Lang, Donhauser win emotional “Pig Roast” at Cecil County

Photos and story courtesy of Rob Keister

Winfelder (F) vs. Kreiger (N) in Top 8 SC Final

The Mid Atlantic .90 Association invaded Cecil County Dragway in Northeast, Md for the 23rd annual “Uncle Buck” Pig Roast & .90 Race. Local racer George Donhauser & Mike Lang came in on a mission and both left with a special commemorative trophy designed for this event by S&W Race Cars. Donhauser who is from nearby Bel Air, Md calls Cecil County Dragway his home track and added a win at the event that is named after his old Crew Chief Ronnie “Uncle Buck” Harple who passed away in 2012. Lang, on the other hand claimed his first Super Gas win and along with his son Sean dedicated it to his wife, Barb who also passed away suddenly in April of this year.

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Temperatures in the mid 90’s greeted racers for Race #3 of the season and it would be a battle of endurance to see who would be holding the trophy at days end. Surrounded by friends and family, Donhauser marched his way through a tough field of Super Gas cars to claim his first victory in a few years. In round 1 his took down Lang who went red, current points leader Don Miller in the 2nd, Marc Marcuso in the 3rd and Mike Lauria in the semis. Awaiting Donhauser was George Smith and his “Livewire” 67 Camaro. In that final, Smith took the jump at the green (.008 to .018) but, pushed his Chevy a little too hard and broke out 9.845 to Donhauser’s winning 9.854. Other winners joining George on Saturday were Danny “Mr. Happy” Bisbano in Super Comp and Kelli Barbato in Super Street.

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Once the dust had settled from Race # 3, a special event was held for selected competitors put on by Autometer, ATI Performance, Lantier Constuction & Ed Quay Race Cars. The Top 8 Shootout enabled twenty-four drivers who earned qualifying points through the 2015-16 seasons to battle it out for cash and prizes. In the end three new drivers added their names to the trophy and received an automatic birth to the 2017 event. Winners included Randy Winfelder Jr. (SC), George Stack (SG) & Martie Ganjoin (SST).

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On Sunday, following a great pig roast on Saturday Night the drivers turned their attention to claiming victory. As previously mentioned, Mike Lang and his 1968 Camaro took the win in Super Gas. This was Mike’s first victory and he did so by taking down Jake Barbato, Earl Nichols Jr, a competition single in the 3rd and Hank Smith in the semi’s. In the finals Lang matched up with recent Top 8 winner George Stack and his 99 Monte Carlo. At the hit Lang took the advantage (.004 to .039) and never looked back with a 9.944 to 9.948 decision for Lang. Joining Lang in the winner’s circle were Frank Genovisi in Super Comp & Martie Ganjoin in Super Street who prevented Kelli Barbato the double-up.

Stack Top 8 SG Win

 

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Fahnestock, Holcomb become 1st time winners at Maple Grove

Photos and story courtesy of Rob Keister

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The Mid Atlantic .90 Association finally got its 2016 season underway after weather forced the cancelation of its season opener in May. Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa played host to the series under clear, sunny skies. In the end two new faces graced the winner circle at the end of the weekend.

Chase Fahnestock was a busy man during the weekend as he found himself wheeling his DWI Construction / Yards Brewery Dragster in two different states and two different dragstrips. At the beginning of the week, Fahnestock was in Norwalk, Oh for the Summit Equipment National Event. After a tough first round loss, the team packed up and headed east to Maple Grove for Race #2 of the 10 race series. The long trip paid off for the team as Fahnestock found himself in the finals against a familiar opponent and Lee Ream. Fahnestock and Ream were no strangers to each other in finals at Maple Grove as the two lined up for the finals of the 2013 Lucas Oil Division 1 event that saw Ream come out on top. This time around Fahnestock has different plans in the rematch as he strapped a 2 thousandth package on Ream. Chase took the starting line advantage (.002 to .015) and parlayed that into a perfect 8.900 to Reams game 8.907. Fahnestock wanted to thank his sponsors & friends and of course his parents, Crystal and Joel for all their hard work and effort to get him to Maple Grove.

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The other first time winner came from the Super Gas ranks as Dover, Pa’s Jerry Holcomb wheeled his 2002 Chevy Camaro to victory. In the finals, Race # 1 winner Don Miller turned on the dreaded red-light handing the victory to Holcomb and preventing Miller from Doubling-Up. Holcomb stayed in it and ran it out to a 9.885. Jerry, celebrated in style with his wife April, two puppies, his dad and Team Hookdaddy Motorsports.

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Other event winners over the weekend included Jack Donnelly taking down 2015 MASCA Champion Ash Senft in Super Comp, Keith Mayer’s over Bill Trum in Super Street and as mentioned before Don Miller took down Don Knocklick in a battle of “The Don’s” in Super Gas on Saturday. Joining Fahnestock and Holcomb in the winner circle on Sunday was once again Mayers as he took down a red-lighting Dom Burgese. Not only did Mayer’s sweep both MASSA events he picked up a third trophy by winning the Nostalgia Stk/SS Race in his 67 Dodge Cornet.

