Fresh off of their final round appearance at the Southern Nationals, Team Aruba was looking strong at the IHRA Nitro Jam Palm Beach Nationals. Although back-to-back weekends can be tough for a team whose driver resides in another country, it proved to be beneficial to Team Aruba. They carried the momentum from the runner up finish across the state of Florida Palm Beach International Raceway. They qualified third with a 6.343 elapsed time, setting themselves in the top half of the field for eliminations.
In round one the Aruba.com Mustang took on JR Carr. Eman had over five hundredths of an advantage on reaction time alone, but wouldn’t need it as he bested Carr on both ends of the track with a 6.38 elapsed time to Carr’s 6.45. The semi final round would be a repeat of the Southern Nationals final round, in which Eman had to run competitor and good friend John Montecalvo. Unfortunately, the result would also be the same with Montecalvo getting the win and then going on to capture his second victory in as many weeks. Still, Team Aruba’s showing at the last two events was enough to move them to fourth in Pro Stock points.
“This is a result of a combination of a great team, a great Jerry Haas built car and great Jon Kaase power in our Ford Hemi engine,” told Eman. “My father, Ven and I cannot be more proud and happier with the team we have. Our guys, John Peterson, Bruce Morgan, Shawn Scruggs and Doug Schriefer, all have the same desire to do good and win just like my father and I have. Not only do they want to do good on the race track, but they also understand the importance of Team Aruba’s additional goals, which is to promote our native island Aruba as the tourist destination that it is most known for.
“The past weekend in West Palm Beach was a nice weekend for me, especially, as I had the company of my wife Nicole,” continued Eman. “She does not get to go to all the races now that we reside back in Aruba after finishing college. Not only was I happy to have her at the race track, but all the friends that she has made at the race track were also happy to see her again. My cousin Nelson was also in West Palm Beach with us. Nelson is a ‘distant’ crew member of Team Aruba. He used to always travel with us to the races in the States as an active crew member, but due to work obligations cannot make it to all the races as before.
This sort of company is nice for us, due to the fact that when we head out to a race we fly over from Aruba and leave our family behind for the duration of the race. In this case it was three weeks total from the time we left Aruba to the time we returned.”
Although it was a great event for Team Aruba, with friends, family and a semi-final finish, an on-track accident in Pro Stock cast a shadow over the entire race.
“Our thoughts go out to Cale Aronson as he recovers from his crash,” Eman added. “This accident happened right before I had to make my run, so I saw the accident as we were still sitting in front of the burnout box. I know he hit the wall pretty hard and unfortunately that put him in the hospital. I know he is undergoing procedures to correct the fractures he has suffered. I hope he recuperates quickly and comes racing back soon. The Mountain Motor Pro Stock category is a tight group and there are not many of these cars in the country. The class has been recently building up with new competitors, I hope this setback does not put Cale on the sidelines for too long. We wish him, his wife Tinzy and his father Chuck well and hope to see him and the race car recover soon.”
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