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Article Date: 8/10/2008
Danny Waters, Jr. Wins Moser Axle Mania Shootout
Danny Waters Jr. had a goal. He qualified for the $51,000 Moser Axle-Mania shootout that was held in conjunction with the Torco Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports park and, seeing as though his primary sponsor, Moser Engineering, was responsible for funding the Axle-Mania program, he wanted to do well for them.
Rob Moser, Tim Irwin, Jeff Anderson and the rest of the Moser Engineering representatives who were in attendance could not have asked for more.
Waters drove through the deep field of the top sportsman racers in the business, capping his huge Saturday with a huge payday. He knocked off Gil Carty Jr. in the Axle-Mania final to claim the $22,500 first prize and the Axle-Mania Chrome Axle trophy, edging Carty with a stout reaction time in the 1/8th mile event.
Waters had a .005 reaction time in his American Race Cars dragster and carded a 4.901 on his 4.87 dial to hold off Carty’s .023-induced 6.758 on a 6.56 dial.
"This feels great. I’ve been here before and runnered-up at the first Axle-Mania and I really wanted this bad," Waters said. "That chrome axle has a lot of significance to it and there’s a lot of prestige involved. I wanted to win this for my team and I really wanted to win this for Moser."
Since he has Moser’s red, white and black on the side of his car Waters wanted to pay back the company that keeps him in the racing business.
"I feel like I’m one of their chariots out here," he said. "It means a lot for me to be able to do this for them. Rob Moser, Tim Irwin, Jeff Anderson…everyone at Moser. You couldn’t ask for a better family to work with. The whole company is special. We cook together, we go out together, talk to each other. It just feels so good to work so closely with a group of people. You can just be yourself with them and race, that’s a great feeling. What more could you want from a sponsor?"
Though the win meant a lot to Waters, it might have meant even more to Moser Engineering CEO Rob Moser. When it comes to doling out sponsorship dollars Moser, a strong family man, looks for drivers who not only find success on the track, but also find success away from the racing scene. Prior to the 2007 racing season he put Moser on the side of Danny Waters Jr.’s car because he felt Waters was the perfect ambassador for Moser Engineering.
"We try to align ourselves with guys like Danny, who work hard and deserve everything they get," he said. "I can’t say enough about Danny. Some companies just look for guys who win, but there is more to it than that for us. We look for guys who win, but also want guys who do it the right way and live their lives the right way."
The Moser Axle-Mania program takes the top four drivers in each IHRA sportsman class and four wildcard entries to make up its 32-car field. Waters had to knock off heavy hitters like Patrick Forster and Michael Beard to make it to the final round. He feels he was able to do so because of his equipment.
"This thing was deadly all night," he said of his American Race Car dragster. "Today it varied about three thousandths in the sixty-foot. It’s been as hot as 90 degrees and as cool as 76 degrees. The car is just very repetitive and very sound. Nesbitt Performance Engines have treated me very well and those Hoosier Tires really did their job. I have wonderful equipment that helped me get to where I’m at."
Rob Moser knows it takes a lot of skill to get through such a stout field…a field that seems to get more challenging year after year.
"Every year I think the field gets tougher and tougher," he said. "We tried to make it so the 32 best racers get into it and each year it gets harder to qualify. Anyone who can make it through a program like this really deserves any accolade they can get.
As for defeating Carty in the final, Waters knows he had to drive past one of the best footbrake racers in the world.
"Gil owes me. We’ve had a couple of close races and he actually runs Division 9 with us. He’s won one of these shootouts before," Waters said. "Gil leaves on the bottom bulb and I think that says an awful lot about him. He’s a very talented, successful racer on a somewhat limited budget and it makes me feel good to see him do well in this. He had some of the best packages in this race, and that says a lot about him as a racer."
Waters was pleased with the win, but it was more special for him because his family provided the support he needed to get through the field to the end. He also was thrilled to be able to win in front of the people who help his race operation.
"My wife (Lindsay) and my son (Crayden) really mean the world to me," he said. "This trophy means a lot, and it means even more because I was able to do it for them. Them, plus my parents and the rest of my family, they are my backbone. When I get down on myself they are always behind me to pick me up. When you do get down that’s the quickest thing to get you back up.
"Faron Lubbers is here with Hoosier, Mark Horton is here with American Race Cars, Mike Fuqua is here with NitroPlate…they are a lot of our large supporters," Waters continued. "Just to be able to do this in front of them is really rewarding. They kept telling me I could do this. I’m not one of those guys who gets overconfident. I do feel confident in myself, but I’m never overconfident or cocky. They gave me a lot of support. And to win this in front of them and know it meant something to them, that meant something to me."