SECOND TWO GRAND RACE TO MARTIN
PRO TO YOUNG, FIRST STREET TITLE FOR NAVETTA
WHO ELSE BUT STEPHENS IN BIKE
Round two of the Super Pro race for 2 grand was a very profitable Sunday for Todd Martin and his dragster out of Highland Lakes. A regular on the Island Dragway circuit made some impressive runs all afternoon long to pocket the top money, again guaranteed by R&R Truck Maintenance. While Saturday’s final in the bracket featured a dragster versus door slammer, today’s event found a pair of RED entries vying for the greenbacks. And while the S/P payout held the largest interest, the other brackets were hotly contested. At the end of the day, Jim Young emerged as the Pro champ. And, for the first time, Pete Navetta hauled in the Street honors with a stellar performance in his Nova. And who else but Barry Stephens would bed expected to make it a double up weekend in Bike.
By the time the quarterfinals in S/P came around all the doored cars were gone, and the six car field consisted entirely of back-motored dragsters. Frank Duplissis Jr took on Bob Willing to open the round, and the kid overcame a slight advantage by Willing to win the deal at 6.36 and 158.63 to a close but losing 6.51, 154.88. Martin moved past George Miller when he laid down an on the money 6.35 at 157 against the 6.69, 148 effort for the loss. And Mike Nattill went into the semis when he bested Jason Wilson. This pair left with identical RTs but the stripe went to Nattill, 6.42, 158 to Wilson’s 6.40 and 157.50. Nattill went solo in the SF and Martin went off against Duplissis, ratcheting upto the final on another near perfect et of 6.35 with a trap speed of 159.80. Duplissis’ dream of a big payoff ended with a slightly under the dial time of 6.34 at 161.04. Martin welded Nattill on the line in the title race and was never headed as his 6.39, 152.95 time slip was the golden goose. Nattill ran 6.43 at 153.96 for second place money.
Although the money was less in the Pro division, Jim Young still made a little profit as he took the top spot over Rob Zetterberg. Zetterberg was on a course to make it two straight in this bracket, even though he had to buy back from a first round loss to put himself into that position. He showed Greg Myers the door in the QF round, and
Matt Lisa did likewise to Craig Neill. Scott Embley got by Craig Sonderfan and Young took care of Matt Cestra. Zetterberg made a withdrawal from the luck bank in the semis when he raced Lisa. The youngster had a couple hundredths in the bank on the start and appeared headed to the final, until the math turned the tables and he broke out at11.21, 111.96. The victor posted a time of 9.61 at 139.75. Young held off Embley for the other spot on the ladder as the Olds pilot used a 1.77, 116.24 to defeat the Chevelle’s 9.74 at 136.50. Zetterberg’s expectations ran high as he staged his Monte Carlo for the title race against Young, and he did a pretty good job on the line. But with a .006 advantage and a 10.728, 123.68 card Young won the deal, even with a little run under. Zetterberg was only slightly more under his handicap but it was enough to make him a runner-up at 7.60, 138.68.
There is hardly a more regular racer than the man from Coram NY, Pete Navetta. He appears like clockwork every week, along with his racing partner Craig Neill. And though he competes in Street so often, he just hasn’t been able to get all the ducks to line up. Until today. Navetta was a roll from early on, and by the time he was in the quarters his fate began to appear as if ordained. When he beat Chuck Henion Jr to move into the semis, the unthinkable started to look unstoppable. Keith Burnham defeated Anthony Picone, and Chuck Henion was better than Mike Franek to take a seat in the final four. Gary Coleman ran solo to fill out the field. Navetta hung a shot on Burnham and ran 13.74 at 96.31 to toss the latter out the door, a 12.40 and 107.33 ticket showing up as too quick to win. Coleman and his 31 Ford hot rod easily won when Henion fouled out, and the stage was set for history to be made. It didn’t take long to settle the score when Coleman left before the green came on, wasting his 13.22, 95.39 pass. Navetta, perhaps breaking the jinx that has haunted him, hauled in his first Street victory with a 13.76 time at a speed of 95.08 mph.
When you’re hot, you’re hot. And Barry Stephens is hot. Another Bike victory was collected by the Lafayette NJ Suzuki rider, making for a double weekend for him, and an expansion of his lead in the points standings. Stephens polished off Don Hookway in a semifinal pairing, then took out Scott McGrath for the trophy. Stephens clocked in at 9.62 and 131.27 in his downing of McGrath’s 9.72, 140.20.
Tom Gibson was the best of the Trophy racers, garnering the cup when he was better than Joe Voris. Using a 2006 Dodge Ram, Gibson put together a nice pass of 16.34 at 81.01 to hold off Voris’ Pontiac, that cranked out an 11.81 at 114.87.
The Consolation One final was between Wayne Rudy’s dragster and the Chevy of Mike Canova. Canova’s red light start put his 7.91, 129.58 slip in second best position as Rudy hit the stripe at 6.76 and 149.00. Consolation Two was a bit odd to say the least. With amotorcycle having won for the first time ever just the night before, it was a pair of two-wheelers for the final here. Barry Stephens annexed the win by turning in a 9.64, 128.69 effort. Don Hookway, another Suzuki rider, came up on the short end with his 9.3, 136.58.
All in all a pretty wild weekend and a bunch of firsts. Look for more coming up soon as the July 4th weekend looks to hold some real excitement. Jet Cars Friday night, a guaranteed purse for Super Pro again, this time backed up by RW Performance Transmissions and the King of the Track competition for the Saturday show, and the annual Nostalgia Nationals race along with NETO and the gang on Sunday. Make your plans accordingly.