S & H Auto Machine
NHRA National Dragster Challenge
August 6, 2006
New faces and drivers continue to enter the scene late in the season at the Samoa Drag Strip, as the Fort Bragg pack of old schoolers came back competing for Wally trophies in the Q-Kiss Motorsports Fabricating/Fat Rat Enterprises/S&H Auto Machine National Dragster Challenge.
The highly sought after NHRA trophies were displayed in the Winner’s Circle all day, racers working to take them home. Kyle Skillings’ ’94 Berretta pulled an 8.57 e.t. in time trials Session 1, matched closest by his next run: 8:578, earning a third consecutive Top Qualifier paycheck.
Oliver Taylor hadn’t been racing at Samoa Dragstrip for quite some time – six years, in fact – due largely to service in the Navy. Sunday, he brought his sky blue ’66 Mustang, working his way to the Sportsman Finals, aside Jim Broderson. Broderson was busy in Pro with his ’63 Falcon as well as his ’99 F-150 in Sportsman. Behind Jim Prueher by a point in the Sportsman Top Ten, his long bed holeshot Taylor’s pony car, 17.85 at 75 mph to the Navyman’s 15.46 at 87 mph, getting a 1st Place Wally. Taylor was still pleased with his returning outcome.
Below Brodersen by a point was Tom Bremer, eliminated in Sportsman rounds, contending his ’78 Trans Am further in the Gambler’s bracket. He met up with Steve Morris’ deep purple ’72 Chevelle in the Final, Morris committing a red-lit start, Bremer’s T/A bringing him the money pot with a 13.54 run at 96 mph, Morris running 11.46 at 114 mph.
Sometimes drag racing is a strange sport (sometimes?). For instance, on her way to the Consolation round in Junior Dragsters, when Liz Sjoquist beat fellow rookie Alyssa Masterson with a 13.00 1/8-mile run at 48 mph, making way for the tower to eagerly learn who’d she face, she discovered she’d won in Consolation since here competitor – points leader Robbie Waddell – declined to enter the round. Waddell was also busy directing staging lane traffic for Starter Tom. “Can I still make a run?” asked race addict Sjoquist. Like father like daughter.
Speaking of which, dad Gordon was racing ’63 Studebaker Lark and a two-wheeler- a Kawasaki Ninja. He fared well in Eliminations with the bike, but the Sportsman Motorcycle Final saw Unlucky Racing Team’s Mike Pires against Darrin Torrance. The Brookings, Oregon biker beat Pires to the Wally, Darrin’s 11.58 run to Pires’s 12.43 run.
For the Junior Dragster Final both contenders kept e.t.’s a hundredth of a second near their dial-in, points runner-up Kaycee Mela getting there first with a 9.59 effort as rookie Krystal Hughes’ 11.13 was a break-out to her 11.14 dial-in.
In the Pro Final, Jason Giacone’s ’68 Mustang took on points leader John Antongiovanni’s ’65 Chevy II. No one ran dead on their dial-in that day (Ray Rapp ran closest, his ’71 Vega earning Best Package), and despite a quicker e.t. and faster speed, Giacone couldn’t beat Antongiovanni to the finish line, 12.33 at 108 mph to the winner’s 12.56 at 105 mph.
Super Pro points leader Dale Waddell has had lots of runner-up finishes this season (previous race day, in fact). In the Boss Eliminator, he broke out two-thousandths under his 10.18 dial-in. Against Curtis Daniels in the National Dragster Challenge Final, hovered six-thousandths over his dial-in, aiding his ’27 T roadster ahead of the ’69 Chevelle, 10.196 at 132 mph over Daniels’ 11.29 at 119 mph. To make things better, it was Waddell’s first Wally trophy.
The season continues as Leon’s Car Care Center hosts our annual Nostalgia Reunion and Saturday Shoot-out, August 19, one of the biggest runs of the year, a car show and drag day wrapped up in one. There won’t be Eureka P.D. Street Legals that night (they continue September 9), but get your fix of street drags at the Thursday Night Drags in the next four weeks.
The Nostalgia Reunion is part of a double-race weekend, as Sunday the 20th features the Aamco Transmission Samoa Challenge Cup at the Samoa Dragstrip, where every ticket is also your pit pass.
Tach it up, Tach it up/Buddy, gonna shut you down,
-- Tim O’Brien