Crazy Weekend of Racing in the Northeast with Wild Action from Maryland to New England

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Story Phil Hutchison and Courtesy of NHRA

Photos by Diane Kubicke, David Smith, Todd Dziadosz, and Geoff Sculley

For more D1 Images go to :http://www.division1photos.com

What a weekend of racing in the Northeast. The PDRA was at MDIR, Super Chevy at Maple Grove, and the NHRA Divisional at Epping NH,. It was impossible to be at all places at all times but with the help of some of our friends we hope to give you a recap of what happened and what you may have missed over the weekend

First we start off at the inaugural NAS Racing PDRA North-South Shootout at Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek an hour south of Washington DC. It was hot, very hot. Temperatures were in the 90’s all weekend but the action on the track matched the heat with some of the best 1/8 mile action the Maryland facility has ever seen.

Jason Scruggs

Jason Scruggs

Taking the premier Pro Extreme class title was Jason Scruggs driving his blown ’69 Camaro over Badir Ahli  in the final. Scruggs carded a 3.534 @ 216.55 MPH to Ahli’s close but losing 3.561 at 211.63 MPH. The win at MDIR was Scruggs third of the season.

Jason's winner's circle

Jason’s winner’s circle

Badir Ahli took his blown Camaro to the finals of Extreme losing a close on to Scruggs

Badir Ahli took his blown Camaro to the finals of Extreme losing a close on to Scruggs

Tricky Ricky won another Nitrious race

Tricky Ricky won another Nitrous race

NHRA Pro Mod star Rickie Smith from King NC won his second race of 2015 in the Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous class defeating the ’68 Firebird of defending Pro Nitrous champ Jason Harris as Smith’s ’69 Camaro laid down a hole shot aided 3.805 to defeat Harris’ later but better 3.774 in the win. In Smith’s other PDRA win in April it was against the same Pontiac of Harris. That must hurt.

Jason Harris ran quicker but was late on the tree losing to Smith

Jason Harris ran quicker but was late on the tree losing to Smith

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DiSomma

DiSomma took his second of 2015

Anthony DiSomma won his second PDRA event of the year winning the Precision Turbo Pro Boost title over Paolo Giust

Pro Open Outlaw winner Phil

Pro Open Outlaw winner Phil Esz

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Defending PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle champ Eric McKinney

Defending PDRA Pro Extreme Motorcycle champ Eric McKinney took his bike to the winner’s circle at MDIR

Top Dragster winner Justin Melton

Top Dragster winner Justin Melton

Top Sportsman: Randy Perkinson

Top Sportsman: Randy Perkinson

Pro Junior Dragster: Tia Tutterow

Pro Junior Dragster: Tia Tutterow

#1 Qualifier Super Stock was Don Belles '08 Mustang with a  8.604

#1 Qualifier in Super Stock at the NED Lucas Oil Divisional was Don Belles ’08 Mustang with a 8.604

While the PDRA was running in Maryland the NHRA Northeast Division had their Lucas Oil Divisional Series up north in Epping NH. Winning the top classes were Duane Shields, Boulder City, Nev., and Dan Pomponio, Berlin, N.J., taking home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car respectively.

Top Alcohol Final had Shields over a tire smoking McPhillips

Top Alcohol Final had Shields (near lane) over a tire smoking McPhillips

Shields worked his way through the field and ran 5.348 seconds at 272.34 mph in his final-round victory over Rich McPhillips, Phoenixville, Pa., who clocked in at 16.857 seconds, 44.93 mph. Shields had the advantage off the starting line against McPhillips but McPhillips had problems early in the run and smoked the tires. With this win, Shields wins his 28th Lucas Oil Regional race and this is his fourth Wally trophy this year.

Duane Shields Top Alcohol Dragster Champ

Duane Shields Top Alcohol Dragster Champ

Pomponio (far lane) over Matt Gill's Mustang

Pomponio (far lane) over Matt Gill’s Mustang

Pomponio faced off against Matt Gill, Brockton, Mass., and posted a winning run of 5.695 seconds, 254.33 mph in his 2010 Monte Carlo. Gill drove to a 5.664 second, 253.52 mph lap for his runner up finish. Pomponio had a great reaction time off the line of 0.006 seconds and was able to hold on to the lead and take the hole shot win over Gill and received his sixth Lucas Oil Regional event win.

Dan Pomponio's crew celebrates his New England Dragway win

Dan Pomponio’s crew celebrates his New England Dragway win

Son vs Father in the finals of Super Gas

Son vs Father in the finals of Super Gas

In Super Gas, Mike Sawyer, Leominster, Mass., faced off against his father Ray Sawyer, Acton, Mass., in the final round. Mike had the starting line advantage and posted a winning run of 9.901 seconds at 162.49 mph. Ray posted a runner-up finish of 9.880 seconds, 174.12 mph. With this win over his father, Mike wins his 15th Lucas Oil Divisional race and wins this race for the second year in a row.

Super Gas Winner Circle 1965

A racer winning his first Lucas Oil Divisional Wally this weekend was Peter Luciano, Malvern, Pa., Luciano faced off against Joseph Santangelo, Marlborough, Conn., and had a winning run of 8.663 seconds, 154.67 mph. Santangelo had a runner-up finish of 7.829 seconds, 169.40 mph.

They don't call him Lucky for nothing as Lucinio took his first ever NED Comp win over the killer car of Joe Santangelo

They don’t call him Lucky for nothing as Pete Luciano took his first ever NED Comp win over the killer car of Joe Santangelo

Comp Eliminator Winner Circle 1956

Fetch (far lane) took out local racer Allison Smith in the finals of Stock

Fetch (far lane) took out local racer Allison Smith in the finals of Stock

In Stock, Anthony Fetch, Colonia, N.J., met Allison Smyth, Uxbridge, Mass., in the final and took the win. Fetch had a perfect light and ran 11.375 seconds, 109.25 mph to get the win over Smyth. This was Fetch’s ninth Lucas Oil Divisional win and his seventh in Stock.

