Tim's Dragstrip News For June 19, 2010        





South Coast Tire Shootout Weekend   

            An ongoing tradition of King of the Hill/King of the Track annual weekends has turned into the South Coast Tire Shootout, kicking off Saturday, June 19 with King of the Hill, this year sponsored by Willits Tire Center and One Stop Garden Shop.

            The season is developing with some interesting patterns. You have a driver winning back-to-back first-place finishes to then go out in the 1st round. Another makes consistent ETs and close-to-dial ins (or squeaking out of double breakout finishes winning) round after round, not to mention double breakouts in Finals with super tight margins of victory. A rookie Sportsman racer takes on a veteran in a final. A biker with a dial-in 5 seconds slower than his competitor comes out winning, and though cars leave some race days on tow trucks, they're back the next event, revving into a new day.

            Sportsman saw the return of John Terry with his '70 Nova earn a bye run into the semi final. In that round, rookie Elizabeth Sjoquist's '64 Studebaker took a win over Ana Toledo's '69 Mustang, 17.16 over Toledo's 12.58 breakout run under her 12.62 dial in. Noteably, Sjoquist started her run with an .007 reaction time. She'd then take on Terry, Terry taking a win in his first visit of the season, 15.20 over her 17.30.

            Moving further into his second year in Motorcycles, young Mike Pettit, Jr. worked his way into the Motorcycle final, in which he had the second best reaction time of the Eliminations bikers (.016 on a .400). The best reaction time of the field - a perfect RT of .000 - was committed by his Finals competitor earlier in Round 1: Sylus Girard. But Pettit, Jr., who finished his Rookie year 3rd in points over all,  would out run Girard's '86 GSXR in the Final with his 2000 Summit snowmobile, 10.17 over 10.28.

            Girard's perfect RT was joined by Pro racer Harlan Tucker, whose Round 1 perfect reaction time helped in a win over Mike Wright. Tucker enter the race tied for 4th in points with Doug Atkins. Atkins was absent in eliminations, as Tucker's '67 Barracuda worked it's way into a Final against John Antongiovanni. For Antongiovanni, returning after a first place and Best Package finish in the previous event, the Boss Eliminator, it helped launch him to 2nd place in points. In Day 1 of the Tire Shootout, his Nova beat Tucker's 'Cuda, 12.16 over 11.17. Interestingly, John's dial in  of 12.12 was the e.t. he ran for a 1st place win over Mike Wright in the Boss Eliminator.

            Young Justin Wells had his first race of the year at Samoa Dragstrip, and it saw him in the Finals against Mikie Pires. Wells suffered a red-lit start launching into his 8.48 Eighth-Mile run (on an 8.45 dial in), Pires taking First Place win.

            Eliminations also included a special Mustang class sponsored by Harper Ford. While Harper Ford showed off a brand new Mustang, three Mustangs of varying age became the main contenders in an eleven pony car field. Larry Ghidennelli made it as far as the quarter finals in Sportsman but earned a bye run in the Mustang class with his '93. Jason Giacone's Pro '65 took on Ron Gulbransen's '68 California Special edition Mustang, Gulbransen taking the 1st place purse from Harper Ford.

            On paper, Super Pro's rounds had some extremely interesting matchups: Ray Rapp and Jim Toledo race in Round 1 (Rapp's Vega advances); Scott Tucker returns with his '70 Challenger to take on newcomer Mike Benner's front engine dragster, also in Round 1; young Curtis Daniels takes a win over Ken Drake, Sr.'s 9-second '32 sedan, Drake running .008 under his 9.80 dial in. Greg Crone runs .009 under his 10.10 dial in as competitor Mike Giacone runs 10.40 just over his 10.39 dial in, earning him a bye run into the Semi Finals.

            In the Semi Finals, Curtis Daniels's '69 Chevelle takes a win over Tucker's Challenger, Tucker breaking out 10.35 under his 10.37 dial in. Daniels then enters his second consecutive  Finals appearance against Giacone for a double breakout finish, Daniels running 11.605 under his 11.61 dial in, Giacone rolling 10.404 under his 10.41 dial in, essentially losing the race by going .001 further under his dial in than Daniels. For Daniels, who entered the race 3 mere points behind then-second place points holder Jim Toledo, the win is pretty big. For Giacone it breaks his tie for 5th in points with Curtis' father Leonard and succeeds Rich Givens to reach 3rd place in points.

            The season rolls forward the next day, Sunday, with North Coast Tire's sponsorship of this year's King of the Track, the first race of the season to feature the famed Wally trophy...

                                  See ya at the Samoa 'Strip,      -- Tim O'Brien

                                                                                 Track Announcer