California Hot Rod Reunion at Bakersfield with Dave DeAngelis

Photography by  “Diamond” Dave DeAngelis

Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy of NHRA Communications

It's Bakersfield. What else can you say

It’s Bakersfield. What else can you say

Dave DeAngelis, one of the premier photographers on the East Coast and frequent contributor to NorthEastDragReview, travelled to the left coast of the USA to capture the beauty and action from the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at historic Bakersfield Dragway in Famosa CA.

Party like it's 1966

Party like it’s 1966

So many classes being contested at the CHRR

So many classes being contested at the CHRR

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Tony Bartone, former D1 Champ and long time fuel racer, ran the table all year in Top Fuel as his NY based dragster never saw a losing round in 2014

Tony Bartone, former D1 Champ and long time fuel racer, ran the table all year in Top Fuel as his NY based dragster never saw a losing round in 2014

The event, the final event in the NHRA Heritage series, came to a thrilling close as all eyes were on the drag strip during a busy day of racing.

Former Bakersfield winner Adam Sorokin had a forgettable weekend as his swoopy dragster broke in Round 1

Former Bakersfield winner Adam Sorokin had a forgettable weekend as his swoopy dragster broke in Round 1. Here Sorokin (near lane) slows after a qualifying pass

In the Nostalgia Top Fuel final, Tony Bartone and Rick White were pitted in the championship round with Bartone eyeing his fifth win of the year and a clean sweep of the season. Bartone had secured the Top Fuel title before the event and had yet to lose a single round of eliminations. As the cars staged in the finals, White’s dragster deep-staged, rocked through the staging lights and red lit, giving the win to Bartone and completing his perfect season.

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TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Rick White, Hansen, 5.684, 254.28 def. David Hirata, N + P, 6.032, 175.05; Bill Dunlap, Stirling, 5.764, 224.17 def. Brendan Murry, Rooman, 6.144, 182.72; Jim Young, 5.848, 246.66 def. Jim Murphy, N & P, 6.066, 245.32; Rick McGee, Uyehara, 5.828, 209.75 def. Ron August, Uyehara, 6.997, 147.12; Rick Williamson, Davidson, 5.804, 252.90 def. Denver Schutz, N & P, 5.826, 227.19; Terry Cox, Uyehara, 5.871, 226.58 def. Dusty Green, Stirling, 6.520, 168.56; Tony Bartone, Mckinney, 5.680, 230.10 def. Adam Sorokin, Stirling, broke; Tony Bartone, Mckinney, 5.680, 230.10 was unopposed; 
QUARTERFINALS — Bartone, 5.634, 237.30 def. Cox, 5.961, 218.37; White, 5.684, 254.52 was unopposed; Dunlap, 5.770, 226.39 def. Williamson, 6.082, 196.96; Young, 5.743, 253.28 def. McGee, 6.117, 198.03; 
SEMIFINALS — White, 5.859, 211.56 def. Dunlap, foul; Bartone, 5.642, 256.70 def. Young, 5.768, 247.70; 
FINAL — Bartone, 5.864, 212.39 def. White, broke.

Dan Horan's pony went to the winner's circle at the CHRR

Dan Horan’s pony went to the winner’s circle at the CHRR

Funny Car went to the ultra thin Mustang of Dan Horan as he defeated John Hale’s Camaro in the finals on Sunday

Maple Grove Dragway's Mike Lewis who knows his way around a fuel car, piloted the Nitro Nick Vega to a round 2 finish

Maple Grove Dragway’s Mike Lewis who knows his way around a fuel car, piloted the Nitro Nick Vega to a round 2 finish

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Rick Rogers, Camaro, 5.857, 244.07 def. John Weaver, Arrow, 5.857, 239.02; John Hale, Camaro, 5.709, 256.80 def. Richard Townsend, Camaro, 5.791, 237.59; Jason Rupert, Camaro, 5.792, 254.23 def. Brad Thompson, Camaro, 5.758, 251.49; Mark Sanders, Mustang, 5.834, 217.28 def. Dennis Swearingen, Omni, 5.979, 204.20; Jordan Pawlick, Mustang, 5.907, 245.00 def. Steve Easton, Barracuda, 6.032, 231.68; Dan Horan, Mustang, 5.723, 253.09 def. Robert Overholser, Firebird, 5.844, 247.97; James Day, Challenger, 5.805, 244.60 def. Tim Nemeth, Firebird, 14.031, 61.47; Mike Lewis, Vega, 5.864, 242.84 def. Kris Krabill, Firebird, 5.854, 241.84; 
QUARTERFINALS — Day, 5.757, 245.67 def. Rupert, 5.806, 252.38; Hale, 5.765, 253.66 def. Pawlick, 5.887, 244.21; Horan, 5.728, 254.42 def. Lewis, 5.937, 221.71; Sanders, 5.729, 246.62 def. Rogers, foul; 
SEMIFINALS — Hale, 6.267, 211.83 def. Day, broke; Horan, 5.743, 246.84 def. Sanders, 5.735, 249.90; 
FINAL — Horan, 5.724, 254.38 def. Hale, 5.791, 247.29.

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Cacklefest is so cool. All the noise, color and smell you senses can take

Cacklefest is so cool. All the noise, color and smell you senses can take

As usual the best part of the reunion next to the racing, is the Cacklefest and the never ending car show featuring some of the coolest iron ever made.

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It wouldn’t be Bakersfield without the wild AA/FA’s to get the crowd on its feet!

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With so many classes featured at the event, it is nearly impossible to give each class its due. So here are the best of the best from the CHRR. Enjoy

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Sunday’s final results from the 23rd annual California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California at Automobile Club Famoso Raceway.

TOP FUEL
Tony Bartone, Mckinney, 5.864, 212.39 def. Rick White, Hansen, broke.

FUNNY CAR
Dan Horan, Mustang, 5.724, 254.38 def. John Hale, Camaro, 5.791, 247.29.

JUNIOR FUEL
Don Enriquez, Farr, 7.179, 184.98 def. J D Zink, Uyehara, 6.920, 190.38.

A/FUEL
Bobby Cottrell, N & P, 6.355, 216.06 def. Bill Wayne, Uyehara, broke.

7.0 PRO
Bobby Cottrell, 7.033, 179.18 def. Eily Stafford, Hansen, 6.994, 194.80.

7.0 PRO B
Jesse Adams, Dragster, 7.046, 180.38 def. Joey Steckler, Corvette, 7.094, 199.85.

NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR I
Jason Barta, FED, 7.610, 172.78 def. Hans Jakob, Hansen, 7.644, 173.92.

A/GAS
Eric Bush, Camaro, 7.607, 177.37 def. Dean Hall, Impala, 7.625, 177.67.

AFX
Doug Hampton, Fairlane, 10.296, 118.70 def. Mitch Akers, Impala, 10.115, 133.43.

PRO MOD
Mike Maggio, Camaro, 5.699, 259.01 def. Rob Cacioppo, Corvette, broke.