Mr Fetch

Mr Fetch

(near lane) over Jason Kenny in the finals of Super Comp

Derek Mota from nearby Peabody Mass (near lane) over Jason Kenny in the finals of Super Comp

Derek Mota, Peabody, Mass., took on Jason Kenny, Kutztown, Pa., in the final for Super Comp. Kenny had the starting line advantage but took too much stripe in a double breakout. Mota had a winning run of 8.895 seconds, 171.53 mph to receive his first ever Lucas Oil Divisional race.

Super Comp Winner Circle 1959

(near lane) over

Joe DiPasquale (near lane) overAl Staffieri for the Top Dragster title

In the MXI/Magnaflux Top Dragster presented by Select Performance, Joe DiPasquale faced off against Albert Staffieri. DiPasquale had the starting line advantage off the line and took the win with a run of 6.923 seconds, 195.51 mph. This was DiPasquale’s fourth Lucas Oil Divisional race win and his third in Top Dragster.

Fast Freddie Perkins (near lane) took the Top Sportsman win over

Fast Freddie Perkins’ 57 Chevy  (near lane) took the Top Sportsman win over the  red lighting Camaro of Ray Bamond

The MXI/Magnaflux Top Sportsman presented by Select Performance also competed at the event and Frederick Perkins, Plainville, Conn., drove his ’57 Belair to the finish line to beat Ray Bamond, Paterson, N.J. Bamond was took quick on the tree and turns on the red light. Perkins run of 6.861 seconds, 202.79 mph gets him the win and his third Lucas Oil Divisional Wally.

Top Sportsman Winner Action 2023

Jeff Roell

Jeff Roell

Jeff Roell from Poughquag NY took the Super Stock trophy driving his FSS/G Mustang over Ducannon PA racer Bryan Worner’s GT/GA ’90 Camaro

(far lane) won Super Street over the Pontiac of

John Olson (far lane) won Super Street over the Pontiac of Bill Arpine as Arpine went too quick on the 10.9 index

John Olson from Lynbrook NY won Super Street in his ’66 Chevelle over a breaking out Bill Arpine from Hamden Conn in his ’05 Pontiac 10.964 to a losing 10.888

(far lane)

Multi time NED winner Frank Berard Jr (far lane) won Pro Stock Snowmobile over Heath Smith

Pro Stock Snowmobile went to Frank Berard Jr. from Troy, NY over Heath Smith from Westmoreland NY

George Reidnauer had his gorgeous Vette had the Super Chevy show at Maple Grove putting down some great runs

George Reidnauer had his gorgeous Vette had the Super Chevy show at Maple Grove putting down some great runs

Meanwhile down in Maple Grove PA, the Super Chevy show was in full swing with over 450 cars entered into the event that featured the DRO Funny Car Challenge, Top Sportsman racing along with bracket racing

Shawn Bowen was the man at the DRO Challenge

Shawn Bowen was the man at the DRO Challenge

In the finals of the DRO Challenge presented by Hedman Husler Hedders,, reigning champion, Shawn Bowen, got the win over the first series champion, Indy racer Paul Romine.

Paul Romine was RU at the DRO Challenge at the Grove on one hot day

Paul Romine was RU at the DRO Challenge at the Grove on one hot day

Bowen had a Reaction Time of .092 and ran the quarter mile in 5.880 seconds at 250.88 mph to Romine’s .101 RT and 5.932.241.93.

Paul Smith had both Jungle Jim tribute cars at the Challenge. His son Bodie went out in the first round

Paul Smith had both Jungle Jim tribute cars at the Challenge. His son Bodie went out in the first round to eventual winner Bowen

Former Maple Grove manager and current Don Schumacher honcho Mike Lewis, went to the semis bowing in the red Jungle car

Former Maple Grove manager and current Don Schumacher honcho Mike Lewis, went to the semis bowing in the red Jungle car

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Ron Riegel’s Top Sportsman Camaro throws the silk out at the Grove

In Top Sportsman at the Super Chevy it was Ronald Riegel from Fairless Hills PA taking his ’68 Camaro   to a win over the red lighting Pontiac Firebird of John Tiniakos in the final. Riegel put down a 7.415 on his 7.41 dial in the winning run.

Photo Extras

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Presidents Cup Qualifying Cut Short by Rain on Friday Night. All fields set except Pro Mod

Delaware racer Steve McNicoll was the 9th car in an 8 car field and will not be racing Saturday night

Delaware racer Steve McNicohols was the 9th car in an 8 car Fuel Funny Car field and will not be racing Saturday night

Story courtesy IHRA and Phil Hutchison  Images by Phil Hutchison

MECHANICSVILLE, Maryland (June 19, 2015) – The first day of the President’s Cup Nationals Fueled by Sunoco is in the books with qualifying taking place at Maryland International Raceway. The second session was cut short due to rain showers in the area and will continue tomorrow on the quarter-mile drag strip.

Mark Sanders sits on top of Funny Car at Budds Creek

Mark Sanders sits on top of Funny Car at Budds Creek

The AMSOIL Nitro Funny Cars presented by Aeromotive completed two qualifying sessions with Mark Sanders coming out on top in both. “Mr. Explosive” turned his luck around after not qualifying for the last Nitro Jam event at Cordova International Raceway. The eight-car field is set with Steve Nichols not advancing into eliminations tomorrow evening.

Mike McIntire has his Mac Attack Camaro in the #4 spot

Mike McIntire has his Mac Attack Camaro in the #4 spot

Canadian Tim Boychuk is 6th with a 5.85 time slip

Canadian Tim Boychuk is 6th with a 5.85 time slip

The U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock class experienced the closest ET’s, with only .045 seconds separating the top-five in the first qualifying session. John DeFlorian Jr. was on top of the board in the first session and JR Carr stepped up in the second session and put his 2015 Camaro on the provisional pole.

