small victory , but a big victory in itself , qualifying for that field . Just look at the names behind ours on the sheet . It ’ s so many cars that could have been in there other than us . We were just excited and happy to be part of it and be in the big show on Sunday . So we were all pretty excited to drink some beer that night , and that ’ s when we found the broken frame rail .”
The broken chassis explained the performance setback Hyde was fighting throughout testing and qualifying . With the problem diagnosed , Hyde ’ s team went to work on the solution . They were up until 2:30 a . m . welding it up , though Hyde ’ s quasi-teammates next door at Bahrain 1 Racing offered a quicker fix .
“ When we broke the chassis , it was pretty bad ,” Hyde says . “ Khalid [ alBalooshi ] came over and he was like , ‘ Just use one of my cars . I have an extra car in the trailer ,’ and he was dead serious . That was the first time I had formally met Khalid ; I ’ d seen him at some races . But him and Justin [ Bond ] are both just really good dudes and made me feel like part of the team . Letting me use Mark as we have the last few years was pretty awesome of them .”
With the chassis repaired , Hyde rolled into Sunday eliminations with Tommy Gray in the “ Undertaker ” Corvette as the first pair to fire up after Sylvie Valiente performed the national anthem . Gray felt the pressure of the moment and went red by . 054 seconds , giving away a 3.724 at 203.77 . In the other lane , Hyde slowed to a 3.811 at 198.26 due to a converter issue that the team then fixed .
Hyde drew fellow Canadian Eric Latino in Al
EACH TIME AFTER MAKING THE TRIP DOWN THE BRADENTON EIGHTH MILE ON SUNDAY , HYDE CHECKED IN WITH WSOPM TOP-END REPORTER JOE CASTELLO FOR INTERVIEWS THAT AIRED ON CBS SPORTS ’ COVERAGE .
THERE WAS A DISCERNIBLE TENSION IN THE AIR
AS HYDE AND FIRST-ROUND OPPONENT TOMMY GRAY GOT SUITED UP AND STRAPPED IN TO FIRE UP AS THE FIRST PAIR OF ELIMINATIONS
AFTER THE NATIONAL ANTHEM .
May / June 2023 DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 99