 

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The NHRA Northeast Division Finishes 2014 at the Dutch Classic with Hochrum, Wolkwitz, and Nichols Leading the Winners at the Season Closer

With the Pennsylvania sun setting, Gary Wolkwitz is off the line and on his way to a win at the NED Dutch Classic

With the Pennsylvania sun setting in the background, Gary Wolkwitz (near lane)  is off the line and on his way to a Hemi Challenge win at the NED Dutch Classic

Story by Phil Hutchison  Photos by Diane Kubicke and Phil Hutchison

For more photos from the Dutch, go to: http://www.division1photos.com/

For Round by Round action go to: http://www.northeastdragrace.com/

With the beautiful fall colors in the background of the Grove, two Comp cars slow down after their round one matchup

As the beautiful fall colors  frame a great Sunday at the Grove , two Comp cars slow down after their round one matchup

The weather did not cooperate as well as the racers and the NHRA would have liked. Rain on Friday and Saturday forced eliminations to be completed entirely on a sunny Sunday. Getting the entire field of cars entered at the Dutch down the track in one day was tricky but with minimum down time the event was in the books early Sunday evening. As usual, thanks have to go to the Dave Mohn’s NHRA crew and Lex Dudas’ Maple Grove team to keep the race safe and clean.

The NED faithful had a treat as ESPN Stat Guy Lewis Bloom was in the house doing the play by play during the weekend.

Bucky Hess (near lane) needed to cut the tree down in the finals of the Hemi Challenge, but cut it just a tad too much red lighting and putting Wolkwitz in the winner's circle

Bucky Hess (near lane) needed to cut the tree down in the finals of the Hemi Challenge, but cut it just a tad too much red lighting and putting Wolkwitz in the winner’s circle

Winning the MOPAR Hemi Super Stock Challenge at the Division 1 presented by SONY/P.C. Richard & Son, Dutch Classic was long time D1 racer Gary Wolkwitz from Califon NJ. Gary qualified his red ’68 Dodge Dart on the bottom part of the ladder with an off pace 8.858 during Friday’s abbreviated qualifying session but on Sunday Wolkwitz was the man to beat as his Mopar ran low ET of each round on his way to a final round victory over Bucky Hess.

Wolkwitz'a final round ET tied the NHRA record

Wolkwitz’a final round ET tied the NHRA record

Wolkwitz (far lane) got his ticket to the finals stamped winning over former Dutch champ, Jim Pancake, in the semi final round

Wolkwitz (far lane) got his ticket to the finals stamped winning over former Dutch champ Jim Pancake in the semi final round as Pancake left too soon as is evident by the red light on the tree

In earlier rounds, Wolkwitz defeated  David Barton and former Dutch winner Jim Pancake running an 8.297, and an 8.295 before laying down a NHRA National record tying 8.28 in the finals over a red lighting Hess. Hess still sporting a patched up front end on his Jason Line powered  ’68 Cuda, had a good weekend qualifying in the #2 spot with an 8.393 and was running consistent 8.30’s during eliminations before running into the Wolkwitz Dart onslaught.

Runner up in the Challenge, Bucky Hess, still had the wounds of his crash at Maple Grove during the spring LODRS evident on his '68 Cuda but the Jason Line powered Mopar still made it to the finals

West Virginia’s Bucky Hess, still showing the wounds of his earlier crash during the spring Lucas race  but despite the look,  Bucky put the Jason Line powered Mopar in the finals.  

Kyle Kohr (near lane) was in his first ever Hemi Challenge and got off the line first in round 1 but the Dart of Wendell Howes caught the rookie driver and ran a 8. 435 for the win

Kyle Kohr (near lane) competing in his first ever Dutch Hemi Challenge, got off the line first in round 1 but the Cuda of Wendell Howes caught the rookie driver running a 8. 435 for the win

Mark Howes gets some air in the Team Howes Dodge

Mark Howes gets some air in the Team Howes Dodge

Hemi Guru David Barton, driving the Jim Daniels Cuda, was expected to go rounds at the Dutchafter qualifying #1 with an 8.324 but went out in R2 after spinning the tires agains Wolkwitz

Hemi Guru David Barton, driving  Jim Daniels’ Dart, was expected to go rounds at the Dutch after qualifying #1 with an 8.324 but went out in R2 after spinning the tires against Wolkwitz

The Hemi Challenge racers at the Dutch

The Hemi Challenge racers at the Dutch

Frank Ferrucci (near lane) was way too late

Frank Ferrucci (near lane) was way too late in the finals with a 0.117 RT as Hochrum was off the line with a 0.032 for the win at the Dutch

In Stock Eliminator it was Bob Hochrum’s  BB/SA COPO Camaro running all over the field with  reaction times and ET’s that put the Chevy in the money round.  Hochrum’s final round opponent, former Cecil Country LODRS winner Frank Ferrucci from Patterson NJ, picked a bad time to have a terrible 0.117 light as Hochrum’s 0.032 RT and a 9.393 time sealed the deal for the Colonia NJ racer. 

Earlier Hochrum, who has been racing in D1 for too many years to count, showed the “Kids” in the division how it was done in the NED as he put second generation racers Jeanne Linke, Stephen Smyth, and first year racer Jimmy Daniels on the trailer in his way to a win with the COPO Camaro.

Jeanne Linke had her Camaro going rounds but ran into the all conquering Camaro of Hochrum in R3 and was done for the day

Jeanne Linke had her Camaro going rounds but ran into the all conquering Camaro of Hochrum in R3 and was done for the day

I cannot remember ever seeing Timothy Stickles Dodge Aspen in Stock before but the New Hampshire driver went deep into Stock eliminations bowing our in round 5 losing to runner up Ferrucci

I cannot remember ever seeing Timothy Stickles Dodge Aspen in Stock many NED events,  but the New Hampshire driver went deep into Stock eliminations bowing our in round 5 losing to runner up Ferrucci

It's Nichols (far lane) over the roadster of  in the finals of Super Gas

It’s Nichols (far lane) over the roadster of Vorner in the finals of Super Gas

Wilmington DE Super Gas racer Earl Nichols took his silver and black Corvette roadster to the Dutch win beating Mickey Vorner’s roadster in the finals as Vorner ran too quick with a 9.845 to Earl’s winning 9.925

Earl had one of his best days at the Grove winning Super Gas over a quality field of racers

Earl had one of his best days at the Grove winning Super Gas over a quality field of racers

The finals of Comp had Miller's S-10

The finals of Comp had Miller’s S-10 (near lane) beating a red lighting Mark Hopkins

Competition Eliminator went to Tom Miller’s PSTA Chevy as his opponent, the D/A Beretta of Mark Hopkins left way too soon giving Miller the win.

