What a winter it was. If you made a living towing wrecks, repairing auto bodies, mining and shipping road salt or plowing parking lots and driveways, congratulations, you are now in a higher tax bracket. But for racers chomping at the bit for a little quarter-mile action, the late winter was not a friend. Losing the entire month of March to ice and snow, cold temperatures or rain, the first tires to be turned in the New Year took effect one week ago with a weekend of test and tune sessions. This weekend brought exceptionally nice weather and the first Summit Points Race for 2014 to Island Dragway. And the competition was better than ever.
Even though some regular racers were still waiting to complete their cars for the new season they brought out their street cars to try to brush off some of the rust from their reaction times and get a few laps, and maybe a few points, in their corner. The race track provided more than adequate traction even after such a long time being fallow, and Ralph DeBruin found just the right combination to put his dragster into the Super Pro win column. Joining him was Paddy Conway in the Pro division and the ever present Bill Hakucsa who took the title in Street. Perhaps fittingly it was the sled of Dave Thoman that annexed the Bike eliminator trophy.
DeBruin waltzed his way through the early rounds of S/P and met up with one of the six dragsters making up the seven cars eligible for the quarter-finals in the form of Matt Bonocore. While Bonocore cut the better light the win went to DeBruin as his 6.32, 153 ticket was better than the losing 7.13 at 141. John Magguilli Jr took out Steve Sperone with a 6.38 and 156 time to an on the number 6.30 and 160. Art Paltz went red on the tree to toss away a 6.01, 171 and give the auto advance to Jason Wilson who rapped out a 6.37 at 160. The only door-slammer in the field was Phil Judd’s S-10 entry which byed the round at 9.01 and 115. DeBruin lined up against Judd in the semis and after providing a substantial head-start went into the final round on a winning 6.32 at 157.50 while the truck fell by the wayside at 8.95, 111.58. Maggiulli bested Wilson by the slimmest of margins when his 6..37 and 159.31 held up against Wilson’s 6.40 at 150.77, a race decided in the ten-thousandths range. DeBruin completed his day with a victory over Maggiulli in another tight contest with the R&R Truck Maintenance entry gaining the win light on a 6.33 second, 159.40 mph pass. The second place pay went to Maggiulli with a 6.37 at 158.63 mph.
As has been somewhat traditional, Pro eliminator provided the most competition of the day. By the time the QF round came about there were six cars vying for the title. Mick Lucas opened up the round with a win over Mark Santee as the Chevelle hit a 10.21, 127 to the Comet’s 10.95 and 123. Paddy Conway, driving his familiar Malibu, easily beat Tony D’Agostino who fouled out a 10.07, 133 and moved Conway to the semis via an 11.94, 113.08. Greg Myers took down Frank Maffiore to finish the round as the Camaro’s 10.59 and 115.21 was enough to beat the 11.27, 117.86 effort by the Monte Carlo. Lucas got a free ride into the final round with a bye in the semis where he tuned up at 10.16, 132.52. Conway advanced after Myers went red to waste an on the dial 10.54 and 124.473 while the winner again went under his number at 11.92, 113.37. Lucas made the same mistake on the last race when his early foul start erased his 10.14, 132.44 pass to give Conway his first of the year trophy at 11.92 and 111.43.
Absent for most of last season due to the late start and his points standing at another track, Bill Hakucsa reemerged with a vengeance and collected the initial Street title of the season. Hakucsa ran an 11.57 at 119 to best Ron Zang’s 14.20, 94.43 in the quarters. Eric Stewart and his ex-cop car hit a 12.08 that was enough to run out the Camaro of Connie Wackerman at 12.75. Bob Gay and his Corvette sent Bill Voelzke home in a 12.09 to 11.57 match-up. And Tom Woods moved his T-bird ahead with a 12.91 lap to turn back Bill Reitz’s 14.35. Hakucsa and Woods faced off in the semi-final round with the Camaro getting the best of the deal with an 11.55 and 117.81 while the Ford dropped out on a 12.96, 106.43. Stewart and his hemi Dodge clocked an 11.92 at 108.81 that was good enough to dispatch Gay’s 12.12 and 111.41. Stewart had the final in his grasp as he put a hole shot on Hakucsa and seemed to have the money in his pocket, that is until his time came up with a breakout 11.82 at 116.74. Hakucsa got the bigger check as he turned in a performance of 11.54 seconds and a speed of 121.375.
Bike eliminator was populated with regulars all wanting to get in some track time. David Thoman got by Don Hookway and Vinny Cianci to get to the trophy run while Barry Stephens took out Dave Ferguson and had a bye to become the opponent. Thoman, out of Newburgh NY on a Polaris sled was a little later on the tree than Stephens’ Suzuki, but made a good enough run to take the win light. Thoman’s 10.52 and 120.13 was better than Stephens’ 11.53 at 128.91.
Chris Bennett outlasted Tony Holworth for the Trophy cup. The Westtown NY racer carded a 15.37 at 87.99 to win over a red lighting 11.33, 119.62 on the part of Holworth.
Rich Wilk earned some points for being the Consolation One victor, while Mike Franek took the Consolation Two honors.