JR Carr grabbed the pole in Pro Stock with his Camaro at a 6.293 after Friday's second session

JR Carr grabbed the pole in Pro Stock with his Camaro at a 6.293 after Friday’s second session

John Konigshofer's Mustang is 7th in Pro Stock going into tonights final eliminations

John Konigshofer’s Mustang is 7th in Pro Stock going into tonights final eliminations

There was a new track record in the Nitro Harley class. Jay Turner put down a 6.321 second pass on the quarter-mile drag strip. His momentum continued into the second session and secured his spot as the top qualifier heading into tomorrow’s event.

Jay Turner is the class of the Fuel Harleys with a 6.321

Jay Turner is the class of the Fuel Harleys with a 6.321

Texas racer Rickey House has his Harley #3 with a 6.53

Texas racer Rickey House has his Harley #3 with a 6.53

Rain cut the Crower Pro Mods second run short this evening and will resume tomorrow. In the first qualifying session, Billy Harper recorded the best time with a 5.976 second, 239.57 mph pass in his 2000 Viper. This weekend marked Billy’s return to IHRA racing after a hiatus for several years.

Chuck Mohn from Fountainville PA, is #2 in Pro Mod qualifying with one session left to move up to #1

Chuck Mohn from Fountainville PA, is #2 in Pro Mod qualifying with one session left to move up to #1

Steve Drumond had a wild ride after his burnout nearly spinning the turbocharged Mustang out and missing the wall in an aborted attempt to make the Pro Mod field

Steve Drumond had a wild ride after his burnout nearly spinning the turbocharged Mustang out and missing the wall in an aborted attempt to make the Pro Mod field

Lastly, the Jet Dragsters fell victim to the rain and were only able to get one qualifying session in. Marisha Falk was the fastest qualifier running 273.33 mph with a 5.830 second pass. There was only a .028 second difference between Marisha’s qualifying run and second-place qualifier Elaine Larsen.

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Local racer Vonnie Mills qualifies in her Cobalt during Friday nights second session

Local racer Vonnie Mills qualifies in her Cobalt during Friday nights second session

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Familiar Names in the Sportsman Winners Circle at the Toyota NHRA Summernationals

Kevin Skinner (far lane) beat the FS/XX Mustang of Bo Butner after Butner blew the tires off at the hit in the finals of Factory Stock Eliminator

Kevin Skinner (far lane) beat the FS/XX Mustang of Bo Butner after Butner blew the tires off at the hit in the finals of Factory Stock Eliminator

Story by Phil Hutchison  Photos by David Smith, Geoff Sculley, and Phil Hutchison

Arnie Martel took his 16th career Wally at E Town

Arnie Martel took his 16th career Wally at E Town

Former NHRA winners graced the Winner’s circle at the 46th annual event at Raceway Park in Englishtown New Jersey with Arnie Martel leading the group of veterans. Martel, Tewksbury MA, wheeled his E/AA 2015 Camaro to a decisive victory in Competition Eliminator qualifying #1 with a 0.763 under 7.507 and running the table for his 16th NHRA national event victory.

Comp Finals

Comp Finals

Martel’s final round opponent, the Pro Stock Chevy S-10 of Tom Miller got the better reaction time, but Martel had enough ET in the bank to pass the Nottingham PA driver with a 7.732 on his 8.27 index to Miller’s 7.647 on a 8.07 index.

Martel's teammate, Joe Santangelo, lost in the semis to the boss on a red light

Martel’s teammate, Joe Santangelo, lost in the semis to the boss on a red light

Earlier in eliminations Martel defeated teammate Joe Santangelo in the semis as Santangelo cut the tree too close and fouled and Miller got by the H/EA Bantam of Kyle Cultrera when Kyle, like Santangelo, went red giving Miller a pass to the finals.

The finals of Super Stock had Millers Cuda (near lane) over the Camaro of Lincoln Morehead

The finals of Super Stock had Miller’s Cuda (near lane) over the Camaro of Lincoln Morehead

Super Stock eliminator went down to two of the NED best as multi time winner Lincoln Morehead driving his venerable SS/JA Camaro went up against the SS/FA ’70 Plymouth Barracuda of Larry Miller out of Gettysburg PA. Morehead, from Marlboro NY, had a decent 0.017 light but Miller cut the tree with a 0.006 light and took his 3rd career NHRA victory in his big block Mopar.

Miller chased the Chevy of Morehead down for the Englishtown Super Stock title

Miller chased the Chevy of Morehead down for the Englishtown Super Stock title

Miller celebrates his first ever NHRA title

Miller celebrates his third NHRA title

Calabro get the wheels up on his A/SA Chevy in the finals

Calabro get the wheels up on his A/SA Chevy in the finals

Long time Northeast Stock racer Steve Calabro took his big block A/SA ’69 Camaro to a win over Gene Monahan’s K/SA ’89 Pontiac Formula as Calabro got the better light and ran the better number with a 10.18 on his 10.13 dial to Monahan’s losing 12.165 on a 12.10 dial.

Gene did not the RT and lost the final to Steve's flying Camaro

Gene did not get the RT he needed and lost the final to Steve’s flying Camaro

Sepanak (near lane) went red giving Tom Stalba the win in Super Comp

Sepanek (near lane) went red giving Tom Stalba the win in Super Comp

Local racer and former NHRA national champ, Tom Stalba from Hammonton NJ, took his Super Comp dragster to the Summernationals win over a red lighting Jack Sepanek Jr. Sepanek, out of Moosic PA left 0.004 too soon handing the win to Stalba.

Tom Stalba Super Comp Champ

Tom Stalba Super Comp Champ

Northrop (near lane) took his Vega over the Camaro of Mac Starks

Northrop (near lane) took his Vega over the Camaro of Mac Starks

Super Gas had Dan Northrop from Pipersville PA behind the wheel of the ICS Racers Tape Vega over the ’67 Camaro of Mac Starks from Springfield PA. Northrop had a telepathic 0.004 RT over Starks 0.040 light and it made all the difference as Starks ran nearly right on the 9.90 index with a 9.904 but his later light cost him the race.