Comp winner Miller throws out the silk after his Round 1 win

Comp winner Miller throws out the silk after his Round 1 win

Super Stock went to David Chiles GT/BA Chevy over Wayne Truesdell's red lighting GT/D

Super Stock went to David Chiles GT/BA Chevy over Wayne Truesdell’s red lighting GT/D

Trusdell, cut the tree too close giving Chilles the Dutch win

Truesdell (near lane) cut the tree too close giving Chiles the Dutch win

Truesdell had one of his best NED races in quite a while going all the way to the Dutch Super Stock finals

Truesdell had one of his best NED races in quite a while going all the way to the Dutch Super Stock finals

Doug Linke

Doug Linke

Jack Sepanek was the Super Comp champ at the Dutch

Jack Sepanek was the Super Comp champ at the Dutch

The finals of MXI/Magnaflux Top Sportsman presented by Select Performance had Crazy Ed Foley over the Olds of Tom Simone as Ed's Mustang ran a 7.078 on a 7.07 dial

The finals of MXI/Magnaflux Top Sportsman presented by Select Performance had “Crazy” Ed Foley (far lane)  over the Olds of Tom Simone as Ed’s Mustang ran a 7.078 on a 7.07 dial

Ed Foley had another great NED weekend winning the Top Sportsman title at the Dutch

Ed Foley had another great NED weekend winning the Top Sportsman title at the Dutch

Tom Simone put his Olds in the finals of Top Sportsman

Tom Simone put his Olds in the finals of Top Sportsman

Top Dragster went to Joe DiPasquale who had a much better light than his competition, Michael Esposito (near lane)

Top Dragster went to Joe DiPasquale who had a much better light than his competition, Michael Esposito (near lane)

Joe DePasquale

Joe DiPasquale took Top Dragster

The finals of the 10.0 class had a wild wheels up run by both racers with the Mustang of Brian Correll beating the never ending wheelstanding Chevelle of Vinny Laurita

The finals of the 10.0 class had a wild wheels up run by both racers with the Mustang of Brian Correll beating the never ending wheelstanding Chevelle of Vinny Laurita

Vinny Laurita did finally land his Chevy but not after making every Facebook page in the USA

Vinny Laurita did finally land his Chevy but not after making every Facebook page in the USA

Jeff Thornton driving his Super Street Chevelle had the worse weekend of his racing career tagging the left and then the right wall during R2 totaling his Chevy in the process

Jeff Thornton had the worse weekend of his racing career behind the wheel of his Super Street Chevelle. Right after tripping the lights, Jeff got into the left wall and then the right during R2 . Jeff was OK in the crash, the car, not so goodJeff right after hitting the left wall

Jeff right after hitting the left wall

Then Jeff slams into the right wall

Then Jeff slams into the right wall

The finals of the 11.50 bracket had the wagon of Bill Cohen over the Chevy of Avril Krieg

The finals of the 11.50 bracket had the wagon of Bill Cohen over the Chevy of Avril Krieg

The 11.50 winner

The 11.50 winner Bill Cohen

The 8.50 Index final had the Chevelle of Al Davidowski (far lane) over the Mustang of Delon Pleasants in a very close final

The 8.50 Index final had the Chevelle of Al Davidowski (far lane) over the Mustang of Delon Pleasants in a very close final

8.50 winner

8.50 winner Al Davidowski

Best Appearing went to the Olds stocker of Sam Murray

Best Appearing went to the Olds stocker of Sam Murray

Best Engineered award went to the front motored Top Dragster of Bill Masiello

Best Engineered award went to the front motored Top Dragster of Bill Masiello

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Super Street runner up Alain Berard  who went too quick in the final against Marty Ganjoin's Camaro

Super Street runner up Alain Berard who went too quick in the final against Marty Ganjoin’s Camaro

Jerry McNeish D/S Camaro went to R5

Jerry MacNeish’s D/S Camaro went to R5

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Demke takes a Trifecta and Harker scores a Double at Maple Grove Dragway at the 30th Annual NHRA Nationals Linke, Fletch, Lynch, Martel & Martel take the rest of the Sportsman titles

Chris Demke will not forget his trip to Maple Grove anytime soon

Chris Demke will not forget his trip to Maple Grove anytime soon

Photos by Richard Muir, David Smith, and Phil Hutchison

Story courtesy of NHRA and Phil Hutchison

Demke's Sunday winner's circle

Demke’s Sunday winner’s circle

Chris Demke from Tujunga, California is the 2014 Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster Champ after his semifinal round win at the rain delayed Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals. The rained out event, held three weeks later at Maple Grove Dragway in Mohnton PA., had Demke behind the wheel of the Maddern Racing blown dragster defeating Don Nolan and Richard Bourke in rounds one and two before meeting up with 5-time Lucas Oil World Champion Bill Reichert in the semifinal during Friday’s qualifying. Demke clicked off a 5.309 second pass at 272.83 mph to defeat Reichert’s 5.449, 268.22 and lock up the 2014 championship.

Randy Meyer lost to Demke in the Charlotte finals

Randy Meyer lost to Demke in the Charlotte finals

In the finals of Charlotte on Saturday, Demke beat Randy Meyer in the final for with a 5.292, 275.79 run to Meyers 5.339, 217.84. Meyer was one of a few drivers chasing Demke for the championship and looks to finish in the top 5 in points.

Demke (far lane) defeats former Lucas champ Duane Shields in Sunday's finals

Demke (far lane) defeats former Lucas champ Duane Shields in Sunday’s finals

After winning the Charlotte race and the Lucas World Championship, Demke ran the table during Sunday’s NHRA Nationals eliminations giving the popular driver three Wallys over the course of two days.

Shield's A/FD losing to Demke's blown car in the finals

Shield’s A/FD losing to Demke’s blown car in the finals

In the final round at Maple Grove during Sunday’s eliminations, Demke ran 5.262 seconds at 272.45 mph defeating 2011 Lucas Champ Duane Shields out of Boulder City Nevada who clocked in at 5.392 seconds at 255.92 mph. Demke had a great reaction time of 0.005 off the line and made another great looking pass down the track to take the win.  This was Demke’s fifth national event win this year and his 15th Top Alcohol Dragster win of his career.

Steve Harker

Steve Harker

Taking the Top Alcohol Funny Car title at Maple Grove was transplanted Australian Steve Harker who, like T/AD winner Demke, won the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals on Saturday, faced off against Californian John Lombardo Jr. and posted a winning run of 5.429 seconds, 267.69 mph in his ’13 Mustang. Lombardo, who smoked the tires, drove to a 10.494 second, 80.78 mph lap for his runner up finish.

Lombardo is already starting to strike the tires as Harker is off the line cleanly on his way to a win

Lombardo (near lane)  is already starting to strike the tires as Harker is off the line cleanly on his way to a win

Dale Brand came into the race with a chance to be the Lucas World Champ but it was not to be

Dale Brand came into the race with a chance to be the Lucas World Champ but it was not to be

Harker's winners circle

Harker’s winners circle

Harker faced off with Dale Brand in the semifinals as both drivers were in contention for winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series World Championship in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Brand had the lead in points over Harker coming into the event, but with Harker’s win over Brand in the semi-final round he was able to pass Brand in points and clinch the National Championship in Top Alcohol Funny Car.