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No. 1 Qualifier Cary Goforth Takes Pro Stock Title and Claims Points Lead; Bob Malloy Wins Nitro Motorcycle and Sets National Record at the IHRA Presidents Cup at Budds Creek

Story courtesy IHRA  Photos by Phil Hutchison

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MECHANICSVILLE, Md. (June 18, 2016) – The record-setting trend set on Friday continued Saturday at the IHRA President’s Cup Nationals.  Cary Goforth (Pro Stock), Bob Malloy (Nitro Motorcycle), Tim Boychuk (AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car) and Kevin McCurdy (Pro Mod) took their respective titles at Maryland International Raceway.
Goforth entered the event three markers out of the points lead and dominated the day.  He was the No. 1 qualifier, ran the table in eliminations and took the points lead after the season’s third race.  He defeated Brad Waddle, John Pluchino and Trevor Eman on his way to the winner’s circle.  Goforth was the only No. 1 qualifier that advanced past the first round of eliminations; it was his second win in three races this season. Texas Nationals winner and previous Pro Stock points leader John Konigshofer did not qualify for eliminations.
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“I think a big advantage today was having lane choice,” Goforth said. “The right lane was just a little bit better, and it was very important to keep lane choice.  Our car’s had issues; we’re just now kind of figuring out what it wants so we can make some passes.  Our team’s been in a little bit of a slump; we’re gonna fight our way out of it.  We’re happy, and I’m really appreciative.  It’s a good Father’s Day gift for my Dad so we’re really happy.”
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Malloy set the IHRA elapsed time national record on his way to the winner’s circle.  After defeating Jake Stordeur in the first round, he posted a 6.204-second pass, the quickest in IHRA history, to defeat Jay Turner and advance to the finals.  To leave Maryland International Raceway with the national record, he needed to make a run within one percent of his record mark in the final.  He did just that taking out Tii Tharpe with a 6.259-second effort to win the race and back up his national record.  Although he lost in the semifinals, Jay Turner took the Nitro Motorcycle points lead after Randall Andras, who led the points entering the weekend, lost in the first round.
“It hasn’t hit home yet; I needed that win bad – what a day,” Malloy said.  “It couldn’t have worked out any better.  We’ve been creeping up on it, but it’s been giving us trouble.  I had my mind made up that if I didn’t do well here, I was gonna stay home and test.  We’ve been right on the edge for the last couple of races so it came through today.  We were trying to win the race – not set the record.  This is the only high-gear-only bike out here, naturally aspirated. So I think I proved a point here today.”
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Tim Boychuk became the third AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car winner in the season’s first three races.  He defeated Paul Romine, Steve Nichols and Mike McIntire, Jr. on his way to the winner’s circle.  The top two drivers in the AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car point standings entering the weekend, Shawn Bowen and Jason Rupert, were defeated in the first round of eliminations.
“This is excellent; we got rid of our old tune-up and put a new tune-up in it,” Boychuk said.  “We tested in Phoenix in February.  The car was running like it was today, but then we changed something.  Now we put it back to the new setup, and the car was like a bracket car today – three 5.71s in a row and a 5.72 in the final round.  The car’s just right on rails and running good so everything’s just perfect.”
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In Pro Mod, McCurdy raced past Fredy Scriba, Angela Kinson, Steve King and Mac McAdams on the way to the first IHRA victory of his career.  Pro Mod No. 1 qualifier Billy Harper broke and was unable to compete in eliminations.
“It’s been a good weekend,” McCurdy said. “We battled the track a little bit trying to get wheel speed – the track was a little bit tight. Other than that it was a really good weekend.  This was the first IHRA race I ever entered; I enjoyed the whole thing – it was great.”
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Cayuga Dragway Hosts Northeast National Open

Photos and Story by Bruce Biegler  Drag Race Canada

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NHRA Divisional level racing was welcomed back to Cayuga Dragway at Toronto Motorsports Park last weekend for the first time in a very long time.

 

The fabled Canadian race track hosted their first ever NHRA Northeast Division National Open (presented by PC Richard.com) and good swath of Canadian and American racers went head-to-head in competition under pretty much ideal weather conditions.

 

There is no denying that the weekend’s marquee and top attraction was a much touted and lucrative Stock/Super Stock Shootout – which was presented by Montreal’s John Scotti and his Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame ventures.   John’s innovative drag racing initiative attracted the largest field of Stock and Super Stock cars seen in Canada in a very long time – with some 80 teams being pre-entered – and 71 different cars making qualifying runs.

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The John Scotti Stock/Super Stock Shootout was in fact two separate races – one event each on Saturday and Sunday. That produced wins by both a very wily Canadian racer (Chuck Nagy) and a national champion caliber racer (Dan Fletcher) who both pocketed the majority of the $10,000 prize money offered each day.

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On Saturday, it was Niagara Falls area racer Nagy who prevailed over a fierce field – winning seven gruelling rounds driving his GT/TA Chevy S-10 truck.   For Nagy, who is the defending 2015 Can-Am Stock/Super Stock series champion for the area, it was a most rewarding win right in his own back yard.

 

In the final round he took out the Super Stock Pontiac Grand-Am raced by Indiana’s Scotty Stillings – which marked the first time in his racing career he had beaten that U.S. class heavyweight racer head on and with the win light, Nagy collected about $5800 of the day’s purse.

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“It’s pretty nice to win the inaugural Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame Shootout,” said Nagy. “For whatever reason when I’m amongst tough competition that seems to bring the best out of me. I needed a really good light (.004) in the semi finals to get by Guy Desjardins and when I beat Stillings in the final – that felt great because I’ve never been able to do that before – despite racing him many times.”

 

Chuck was also very appreciate of the overall effort that NHRA Division One, Cayuga Dragway and particularly John Scotti’s people put in to presenting the racing event.

 

“I know I speak for all the class racers when I say we appreciate it,” he added. “This took a ton of work to organize and finalize – and it was pretty successful as you could see. Having two separate days of competition for lucrative purses is pretty much a racers dream at our level. I think that now once the word gets out – the next race will be even larger for the next one. I can see 100+ cars being entered.”

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Sunday’s win went to Dan Fletcher, who lives about 90 minutes away from Cayuga at his hometown in Western NY state (Churchville). Racing his FS/F late model COPO which features sponsorship from PEAK, Fletcher too had to run through 7 hard rounds to take the win. In that final round he topped the GT/GA Camaro raced by Pennsylvania’s Bryan Worner who had a foul start.