Northrop heads to the traps in the lead of the Super Gas finals

Northrop heads to the traps in the lead of the Super Gas finals

One of the best finals of the weekend featured Mike Cerro (near lane) losing a close one to the Henry J of Jeff Brooks

One of the best finals of the weekend featured Mike Cerro (near lane) losing a close one to the Henry J of Jeff Brooks

In Top Sportsman, Jeff Brooks from Fredericksburg VA put his ’51 Henry J in the win column with a victory over the ’63 Corvette of Mineola NY racer Mike Cerro. Both drivers had great RT’s with Brooks running a 6.745 on a 6.74 dial to Cerro’s close 7.013 on his 7.01. Pretty damn close at the stripe.

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Jeff Brooks Top Sportsman winner

Jeff Brooks Top Sportsman winner

Winning the Pro Classes were

With his competition shut off after smoking the tires, Antron Brown took his career 50th Pro win at E Town

With his competition shut off after smoking the tires, Antron Brown took his career 50th Pro win at E Town over Brittany Force

Antron and his crew celebrating his big win at Old Bridge

Antron and his crew celebrating his big win at Old Bridge

Top Fuel — Antron Brown, 3.843 seconds, 318.47 mph def. Brittany Force, 5.398 seconds, 150.16 mph.

The closest Fuel final of the weekend had Matt Hagan (near lane) beating the Toyota of Alexis DeJoria in a good race

The closest Fuel final of the weekend had Matt Hagan (near lane) beating the Toyota of Alexis DeJoria in a good race with both drivers putting down nearly identical ETs

Funny Car — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.132, 299.53 def. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.138, 298.40.

Matt Hagen Funny Car Champ

Matt Hagan Funny Car Champ

Anderson had the best car in the final beating the Mopar of Allen Johnson

Anderson had the best car in the final beating the Mopar of Allen Johnson

Pro Stock — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.504, 214.31 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.537, 213.87.

Greg Anderson is back in a big way taking the Pro Stock title at the Summernationals

Greg Anderson is back in a big way taking the Pro Stock title at the Summernationals

Pro Stock Motorcycle

Jerry Savoie (near lane) won Pro Stock Bike when his competition, left too soon in the finals

Jerry Savoie (near lane) won Pro Stock Bike when his competition, Jim Underdahl, left too soon in the finals

Pro Modified — Bill Glidden, Ford Mustang, 5.923, 243.24 def. Don Walsh, Chevy Camaro, 5.897, 252.33.

Bill Glidden

Bill Glidden

Glidden over in the finals of Pro Mod

Glidden over the turbo car of Don Walsh  in the finals of Pro Mod

Second generation racer Bill Glidden took his first ever NHRA Pro Mod title at the Summers

Second generation racer Bill Glidden took his first ever NHRA Pro Mod title at the Summers

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NHRA’s “D1” Ladies Enter Media Spotlight

Story: Jeanne Linke  Photos courtesy of Jeanne Linke and Kubicke and Hutchison

On Thursday, June 4th, ladies of the NHRA Northeast Division’s sportsman categories Kelli Barbato, Amanda Boicesco, Jeanne Linke, Katie Sepanek and Allison Smyth will sit down together to discuss some of today’s most relevant topics in sportsman drag racing.

The ladies (all second generation competitors) will broadcast live from the NHRA Toyota Summernationals, with assistance from David Napp of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, on Wheelz Up Radio, presented by BBRD Motorsports and Str8line Automotive, at 7PM EST to discuss not only what it is like “racing with the boys,” but also their investments as sportsman racers and their concerns for the future of drag racing.

“I’m really looking forward to this,” says Chris Barnes, of Wheelz Up Radio. “Each of these ladies has an outstanding resume and a lot of knowledge to bring to the table about a variety of aspects related to motorsports.”

Kelle

Barbato, driver of the Hudson Performance and Mid Atlantic Super Street Association sponsored 1968 Super Street/Super Gas Chevrolet Camaro, began working beside her father, a shop foreman for Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, at a young age to help build and assemble race engines. She continues to stay involved in the sport in ways other than through racing by helping her father as well as her fiancé operate their own race engine shops.

“What fans may not realize is that even if we don’t have aspirations to be professional drivers, many of us may be affected by a cease of drag racing. Certain companies, whose businesses are directly impacted by the sport, are prime examples. Both my father and my fiancé run businesses that are dependent on sportsman racers,” says Barbato.

Kelli (near lane) was recent runner up at the Lucas event at Maple Grove

Kelli (near lane) was recent runner up at the Lucas event at Maple Grove

Currently Barbato ranks 2nd in the Mid Atlantic Super Street race series and has driven her way to the final round at her last two races, one of which was the NHRA Northeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Race Series event at Maple Grove Raceway.

Young gun Super Comp competitor Boicesco is the driver of the ATI Performance Products, Hoosier Racing Tires, Del-Haven Service Center and Sunchaser Racing Products 2002 Undercover dragster. In just two short seasons, Boicesco has made her transition from a junior dragster into a full-scale dragster look flawless. In addition to her 2014 Super Comp victory during the NHRA Northeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Race Series event at Virginia Motorsports Park, Boicesco earned a 2013 Mid Atlantic Super Comp Association series “Rookie of the Year” title, and was recently awarded the 2014 NHRA “Image of Youth” award.

Amanda

Amanda

“The future of our sport is important to me,” says Boicesco. “My current role to test products for ATI to help them determine the best combinations for specific cars and their respective categories is just one example of how I can have an influence on a business that relies on sportsman racers,” she adds.

Jeanne

Linke races in the Stock eliminator category in her 1985 Chevrolet Camaro sponsored by ATI Performance Products, CamaroGuys.com, Kubicke Photography, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels, and VP Racing Fuels. She is a previous IHRA Patriots Division Stock eliminator series champion and All-Star representative, East Coast Supercharging Corvette Challenge series champion and “Rookie of the Year.” Currently, Linke is 5th in Stock in the PCRichard.com Northeast Division National Open race series following a recent final round appearance at Atco Dragway. Off the track, Linke stays involved with drag racing by providing public relations and marketing assistance to other racers who are seeking support through sponsorships.

