HANSON — When Town Administrator Lisa Green has a bad day, we all do from time to time, she has a unique way to vent frustration — she burns rubber.
Heck, she gets behind the wheel to leave ’em in her dust when she’s had a good week, too.
“It’s a great stress reliever,” Green said. “When I’m sitting at that starting line, I’m not thinking about, ‘I have to get the warrant for Town Meeting printed out,’ or I have to address this records request, or that personnel item, or this budget request. It’s just focusing on the lights and trying to win the race.”
Her results may not be setting the world on fire — yet — but then, she is basically bringing her car back from the dead. While Green is still awaiting that first win, she said she doesn’t go into a race day thinking she has to win, she is simply aiming to improve at this point as she hones both her car’s mechanics and her drag racing technique.
“I got beat in the first round, but that’s OK. That’s to be expected,” she says of her first competition this season. “My win light will come.”
Last weekend at Epping, she said her car ran really well, even in a loss. She put in a speed of 122 mph in 11.26 seconds over a quarter-mile.
“It is so much fun,” she said of the sport recently. “There’s a strategy to it … learning how to do a burnout is not easy.”
Driving through water and spinning the tires both dries the tires and warms the rubber so it sticks to the blacktop easier for faster takeoffs.
“You have to watch the ‘tree,’” she said. “As the lights come down, you have to make sure you accelerate as soon as that green light goes on.”
Those who fail that, get a red light indicating a false start, and they automatically lose.
So, how many times has that fate befallen her?
“Once,” she said. “It happens even to the most experienced racers.”
Green, who has been interested in cars her whole life through her father Les Lucier, who was also involved in racing.
“He raced, and ever since I basically could walk, he’s been racing, so I’ve spent my whole life growing up [spending] weekends at New England Dragway,” she said of the Epping, N.H. course where she races the 1983 Camaro that once belonged to her dad while he raced from 2006 to 2009. The car was put away after that — sitting in one place for 10 years.
Getting it back in shape to race has been an investment. The whole bottom had to be sanded, mice had found their way into it and established a lot of nests. The roll bars had also rusted and needed to be restored.
The car itself has a new paintjob and the engine required a lot of work — as well as new brakes, rotors and front tires. After all the work had been completed last season, Green spent it on the “test and tune” phase to see what more needed to be done to get back on track — literally.
“Back in the day, when my father raced that car, the fastest it did was 120 mph down a quarter-mile,” she said. “It did a quarter-mile in 11.023 seconds.”
Last year she drove it in 111mph — in 11.47 seconds.
Over this past winter, a whole new fuel system was put in the car, because a lot of the engine components were old and needed to be rebuilt, sand-blasted or replaced. The rear tires were also replaced this go-round. Hanson mechanic John Sandahl, who owns Tube Chassis Designz on off Franklin Street near the Meadow Brook Restaurant, worked on the fuel system.
She was just hoping for a weekend that was not cold and rainy for another test and tune — she got that this past weekend and her first race in the BP Fuels Points Race Series.
She got the sun, but with a temperature of 47 degrees and a 38-degree wind chill, it still was not perfect weather. It cut the track distance to an eighth-mile because of the track conditions and required recalculations to determine how fast the car would have gone at the full quarter-mile.
“I call myself right now in the ‘PeeWee league,’” Green said, compared to the funny car circuit.
“My father’s crew chief, who is Jimmy Reed from Reed Automotive in Whitman, his son, Jim Jr., and myself are a month apart in age,” she said. The younger Reed has also been racing for a long time.
While racing may run in her family — and that of their friends, Green’s father was not a fan of her wish to take up the sport.
Her dad had three cars through his racing career, the 1983 Camaro being his last one.
Jim Reed, Jr., is now racing a 1952 Corvette, Green said. That one is a nine-second car.