Our 2017 season was 19 out of 24 races long!
Leeza & I had a rough start as we had been in a bad traffic accident in the Summer of 2016 – we were rear-ended by a semi-truck. Unable to race or finish out the 2016 season, we lost sponsors & had to sell our truck and trailer. Then, at the beginning of 2017 season, we had to borrow a truck and trailer to get to the first couple of races. We suffered through it and then went into debt to buy a new road tractor and trailer set up.
To afford this new venture, we needed to keep racing. I stayed out on the road pretty much the entire time. Leeza flew back and forth every few races to keep her business running and only missed two events when she got sick. The crew was flown to and from each race around the US.
With all that was going on, we struggled with the car’s performance, too. Going into Denver, I threw all the previous tune-ups out the window because they weren’t working. I basically started from scratch and it paid off because we made the most consecutive 300 mph plus runs we have ever made … (8 in a row).
With the season coming to an end, we looked at our books and we saw that we weren’t performing well enough to justify the time and money we had put into this season. We ran our last few races before the finals not qualifying at 3 in a row and destroyed more parts than ever. We were going to park it for the balance of the season, but we made some new connections and changes in personnel and brought in a veteran tuner. Former nitro racer, Johnny West, for the finals at Pomona. We felt we just needed to try something different. With this change, the car and the team made an immediate 180-degree turnaround. Moral was high. The car went straight down the track on the first run and we qualified. We were all excited. We also brought in some new sponsors and new marketing people; Excel Drywall & Taylor Heavy Hauling, to name a couple. They, too, were very excited!
All-in-all, it was a good year for the Diehl’s. We conquered a lot of problems, learned a lot & made some great new connections. We bought a new car, and have been diligently working on bringing in the big marketing partners for 2018. JDR finished 14th in points and our future is looking up.
We would like to extend a big thank you to our sponsors for their continued support; Red Line Oil, CP Carrillo, System 1, BR Motorsports, Cool Image Water, Shirt Lizard, Moore Nitro, Borrmann Steel, ARP Fasteners, XRP Braided Lines & Fittings, and Scott Palmer Racing.