August 14, 2005

National Dragster Challenge


SAMOA DRAG STRIP: The next day drivers raced for the real Wally trophies, in the Wonder Bros. Auto Body/Aamco Transmission Samoa Challenge Cup/National Dragster Challenge Points Race, as well as featuring a lot of déjà vu.

      Richard Williams’ ’32 Austin Super Pro drag car returned with more “Bad Attitude”, clinching a second consecutive Top Qualifier standing.  Saturday he did it with a 8.46 pass on Saturday, Sunday it flew quicker with an 8.44 e.t. in qualifying.  It stood as the low e.t. of the day until he red-lit against Dennis Ellsworth, Jr.’s 8.43 run in the first round of Eliminations.

      Sunday saw another all-girl final for Junior Dragsters, with Malli Blasdell defending the previous days’ 1st place, and Kara Pettit (previous day’s runner-up) trying to cause a different result, with no success.  Saturday’s Consolation winner, Robbie Waddell, earned a second chance at it against Kacee Mela, and reclaimed it.

      “Bomber John” Widmann’s drag bike was a black streak hitting dead-on his dial-in (9.02) during a 141 mph run in Eliminations Round 2. He re-met Kirk Speelman in the Final for a second consecutive win, but it was Speelman’s turn to take home a 1st place trophy. John Antongiovanni’s Chevy II Nova returned to the Pro Final for a second win of the weekend, against Rogue River, OR’s Dennis Adkins, whose ’69 GTO red-lit. Chuck Thompson let “Old Blue” loose on the track, again, for a 3rd-place finish in his 11-second ’54 Coronet gasser.

      John Farber and Chad Elgin took turns threatening the Pro and Quick Street competition with a ’73 Demon, which got Farber into the Quick Street finals- though it couldn’t bounce back from injury, which yielded the win to Wes Brown and his ’69 Chevelle by default. Brown’s Chevelle ran consistently all day, keeping Troy Beck’s ’69 GTO and Mike Marlin’s ’66 Ranchero – the Best Package of the day – at bay. Beck and Marlin tied for Third.

      Glen Terry returned with his ’76 El Camino for a Street Final matchup against Richard Williams. Williams did double duty between his Bad Attitude Super Pro roadster and his Street bracket Prowler. He hunted down competition all day long, but the Prowler out-ran itself with a 15.10 e.t. breakout against Terry, whose Elko got the win with a 17.552 e.t. ( a hair or two over its 17.55 dial-in).

      Several contenders made the National Dragster Challenge exciting with head turning tight races, including a double-breakout race between Dale Waddell’s Super Pro ’27 T and Tim Huffine’s ’86 Mustang. Both speed machines hit the finish line at 130 mph in a double-breakout race, with Huffine the worst offender. Eliminations Round 1 was especially full of double-breakout results- William Bommelyn’s ’72 Chevelle ran 11.949 under his 11.95 dial-in. Roger Ponder returned with his “Nasty” Nova. Saturday he had perfect reaction time and a near dead-on dial in, but Sunday stung him out of eliminations with a .499 reaction time. It was Sarah Henderson’s turn for a perfect reaction time, as she clinched a .500 in a Pro ’60 F-100. By Round 1, she brokeout with a 11.69 under her 11.70 dial-in. 

      The Samoa Challenge Cup is made up of points champions and runner-ups from last season, and major event winners of ’04 and ’05, and it was fought this year with lots of breakouts and red-lit reaction times.  In the semi-finals, Dale Waddell broke out with a 10.389 under his roadster’s 10.39 dial-in, tying him for 3rd with Troy Beck (Saturday’s Pro runner up).  In Eliminations Round 1 alone, Ron Gulbransen brokeout against Beck, who ran a 12.109 . John Anton ran a 12.541 over a 12.54 dial-in against Harlan Tucker’s Barracuda, who broke-out. Ana Toledo’s ’69 Mustang red-lit against Dale Waddell, and Mike Scoggin’s Pro ’46 Chevy truck red-lit against Jerry Toledo, whose ’70 Maverick met against John Antongiovanni’s Nova in the Final for a win (Antongiovanni broke out).

      In Super Pro Round 1, Dennis Ellsworth, Jr. cut a new low e.t. of the day with his 8.43 run against Richard Williams.  The Wonder Bros. Auto Body dragster would race Brad Schiewe – of fellow race sponsor AAMCO Transmissions in the Final. A second Wonder Bros. low flyer – Rick Ellsworth – got 3rd place.  For the finale, Schiewe’s leaping ’74 Mustang ran dead-on its dial-in (9.39), but a red-lit start killed Schiewe’s chances for victory, as Ellsworth, Jr. took a third consecutive 1st-place win, cementing the day’s low e.t. at 8.42.   

      The Eureka Police Dept. Street Legal Drags continues its season of keeping racing off the street come Saturday, August 27th (in addition, Racin’ Jason hosts the Thursday Night Street Drags every week at 6pm). On the 28th bracket racing continues at the Samoa ‘strip, as they run for the money in the Top Eliminator, with potentially tighter shaves between victory, loss and being dead-on it.


n      Tim O’Brien

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