Tim's Dragstrip News For May 23, 2010        

Doug Atkins
2nd Place Chevy vs. Ford

Curtis Daniels,
1st Place Chevy vs. Ford


Primo Eliminator 

            The season, still young, is presenting itself with a lot of surprising results and close racing, as apparent in Season #55's second race date, sponsored by Ivey Automotive Repair of Fortuna, Sunday May 23rd.

            It began with every bracket having a tie near 3rd or 4th place in points. By the Time Trials Session 2 came around, racers came even closer to getting perfect reaction times, until two of them did, in Session 3.

            Wayne Cox began his hometrack season in Sportsman Motorcycle as the bracket's top qualifier. Defined by the bikers as he or she that has the lowest reaction time, he notched it with a .400 RT on a .400 tree. That launched him into the bikes' quickest e.t. in qualifying, 8.84.  Harry Gallaway's dragster held TQ court for four-wheeled racers, having the day's low e.t. of 8.65 in Session 3 (trimmed down from his previous run of 8.69).  Mike Marlin would later join Cox in having a perfect reaction time with his '66 Ranchero (.500 on a .500 tree).

            Cox would ascend his green Kawasaki drag bike to the Finals, his race against Kara Pettit the second consecutive double-breakout finish after the Final bracket just before them. In Semifinals, Cox was one-thousandth of a second from being dead on his dial in (8.831 on a 8.83 d.i.), in the Final he'd run eight-hundredths of second below that same dial-in, a lucky break for his tower lane competitor, Pettit running four-thousandths of a second under her 10.98 dial in, earning her a first place win.

            The race just prior to that was the Super Pro Final, featuring two guys snagging good reaction times that day: Ray Rapp with an .003 along the way, Michael Giacone with an .001. Giacone's '67 Fairlane would run 10.37 under his 10.46 dial-in, Rapp's '71 Vega ran a lesser-offense breakout of 10.16 under his 10.17 dial-in, grabbing a 1st Place finish.

            The day's finals featured some repeat finalists from April 25's season opener. Two of them were Jerry Toledo and Doug Atkins. In April's Competition Eliminator, Toledo's Pro '70 Maverick had a 1st place win over Atkins' '69 Chevy Z28. In the Primo's eliminations, they raced twice in two brackets, Toledo beating Atkins in Pro (they both had an under-.500 reaction time, Atkins with the red light), Atkins beating Toledo in the day's special Chevy vs Ford bracket, Atkins with a .004 RT against the Maverick's .090 RT.  Toledo would reach the Pro final, Atkins a Chevy vs Ford Finalist.  

            In the Pro Final, Jim Broderson's '63 Falcon raced Toledo, both of them extremely close to their dial-ins, neither one breaking out, Broderson with a winning 11.68 run (11.67 d.i.), Toledo running 11.16 (11.14 d.i.).  Atkins' Z28 and finalist Curtis Daniels' '68 Chevelle made it more of a Chevy vs Chevy  Final, Atkins with a breakout loss (12.40 under his 12.48 d.i.), Daniels running 11.57 just above his 11.56 dial-in for the win.

            In the Junior Dragster eighth-mile, Kaycee Mela, too, ran close to her dial-in in the Final (10.17 on a 10.15 d.i.) for a win over Mikie Pires' effort of 10.43. In semi-finals she ran 10.18 under her 10.19 dial-in, though kept alive in competition from Kyle Barrett's deeper breakout of 8.25 on an 8.36 d.i. (lowest e.t. in Juniors of the day, by the way). Also noteable: Ashley Barrett joined grownup Michael Giacone in having a low .001 reaction time in the Primo (Round 1, for Barrett), Austin Petersen had a good .007 tree in that same Round 1 race.

            The Sportsman Final featured a second consecutive showing for Glen Terry, who runner-up'ed against Duane Mayo in the season opener. This time 2009 Sportsman points champ Mitch Marlin and his '87 Thunderbird raced Glen Terry's '70 Duster (after escaping a double-breakout race with a win over Brandon Kasso's '56 Bug in Semi Finals, Marlin's 15.65 on a 15.66 d.i. to the Bug's 13.53 on a 13.55 d.i.). Terry took the win, aided by a much better reaction time, running 12.53 ahead of Marlin's 15.88 run.

            And now, a confession. About 97% of this story is written off of my notes through the day. The track's new PortaTree computer system offers end-of-the-event printouts of all the elimination rounds' races, a great breakdown that reveals alot of how racers did along the way (thank you, Val Scoggins, for teaching me this new feature!). That said, allow me to geek out with a few interesting things from the eliminations stats:

            -- Narrowest margin of victory was between Juniors Melissa Surber and Kyle Barrett in Round 1, .0004 of a second between Barrett (winner) and Surber. The aforementioned Marlin-Kasso race was close, too: .00187 of a second between them.

          -- Fastest E.Ts,  Speeds and closest-to-dial ins (without breaking out):

Super Pro:   

Harry Gallaway, 8.74 in Round 2  &  147 mph in Round 1. Ray Rapp, 10.17 on a 10.16 d.i., R3.


Ray Rapp, 10.16 and 130 mph in R2, Pam Conn,  10.426, R1.


Wayne Cox, 8.75 in Final,  Phil Nasca, 149 mph in R1, Wayne Cox 8.831 in R3 (Noteworthy: Kara Pettit ran .007 above her 10.98 dial in in R2 and R3).

Junior Dragsters (1/8-mile):  

Kyle Barrett, 8.25 at 78 mph in Semi Final, Kaycee Mela, 10.17 on a 10.15 d.i. in the Final.           


Duane Mayo, 12.45 at 110 mph in R2, Larry Ghidinelli, 12.964 in R1.

Special Ford VS Chevy class

Mike Scoggin 10.42 in a '46 Chevy truck, Pam Conn,  129 mph in the historic 'Raffle Race Car' '74 Chevy Camaro, Mike Pettit, Sr., 14.955 with an '02 Ford F150.

            Admittedly, that research took longer than I'd expected, but still worth it (to me at least; let me know what you think, though. I'll feature it more often if readers are interested). Partly because there's more human magic to be found beyond - or sometimes why - someone won. 

            The season and magic-in-the-details further unfolds in the next event, the Boss Eliminator, Sunday June 6, sponsored by Renner Petroleum and Steve Morris Contracting. Don't forget the Budweiser Street Legal Racing Series the afternoon before, beginning at 5:30pm, free to watch and free to race (yes, free to race).

            Next race weekend is right around the corner, so see you at the historic Samoa 'Strip soon!

                                                  -- Tim O'Brien

                                Track Announcer, Quarter-Mile Stats Geek