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The NHRA indexed class cars (Super Street – Super Gas – Super Comp) were combined into a single eliminator for each day of racing. On Saturday it was Brad Redford (Colborne ON) winning in his S/ST Nova over Tom Coonley’s S/ST Nova. On Sunday it was the S/C dragster raced by Ed McCleaft (from PA) topping the S/ST Monte Carlo of Chris Vanbaalen for the title.

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The Race Cayuga Series was also in full action mode over the weekend. Competition there in those ET racing categories was highlighted by a strong “double up” event effort by K.C. Kovacs (Windham Center ON) driving his great looking dragster which won in Quick Sportsman both days.

 

Saturdays other winners were Shawn Booth (Modified), Pete Stewart (Pro Bike/Sled), Buster Cherry (Super Pro), Darrel Fraser (Street) and Drew Greschuck (Junior Dragster).

 

On Sunday wins went to Ian Stirk (Super Pro), John Chittendon (Modified), Brad Talbot (Street), Pete Stewart (Bike/Sled) and Ryan Pettit (Junior).

 

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McPhillips and Bartone lead winners at Lucas Oil Divisional at Maple Grove

Story Courtesy NHRA Photos Phil Hutchison and Diane Kubicke

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Having a $10 a carload on Saturday night didn’t hurt attendance as the stands were packed

Rich McPhillips and Tony Bartone took home wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car at this weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Showdown at Sundown event at Maple Grove Raceway outside Philadelphia.

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McPhillips made it two years in a row with his PA based A/FD

McPhillips, Phoenixville, Pa., qualified No. 5 and took out Dan LaPrairie in round one with a 5.387 second lap at 269.40 mph then ended No. 1 qualifier Richard Bourke’s day in the semifinals with a 5.371, 262.26 run. In the final it was McPhillips and former Lucas Oil World Champion Duane Shield out of Boulder City, Nev. with McPhillips taking the win in 5.410 seconds, 268.49 mph as Shields had problems and lifted off the throttle. This is the second win in three final rounds for McPhillips having won in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this year and losing to Shields in the Richmond, Va., final in early May.

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Shields (near lane) started smoking the tires right after this shot and McPhillips took advantage

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It was a great final in Alcohol Funny Car with T Bone (near lane) beating the Camaro of Matt Gill in the final under the Maple Grove lights

Bartone met up with second generation driver and defending event champion Matt Gill in his final round making his quickest run of the day to defeat the Broxton, Mass., racer in 5.545 at 266.88 mph as Gill clocked in at 5.627, 252.80. Bartone, Long Island City, N.Y., ran quicker in each round posting a 5.614 in round one against John Headley and a 5.606 over DJ Cox Jr. in round two.

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Matt Gill is having a great start to the 2016 NED season

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Doug Doll took his second Lucas Divisional win in a row with Charlie Greco’s E/DA

In Competition Eliminator, local runner Doug Doll out of Lancaster, Pa., ran down Peter Luciano, Malvern, Pa., who left first with a stellar .007 second reaction time. Doll went 7.455 at 174.10 in his ’15 dragster for his second divisional win of the year.

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In addition to winning Comp, the Greco dragster also took home Best Engineered at the Grove!

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Zeffiro (far lane) had to race #2 qualifier Alan O’Brien in the final and won with a near dead on 6.092 on a 6.09 dial!

Defending event champion Frank Zeffiro and Ronald Proctor each scored in the MXI/Magnaflux Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes. Zeffiro, Torrington, Conn., used a hole shot to knock out Alan O’Brien with a near perfect 6.092 on a 6.09 dial with a .010 second reaction time. O’Brien, Roncerverte, W.V., ran dead-on his dial at 6.270 but was a tick slower at the start.

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Zeffiro who was defending Champ also was low qualifier in Top Dragster on his way to the Maple Grove win

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It was Proctor (near lane) over Puluse in the Top Sportsman final

Proctor, Harpers Ferry, W.V., out ran Glen Puluse with a 6.834, 202.67 in his ’09 Mustang. Pulse slowed to a 7.244, 151.87 with his ’06 GTO.

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Allison Smyth gets the wheels up during Saturday night’s Top Eight shootout which she won and later on Sunday took the Stock trophy home to MA

The Stock and Super Stock titles went home with Allison Smyth, Uxbridge, Mass., and John Armstrong, Kingston, N.S. Smyth covered the quarter-mile in 10.206 at 129.32 mph with her ’98 Firebird to defeat Brian Martel, Fredericksburg, Va., and Armstrong drove his ’69 Corvette to a lap of 8.873, 150.83 against Charlie Bubka, Manorville, N.Y.

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Canadian racer Armstrong (far lane) beat Charlie Bubka in the finals of Super Stock

Rounding out the winners on this Memorial Day weekend were John Bruzzo, Oceanside, N.Y., over Walter Olt, Medfore, N.J., in Super Comp.

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Bruzzo (near lane) over Olt in the finals of Super Comp

Francis Ross, Milford, N.H., beat Mike Sawyer, Leominster, Mass., in Super Gas

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Rick Mattioli, Middlesex, N.J., held on to beat Casey Cole, Lexington Park, Md., in Super Street.

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Tyler Small, South Berwick, Maine, took the Ultimax Pro Stock Snowmobile trophy in beating Frank Berard Jr., Troy, N.Y.

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Commisso wins Pro Mod, Massel tops Holley EFI field and Rini goes for a wild ride at the 14th Annual NMCA Ross Racing Pistons Muscle Car Mayhem at Bradenton Motorsports Park

 

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Photos by Phil Hutchison Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy of NMCA

During the off season, the NMCA made major changes to their VP Racing Fuels Xtreme Pro Mod series with blown, nitrous, and turbocharged cars running side by side in the 1/8 mile. Twenty of these beasts made it through tech and only 16 would be racing on Sunday, which made for some wild qualifying.

