Story by Division One Photographer Phil Hutchison
Photos by Diane Kubicke and Phil Hutchison
Joining Super Street winner Casey Grubb, Super Stock winner Brian Martel, and Comp champ Frank Aragona Jr in the winners circle were; Herbert Roby in Super Comp, Donny Pires Stock champ, Mike Sawyer in Super Gas, Mike Sullivan in Top Dragster and Wayne Horton in Top Sportsman.
It was another hot race in the NED and with the weather looking iffy for Sunday, NHRA Division 1 Director Bob Lang along with track owner Joe Sway made the decision to pull off the impossible, getting the entire race completed in one day including a qualifying pass for all the classes other than Comp. And it worked! No major oil or accidents had the race completed before the curfew and the winner’s circle shots were completed before midnight.
Grubb, who just won the recently completed Epping NH divisional in his “Just Another Camaro”, defeated Chris DePascale behind the wheel of his dad’s Vega wagon in a double breakout final. Both drivers had good lights (Grubb’s 0.009 to DePascale’s 0.015) but the slight difference in RTs forced DePascale to push is a little too far as his 10.892 was farther under the 10.90 index compared to Grubb’s 10.897. The win at Atco puts Grubb in the #1 spot in NED points. Don Garbinski is #2 in the division with his ageless Dodge Challenger.
Brian Martel is having one good season behind the wheel of Nick Chiles’ SS/BS Chevy Cobalt. Martel was runner up at the Maple Grove divisional over Memorial Day and the following week, took the Cobalt to the winner’s circle at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown NJ. At Atco, Martel defeated the SS/EA Camaro of Marty Rinehart in the final as Rinehart ran too quick with a 9.862 on a 9.89 dial. With the win at Atco, Martel moved into the #1 spot. Former points leader, Jacques Blais, lost in the first round of eliminations, dropping him to sixth in the division in his GT/EA Mustang. The SS/BA Cobra Mustang of Anthony Bongiovanni led qualifying with a 1.010 under 8.890.
Former NED and Lucas Oil Competition Eliminator champ Frank Aragona Jr took the family F/ED to his third win of the season defeating the I/SM Chevy of Joe Carnasciale in the finals as Carnasciale slowed from his earlier pace, running a mid 11 second pass on his 9.58 index after getting a 0.005 light. Aragona also had quick RT with a 0.009 light but saw that Carnasciale had slowed and clicked it early to an 8.269 on his 8.66 index. After the Atco event, Aragona is nearly 120 points ahead of his nearest rival in the NED, partner Steve Szupka, who drives the Aragona team G/EA Bantam. It could be a 1-2 finish in 2012 for Team Aragona.
In a class wholly dominated by dragsters, Herbert Roby took his little altered to a win in Super Comp beating some of the best in the NED on the way. Roby defeated Marty Jones Jr in the finals after Jones left too soon giving Roby the win. Earlier Roby defeated former NED champ Jason Kenny and transmission guru Ken Moses to get to the finals. Super Street r/u Chris DePascale leads the Super Comp points chase by the slimmest of margins having a one point lead over Kent Hanley and Al Kenny who are tied in second place.
Also taking control of their destiny was Stock winner Donny Pires. Pires, who is not a stranger to the winner’s circle, defeated Donnie Carroll in the finals as Pires put his H/SA Nova out in front of the B/SA of Carroll running a 11.631 on a 11.60 dial to Carroll’s very close 10.468 on his 10.44 dial. Just as in Martel’s case, the win at Atco puts Pires in the #1 spot in the NED Stock Eliminator chase.
After two runner-ups and a win at the Atco divisional, former NED champ Mike Sawyer is solidly in first place in the Super Gas points. Sawyer defeated Jake Barbato’s Camaro in the final as Sawyer’s Cavalier roadster had the better RT and ran closer to the 9.90 index for the win.
In Top Sportsman it was Wayne Horton driving the Wapid Wabbit II Chevelle over the Corvette of Mike Kaufman as Kaufman ran to quick with a 6.825 on his 6.86 dial to Horton’s 7.753 on his 7.74 dial.
Top Dragster had a first time winner with Mike Sullivan defeating Clinton Mills in the finals. Clint, son of long time NED racer Vonnie Mills ran a 7.16 on a 7.09 dial losing to Sullivan’s better 7.007 on a 6.97.
Next race- Cecil County starting Thursday August 15