Photos Courtesy of Randy Seward
As his odometer rolled past the 1900 mile mark and the engine sipping fuel at a rate that calculated nearly 19 miles per gallon, Randy Seward had completed the first week of his cross-country Pony Express trip. Memphis International Raceway marked his fourth different track to visit in that first week of travel with his trusty 8-second Mustang, but Mother Nature would deny his chances for any passes, adding Memphis to Atlanta as tracks that Seward couldn’t navigate the strip due to weather. Thus the Pony Express would hit the road to Oklahoma early, as Seward continued west with more miles to click off and more time slips to collect, all without a trailer or support vehicle for back up.
Day 8 – Memphis, Tennessee to Lexington, Oklahoma
After logging a few hours of drive time on a Thursday night and stopping for about four hours of rest in Arkansas, Seward awoke the morning of May 25th with his first priority to visit a gas station. But he was greeted with a bigger problem than just the need for go juice. “I had a mist of transmission fluid spraying under the car for a while, but it wasn’t that bad,” said Seward. “But when I stopped for gas, I discovered the fluid had collected in the bell-housing, so when I stopped, it made a big puddle.” A front pump seal was the culprit, but without a quick fix, Seward was able to clean things up and complete the drive to Lexington, Oklahoma with Thunder Valley Raceway Park in his sights. Seward had set-up a pair of fun races, the first with the blown 2014 Mustang of Serville Jenkins, which Seward handled via a 9.59 to 9.90 count. His second pairing didn’t happen when the racer bowed out due to engine failure, so Seward would stage up with former Street Outlaws racer Tina Pierce instead. Pierce was testing out a new combination in her pick-up, and an off-pace 9.80 pass allowed Seward to best Pierce’s lap by running an off-the-throttle 8.86.
Total miles: 2522 Daily mileage: 607 Tracks visited: 5 Best pass of the day: 8.86
With a short drive from Lexington to Tulsa, Oklahoma on his Saturday agenda, Seward started May 26th at Shaun McGee’s shop by changing the seal in the transmission. “I hoped it would solve the issue,” said Seward. “But when I gassed up in Tulsa, another puddle of fluid appeared under the car.” Once again, Seward was able to clean it up and complete his drive, this time rolling into Tulsa Raceway Park for their Midnight Drags event. He would line up against the big block-powered Malibu of Sean Sterns, and although the track would prove marginal on traction for both, Seward prevailed by a 9.07 to 9.41 count. “I finished up at 1:30 a.m. and drove back to Oklahoma City, where McGee once again allowed me to get some sleep at his shop,” said Seward.
Total miles: 2834 Daily mileage: 312 Tracks visited: 6 Best pass of the day: 9.07
Days 10-11 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Phoenix, Arizona
After getting some much needed rest, Seward and McGee debated on giving the transmission seal another shot. “I didn’t want to be stuck behind schedule waiting for parts,” said Seward. “Since the leak wasn’t that bad, I decided to hit the road instead.” That put Seward on the road to California on Sunday morning May 27th, without a plan for a transmission fix. But through the power of social media, Troy Clark contacted Seward and offered up his garage in Phoenix, Arizona. Over one thousand miles stood between Seward and Clark’s residence in Phoenix, but Seward logged several hundred miles before he concluded his Sunday drive by landing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I couldn’t find anywhere to set up my sleeping bag, so I slept a couple hours in my Kirkey seat,” said Seward. After that quality sleep time, Seward completed the remaining mileage on Monday May 28th, landing at Clark’s house that afternoon. “With Hughes Performance not far from Clark’s house, we planned to take the pump there to replace the seal and install new bushings on Tuesday,” said Seward. He plans to visit Auto Club Dragway on Wednesday May 30th, followed by Irwindale Speedway on the 31st and complete his California tour on June 2nd at Auto Club Famosa Raceway.
Total miles: 3980 Daily mileage: 1146 Tracks visited: 6 Best pass of the day: No runs