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Tinley Park, Illinois’ Randy Adler put his ’57 Chevy Pro Mod on the top of the qualifying sheet with a 3.80, and he would wade through the field to meet Raymond Commisso of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The two supercharged cars lined up and at the hit, Adler’s Chevy broke traction, allowing Commisso to streak to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

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The finals of Pro Mod had Adler (far lane) up against the Camaro of Commisso

Earlier in the second round, Commisso was up against Chris Rini’s beautiful ’69 Camaro and as the cars went down the Bradenton track, Rini’s Chevy went toward the centerline, corrected and contacted the wall heavily damaging the new car. Chris was transported to the local hospital with several broken ribs on his left side, bruised lung and a bruised knee but is expected to recover fully.

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All hell broke loose for Chris Rini (far lane) during his first round race with eventual winner Commisso as Rini’s Camaro hit the guardwall hard sending the Northeast driver to the hospital with a few broken ribs and a punctured lung

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In Mickey Thompson Radial Wars, it was Keith Berry that laid down the first 3-second pass (3.89) in the class’ history during Friday night’s first qualifying session. The rest of the field wasn’t far behind with the next three cars logging 4.0-second runs. Berry fell to DeWayne Mills in the semis, where Daniel Pharris had a bye run. As the air began to cool, the setting was ripe for quick times and we were in for a show. Pharris got off the line first and the holeshot would pay off as he took the win with a 3.99 to Mills’ quicker 3.97.

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Daniel Pharris (far lane) used a holeshot to take the Mickey Thompson Radial Wars over the quicker Camaro of DeWayne Mills

Wiseco Performance Products Street Outlaw, now in its second year in the eighth-mile format, began with a field separated by just 3 tenths of a second after qualifying. Last year’s NMCA Finals runner-up,

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Jarod Wenrick

, took the top qualifying spot in his Chevy II Nova with a 4.458 lap. The Deuce made its way to final round where it would face off against the late-model Mustang of Phil Hines. Hines had low ET of the weekend with a 4.451, and the final was an awesomely close race. Wenrick left first by just .02 seconds, and at the stripe, it was Wenrick first with a 4.506 to Hines’ 4.511.

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ARP Nitrous Pro Street saw 2015 champion Joe Bucaro pick up where he left off last year, dominating the field once more. While he missed the Florida race last year, his car was ready and took the number-one qualifying spot with a 7.34. Bucaro would meet John Trobiani of Romeoville, Illinois, in the final, which ended with Bucaro’s victorious 7.37 over Trobiani’s 9.52.

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The Edelbrock Xtreme Street field was chock full of heavy hitters like 2015 champ David Hutnick, Tony Alm, Bill Trovato and Eric Kenward, but several newcomers posted quick times in qualifying that shook up the contingent. Kenward and his newly painted Wheelie Wagon set the bar in qualifying with an untouched 7.67 elapsed time, and he lowered that to a 7.65 on his first-round bye run. In true champion form, Hutnick made his way round after round until he landed in the finals against newcomer Martin Connelley. Connelley’s Mustang got off the line first, but Hutnick’s nitrous-fed Camaro edged past the Fox body running a 7.73 to Connelley’s 7.82.

Dwight Ausmus and his Pontiac Firebird grabbed the number-one qualifier position in Quick Lane of Downs Ford NA 10.5 with a 7.92. After dispatching newcomer Richie Nye, Ausmus met 2015 champ Leonard Long in the final. The lights were near identical, and it was a tight race down to the finish line where Long squeaked past with an 8.02 to Ausmus’ 8.03.

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New this year is the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars class, which is a heads-up eliminator pitting Mustang Cobra Jets, Chevrolet COPO Camaros, and Dodge Challenger Drag Paks. The class was dominated by supercharged entries, and Kevin Skinner’s CJ Mustang sat on top after qualifying with an 8.41. Whatever advantage the Mustangs of the class had faded round after round until the COPO Camaros of Glenn Pushis and Bruno Massel were the only ones standing in the final round. Pushis grabbed a slight advantage at the start, but Massel’s COPO pulled ahead to take the win, 8.55 to 8.82 in the all-Chevy final.

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Holley EFI winner Bruno Massel and family in the Winner’s Circle

With a successful start in 2015, Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center picked up where it left off last year with Hazen, Arkansas’ Ronnie Hackelton qualifying number one with a 10.35—slightly quicker than last year’s debut performance. As the rounds passed, it would be Hackelton meeting last year’s Florida winner, Kevin Lumsden in the final. Their lights were near even at .092 to .093, and that slight advantage is all that remained for Ronnie Hackelton, but it was enough to give him his first win of the year.

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As happened last year, the NMCA hosted a round of the local Ross Racing Pistons Outlaw 632 class. In the final round, it was a familiar site as last year’s winner, Ken Quartuccio, lined up next to the Corvette of Curt Steinbach. At the end of the eighth-mile contest, it was once again Quartuccio taking the victory with a close 4.42 to 4.45 Win.

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The 2015 E3 Spark Plugs Top Sportsman champion, John Lynch, arrived in Florida ready to defend his title. He and his father had made some changes to the suspension of their Third-Gen Camaro that allowed it to run solid, straight runs in the low 7-second range. Lexington, Kentucky’s Greg Cason was the number-one qualifier with a 7.02, but in the finals, he did not make the lane call and Lynch took the easy single en route to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

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As with many of the other classes, ATI Performance Products Nostalgia Super Stock welcomed new racers to the group. Class regular Mike DeChicco had put his ’65 Dodge on pole by the end of qualifying, with newcomer Robert Killian and his ’69 Dart right behind him. In the final, however, it was Joe Midile Jr. facing Ron Tiller. Midile left the line and something immediately broke in the car, but the win was his as Tiller was a heart-breaking -.003 red.

