raceway. She will continue her competitive pursuits in both categories at NHRA Division 3 and Division 2 events, as well as select nationals. Madilyn and Adiayn will also continue competing in Junior Dragster events across the country.
Although the year has been full of much good news for the Furrs, the best is yet to come. For the first time ever, Michelle will be racing at the "Big Go"?, the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, and along with it, will make one of the biggest announcements of her racing career! Stay tuned.
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