Martel (near lane) won Comp Eliminator from the pole in his sharp 2015 Camaro

Martel (near lane) won Comp Eliminator from the pole in his sharp 2015 Camaro. His competition the Cavalier of Joe Carnasciale was later off the line and did not have the horses to hold off the quick Chevy of Martel

Arnie Martel out of Tewksbury, Mass driving his 2015 E/AA Camaro won the Competition Eliminator defeating the I/SMA Cavalier of Joe Carnasciale’s from Cranston Rhode Island. Martel, who qualified his Chevy on the pole ran a 7.665 second ET at 159.44 mph as Carnasciale put down a  8.873 ET @ 139.99 mph in the loss. The win at Maple was Martel’s 14th national event win.

Arnie Martel

Arnie Martel

The finals of Super Stock were already decided as Doug Ch  left too soon handing Fletcher the win

The finals of Super Stock were already decided as Doug Chervanik (near lane) left too soon handing Fletcher the win

In Super Stock it was many time winner Dan Fletcher from Churchville N.Y defeating first time finalist Doug Chervanik, from Sunbury, PA. Fletch took an easy win as Chervanik left too soon and went red handing Fletcher his 91st national event win and his 47th in Super Stock.

It's Fletch (again)

It’s Fletch (again)

Other racers visiting the winner’s circle this weekend were Russell “Bubba” Linke, Old Bridge, NJ., in Stock Eliminator as Bubba driving his C/SA ’97 Camaro defeated the  fouling out E/SA ’67 Camaro of Michael Iacono from Wading River NY in the finals.

Michael Iacono (near lane) left a tad too soon handing Bubba the MG win

Michael Iacono (near lane) left a tad too soon handing Bubba the MG win

Bubba Linke over Iaciano

Bubba Linke over Iacono in the Stock finals

Martel (far lane) won Super Comp over Al Kenny

Martel (far lane) won Super Comp over Al Kenny

Steve Martel from Shaefierstown, Pa., won Super Comp over D1 kingpin Al Kenny in what was two double breakouts for Kenny in the space of just minutes as Al was also in the Super Gas finals. Ouch

NHRA D1 Director Dave Mohn congratulates Super Comp winner Steve Martel

NHRA D1 Director Dave Mohn (left)  congratulates Super Comp winner Steve Martel

Jason Lynch (near lane) beat Al Kenny for the Super Gas title

Jason Lynch (near lane) beat Al Kenny for the Super Gas title in a double breakout final

Jason Lynch, Pleasant View, Tenn. beat Super Comp runner up Al Kenny in the  Super Gas finals to pour more salt into the Canadian racer’s wounds as both racers ran too quick but Lynch was the lesser of the two and got the win.

Jason Lynch's team after his win at the Grove

D1’s Dave Mohn congratulates Jason Lynch’s team after his win at the Grove

It was a double breakout with Kenny being on the short side of the stick allowing Lynch to take the Super Gas title at MG

It was a double breakout with Kenny being on the short end of the stick allowing Lynch to take the Super Gas title at MG

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Friday at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the cream rises to the top

Tommy Johnson Jr., has his 14 Charger in the #6 spot with a    4.065

Tommy Johnson Jr., has his 14 Charger in the #6 spot with a 4.065

Photos and story by Phil Hutchison NorthEastDragReview

After a cloudy Thursday, Friday’s weather was a mix of sun and clouds, which helped with the on track performance from the Pros and the Sportsman racers alike

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One of the highlights of Friday’s action was the continuation of the rained out Charlotte event in the Alcohol categories. The action picked up with round two with the finals scheduled to be completed during Saturday’s final qualifying session.

Demke beat D1 racer Richard Bourke in the second round of the Charlotte race

Demke beat D1 racer Richard Bourke in the second round of the Charlotte race

The big news on Friday was Division 7’s Chris Demke locking up the Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster championship for 2014 with his semi final round win over soon to be retired and former World Champ himself, Division 3 racer Bill Reichert. Reichert ran what would normally be a winning run with 5.349 but Demke was laying down a 5.309 in the win.

2014 Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster champ Chris Demke

2014 Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster champ Chris Demke

Earlier in round two, Demke put down a 5.281 in his blown dragster which puts the Tujunga CA drive in the #2 spot behind low qualifier Randy Meyer’s A/FD which leads the quick show with a 5.251 ET in his Kansas based car.

Friday's Low Qualifier Randy Meyer

Friday’s Low Qualifier Randy Meyer

Alcohol Funny Car at Maple Grove was just as competitive as the dragsters with 19 cars trying to make the final 16 cut for Saturday’s first round.

Lombardo paces the field going into Saturday's action

Lombardo paces the field going into Saturday’s action

Leading TA/FC show is California racer John Lombardo Jr., from Brea taking his’14 Mustang to a 5.533 with transplanted Australian Steve Harker’s 5.546 in his Monte Carlo in the #2 spot.

Steve Harker

Steve Harker

Karen Stalba has her New Jersey based A/FD in the #16 bump and will have to step it up as there are some of the best D1 racers trying to bump her out of the show.

Karen Stalba has her New Jersey based A/FD on the  bump and will have to step it up as there are some of the best D1 racers like John Finke and Jackie Fricke trying to knock her out of the show.

Recent US Nationals winner Alexis DeJoria has her Toyota in the # 9 position with a 4.087

Recent US Nationals winner Alexis DeJoria has her Toyota in the # 9 position with a 4.087

#2 in Top Fuel qualifying, Brittany Force, Yorba Linda CA, with a   3.765

#2 in Top Fuel qualifying, Brittany Force, Yorba Linda CA, with a 3.765

Mia Tedesco has the Hirata A/FD in the # spot with a 5.32 ET

Mia Tedesco has the Hirata A/FD in the # spot with a 5.32 ET

Kyle Cultrera won his first round matchup over Mark Hopkins

Kyle Cultrera won his first round matchup over Mark Hopkins

The PSTA Chevy Truck of Tom Miller is going into round two of Comp after his first round win over Calvin Hill

The PSTA Chevy Truck of Tom Miller is going into round two of Comp after his first round win over Calvin Hill

Division Three racer Philip Smida has his unique '88 Cavalier still rocking in the Super Gas show

Division Three racer Philip Smida has his unique ’88 Cavalier still rocking in the Super Gas show

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Thursday at the Grove, Sportsman racers get the qualifying shots and the NBC Today Show makes an appearance at the drags.

PC Richard honcho Gary Richard gets the wheels up on his GT/AA Mustang  putting it into the #11 spot going into today's first round of Super Stock eliminations

PC Richard honcho Gary Richard gets the wheels up on his GT/AA Mustang putting it into the #11 spot going into today’s first round of Super Stock eliminations

Story and Photos by Phil Hutchison

Mohnton PA October 2. Gray skies and cool temps greeted the NHRA racers at the 30th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Dragway as the forecast sunny conditions never materialized but the lack of sun and cool made for quick racing at the Pennsylvania facility.