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With his ’71 Caprice not quite ready for the first race of the year, 2015 Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle Car champion Andy Warren called up Jason Rollins to borrow a ride. The wild-launching Malibu wagon worked well for the champ, and he drove it to the final round where he defeated Mike Roup and his ’66 Mustang. Warren had the starting-line advantage and went 11.01 on his 11.00 index while Roup was 13.84 for his 14.00 index.

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Kurt Neighbor sat on top of the Magnafuel Open Comp qualifying list in his ’79 Mustang with a .002 reaction time. As often happens with Open Comp, though, the good qualifiers don’t always make it to the late rounds. This year, it was

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facing the Kelly Pierce in his wheel-standing Chevy Malibu. The race was over at the start, though, as McClenaghan’s propane-fueled Mustang left .004 seconds before the green light said go.

Gear Vendors True Street featured two very fast Mustangs, but a faster Pontiac Firebird that topped them all. Stephen Smith of Loxahatchie, Florida, carded a 7.81-second three-run average to claim the True Street crown, while the twin-turbo Mustang of Randy Seward runner’d up with 8.44 effort. Closely behind him was the Coyote-powered machine if Justin Jordan, who has gone 7s before, but gathered an 8.47-second average on Saturday. Taking the 9-second award was Mile French with a 9.20 average, and Jesse Schmitt rounded up the 10-second win with a 10.68. Bill Locke averaged 11.06 in his ’72 Buick Gran Sport for the 11-second award, and Grant Martin in a much newer ’86 Buick Grand National gathered the 12-second win with a 12.006. Jerry Morse averaged 13.02 for the 13-second win, and Wyatt Morse drove his ’71 Ventura to a 14.06 average for the class win. Rounding out the Gear Vendors True Street winners was Burtt Greiner with a 15.02-second average.

The NMCA heads north to Georgia next for the 8th Annual NMRA/NMCA Borla All-Star Nationals Presented by Miller Welders April 7-10, 2016.

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Third Generation Racer Krista Baldwin makes a big splash at NHRA Circle K Winternationals

Story by Phil Hutchison  Photos Phil Hutchison and courtesy of Krista Baldwin

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Krista Baldwin, daughter of long time Southern California Top Fuel racer Bobby Baldwin, made her NHRA Pro Sportsman debut at the recent NHRA Circle K Winternationals in Pomona CA behind the wheel of Anthony Dicero’s Nitro University/ McLeod Racing A/FD. Krista has a drag racing pedigree as in addition her Dad’s career driving a Top Fueler, her mom is the daughter of legendary Top Fuel racer and Hall of Fame member Chris “The Greek” Karamesines. Racing is in her blood.

Krista, who before getting her license to drive an Alcohol Dragster, had been racing in the Nostalgia 1 Eliminator class at the NHRA Heritage Series with limited success. She had been driving Rick MacDonald’s front engine car and qualified Rick’s dragster at the California Hot Rod Reunion the past two years and ran the American Nostalgia Racing Association meets during her four years of racing the series but she had the desire to go faster.

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It was the want of a nail, or in this case, the want of nail polish that got Krista and Anthony Dicero together. Krista says “At the Four Wide Nationals I was working with Paul Lee, driver of the Lagana, Stewart, and Brooks funny car as an intern for Social Media and Marketing. Jake Sanders, who is our current car chief with the A/FD, texted me and asked me if I had any nail polish and I asked “Why?” Jake said Anthony’s three year old daughter Kolette, chipped a nail and wasn’t a very happy camper. I went over to Anthony’s pits, dropped off some polish and we struck up a conversation. That’s how this whole thing got started with some nail polish and a two year old girl”.

Later in the year Krista attended her first class at the Nitro University and things got rolling from there.

The Nitro University, for those not familiar, gives fans and racer the chance to earn their A/Fuel license or learn to work on a fuel car. The university offers a variety of classes throughout the drag racing season. Last year Dicero licensed over 12 people in his A/Fuel Dragster with Baldwin being one of them. Krista adds “We have NHRA Pros like Leah Pritchett, Morgan Lucas, Antron Brown, and Richie Crampton as Professors helping out with the students. After my “graduation” I am acting as Brand Ambassador for the Nitro University”.

Krista continues”Anthony knows the sport inside and out. He knows how to get these cars down the track. He knows how to make you feel comfortable working on and driving the car. Anthony gives you the confidence needed to succeed”.

Krista, Kolette, and Anthony

Did Krista succeed at the Winternationals? The team’s first pass on Thursday was a shutting off pass of 5.495 at 229.55 MPH which put her #11 in the 16 car field and making her the 34th woman to qualify in the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster class. After the run Krista said “Everyone was warning me how short the Pomona track was so I clicked it early to see how much room I had. After the run I saw that I had plenty of room to get the car stopped”

During Saturday morning’s final qualifying session, Anthony put the tune in the car and Krista stormed to a 5.263 at 274.89 MPH putting her in the seventh spot matching her up against the blown car of Canadian Shawn Cowie in round 1 of eliminations which was scheduled to run later in the afternoon.

Krista heading back the pits after her 5.263 pass

It would be great to report Krista won the race against Cowie in her debut, but Krista was late off the line and adding to her problems, the A/FD did not perform as good as it qualified losing with a 5.578 to Cowie’s better 5.352. Krista said “ I knew I was losing at the 60 foot clocks as I could already see his back tires as he was out in front of me” If it is any consolation to Krista, Cowie went on to win the event .

After the loss Krista looked back on her weekend and said “Rolling up the starting line for my first round race was unbelievable. You bet I had butterflies, but I felt proud to be there. I worked so hard for that moment and my dreams became a reality. First of all, qualifying was amazing in its self. I mean who goes out and qualifies in top half of the field in their first race?!”