Jeanne took her Camaro to the Stock runner up at the first PC Richard and Son event of the season at Atco

Jeanne took her Camaro to the Stock runner up at the first PC Richard and Son event of the season at Atco

Linke races her 1985 Chevrolet Camaro sponsored by ATI Performance Products, CamaroGuys.com, Kubicke Photography, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires and Wheels, and VP Racing Fuels in Stock eliminator. 

“I work with many different types of people who are somehow involved with motorsports. Some are in media, some are import racers and others race beside me on a regular basis. I continue to notice certain variables that impact their chance for receiving support, and I know that despite certain factors, there is still extreme potential in certain drag racing markets,” says Linke.

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NHRA’s Northeast Division 2014 Jeg’s All-Star Stock eliminator representative, Sepanek, races beside Linke and Smyth in Stock eliminator in her 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle which is sponsored by Sepanek Racing Transmissions, Bob Bauer’s Dyno Room, Hoosier Racing Tires, VP Racing Fuels, Clevite, and East Coast Auto Electric. Sepanek was last year’s NHRA Toyota Summernationals Stock eliminator champion, which marks her second national event victory, and she has several other accomplishments on her race resume.

Katie

Sepanek races in Stock eliminator in her 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle which is sponsored by Sepanek Racing Transmissions, Bob Bauer’s Dyno Room, Hoosier Racing Tires, VP Racing Fuels, Clevite, and East Coast Auto Electric. 

“My husband and I have literally invested a lifetime into this great sport and the future means everything to us,” says Sepanek, who maintains heavy ties to racing even off the track. Her husband owns and operates Sepanek Racing Transmissions, which specializes in high-performance automatic transmissions. The

company’s core customer base is Stock and Super Stock eliminator competitors. “Our sport has so much to offer and we need to market those strengths effectively,” she adds.

Allison

Smyth, a product design engineer for her family’s business, Portatree Timing Systems, Inc., is the driver of the Stock eliminator 1998 Pontiac Firebird Formula sponsored by Portatree Timing Systems, Inc., BES Racing Engines, American Racing Headers, Quickfuel, Accel DFI and Ardex. Smyth has driven her way to several Stock eliminator event wins and marked history in 2012 as the first female driver to earn a victory in New England’s All Star Racing Association. Smyth finished as a “Top 20” driver in Stock eliminator in the NHRA Northeast Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in 2013 and 2014. During the offseason, Smyth developed a text messaging program whereby critical racing information can be delivered to track officials, the safety crew, and racers at each event.

“When I’m not behind the wheel, I am busy designing, building and testing new products for our family business. I love working with racers and enjoy creating fun and useful products for both the sportsman and professional racers,” says Smyth.

You can take part in the upcoming Wheelz Up Radio discussion featuring all of these ladies by joining them live on the 4th at 7PM EST. Simply call in with your questions by dialing

347-826-7505, or tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/wheelzupradio. The show will also feature additional exposure thanks to the support of Rob Jackson of RobzNeed4Speed Videos. Additional footage of the show will be available following the live discussion at http://www.robzneed4speed.com.

“I think this is a terrific opportunity to share our concerns about where sportsman racing is headed and hopefully begin the conversation that drag racing, in general, needs a huge awareness campaign makeover…shifting its focus away from the normal outlets to help bring new blood into our sport,” says Linke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Winners crowned a the Maple Grove Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series presented by Penske Truck Leasing Ondrejko returns to the Winners Circle

Ryans Back!

Ryans Back!

Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy Maple Grove Raceway

Images Diane Kubicke, David Smith, and Phil Hutchison

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

Veale (near lane) blows the tires off at the hit as Shields cruises to the T/AD win

Veale (near lane) blows the tires off at the hit as Shields cruises to the T/AD win

Moving the finals of the Alcohol classes to Sunday after Saturday’s action was halted after the temperatures dropped into the 50’s didn’t affect Duane Shields in his A/FD as the Nevada racer picked up where he left off on Saturday putting his Peak sponsored dragster deep in the 5.20’s defeating an up in smoke Jeff Veale in Sunday’s finals. Shields ran a 5.274 ET, 274.33 mph to defeat a Veale’s slowing 14 second run. Shields, who is in the thick of the Lucas Oil National Championship helped his cause with the Maple Grove win moving into first place in the points chase.

Shield's Winner's Circle

Shield’s Winner’s Circle

Cox (near lane) has the front up in the air costing him the win in TA/FC as Matt Gill could only lay down a

Cox (near lane) has the front up in the air costing him the win in TA/FC as Matt Gill could only lay down a 5.838 in his winning run

In Top Alcohol Funny Car it was Matt Gill driving the Moduline ’08 Mustang defeating DJ Cox in the East Coast Auto Electric Monte Carlo with a 5.838 ET, 254.14 mph to Cox’s troubled 8.236 ET at 153.58 as Cox lifted the front end at the hit and had no chance of catching Gill’s Ford.

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The finals of Top Dragster had

The finals of Top Dragster had Mike Esposito (far lane) cutting a great light defeating Steve Cohen in the finals

Michael Esposito cut a 0.008 light in the finals of Top Dragster making Steve Cohen’s chances of catching his dragster slim to none as Michael ran a 6.832 to Cohen’s losing 6.659 ET @192.88 mph

Ryan Ondrejko (far lane) defeated the Pontiac of

Ryan Ondrejko (far lane) defeated the Pontiac of Bob Bauer in the finals of Top Sportsman

Ryan Ondrejko has returned to Top Sportsman after a year layoff with a vengeance. Ryan took his Steve Schmidt powered Camaro to the win defeating Bob Bauer’s Pontiac with a 6.746 coupled with a 0.010 RT to Bauer’s 7.205.

