SAMOA DRAGSTRIP-  For many, Sunday’s Boss Eliminator XXVII was an engagement to remember, as proposals were dealt and red lights were lit and narrowly avoided- and that’s only at the starting line.

            Top qualifier status was quickly sought after between Rick Ellsworth, Dennis Ellsworth, Jr. and Richard Williams, long before lunchtime. Dennis, Jr’s dragster initially cut the quickest pass in Qualifying Round 2 with an 8.431 e.t. at 150 mph. Round 3 drew Williams’  “Bad Attitude” roadster to the line for a 8.437 e.t. at 151 mph. In the following race, Jr. re-introduced the e.t.-to-beat as 8.40 at 151 mph, which stuck for the race day.

            The lunchtime intermission saw interesting action at the starting line, as Kim Brown was paged to the lights to find longtime motorcycle racer (and boyfriend) Hans Tautscher on bended knee. (Click here for proposal pictures) She accepted, people cheered wildly, and the finacees entered the pit area together to immediately receive advice and good- natured warnings from friends. Veteran starter Tom Sanders believes it’s the first on-track proposal for the 50-plus year-old  dragstrip.

            Brad Schiewe had an interesting day at the office, when his Super Pro ’74 Mustang leapt off the line in a red-lit start, and had a rough landing a bit too close to the center line, almost leading him into the dirt or into a rail. Tower lane competitor Rick Ellsworth pulled the reigns on his dragster to brake-and-drive around it. After a complete finish, both racers had a rerun in a later catch-up round, but at the time it was a response to a front-end suspension change that threw Schiewe for a curve. 

            A lot of red-lit reaction times were being hit in Round 1 of  qualifying and Eliminations. Mike Scoggin, as one of many examples, got a clean start by Qualifying Round 3, but Eliminations Round 1 cut his ’46 Chevy pickup from the pack with a .498 light, which was typical result with other victims of the .500 ‘tree in Eliminations.

            Kirk Speelman out-biked runner-up Wayne Cox in the Redwood Harley Davidson/Eureka Motorsports Sportsman Motorcycle class with a 10.50 e.t.  Three rounds of Gamblers’ racing proved Jim Broderson’s ’03 F-150 the victor over Justin Saunders’ ’02 Mitsubishi. Broderson had a good day, joining Tom Kinney’s Pro ’74 VW Bug in having a perfect (.500) reaction time.

Geo Brooks out-did Jeremiah Grant in the Motorcycles’ Gamblers’ brackets, and Glen Terry’s El Camino made a runner up out of Brian Stone’s ’67 Firebird. Terry’s Elko dipped into the 18-second realm, but mostly hung in the 19s, as was his winning e.t.: 19.10 against Stone’s 16.60.

            On the weekend of July 9th and 10th Joe Scheel and Adam Moore had first-place results in Quick Street, but this weekend there was only room for one, and it was Scheel’s Duster, running 12.39 to the ’69 Camaro’s 12.35. Troy Beck, who by that weekend was the Quick Street points leader, attained Third in a run matching his dial-in: 12.18.   Beck’s ’69 GTO was Third, as well, in Pro, running 12.20.  Jerry Toledo’s ’70 Maverick returned to Samoa for the first time, this season, to take home First Place winnings in Pro, with his 11.92 run over Bart Overson’s 12.33 in the ’90 GMC.

            Ana Toledo had a good day with her ’69 Mustang, running dead-on her dial-in of 13.99. Girl-power ran strong at the Samoa ‘strip, as two Junior Dragster pilots came close to running dead-ons, as well, in the Eighth-mile: Kristy Pesenti (9.15), and Kara Petit (7.994).  It helped carry Petit to the semi-finals, but not enough to win over defending Junior Dragster points-leader Robbie Waddell, who took home a second consecutive 1st-place trophy. First-season runners Preston Daniels and Kacee Mela duked it out in the Eighth-mile for the consultation win, with Daniels coming out on top.

            Top Qualifier Dennis Ellsworth, Jr. was Super Pro runner-up against Scott Tucker’s Barracuda on July 10th, but the Wonder Brothers drag car returned for the Boss Eliminator 1st Place win in a 8.50 run over Dale Waddell’s ’27 T Roadster, which ran 10.48 for a runner-up win. Kyle Skillings’ ’65 Impala, running consistent low 9-second runs all day, took Third.

             Humboldt-Del Norte Timing Association’s Golden Anniversary continues August 13th with the annual Samoa Nostalgia Reunion Saturday Shootout. Sponsored by Leon’s Car Care Center, it will be followed, Sunday, by Wonder Bros. Auto Body/Aamco Transmission Samoa Challenge Cup & National Dragster Challenge Race. It’ll be a doubleheader race weekend, where we look forward to seeing you – and your ride – at the drags. 


                                                -- Tim O’Brien