Cowie (far lane) is off the line first over Krista in round 1

Krista added “When it came to fire the car up, all I wanted to do was to do my job correctly on the track. That was my number one goal coming into the weekend; to learn as much as I can about driving. Everything else is just the frosting on the cake. Although we lost first round, there is no reason to be sad. We are all still ecstatic about the weekend”.

Going forward for the 2016 season and beyond Krista said “My goals are to be able to own and run my own Top Fuel team. And right now I am making the steps in the right direction by teaming up with Anthony Dicero and the Nitro University team”.

 

 

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Qualifying finished in Stock, Super Stock, and the 0.90 classes at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals

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Words and Photos by Phil Hutchison

Competition Eliminator and the Alcohol classes have yet to have their fields set but the other Sportsman eliminators are set for today’s first round at Pomona Raceway outside of Los Angeles CA.

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Indiana racer Ray Skillman leads the Super Stock qualifying going into today’s first round of eliminations

Leading the Super Stock contingent is the FSS/E 2010 Mustang of Greenwood IN racer Ray Skillman. Skillman put his Ford in the #1 spot with a 1.064 under 8.986. Ron Roddel from Sioux Falls SD has his ’02 Grand Am GT/LA in the #2 spot with a 10.498, 1.052 under his 11.55 index.

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Ron Roddel

After three shots down the Pomona quarter mile Tom Auger from Wales ME has his 1963 Dodge I/SA on the pole with an 11.172, which is 1.128 under his 12.30 index. Number 2 in Stock is the ’68 Chevy Nova G/S of Bob Gullett from Calgary AB.

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After two qualifiers in Comp, Ray Skillman who leads Super Stock also is the #1 qualifier with his 2014 Mustang B/EA leading the pack with a 0.778 under 7.492. Sitting in the #2 spot is local racer Scott Hedlund from Anaheim CA, in his ’12 A/SM Cobalt

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Just like in Super Stock, Skillman is the man in Comp

The Alcohol classes got one shot on Thursday and they did not disappoint with A/FD of Canadian Don St. Arnaud leading with a stout 5.181 @ 285.05 MPH. 

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Don St. Arnaud

Fellow Canadian Gord Gingles from Winnipeg MB has his A/FD qualified #2 with a     5.234

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Lombardo leads Alcohol Funny Car going into Friday’s sessions

Alcohol Funny Car low qualifier is currently the Camaro of #2 in the world in 2015,John Lombardo Jr. from nearby Brea CA. Lombardo tripped the clocks with a 5.462 @ 271.35 in his 2015 Napa Auto Parts Camaro.

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Jonnie Lindberg

2015 Lucas Oil World Champ Jonnie Lindberg is in the #2 qualifying position with a 5.484 in his 2010 Monte Carlo.

Qualifying continues today in the Alcohol and Comp eliminators and the Pro’s get their first of four shots later today to be followed by a second session later in the afternoon

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Krajewski takes his first Wally at Cecil County LODRS Cultrera wins Top Dragster title

Chris wins his first NED Wally at Cecil County

Chris wins his first NED Wally at Cecil County

Photos by Diane Kubicke and Phil Hutchison Story courtesy of NHRA and NDR

For more photos from this and all the NHRA NED events, go to: http://www.division1photos.com

It was a very hot and humid Sunday in Rising Sun Maryland as the NED division crowned racers in 10 categories . The event, 6th in a seven series season tightened up quite a few points chases in a variety of classes in the division.

Both Kraskai and Kaufmann toss out the cuts after their final round race

Both Krajewski (far lane) and Kaufman toss out the chutes after their final round race

Local racer Chris Krajewski from nearby Baltimore went the distance in his 70 Camaro to pick up the win in the MXI/Magnaflux Top Sportsman presented by Select Performance class. Krajewski laid down a 7.244 second, 188.54 mph pass to defeat Michael Kaufman of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and his run of 6.866 seconds at 205.10 mph. He used a .018 package in his first final round to secure his first ever-divisional victory.

Chris got around a breaking out Pontiac of to get to the Cecil finals

Chris got around a breaking out Pontiac of  Fagnilli to get to the Cecil finals

Krajewski, a former Summit Super Pro champ, defeated Division 3 racer Tony Fagnilli in the semis as Fagnilli went too quick and broke out. On the other side of the ladder, Kaufman beat “Fast” Freddie Perkins in his semifinal race as the ’57 Chevy of Perkins broke a rocker shaft limiting his potent Chevy to only 7 cylinders.

Kaufman (near lane) defeated the broken '57 Chevy of Fast Freddie in his semifinal matchup

Kaufman (near lane) defeated the broken ’57 Chevy of Fast Freddie Perkins in his semifinal matchup

Perkins had a perfect 0.00 light in R3 to defeat former D1 champ Ryan Ondriko

Perkins (near lane) had a perfect 0.00 light in R3 to defeat former D1 champ Ryan Ondrejko

Joe Di Pasquale (far lane) went 0.007 too quick in his semifinal race putting Kultrera in his first NED Top Dragster final

Joe Di Pasquale (far lane) went 0.007 too quick in his semifinal race putting Cultrera in his first NED Top Dragster final

The MXI/Magnaflux Top Dragster presented by Select Performance final did not disappoint as it was decided by less than twenty inches. Kyle Cultrera, Eliot, Maine, (7.225 seconds, 182.97 mph) edged out Jim Beckman of Warren, Conn., (7.039 seconds, 188.78 mph) with a margin of victory of .006 seconds to grab his first win in the category, to go along with five in Comp Eliminator and three in Super Comp.

had his Ford powered dragster in the finals of Top Dragster

Jim Beckman had his Ford powered dragster in the finals of Top Dragster

The finals of Top Dragster had Cultrera (near lane) over Jim Beckman

The finals of Top Dragster had Cultrera (near lane) over Jim Beckman winning by 0.006 seconds

Comp winner Arnie Martell

Comp winner Arnie Martel E/AA Camaro

It was a battle of heavy hitters in the Comp Eliminator final as Arnie Martel, Tewksbury, Mass., went the distance from the No.1 qualifying position. Former NHRA Lucas World Champ Frank Aragona, of Freehold, N.J., got off the line first in his dragster but slowed near half-track and came to a halt before the finish line as he watched Martel blow by him in his ‘15 Camaro with a winning pass of 7.670 seconds at 153.58 mph.