Bauer had a great weekend taking his Pontiac to the finals

Bauer had a great weekend taking his Pontiac to the finals

Ryan was the man in Top Sportsman

Ryan was the man in Top Sportsman

Other winners at the Grove were:

Eckel (near lane) defeated multi time champ Frank Aragon Jr in the finals of  Comp

Eckel (near lane) defeated multi time champ Frank Aragon Jr in the finals of Comp

Competition Eliminator: Don Eckel, ’09 ProStart, .026 reaction time, 7.026 ET, 192.71 mph defeated Frank Aragona, ’05 Ken Keir, .099 reaction time, 8.059 ET, 164.11 mph

DK2_6754DSC_1956x Super Stock: Jeff Roell, ’10 Mustang, .025 reaction time, 9.430 ET, 130.20 mph defeated Mark Alvey, ’87 Camaro, .071 reaction time, 9.930 ET, 126.73 mph

Finals of Super Stock

Finals of Super Stock

Roell's WC

Roell’s WC

Jimmy Daniels (far lane) defeated

Jimmy Daniels (far lane) defeated Todd Bednaz in the finals of Stock

Stock Eliminator: James Daniels, ’85 Camaro, .044, 11.268, 116.18 defeated Todd Bednaz, ’68 Camaro,-.023, 10.468, 123.77

Jimmy wins his first Wally.. Chip off the old block

Jimmy wins his first Wally.. Chip off the old block

The finals of Super Comp

The finals of Super Comp

Super Comp: Nicholas Pierson, ’01 Quay, .000, 8.928, 155.88, defeated Kenneth Moses, ’12 American, .034, 8.902, 173.49

The SC

The Pierson Winner’s Circle

The Super Gas Finals had

The Super Gas Finals had a double breakout final with Pellican’s Vette (near lane) defeating Matt Schurman’s Chevy

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Super Gas: Jon Pellican, ’13 Spitzer, .014, 9.894, 153.33, defeated Matt Schurman, ’96 Beretta, .021, 9.882, 165.70

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Super Street: Mark Prouix, ’65 Comet, .012, 10.914, 121.23, defeated Kelli Barbato, ’68 Camaro, .033, 10.907, 144.44

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Pro Stock Sled: Brian Werner, ’01 Yamaha, .083 reaction time, 8.410 ET, 151.19 mph defeated Tina Duncanson, ’10 Mach Z, .153 reaction time, 11.468 ET, 83.87 mph

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Sled

Sled Winner Brian Werner

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Top Alcohol Finals Pushed to Sunday at the Lucas Oil Divisional at Maple Grove Dragway

Story by Phil Hutchison and Courtesy Maple Grove Raceway Photos by Hutchison and Kubicke

With NED started Carl B waving the American Flag, The Top Secret Eastern Raider, piloted by Ken Hall wows the crowd with a pass of 5.772

With NED starter Carl Bowling waving the American Flag in the background, The Top Secret Eastern Raider, piloted by Ken Hall wows the crowd with a pass of 5.772

A long day and the lateness of the hour, forced the completion of the Alcohol classes to be finished on Sunday. With a large crowd of fans at the Pennsylvania facility, an oil down here and there pushed the schedule back to the point that NED Director Dave Mohn’s crew decided to pull the plug on the action and move the finals of Alcohol to noon on Sunday.

Al Kenny's Top Dragster was awarded Best Engineered

Al Kenny’s Top Dragster was awarded Best Engineered. 

The semifinals of the Alcohol classes were completed around 9 o-clock and the temperatures had dropped into the 50’s.

The finals of Top Alcohol Funny Car will feature DJ Cox behind the wheel of the East Coast Auto Electric Monte Carlo facing the Mustang of Matt Gill. In Top Alcohol Dragster it’s Duane Shields up against Canadian racer Jeff Veale in a battle of A/FDs.

Todd was late by just a blink but it was enough to give DJ the win in the semis of TA/FC

Todd was late by just a blink but it was enough to give DJ the win in the semis of TA/FC

Earlier in the semi finals, Cox defeated Todd Veney on a hole shot running a 5.557 to Veney’s better but later 5.546. On the other side of the ladder Matt Gill won a wild race against Mickey Ferro’s Monte Carlo as both drivers had handling issues with Ferro’s car crossing the center stripe giving Gill the win as Gill had the Moduline Mustang all over the track shooting header sparks into the night as he fought for control.

Gill won his semi final race against Ferro as the Monte Carlo of Ferro crossed the centerline giving Gill the win

Gill won his semi final race against Ferro as the Monte Carlo of Ferro crossed the centerline giving Gill the win

In R1 Veney defeated Headley's Mustang

In R1 Veney defeated Headley’s Mustang

In a battle of Mustangs, Gill defeated Marie Ferriolo in the opening round

In a battle of Mustangs, Gill defeated Marie Ferriolo in the opening round

Dan Pomponio went out in Round 1 losing to Ferro's Monte Carlo

Dan Pomponio went out in Round 1 losing to Ferro’s Monte Carlo

Former Lucas Champ Tony Bartone (far lane) was asleep at the wheel as DJ Cox put the NY driver on the trailer

Former Lucas Champ Tony Bartone (far lane) was asleep at the wheel as DJ Cox put the NY driver on the trailer with huge hole shot

Shields (near lane) over Karen Stalba in R2

Shields (near lane) over Karen Stalba in R2

Nevada racer Shields made his move to the finals taking out the New Jersey based A/FD of Karen Stalba in the semis as Karen was way late on the tree and clicked it off with a low 6 second pass as Shields motored to a 5.417 at 272.34 MPH.

Veale (far lane) is way out on McPhillips in the semis of T/AD

Veale (far lane) is way out on McPhillips in the semis of T/AD

Veale, who is no stranger to the NED winner’s circle having won the Richmond Regional in 2014, defeated a troubled pass by Rich McPhillips with a great 5.383 at 270.10 MPH as McPhillips’ A/FD never got all cylinders firing and slowed to a mid 6 second time.

