Doug Riesterer needed just one qualifying run to get his Pro Nitrous car dialed in for what ended up as his first ADRL win in nearly two years.
He missed all of the qualifying on Friday at the Gateway Drags IV presented by CarSafe in St. Louis earlier this month before showing up right before the final qualifying session Saturday morning.
But it wasnâ€™t showing off as much as it was fulfilling some previously scheduled husbandly duties.
â€œI was helping my wife move classrooms. Sheâ€™s a teacher and sheâ€™s swapping schools, so I went and helped her out,â€ Riesterer said.
â€œWe looked at the qualifying sheet and I said, â€˜I think weâ€™ve got a shot.â€™ We loaded up at 6 p.m. (Friday) and left for the track.â€
David Reher of Reher-Morrison may also have floated the suggestion to race, but Riesterer likely didnâ€™t need much convincing.
The small-budget team quickly loaded up and made the 16-hour trek from the Dallas area to St. Louis, arriving just in time to qualify at No. 7 with a 3.91 in Pro Nitrous.
Hours later, Riestererâ€™s eventful and storybook weekend that started in a school classroom ended in the winnerâ€™s circle after edging Burton Auxier in the finals with a 3.826 at 189.10 mph.
â€œWe put a little more in it because it was Burton, but it was a good run and it felt good,â€ Riesterer said. â€œThis feels great, it really does. We thought we had a car capable of winning in Bristol, so itâ€™s nice to finish it off. Weâ€™re pumped right now. This was a big win for us.â€
He certainly should feel good after the victory, jumping all the way to sixth in the points standings heading into next weekendâ€™s U.S. Drags V at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Sitting less than two rounds out of third place, Riesterer is suddenly in the championship mix in the loaded Pro Nitrous class. With a car capable of running in the mid-3.70s, Riesterer may be ready to challenge for the PN title.
â€œI think weâ€™ve got a car thatâ€™s fast enough to win every race, but obviously thatâ€™s very tough to do,â€ Riesterer said. â€œWeâ€™re going to try to make the next couple races and see what we can do.â€
Riesterer may not test the â€œshow up on Saturday and see what happensâ€ theory anymore, but heâ€™s clearly one of the most innovative drivers in the ADRL, always tinkering with something on his colorful car.
The â€œMad Scientistâ€ moniker suits him well, and he also falls under the category of one who seemingly does the most with the least.
With help from ADRL sponsors Hoosier Tires, Reher-Morrison and Switzer Dynamics, his ultra-lightweight car became the first nitrous car with a converter to reach the 3.70s, doing it at Texas Motorplex in October.
He went an incredible 3.75 at a local race earlier this year, and then wowed everyone with a number of passes in the 3.70s at Thunder Valley in April.
But what he did in St. Louis might have been his best achievement yet.
After qualifying No. 7, Riesterer took out No. 1 qualifier Rickie Jones with a 3.80 in the quarterfinals, tying the track record that Jones set the night before.
That paved the way to the finals, where Riesterer did just enough â€“ including using bailing wire to hold together an exhaust header â€“ to hold off Auxier.
â€œThe car has been running and working well, so we thought we could figure it out in a couple of laps, get it running like we wanted it to and go a couple rounds,â€ Riesterer said. â€œI was hoping we would be able to figure it out in a couple of laps and we did that.â€