James Perrone (near lane) from Shirley, N.Y. ('69 Nova/350) took the G/SA title

James Perrone (near lane) from Shirley, N.Y. (’69 Nova/350) took the G/SA title

Stock Eliminator had class eliminations during qualifying while the rest of the Sportsman, Super Stock, Comp and the 0.90 classes were time trials and qualifying.

Stephen Smyth (far lane)  took the family Challenger to the CC/SA class win

Stephen Smyth (far lane) took the family Challenger to the CC/SA class win

Victor Cagnazzi (yes that Cagnazzi) entered his first Factory Showdown race and went to the finals of FS/B losing to eventual Factory winner David Barton

Victor Cagnazzi (yes that Cagnazzi) entered his first Factory Showdown race and went to the finals of FS/B losing to eventual Factory winner David Barton

In addition to Stock class eliminations, the event also feature the Factory Stock Showdown class with the best of the new breed of hot rods coming out of Detroit. Winning the A/B combo final was local racer David Barton behind the wheel of the Barton Racing Hemi Challenger as David defeated the winner of the Factory Stock A class Mike Skinner with a hole shot aided 8.751 (1.599 under) to Skinner’s 2014 Mustang 302 8.591 (-1.509 under) in a losing effort.

Skinner's Mustang was flying all day but just came up a little short in the finals against Barton's Mopar

Skinner’s Mustang was flying all day but just came up a little short in the finals against Barton’s Mopar

Arnie Martell

Arnie Martel

Leading the Competition Eliminator qualifying after two shots is Tewksbury MA racer Arnie Martel in his 2015 E/AA Camaro. Arnie paces the field with one qualifying shot left with a -0.720 under 7.58 in his Chevy.

# 12 in Comp is the G/EA of Steve Szupka

# 12 in Comp is the G/EA of Steve Szupka

Scotty Richardson has Vinny Barone's D/EA #14 going into Friday's last qualifier

Scotty Richardson has Vinny Barone’s D/EA #14 going into Friday’s last qualifier

Willie G gets prepared for his first ever blast down the quarter mile

Willie G gets prepared for his first ever blast down the quarter mile

Joining the action at the Grove was NBC Today Show host and Olympics commentator Willie Geist and MSNBC host Tamron Hall getting their first taste of NHRA drag racing. Doug Foley’s Pure Speed Racing Experience was on hand with his two seater dragsters to give the pair a first hand look and feel of what it’s like to be in a dragster going thru the traps at 140 MPH. It was a bit of a surprise for Geist as he had no idea that Tamron was at the track and it was not revealed until right before his pass that he would be racing his good friend and NBC cohort during the event.

Tamara gets strapped into one of the two seat dragsters of Doug Foley

Tamron  gets strapped into one of the two seat dragsters of Doug Foley

Both Willie and Tamron were loose and relaxed before their race

Both Willie and Tamron were loose and relaxed before their race

Tamron gets her first taste of a burnout

Tamron gets her first taste of a burnout

Tamron's dragster was lighter than Willie's due to her small stature and that may have decided the win as she took the round

Tamron’s dragster was lighter than Willie’s due to her small stature and that may have decided the win as she took the round

The episode is scheduled to air on NBC later in the month.

Super Gas got three shots down the track on Thursday as Friday brings the first round

Super Gas got three shots down the track on Thursday as Friday brings the first round

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More action coming from the Grove this weekend and stay tuned to more images from the 30th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Dragway.

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The Northeast Division closes out the 2014 season at E Town

Kyle Cultrera won his first NED Comp race at the last race of the NED season

Kyle Cultrera won his first 2014 NED Comp race at the last race of the NED season but is not out of the chase yet

Photos by Diane Kubicke  Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy NHR

Additional Photos, go to: http://www.division1photos.com/

Round by Round Action, go to: www.NorthEastDragRace.com

The NED Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series finished the 2014 at Englishtown NJ. The event, the seventh of seven events held in the NED featured nine NHRA Sportsman eliminators with many of the 2014 series winners decided but some still up for grabs. NHRA photographer Diane Kubicke was on hand to record the action for NorthEastDragReview.

Kyle Cultrera out of Eliot Maine, took Professor Dave Ring’s ’32 Bantam to a win in Competition Eliminator beating a red lighting Joe Carnasciale in the finals. The win tightened up the NED points chase as Kyle is less than an event win back from first place Frank Aragona Jr but it will take an out of division race to do the trick.

The Stock final had Hoven's Pontiac (near lane) defeating Don Pires's Nova

The Stock final had Hoven’s Pontiac (near lane) defeating Don Pires’s Nova

Joining Cultrera in the winner’s circle was local racer Todd Hoven from Milltown in Stock Eliminator. Hoven made his way through seven rounds to defeat Donald Pires, Somerset, Mass. Pires, a long time NED player is in a near dead heat for the NED 2014 title with Anthony Fetch. I would expect either Fetch or Hoven to tow out of division to secure the Stock title and take the stage at Hershey in January. 

Hoven's winner's circle at E Town

Hoven’s winner’s circle at E Town

Kenny Moses won his second Top Dragster title at Englishtown

Kenny Moses won his second Top Dragster title of the year at Englishtown. Moses earlier won the Epping NH event

Another local NJ racer, Ken Moses of Colonia won the MXI/Magnaflux Top Dragster presented by Select Performance by defeating Rick Bell, Merrimack, N.H.

Ken Moses (near lane) defeats  in the finals of Top Dragster

Ken Moses (near lane) defeats Rick Bell  in the finals of Top Dragster

Succasunna, N.J., resident Richard Biebel drove his dragster to a 8.943 second, 169.78 mph pass to grab the Super Comp win.

Biebel over in the finals of Super Comp

Biebel (near lane) over Steve Martel in the finals of Super Comp

 

Sawyer (near lane) defeats Delaware racer Earl Nichols in the Super Gas final

Sawyer (near lane) defeats Delaware racer Earl Nichols in the Super Gas final

Mike Sawyer of Leominster, Mass., defeated Earl Nichols, Wilmington, Del., in the Super Gas final. Mike’s father Ray was also victorious at this event last year in Super Gas.

Peter Biondo (near lane) has already wrapped up the 2014 Super Stock title but that did not stop former Super Street champ Michael  from taking the E Town trophy home to

Peter Biondo (near lane) has already wrapped up the 2014 NED Super Stock title but that did not deter former NED Super Street champ Michael  Giuliano from taking the E Town trophy home to Wantagh

Mike Giuliano of Wantagh, N.Y., grabbed the win in Super Stock by defeating the division champion Peter Biondo, Maspeth, N.Y.

 

With a shout out to Division One racer Tommy D who has had some health issues, Builiano and his crew celebrate his Super Stock win

With a shout out to Division One racer and painter Tommy D who has had some health issues as of late, Giuliano and his crew celebrate his Super Stock win

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Tom Hill, Huntington, N.Y., took his ’56 Bel Air to the Super Street win.