Martel (far lane) had it easy in the finals of Comp in his E/AA Camaro as his competition, the F/DA of Frank Aragona broke

Martel (far lane) had it easy in the finals of Comp as his competition, the F/DA of Frank Aragona broke

Martel raced to his 20th divisional final, his 15th in Comp Eliminator, acquiring his seventh Wally trophy in the category. The runner up in Comp puts Aragona in the #2 spot in the NED

One of the best finals of the day had a no breakout heads up run against the SS/JA cars of Warren (near lane) and Moher

One of the best finals of the day had a no breakout heads up run featuring the SS/JA cars of Warren (near lane) and Mohar

Third generation racer Joel Warren racing out of Clinton, N.C., took down Larry Mohar, Hagerstown, Md., in a heads up Super Stock final with a winning run of 10.267 seconds at 116.68 mph to Mohar’s 10.35. Both drivers had identical lights making for a great no breakout final. Warren, whose paternal grandfather, Bobby Warren, is a three-time NHRA world champion and Joel’s father, Joey, won Super Stock at the 1993 NHRA Southern Nationals.

Third generation NHRA racer Joel Warren came up from North Carolina to race some of the best in the NED and went home a winner

Third generation NHRA racer Joel Warren came up from North Carolina to race some of the best in the NED and went home a winner

Dave Long (near lane) beat Fanstock in a double breakout final in Super Comp

Dave Long (near lane) beat Chase Fahnestock in a double breakout final in Super Comp

It was a close battle in the Super Comp money round as the No.1 qualifier David Long, Wallingford, Pa., won his second career divisional Wally trophy over Chase Fahnestock, Newville, Pa., in a double breakout.

Long defeated the always tough Joey Cambria in the semis

Long defeated the always tough Joey Cambria (far lane) in the semis

Iggy B (far lane) beat multi time champ Jason Keney in the finals of Super Gas

Iggie B (far lane) beat multi time champ Jason Kenny in the finals of Super Gas

It was a battle of two of the best Super Gas racers in the USA as Iggie Boicesco of Warminster, Pa., collected his 13th division trophy in Super Gas as he got off the line first and held on to take out Jason Kenny, Kutztown, Pa as Jason went 0.003 too quick in the finals

Jason beat the big Pontiac of Ed Alessi in his semifinal race

Jason beat the big Pontiac of Ed Alessi in his semifinal race

Bubba Linke (near lane) driving his C/SA Camaro defeated the D3 Camaro of

Bubba Linke (near lane) driving his C/SA Camaro defeated the D3 Camaro of Adam Beberich as Beberich broke out by 0.020 seconds putting Bubba into his first NED winners’ circle

First time winners included Bubba Linke, Old Bridge, N.J., over Adam Berberich, Mooresville, N.C., in the Stock Eliminator final.

Bubba had a tough matchup in R6 against Allison Smyth but Smyth went 0.003 red putting Bubba in the finals

Bubba had a tough matchup in R6 against Allison Smyth’s A/SA Firebird but Smyth went 0.003 red putting Bubba in the finals. Allison did move into third place in the NED points chase 

Frank Renda, Staten Island, N.Y., drove his ‘70 Nova dead-on his dial to take out former D1 Division champ George Forster, Greencastle, Pa., who went red at the tree.

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George Foster ( near lane) left too soon in the finals handing the win to the Nova of Frank Renda

 

The '02 Camaro of Dale Collins Jr., Frankford, Del (near lane) defeated the '06 Vette of. Mo Hall out of Olney, Md in the final of the 10.5 class on Saturday night

The ’02 Camaro of Dale Collins Jr., Frankford, Del (near lane) defeated the ’06 Vette of. Mo Hall out of Olney, Md in the final of the 10.5 class on Saturday night

Best Appearing Car went to the Mopar of

Best Appearing Car went to the B/SA Mopar of Dan Henderson from Hagerstown MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Matt Gill and Rich McPhillips lead winners at Atco Lucas Oil Divisional

 

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Photos by Diane Kubicke and Phil Hutchison  Story by Phil Hutchison and NHRA

It was a great weekend of racing with nothing but sunshine greeting the NHRA Division One racers for the 5th of 7 events held in the Northeast Division.

Top Alcohol Dragster winner Rich McPhilips

Top Alcohol Dragster winner Rich McPhilips

Eventual Top Alcohol Dragster champ Rich McPhillips from Phoenixville PA, put his green A/FD in the #2 spot with a 5.317 during qualifying right behind the #1 qualified car of Duane Shields racing out of Boulder City Nevada. Shields paced the field with a 5.296.

Duane Shields looked like he was headed for a win at Atco but lost to Mercier in R2 in a wild race

Duane Shields looked like he was headed for a win at Atco but lost to Mercier in R2 in a wild race

Low Qualifier Shields lost in the semifinal round in one of the best side by side races of the weekend as former D1 Champ Dan Mercier, put down a 5.336 to Shields’ close 5.344 to earn a spot in the final. On the other side of the ladder it was another great matchup as McPhillips got the better of Richard Bourke in his round 2 race putting down a 5.367 to Bourke’s close 5.410 setting up a great final.

