Tim's Dragstrip News For April 25, 2010
Competition Eliminator, April 25th
One of the neatest things to find behind the opening curtain of a new racing season is returning racers going faster, even stepping up to licensing passes (to legally go 9.99 or faster than 135 mph). More than a handful of that was found in the 55th season-opening Competition Eliminator, April 25th, hosted by Belinda's Bail Bonds, Eureka Car Stereo and Fat Rat Enterprises, featuring the 2nd annual Imports Class sponsored by McCrea Nissan.
The Brazil family had us checking notes as father Tom piloted the 8-second Hemi dragster in competion and son Jeff made licensing passes with it. Jake Morris' dragster's Session 1 pass of 9.15 at 157 mph would long stand as the quickest pass until Tom Brazil's 8.71 in time trials, giving him Top Qualifier standing. The quickest elapsed time in Motorcycles was hammered in by Phil Nasca, running 8.70 in Time Trials. Top Qualifer - measured by shortest reaction time - was '09 points champ George Brooks with an .038 in Session 3 (.400 tree). Among all racers, one snagged a perfect light- Jerry Toledo with his Pro '70 Maverick.
Toledo finished last year 4th in Pro points amidst an extremely tight top-ten points chase, finishing a mere 8 points behind Mike Wright. In the Eliminator semi finals, Don Kohls' 11-second '37 Chevy slantback would breakout against Toledo, sending Jerry to a final in which he'd win over Doug Atkins' '69 Camaro Z28 (11.29 over the Camaro's 12.81), starting the race with a .007 reaction time.
Toledo's brother Jim also made it to the semi finals - in Super Pro -, his '64 Mercury Comet taking advantage of Ray Rapp's red-light start. Toledo would then face Leonard Daniels. Both Leonard and son Curtis had strong returns to the track, but Leonard's '68 Camaro would breakout against Toledo in the final (11.03 on an 11.06 dial-in), Toledo's Comet streaking out the first Super Pro 1st Place win of the new year with an 11.34 at 118 mph. Not a bad start after returning 2nd place in Super Pro points, in '09.
In Motorcycles, the aforementioned George Brooks climbed his Top Qualifier Hybusa to the final, the points champ facing Jason Garza, who finished 5th in '09 points. Brooks had the best reaction time in Time Trials, but would trip the .400 starting lights too soon - two thousandths of a second too quick (.398), launching into a 9.07 pass at 145 mph but accidentally aiding Garza to a 1st place win, Garza's more upright Kawasaki running 11.24 at 120 mph.
Sportsman was the biggest field in attendance, which included contestants in the one-time special Import class,. One of the Import finalists was last year's Import champ, Adam Moore. In last year's event, Moore had his Subaru Impreza running in triple duty between Sportsman, Import and Pro. A lot of tuning. This year he tuned it well enough to reach Import finals again, but tire grip he hadn't achieved yet that day tripped him up out of the starting line, Justin Sanders' Mitsubishi having a much straighter run for the win (18.53 over Moore's 13.09).
In Sportsman the final would feature Glen Terry (finished last year 6th in points) and Duane Mayo's '79 Camaro taking on Terry's '70 Plymouth Duster. Terry who took first in last year's season opening Competition Eliminator, usually campaigns with a Slant Six '65 Dodge Dart, but he started the season with something a bit quicker in the ETs, bringing a 12-second Duster. Mayo, who finished last year right behind Terry in points (7th), took 1st place with his Camaro running 13.49 over Terry's 12.41.
Some of the interesting facets of the opener include repeat finalists, like Austin Petersen. Petersen, who would trail points leader Kevin Will in Junior Dragster points for most of last season would come out the points champ. Austin's season started with a Final appearance last year- and this year, racing Ashley Johnson. Johnson would be the one to begin 2010 with a 1st place win, running 11.19 at 59 mph in the 1/8-mile over Austin's 9.59 at 66 mph. She finished 3rd in points, last year, and begins her third year in Juniors a points leader. In Consolation, Melissa Surber took a win over Mikie Pires, Jr., Melissa's 8.84 at 71 mph over Pires' 10.28 at 61 mph.
The next points race - May 23rd's Primo Eliminator, sponsored by Ivey's Automotive Repair - is preceded the previous day by the Budweiser Street Legals, at 5:30, Saturday May 22nd. April 24 was the opener for the free to race/free to watch event that Northcoast Mercantile continues to help provide. A huge turnout included several Camaros and late model Mustangs, in particular. As part of the Primo, Ivey's Automotive will feature a special one-time Chevy-versus-Ford bracket. Even if you have the maddest Escort or a an Aspire with road rash, bring it to get teched. I'll make sure you get hyped with the rest of them. But you gotta come out.
See you at the second points-race date, at the historic Samoa Dragstrip,
-- Tim O'Brien