Shields got around Dan Mercier in R1

Shields got around Dan Mercier (far lane)  in R1

Stalba (near lane) defeated the blown car of Wayne Morris in R1

Stalba (near lane) defeated the blown car of Wayne Morris in R1

Rich McPhillips (near lane) defeated NHRA T/AD rookie Kara Stricker in the opening round

Rich McPhillips (near lane) defeated NHRA T/AD rookie Kara Stricker in the opening round

Brando Grecco (near lane) had the second blown dragster in the show but lost to eventual finalist Jeff Veale in R1

Brando Greco (near lane) had the second blown dragster in the show but lost to eventual finalist Jeff Veale in R1

Charlie Little's blown Pro Mod was Low Qualifier for the second NED event in a row. Little posted a 6.00 to grab the pole going into Sunday's eliminations

Charlie Little’s blown Pro Mod Corvette was Low Qualifier for the second NED event in a row. Little posted a 6.00 to grab the pole going into Sunday’s eliminations

Top Sportsman R1 under the lights at MG

Top Sportsman R1 under the lights at MG

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McPhillips and Veney lead the Alcohol Fields at Maple Grove

Kara Stricker makes her D1 Debut in the Anthony DiCero A/FD. Kara is in the #5 spot going into Saturday's eliminations

Kara Stricker makes her D1 Debut in the Anthony DiCero A/FD. Kara is in the #5 spot going into Saturday’s eliminations

Story by Phil Hutchison  Photos by Kubicke and Hutchison

Former Lucas Champ Tony Bartone has his Steve Boggs tuned Monte Carlo in the #6 spot with a 5.673

Former Lucas Champ Tony Bartone has his Steve Boggs tuned Monte Carlo in the #6 spot with a 5.673

It was two former NED champs sitting on top of the heap after two sessions of qualifying were completed at the NorthEast Division Lucas Oil Divisional at Maple Grove Dragway outside of Reading PA.

Low Qualifier Rich McPhillips tosses out the chutes after his qualifying pass

Low Qualifier Rich McPhillips tosses out the chutes after his qualifying pass

McPhillips, from nearby Phoenixville PA, took his A/FD to a quick 5.334 to pace the field. And what a field it was. Twenty Alcohol and Fuel dragsters made attempts to make the 8-car field.

Former NED champ and many time winner Mike Kosky blew the tires off on his last attempt to make the super quick show at Maple Grove

Former NED champ and many time winner Mike Kosky blew the tires off on his last attempt to make the super quick show at Maple Grove

Not making the 5.457 bump were former NED winners Richard Bourke, Jackie Fricke, Mike Kosky, and John Finke. But all those drivers that did make the field, each has a chance to take home the Wally as the field is only separated by 0.011 seconds.

Duane Shields

Duane Shields

Right behind McPhillips in the #2 spot is Nevada racer Duane Shields. The Boulder City racer has his Peak sponsored A/FD in the show with a 5.345. Lincoln University racer Wayne Morris has the quickest blown car in the show with a 5.351 pass followed by Canadian and 2014 Richmond winner Jeff Beale in the #4 slot with a 5.36.

In addition to making her first NED Top Alcohol field, the team also garnered Best Appearing Crew

In addition to making her first NED Top Alcohol field, the team also garnered Best Appearing Crew

Rookie Top Alcohol Dragster driver Kara Stricker goes into Saturday’s eliminations on the bump with a 5.475. Kara is no stranger to the winner’s circle as she is a former NED Top Dragster champion and is making her first Alcohol show in D1.

Low Qualifier Todd Veney

Low Qualifier Todd Veney

Alcohol Funny Car did not have the amount of cars as the dragsters did but it makes up for quantity with quality as former NED champ Todd Veney leads the field in Jay Blake’s Follow A Dream Camaro with a 5.534 @ 265.53 MPH. Second generation racer Matt Gill is right behind Veney with a career best 5.556 in the Moduline Mustang followed by Mickey Ferro’s Monte Carlo at a 5.568.

Fred Tigges

Fred Tigges, 2014 Maple Grove winner, did not make the cut in 2015

2014 winner Fred Tigges from Holbrook MA did not make the show as Tigges had two problem-plagued runs in this Dodge Avenger and will sit out Saturday’s show.

Wayne Morris

Wayne Morris

Qualifying will continue Saturday morning with eliminations to start in the afternoon. Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny car will be completed Saturday night followed by fireworks and jet dragsters. Sportsman racing will continue Sunday with all champs being crowned.

More to follow

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Rain Top Eliminator at VMP. Event rescheduled for May 8-9

Two little sun and too much water. The NED pulled the plug on the Division Opening event at Virginia Motorsport Park in Dinwiddie VA after rain Sunday morning made it impossible to finish the event.

The race will start up again in two weeks. As of Sunday, the NED informed all the racers that all fields are set.

Go to: http://division1photos.smugmug.com/ for images from the Lucas Oil race from VMP and other NED events

Here are a few more images from VMP from Friday’s qualifying 

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Saturday at the Power in the Park at Richmond Motorsport Park Lucas Oil Divisional. Rain holds eliminations at bay until Sunday. Wolkwitz sets Hemi record during Friday’s last session and Kaufman grabs #1 in Top Sportsman.

RAIN!

RAIN!

Story by Phil Hutchison  Photos by Kubicke, Hutchison, and Smith

Go to : http://division1photos.smugmug.com/ for more images from the event.

Saturday didn’t start off well with the weather forecast going from bad to worse. The rain that was supposed to hit the area late afternoon but the front moved in sooner than later and as this is being written, no cars have made it down the quarter mile and the puddles are evident and after looking at the long term radar, the racing has been cancelled for the day and racing will resume Sunday morning if the weather cooperates.

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Friday’s action was under sunny skies and cool temperatures, which made for a quick track. Long time Hemi racer Gary Wolkwitz backed up his earlier 8.21 with an 8.22 late Friday night giving the New Jersey racer the SS/AH class bragging rights. Gary’s ’68 Dart with a Barton Hemi for motivation, only had the final session to grab the NHRA ET record after spinning the Mopar’s tires in the second session but in the fading twilight, Gary and David Barton got it done.