Cerro and his family celebrate his Top Sportsman win

Cerro and his family celebrate his Top Sportsman win

The MXI/Magnaflux Top Sportsman presented by Select Performance win went to Cecil County winner Michael Cerro of Mineola, N.Y. Michael’s win has him in the #2 spot in the point chase behind leader Mikey Daniele but like Cultrera, will have to travel to Gainesville FL or Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds GA to gain more points.

Cerro (far lane) defeats the Camaro of Ron Riegel in the semis of Top Sportsman

Cerro (far lane) defeats the Camaro of Ron Riegel in the semis of Top Sportsman

DK2_8878 Mark Wakem, Poland, Maine, powered his ’14 Arctic Cat to a 8.239 second, 155.40 mph pass to grab the Ultimax Pro Stock Snowmobile win.

Best Appearing Crew

Best Appearing Crew

Best Appearing Car went to Eric Cabral's Camaro

Best Appearing Car went to Eric Cabral’s Camaro

The Best Engineered award went to the Comp Dragster of

The Best Engineered award went to the B/ED of Greg Mannix

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Charlie Westcott Jr wins 6th Indy title at the NHRA Mopar Hemi Challenge

Finals of the Mopar Hemi Challenge had Howes out first but he could not hold back Westcott's power

Finals of the Mopar Hemi Challenge had Howes out first but he could not hold back Westcott’s power

Photos by Phil Hutchison Story by Phil Hutchison and Courtesy of NHRA

Charlie Westcott Jr from Parma Michigan won his 6th NHRA Mopar Hemi Challenge at Indy Friday night beating Division One racer Wendell Howes from Rathesay New Brunswick.

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Westcott, who qualified his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda in the #6 spot with an 8.562, overcame Howes’ holeshot to take the Indy win. Howes was first out of the gate with a great 0.005 light to Westcott’s 0.105 RT but did not have the horses down on the top end to hold off the Warfish of Westcott as his 8.557 just nipped Howes’ 8.669, which was Howes’ slowest run of eliminations.Indy_501

Afte the win Westcott said “I was in trouble early on, but I think I caught him in 4th gear,” said Westcott. “If my car is ahead when I hit 4th gear, they’re done. I actually thought I was driving pretty good today, but I missed it in the final. I use a blinder, and when it gets dark, it’s hard to see the Tree. I definitely got lucky.”

There were plenty of chances for Westcott to be derailed on his way to the winner’s circle; his competition just didn’t take advantage letting the Mopar guru work his way thru eliminations.

In round 2 Steve Comella who had just run a 8.615 in the first round had Westcott off the line but could only muster a 8.654 to Westcott’s 8.593.

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In the next round, Westcott’s competition, the Cuda of long time Hemi racer Joe Teuton threw away a 8.581 156.39 with a -0.059 red light putting Westcott in round 4.

The semis of the Mopar Challenge featured one of the best side by side runs as Westcott got off the line first beating the Cuda of Steve Kent as Kent’s 8.594 could not match Westcott’s 8.593

Westcott Sr

Westcott Sr

On the other side of the ladder Charlie’s pop Westcott Sr lost a close one to Howes as neither driver had a good light with Howes’ 0.108 the difference maker as Westcott Sr was snoozing with a 0.621 and his 8.614 lost to Howes’ 8.615 send the Canadian driver to his first ever Hemi Challenge final.

Round Two Action of the Challenge had Howes beating former winner Bucky Hess with a 8.621 to Bucky's close 8.623

Round Two Action of the Challenge had Howes beating former winner Bucky Hess with a 8.621 to Bucky’s close 8.623

Helms (near lane) lost in the finals of the Factory Stock to

Helms (near lane) lost in the finals of the Factory Stock Showdown to Chris Holbrooks Mustang

In the Factory Stock Showdown finals the winners of the A and B class met for the Indy title and Chris Holbrook driving his FS/A Mustang easily defeated the Dodge Challenger of Kevin Helms running a 8.694 on a 10.10 index to the Mopars 9.029 on a 10.35 dial despite Helms’ great 0.008 light.

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Friday Morning at Indy. Comp Field Set, Stock Class Eliminations complete and Super Stock on hold as rain slows down the Action at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals

Rick Houser laid down low ET of the meet for the Hemis with a 8.488 @158.89

Rick Houser laid down low ET of the meet for the Hemis with a 8.488 @158.89 but slowed in the quarter finals to a 8.784 losing to Steven Kent

Photos and Story by Phil Hutchison

As Thursday was hot and sunny, Friday morning dawned dark with occasional drizzles halting the action during the Super Stock class eliminations. The Hemi Challenge parade featuring 26 of the quickest Super Stockers on the planet were complete and the competitors paired up for first round when the rain returned putting the hold on the racing. Finally at around two, the first pair of Hemis pull around the corner. And the sun comes out and it is muggy and hot.

Steve Kent is off the line  to a 8.570 while David Barton (near lane) limps off the line with issues.

Steve Kent is off the line to a 8.570 while David Barton (near lane) limps off the line with issues.

Charlie Westcott Jr (far lane) takes out the Dart of Henson with a 8.605

Charlie Westcott Jr (far lane) takes out the Dart of Henson with a 8.605

The Hemi parade had an original 1968 Dart leading the field down the return road

The Hemi parade had an original 1968 Dart leading the field down the return road

 

Mopar Hemi Parade

Mopar Hemi Parade

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Tom Boucher before Super Stock class. As of the second round Tom is still alive in his class with one round to go

Tom Boucher before Super Stock class. As of the second round Tom is still alive in GT/EA with one round to go

Tewksbury MA racer Arnie Martel is currently #7 in Comp with his  E/AA '15 Camaro at a 0.573 under    7.727

Tewksbury MA racer Arnie Martel is currently #7 in Comp with his E/AA ’15 Camaro at a 0.573 under 7.727

Semi Finals of Factory Showdown B Class had Connolly (far lane)  over Barton's Mopar

Semi Finals of Factory Showdown B Class had Connolly (far lane) over Barton’s Mopar

Chris Holbrook (far lane) took his Mustang to a win over Gary Richard in the A Class of Factory

Chris Holbrook (far lane) took his Mustang to a win over Gary Richard in the A Class of Factory

 

The A/D of Joey Tanksley, from Greenwell Springs LA leads the Comp field with a  6.414

The A/D of Joey Tanksley  (from Greenwell Springs LA leads the Comp field with a 6.414. Al Ackerman (far lane) has his  F/D in the #22 spot going into Saturday’s first round

 

 

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INDY MEMORIES

Photos and story by Phil Hutchison

Jack Ostrander blew everything up on this pass

Jack Ostrander blew everything up on this pass Duh!

Indy has a special meaning to a lot of the racers and fans of the NHRA and drag racing in particular. It is the RACE to win. The Big Go East has been on my calendar since 1973. Back then I was just a wee lad of 21 and going to a place as foreign as Indy was so wild I just had to go.

