Auzmet Architectural Pro Stock driver Shane Tucker experienced a rare mistake, and it ended his AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals last weekend at the Texas Motorplex before he could get started.
Trying for a stellar reaction time against eventual race winner Dave Connolly, the clutch on Tucker's Chevrolet Camaro engaged before the Christmas tree started, and Tucker was out of the race.
"I guess it's racing and stuff happens," Tucker said. "It's disappointing, but there's always another drag race. I've got air in my lungs and my family loves me, so it can't be all bad."
Tucker qualified No. 10 for Dallas and was looking for continued improvement from his Camaro in eliminations after making gains in qualifying. He was also looking for improvement from himself.
"I've been average on the Tree; I haven't been killer," Tucker said. "A lot of things have to be right for you to be great on the starting line."
But not everything was right.
"One thing I did was I changed my routine, which I don't think I'll ever do again," Tucker said. "You try not to overcomplicate things, but that's probably what I did a little bit.
"I was thinking about making sure my leg was leaning on my clutch too hard. When you do that, you tend to be late. In the same vein, when I put it on the rev limiter, I was a bit light on the clutch pedal and it flicked it straight off."
Connolly would have been tough to beat, as he made a pass of 6.597 seconds at 210.57 mph, but the Australian Tucker would have preferred to at least make a race of it.
Tucker raced in Dallas after initially planning to skip the event, but the NHRA Carolina Nationals, a race in which he competed, was postponed from last week, so he decided to make the trek to the Lone Star State.
What's next for Tucker? He isn't sure yet, and it could depend on sponsorship.
"I haven't really made a decision on that yet," Tucker said. "We need to reassess this year and how I've been driving. Maybe I need to take a break."