Top Alcohol Dragster finals had McPhillips (far lane) over the Dan Mercier

Top Alcohol Dragster finals had McPhillips (far lane) over Dan Mercier

McPhillips waited for the final to run his best time of the weekend as he pulled away from Mercier’s car at the green running a 5.278 to Mercier’s 5.446 for the Atco win.

TAD runner up Dan Mercier

TAD runner up Dan Mercier

Top Alcohol Funny Car was a weird one. Todd Veney driving the Jay Blake owned Follow a Dream Camaro was the quickest car throughout the weekend, qualifying #1 and setting Low ET with a 5.558 @ 264.70 MPH. Veney also ran a 5.598 in a semifinal bye to show how strong the Camaro was going into the final which looked like another win for the Indianapolis driver.

Funny Car runner up Todd Veney slows down from his qualifying pass

Funny Car runner up Todd Veney slows down from his qualifying pass

Gill (near lane) won his semifinal race over a tire smoking Dan Pomponio but kicked the blower in the process making for a tough turnaround for the team

Gill (near lane) won his semifinal race over a tire smoking Dan Pomponio but kicked the blower in the process making for a tough turnaround for the team

Veney’s competition in the final, Matt Gill driving the Moduline Mustang funny car, had popped a blower in his semifinal win over Dan Pomponio and it wasn’t certain that the Brockton Mass. Team could even make the final round bell in time. As the Top Alcohol Dragster final was taking place the Moduline team was pulling the Mustang into the staging lanes to face Veney for the title.

Matt Gill and his team celebrate his win at Atco

Matt’s team had trouble firing the car but the Gill team got it started as Veney’s team was motioning for Todd to pull into the burnout box. And then it happened, the Camaro would not move forward. Something had gone south in the transmission putting Veney out and Matt in the winner’s circle.

Matt Gill motors to the Funny Car win

Matt Gill motors to the Funny Car win

Gill’s Mustang was clearly hurting as he staged the car but he took the green and motored down the Atco quarter mile for his second Eastern Regional title of the year having won at Maple Grove in May.

A dejected Follow a Dream crew after the Camaro had a transmission failure before the finals

A dejected Follow a Dream crew after the Camaro had a transmission failure before the finals

Lucky (far lane) leaves too soon handing the Comp win to Don Eckle

Lucky (far lane) leaves too soon handing the Comp win to Don Eckle

.Don Eckel, Piscataway, N.J.took the Competition Eliminator win as his competition, Peter “Lucky” Luciano cut the tree a little too close and lit the big red light. The win was Eckel’s second Comp Eliminator win this year as he won the Maple Grove event over the Memorial Day weekend.

Comp Eliminator Winner Circle 2041

Other winners at the Atco Lucas Oil Series were:
SUPER STOCK
Michael Iacono, Wading River, N.Y., ’87 Camaro, GT/DA, 10.050, 123.04  def.
Joe Hertline, Penfield, N.Y., ’67 Camaro, SS/FA, 9.924, 134.90.

Michael Iaconno (near lane) won his first LOSDR in quite a while over the Camaro of Hartline

Michael Iacono (near lane) won his first LODRS in quite a while over the Camaro of Hertline

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STOCK ELIMINATOR
Justin Picillo, Warwick, R.I., ’72 Chevelle, J/SA, 11.826, 103.59  def.
Bobby Fazio, King of Prussia, Pa., ’88 Mustang, L/SA, 12.015, 108.08.

Picollo (near lane) took the Stock title over

Picillo (near lane) took the Stock title over the Mustang of Bobby Fazio

SUPER COMP
Jimmy Ditucci, East Kingston, N.H., ’23 roadster, 8.924, 160.54  def.
Kent Hanley, Newtown, Conn., dragster, 8.897, 164.73.

Super Comp winner

Super Comp winner Jimmy Ditucci

SUPER GAS
Justin Lopes, Lakeville, Mass., ’63 Nova, 9.892, 167.57  def.
Jason Kenny, Kutztown, Pa., ’03 Corvette, 9.881, 161.44.

Lopes (far lane) took the Super Gas trophy over Jason Keney

Lopes (far lane) took the Super Gas trophy over Jason Kenney

SUPER STREET
Keith Mayers, Middletown, Del., ’85 Porsche, 10.899, 148.07  def.
Shawn Fricke, Flemington, N.J., ’02 Firebird, 10.859, 135.09.

The Super Street title went to the Delaware base Porche of

The Super Street title went to the Delaware base Porsche of Keith Mayers

MXI/MAGNAFLUX TOP DRAGSTER PRESENTED BY SELECT PERFORMANCE
Scott Luken, Perry Hall, Md., dragster, 6.821, 204.76  def.
David Batchelor, Lebanon, Pa., dragster, 6.963, 195.11.

Scott Luken (far lane) defeated for the Top Dragster title

Scott Luken (far lane) defeated David Batchelor for the Top Dragster title

MXI/MAGNAFLUX TOP SPORTSMAN PRESENTED BY SELECT PERFORMANCE
 Jeff Brooks, Fredericksburg, Va., ’51 Henry J, 6.818, 204.85  def.
Vonnie Mills, Kennedyville, Md., ’06 Cobalt, foul.

Vonnie Mills left too soon handing Jeff Brooks the Top Sportsman title

Vonnie Mills (near lane)  left too soon handing Jeff Brooks the Top Sportsman title

The Best Appearing Crew award went to the Top Sportsman team of Mark Payne

The Best Appearing Crew award went to the Top Sportsman team of Mark Payne

The Opel of Joe Heffernan won Best Engineered

The Opel of Joe Heffernan won Best Engineered

AA/SA Jim Bailey towed his beautiful SS/SA '65 Plymouth all the way from Bradenton FL and put the Mopar in the 69th spot in Stock

AA/SA Jim Bailey towed his beautiful SS/SA ’65 Plymouth all the way from Bradenton FL and put the Mopar in the 69th spot in Stock

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