In 1973 , five drag racing nuts  from Delaware, went out to Indiana in a 1972 Chevy van (Blue, long wheelbase, with Cragar SS mags, you get the idea)  and we drove all night to be at Indy Friday morning.  Our friend George,  who got the whole deal together and owned the Chevy van, worked for Steve Kanuika Speed Shops in Concordville PA and had a handful of tickets to get in the race . We ended up staying north of Indy in Anderson in some kind of cheap motel that I can hardly remember but my first Big Go East, I remember like it was yesterday. Here are some shots from the old days. More Top Fuelers than you can count and the Funny Car count wasn’t too far behind… I hope you enjoy this trip to the past.. 

McEwen winning Funny Car in 1978 ranks in the Top !0 of emotional wins at Indy

McEwen winning Funny Car in 1978 ranks in the Top !0 at Indy

Don Carlton did not win the races he deserved to win but his Comp win at Indy ranks up there with the greats

Don Carlton did not win the races he deserved to win as one of the best Mopar racers ever, but his Comp win at Indy showed how Don could race Comp and Pro Stock and win in both eliminators. Remember Miss Winston?

Tim Bishop won the Big Go with a manual shifted Pontiac!

Tim Bishop won the Big Go with a manual shifted Pontiac!

The Friday Hemi Challenge is the nazz at the Nats

The Friday Hemi Challenge is the nazz at the Nats

Indy always features lots of cool exhibition cars like the Nanook AA/FA

As is the norm, Indy features cool exhibition cars like the Nanook AA/FA

Shirley and Connie

Two racers that have so much history at Indy, Shirley Muldowney  and Connie Kalitta.

Wild Willie's AA/FA

Wild Willie’s AA/FA

James Warren backs up after a burnout  1972

James Warren backs up after a burnout 1973

This is me in 1978. I weighed about 150 pounds soaking wet.. My best friend Geoff is awarding me the NHRA  bong for my win in Top Van

This is me in 1978 (left). I weighed about 150 pounds soaking wet.. My best friend Geoff is awarding me the NHRA Wally for my win in Top Van

Finals of Comp

Finals of Comp 1980

Top Fuel Harleys circa 1980  Pro Stock Bikes suck next to these monsters

Top Fuel Harleys circa 1980 Pro Stock Bikes suck next to these monsters

One of the killer cars back in the day the Blown dragster of Dale Smart

One of the killer cars back in the day the Blown dragster of Dale Smart driven by Gary Southern

Stan White won the 1978 Super Stock title at Indy

Stan White won the 1978 Super Stock title at Indy

Stock Finals 1979 Terry C

Division 1 racer Tony Cirello

Division 1 racer Tony Cirello

Mark Oswald and Dale Smart slow down after a blast down the Indy 1320

Mark Oswald and Jody Smart slow down after a blast down the Indy 1320

The late great Lee Shepherd at the 1980 Nats

The late great Lee Shepherd at the 1980 Nats

Finals of Super Comp

Finals of Pro Comp 1980 Billy Williams (near lane) over Severance

Severence and the late Billy Williams

Severance’s dragster and  Billy Williams’ car in the staging lanes before the finals

Before becoming a champ in Top Fuel and Funny Car, Gary Selzi drove this Alcohol Dragster

Before becoming a champ in Top Fuel and Funny Car, Gary Selzi drove this Alcohol Dragster

More Funny Cars than you could count in 1973

More Funny Cars than you could count in 1973

The King of the Northwest Jerry Ruth racers chassis builder Dave Uyehara

The King of the Northwest Jerry Ruth races chassis builder Dave Uyehara

This was the next to last year of Modified Eliminator and Ross Gerken had his beautiful Vette honkin at Indy

This was the next to last year of Modified Eliminator and Ross Gerken had his beautiful Vette honkin at Indy

Don Prudhomme has not always owned Indy as this top end fire shows that the multi time champ could have some issues

Don Prudhomme has not always owned Indy as this top end fire shows that the multi time champ could have some issues

Turbocharged Pro Comp car

Turbocharged Pro Comp car Anyone know whose car this is?

Late Great Neil Mahr

Late Great Neil Mahr

Murphy vs Jim and Allison Lee 1980 Murphy and Marvin

A unidentified Corvette Modified Eliminator car from Canada

A unidentified Corvette Modified Eliminator car from Canada

Darrell Gwynn vs Vern Moats

Darrell Gwynn vs Vern Moats

Vern

Vern

The Worlds Fasters Hippie Mike Mitchell vs the Condit Bros Arrow

The Worlds Fasters Hippie Mike Mitchell (near lane) vs the Condit Bros Arrow

Billy Meyer and Harlen Thompson

Billy Meyer (far lane)  and Harlen Thompson

Billy

Billy

Maz's Opel

Manzo and Amato in 1980

Manzo and Amato in 1980

Ace does his burnout as Amato sits in the box

Ace does his burnout as Amato sits in the box

A pair of Mopar Super Stockers in the pits with Dyno Don's Mustang Pro Stocker in the background

A pair of Mopar SS/A Super Stockers in the pits with Dyno Don’s Mustang Pro Stocker in the background

Mopar City with Butch Leal

Mopar City with Butch Leal  Dale Pulde’s Firebird can be seen in the background

Krebaum Bros Altered with the Ace and his son in the background

Krebaum Bros Altered with the Ace and his son in the background

Johnny Davis in 83 kicks the rods out of his Chevy

Johnny Davis in 83 kicks the rods out of his Chevy

The biggest upset of the 1978 Nats was John Samolyk winning Pro Comp

The biggest upset of the 1978 Nats was John Samolyk winning Pro Comp

John Lingenfelter was one heck of a NHRA racer that left us too soon

John Lingenfelter was one heck of a NHRA racer that left us too soon

A Grumpy impersonator at the starting line

A Grumpy impersonator at the starting line with Bill very amused 

Jeg was the man in D3 Top Fuel

Jeg was the man in D3 Top Fuel

Jade Grenade Cowling

Jack Ostrander blew everything up on this pass

Jack Ostrander blew everything up on this pass

Iaconio vs Glidden was the regular in the day

Iaconio vs Glidden 

Frankie

Frankie

Hinkernell Comp Dragster

Hinkernell Comp Dragster

Al Hanna's Pinto FC

Al Hanna’s Pinto FC on the West Side Pits. Funny Cars and Pro Stock used to pit on the opposite side of  Top Fuel in what was an already huge Indy show  from the Top Fueler on one side and Funny Cars and Pro Stockers on the other, making for a great stroll in the pits, no matter which side.