Gary Wolkwitz ran an 8.21 on this pass Friday morning and back it up with a 8.22 for the new SS/AH NHRA record in his 1968 Hemi Dart

Gary Wolkwitz ran an 8.21 on this pass Friday morning and backed it up with a 8.22 for the new SS/AH NHRA record in his 1968 Hemi Dart

Best Engineered went to Delaware racer Laura Landry in her sharp '67 Chevelle Super Street racer

Best Engineered went to Delaware racer Laura Landry in her sharp ’67 Chevelle Super Street racer

Richard Bourke sits in the #1 spot in Alcohol Dragster going into final eliminations

Richard Bourke sits in the #1 spot in Alcohol Dragster going into final eliminations

Ray Miller's Super Comp dragster was awarded Best Appearing

Ray Miller’s Super Comp dragster was awarded Best Appearing

Todd Veney has the Follow a Dream Camaro in the # 3 spot in Alcohol Funny car with a 5.625. During the second qualifying session the burst panel came lose after Todd had a little too much shake

Todd Veney has the Follow a Dream Camaro in the # 3 spot in Alcohol Funny car with a 5.625. During the second qualifying session the burst panel came lose after Todd had a little too much shake

2014 Richmond T/AD winner Jeff Veale failed to crack the quick 8 for the final eliminations with a best of 5.58 and the bump was a 5.48

2014 Richmond T/AD winner Jeff Veale failed to crack the quick 8 for the final eliminations with a best of 5.58 and the bump was a 5.48

Karen Stalba hope her luck has changed as she has her NJ based A/FD in the show with a 5.44 good enough for #6 spot

Karen Stalba hopes her luck has changed as she has her NJ based A/FD in the show with a 5.44  Good enough for #6 spot

Fred Tigges in another racer that has stepped up  as of late putting his ancient Camaro in the Funny Car field with a 6.608 good enough for #2

Fred Tigges in another racer that has stepped up as of late putting his Camaro in the Funny Car field with a 5.608 good enough for #2

Allentown NJ racer Marie Ferrilo continues to impress with a #4 spot in her new look Mustang. Marie ran a 5.633

Allentown NJ racer Marie Ferrilo continues to impress with a #4 spot 5.633 in her  Mustang. 

The quickest blown car in the T/AD show is Wayne Morris from Lincoln University PA

The quickest blown car in the T/AD show is Wayne Morris from Lincoln University PA at a 6.322

Michael Kaufman from Woodcliff Lake NJ jumped around Marc Caruso and Don Rudd to take the #1 spot in Top Sportsman with a 6.491 in his '67 Corvette

Michael Kaufman from Woodcliff Lake NJ stepped up in the late session to take the #1 spot in Top Sportsman with a 6.491 in his ’67 Corvette

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Fields set in Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car. Caruso and Hall lead Top Sportsman and Top Dragster

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All Photos Kubicke and Hutchison  Story Phil Hutchison

It was a quick day at Virginia Motorsports Park at the first Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for the NHRA Northeast Division. Track conditions were optimal for record runs in all the NHRA Sportsman classes and there were numerous NHRA National records set during qualifying.

Gary Wolkwitz, after setting the Hemi world on it's ear with a 8.21 during the first session, blew the tires off his Dart in R2. Engine builder David Barton can be seen behind the Mopar

Gary Wolkwitz, after setting the Hemi world on it’s ear with a 8.21 during the first session, blew the tires off his Dart in R2. Engine builder David Barton can be seen behind the Mopar

One of the biggest runs of the day was the SS/AH Dart of Gary Wolkwitz from Califon NJ as the Mopar laid down an unreal 8.21 during the morning session. Gary failed to back up the run during the late afternoon session but there was one qualifying run to go as we go to press and Gary could set the ET record for the Hemi class. More to follow tomorrow.

Richard Bourke

Richard Bourke

In the Alcohol classes Rich Bourke from Old Tappan NJ was low qualifier in Top Alcohol Dragster in his A/FD with a 5.275 to pace the field. And what a field it was. With 14 cars attempting to qualify for the 8-car show, the second and last qualifying session was nothing short of fantastic. The bump moved around with every pass and when it was over, former NED winners such as Dan Mercier, John Finke, Jackie Fricke, and 2014 VMP winner Jeff Veale were on the outside of the 5.48 bump. NHRA drama at it’s best

Wayne Morris' blown dragster

Wayne Morris’ blown dragster

Behind the 5.275 of Bourke was the blown car of PA racer Wayne Morris with a 5.322 and Nevada’s Duane Shields with a 5.34 in his nitro car. Holding down the bump was Earl Nichols from Wilmington DE making his first NED show with a career best 5.48 driving the blown dragster of Ken Winward. .

Earl Nichols has the Ken Winward dragster on the bump at VMP

Earl Nichols has the Ken Winward dragster on the bump at VMP going into final eliminations

John Finke did not have one of his better days failing to get into the tough final 8

John Finke did not have one of his better days failing to get into the tough final 8

Mickey Ferro

Mickey Ferro

In Alcohol Funny Car, Mickey Ferro from Stamford CT put his ’11 Monte Carlo on the pole with a 5.552. Mickey has a half tenth cushion over the #2 qualifier of Fred Tigges from Holbrook MA as Fred’s ’01 Avenger ran a 5.608 for the second spot. The bump of 5.72 went to Dan Pomponio’s Monte Carlo. Not making the show was Tyler Scott and NHRA regular John Hedley.

Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano

After two sessions, Virginia racer Kevin Houghtaling leads the Comp field with a 0.631 under8.569 in his F/SM ’98 Grand Am. Pete “Lucky” Luciano is right behind Houghtaling in the ’10 Cobalt L/AA of Charlie Greco with a 0.619 under 8.601.

Marc Caruso

Marc Caruso

Marc Caruso leads the Top Sportsman show with a 6.582 and Scott Hall has his blown dragster leading the  Top Dragster ladder with a 6.204 but there was still one qualifying session to go late Friday night but it is unlikely these two will be knocked off their low ETs going into Saturday’s eliminations.

Low qualifier in Top Dragster, Scott Hall

Low qualifier in Top Dragster, Scott Hall

With the weather forecast for Saturday’s eliminations looking really bad toward the late afternoon with rain showers coming in to disrupt the acton, NED director Dave Mohn and his team made the decision to go directly into eliminations Saturday morning and hopefully we will have all the winners crowned before the rain comes. Again, more to follow.

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