Scott's Heavy Equipment, Ponci's Diesel
& Mad River Towing's
King of the Hill Saturday
& 1st Annual Diesel Days

June 24, 2006

He brought his Goselin Transportation company car – a ’99 Peterbuilt powered by a C12 Caterpillar - and though Wayne Mack had no intention of racing the dark blue-and-chrome rig, he was more than curious to see how Samoa Drag Strip’s first-ever Diesel Days bracket would go down.

Scott’s Heavy Equipment/Ponci’s Diesel/Mad River Towing King of the Hill featured an extra bracket of about 20 diesel pickups ‘stacked to smoke the competition. A treat in Eliminations featured sponsors Brad Ponci and John Farber facing off in non-points grudge matches at the end of each round. Ponci’s low-12’s/high-11’s Dodge, Farber’s mid-25’s tow truck (handicapped ‘til near the 1/8-mile in the second round). It was to be a best-of-three, but ended in a tie. Ponci’s diesel was later seen hitched to Farber’s tow truck. “Tranny trouble,” Farber later explained. The Diesel final featured Redding tall-shifters Gary Riley and Chris Werner. After a long day of wow’ing the crowd with acceleration, Riley’s ’98 Dodge tall-boy placed 1st with a 11.84 run at 118 mph over Werner’s ’01 Dodge 3500 4X4, running 15.23 at 93 mph. Riley also took home best package among the diesels. The day’s Top Qualifier flew lower to the ground: Gary Howe’s 1960 front engine dragster, with a 8.90 pass @ 146 mph, the Carlotta racer’s second consecutive t.q.

No one reached a perfect en-Lightenment (.500), though Mike Salazar’s ’72 Chevelle reached a starting line Zen of a .501 reaction time.

Kara Pettit continued to be the fastest Junior Dragster, pulling a 7.99 at 81 mph in time trials, winning in the semi final… at the cost of her clutch, sending it to the trailer. Mike Pettit and Robbie Waddell met in the Final, Waddell breaking-out (11.479 on a 11.48 dial-in at 67 mph), as Pettit raced to 1st place with a 9.15 run at 54 mph. The Consolation round was a tight race: Malli Blasedell’s 9.60 at 67 mph just over Kacee Mela’s 9.50 at 68 mph, “McKinleyville Malli” the young victor.

In Motorcycles, Leif “Chopper” Magnesun’s drag bike flew fast all day, but couldn’t hole shot Kris Wohler in time, Wohler’s winning 11.33 e.t. carrying him to the King of the Hill Sportsman final.

King of the Hill is the pairing of 1st place runners in Super Pro against Pro, and Sportsman against Motorcycles. Due to technicalities requiring a re-run, some had to count on extra victories to the top. Defending 1st Place’er Jeff Barth raced Troy Beck twice in the Pro semi final, and in the Final was held from a consecutive win, against points leader John Antongiovanni, Barth’s ’73 Nova running a 12.38 to the ’63 Nova’s 12.60.

In Sportsman, Brian Stone’s ’67 Firebird had to out run Takeshi Murakami’s ’91 Mustang twice to get 1st Place. Stone’s second/official win was a 16.63 pass at 83 mph against Murakami’s 14.50 at 92 mph. In hard luck news, Murakami’s semi final progress at the previous points race was halted by a busted axle, placing the gear slammer at third. Stone’s day wasn’t over yet, as he still needed more success against Kris Wohler’s two-wheeler in King of the Hill Sportsman- and Stone got it. The road to King of the King of the Hill Pro included a Super Pro Final between points leader Dale Waddell and Jim Toledo. Waddell’s ’29 red roadster got him to 1st place at the Grand Slam Eliminator and ran a fast, straight 10.44 in this final, as Toledo’s ’64 Comet remained ahead of him by a mere two-thousandths of a second, sending Jim to the King of the Hill Pro final against Antongiovanni.

Antongiovanni’s Chevy II ran the same e.t. against Toledo as it had against Jeff Barth – 12.60 – as Toledo’s 10.51 run at 128 mph effort hampered by a red-lit start, crowning Antongiovanni at the finish line.

But more awaited them the following Sunday, for the NHRA King of the Track


-- Tim O’Brien