Garlits pulled a car out of his museum and won the 1984 event

Garlits pulled a car out of his museum and won the 1984 event

Doug Kerhulas was a player before his bad crash at Columbus

Doug Kerhulas was a player  in Top Fuel before his bad crash at Columbus

Kerhulas

Kerhulas on the return lane

Comp Racer Don Parker at the 1980 nats

Comp Racer Don Parker at the 1980 nats

Larry Dixon Sr kicked the rods out of his Chevy Top Fueler

Larry Dixon Sr kicked the rods out of his Howard Cam Rat Chevy Top Fueler

David Pace

David Pace and the Carroll Bros Top Fueler

David Pace Darrell Gwynn 1980

Darrell Gwynn

Darrell Gwynn’s bare bones pit back in the day

Burgin

Bruce Sizemore Modified champ 1978

Bruce Sizemore Modified champ 1978

Bob Schmidt's Boilermaker 1980

Billy Williams was the man in Pro Comp along with Dale Armstrong and Ken Veney

Billy Williams was the man in Pro Comp along with Dale Armstrong and Ken Veney

Bill Selly

Modified Eliminator racer Andres and Bowles in 1980-

Modified Eliminator racers Andres and Bowles in 1980

 

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It’s a family affair at Cecil County as Troy Coughlin Jr meets Jason Kenny in the finals of Super Gas

Troy Jr and his crew along with the Kenny family celebrate his Super Gas win at the Cecil County LODRS

Troy Jr and his crew along with the Kenny family celebrate his Super Gas win at the Cecil County LODRS

Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy of Team Jegs

Photos by Phil Hutchison and Diane Kubicke

It started Friday afternoon during the rain delayed Atco Lucas Oil Divisional. No, actually it really started two weeks earlier at the Atco event which was called after rain had halted the action with three rounds of racing completed. The race would resume in two weeks at the Cecil County Lucas event with 14 cars left in Super Gas. With that many cars still in the running, the chances of Troy Coughlin Jr and Jason Kenny meeting in the final were distant at best.

Troy's trip to the winner's circle at Cecil began at the Atco event two weeks earlier

Troy’s trip to the winner’s circle at Cecil began at the Atco event two weeks earlier

But after the quarterfinals at Cecil, both Jason and Troy were still in the hunt and were on opposite sides of the ladder setting up a possible final round matchup.

Troy, the son of 2012 NHRA Pro Mod World Champ Troy Coughlin Sr and calls Delaware Ohio home, normally races out of Division 3 but was on the east coast racing at a high dollar bracket event the following week and decided to enter the Atco Lucas race.

Jason Kenny

Jason Kenny behind the wheel of his Corvette roadster

Jason, a regular on the NHRA Northeast Division scene as is his father Al Kenny, is the brother of Samantha Kenny, who is married to Troy’s uncle, Jeg Coughlin Jr. I don’t know if this makes Troy Jr a second brother in law, a distant cousin, or whatever, but both cars have the Jeg’s logo prominently displayed on their Corvettes and there is no mistaking Troy’s affiliation with the Jegs brand as his car is painted in the Jegs yellow and black color scheme.

Stalba (far lane) took out Troy Jr in the semis at the Atco event

Stalba (far lane) took out Troy Jr in the semis at the Atco event

Back to the Atco race, all hopes for a Troy Jr versus Jason final were dashed in the semifinals as Troy lost to eventual winner Tom Stalba Jr in a breaking out 9.868 to Stalba’s 9.905. Jason won his semifinal race over the Oldsmobile roadster of Derek Clark but lost the finals to Stalba on a hole shot.

Jason over the Olds of Derek Clark

Jason (near lane)  over the Olds of Derek Clark

Jason said after the Atco final “TJ and I have been close to running each other in the Super Gas final twice this year, at Maple Grove and Atco.  He made the Maple final and I lost in the semis.  I made the Atco final and he lost in the semi. Jason continued, “Losing the Atco final to Stalba was pretty deflating from a points perspective”. Editor’s note: Although Jason leads the D1 points chase in Super Gas with 397 points to second place Stalba’s 324, Jason has already raced at 6 of his allotted 8 LODRS events, Stalba has only claimed points at 4 events.

Stalba (near lane) beat Jason in the finals of the Atco race

Stalba (near lane) beat Jason in the finals of the Atco race

After the Atco race was competed, the Cecil County event cranked up and again, Troy Jr and Jason were on opposite sides of the ladder after the first round pairings but with nearly 70 Super Gas racers on hand, the chances of the two meeting in the finals were again, distant.

Jason over former D1 champ Matt Schurman

Jason over former D1 champ Matt Schurman set up the historic finals in Super Gas

But like the Atco race, as eliminations progressed, it was apparent that the chances of Jason and Troy Jr meeting in the final were becoming a distinct reality. In round 5 Troy beat the PC Richard and Son Camaro of Pat Dehner and received the bye in the semis putting the Ohio driver in the finals. On his side of the ladder, Jason defeated the Chevy II of John Richmond in R5 and then took out former NED champ Matt Schurman’s Beretta in his semifinal race setting up a Troy Jr. vs Jason final.

“TJ and I made a bet if we ran each other in the Atco final.  So it was kind of cool when he came over before the Cecil final and made sure the bet carried over”, Jason said.

With the Cecil Super Gas title on the line, both drivers were ready after a long weekend and neither disappointed with a great final round. Troy and Jason had good reaction times with TJ’s 0.020 to Jason’s close 0.024 and got the win on a double breakout, 9.888 to 9.887. The difference at the stripe was 0.003 seconds which translates to 4 inches!

The finals at Cecil had Troy Jr out first by the slimmest of margins that made all the difference at the stripe as both racers broke out

The finals at Cecil had Troy Jr out first by the slimmest of margins that made all the difference at the stripe as both racers broke out

It was a pretty good day,” Coughlin said. “We made some really good runs thanks to a very competitive race car. We were in the right place at the right time a lot today.” Troy continued, “Cecil County was a cool track. That was the first time I’ve ever been there, but it was a good track. I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and I have to give a big thanks to all the associates at JEGS for all their hard work and support”.

Troy Jr poses for his National Dragster head shot!

Troy Jr poses for his National Dragster head shot!

TJ also had this to say about his friendship with the Kenny family “Jason and the whole Kenny family are incredible people; they have always had my back and lent a helping hand.  I can’t thank them enough for being so fun and nice and really taking me in as they have when on the road with them.  You can count on “mom” or Carol to keep your stomach full and Al to check on me and the cars.  Also its great feedback with Al and Jason on track things as far as racing goes they have a lot of experience and have great insight.  Jason and I have a great friendship in fact at Atco before the rain we said if we meet in the final the winner gets some Miller Lite.  So far I got the beer, but the season isn’t over yet so you will more than likely see some Miller Lite slid Jason’s way very soon”.

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After the Cecil final round Jason said “As far as the TJ race was concerned, I thought I would be happy no matter who won … until his win light came on.  I was grumpy for a few minutes, which is better than my usual couple hours.  He must have sensed that, as he gave me an ice cold Miller Lite before I could even shake his hand.” Jason added,” He invited me, my family and even my Corvette into the winner’s circle, a very cool gesture on his part.  Then before he left the track, he said “This was fun, let’s do it again at Indy.  I’d be cool with that”.

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The Cecil win puts Troy Jr. solidly in the #2 spot in the Division 3 Super Gas points chase going into the Bowling Green LODRS, but like Jason, Troy only has two races to claim in 2014 while the man leading the D3 Super Gas chase, Illinois racer Luke Bogacki, has three races left on his dance card.

 

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