Burton Auxier doesnâ€™t mind staying out of the spotlight.
For this particular situation, though, even the quiet and unassuming Auxier didnâ€™t mind the extra attention.
Auxier, the defending Pro Nitrous world champion, became one of the main points of discussion thanks to a new world record in the standout class.
At last weekendâ€™s Speedtech U.S. Drags IV at Virginia Motorsports Park, Auxier thrilled the crowd with a record run of 3.746, which he backed up a pass later with a nearly equally amazing 3.754.
â€œOn that (3.746) pass, you could feel the difference in second gear. Its pulled 3.6 Gâ€™s and
you can feel know; you know itâ€™s on a pass,â€ Auxier said. â€œWe finally got everything to work and it was a perfect pass. Weâ€™ve been trying to get everything to match and it just happened.
â€œItâ€™s pretty amazing, really. This Jerry Bickel car is really a good race car.â€
It shattered the previous record, which was an impressive 3.78 set earlier this year by Khalid Al-Balooshi.
Itâ€™s also the quickest recorded run in the history of the Pro Nitrous car, a considerable feat considering the talent in the class.
The run, Auxierâ€™s first in the 3.70s, was also the talk of the event.
The record run brought the huge VMP crowd to its feet, as they knew they witnessed something special, and it also brought out the compliments from the likes of nitrous legend Shannon Jenkins.
â€œBurton had the strongest car. He definitely had the car to win this race,â€ Jenkins said. â€œIt didnâ€™t surprise me (to see the 3.74). He was bad ass.â€
Jenkins didnâ€™t stop there with the glowing compliments, either.
â€œHeâ€™s really got his program going,â€ Jenkins said. â€œHeâ€™s tough. Thereâ€™s nobody that lets the clutch out any better.â€
The pair of runs in the 3.70s came during the first two rounds of eliminations, but Auxierâ€™s weekend ended a round later when engine trouble forced him to shut off the engine after performing a burnout in the semifinals against eventual winner Mike Castellana.
â€œI heard it squeak pretty loud and then I saw the oil pressure fell off and went to 0, so I shut it off,â€ Auxier said. â€œIt would have destroyed the motor, so we shut it off and saved it for the next race. I knew it was limited on how many passes it had left.â€
Auxier certainly got the most out of it at VMP, even though there were nagging problems all weekend.
He went a strong 3.80 â€“ an ADRL career-best â€“ during qualifying and even on the record-setting run, Auxier noticed minor problems.
â€œWe had a noise in the motor all weekend. It was just a little one that you would here, so we knew there was a problem,â€ Auxier said. â€œBut the spare motor wasnâ€™t quite as good, so we didnâ€™t want to make a change.â€
Auxier had been flying under the radar all season, running consistent and going rounds without setting records or winning a race.
Now, that all changes after going 3.746 and 3.754 on back-to-back passes.
Heâ€™s currently second in points â€“ 318 behind Castellana â€“ and Auxier knows defending his title wonâ€™t be easy.
â€œThe car has done great, itâ€™s just some little things that have gone wrong,â€ Auxier said. â€œWeâ€™re happy weâ€™re up close in the points. Thatâ€™s all you can hope for.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s good and this last three races are going to be a dogfight. Everybodyâ€™s giving 110 percent and everyone is going to be going for it. Itâ€™s going to be real competitive going into that final race.â€
Auxier is included in that group and heâ€™s expecting big things at Dragstock VII at notoriously quick Rockingham Dragway on Sept. 9-10.
The car has been strong since it made its 2011 debut in April at Palm Beach International Raceway, and it reached a new level at Virginia Motorsports Park last weekend.
Auxier will try for an encore performance in three weeks at Rockingham.
â€œIf we can keep it together, itâ€™s going to be fast,â€ Auxier said. â€œâ€œI knew it was there, we just had to keep getting everything better. You think you know everything about the car and then they show you (that) you donâ€™t.
â€œIâ€™m kind of anxious to see what it does in Rockingham.â€
Heâ€™s not the only one.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)