QUEST FOR NUMBER ONE ALMOST OVER
TWO BRACKETS DECIDED, TWO PENDING
As the season-long points chase draws near the close, the top spots in two brackets have been decided while the other two have several contenders, and will be finalized at the next and last Summit Points Race for the year. Bill Hakucsa wrapped up the number one position in Street handily, winning the most total points in both the first and second half of the competition. Barry Stephens rode his Suzuki to the head of the class in Bike eliminator, overcoming a tough early season when he was without his NHRA license and a few early exits as the chase neared the end. Numerically there is no way any other racer can knock off these two from the perch. That does not mean that the field is fully set until the final race is completed.
Going into the final contest Jason Wilson holds a little more than a round of racing lead over Ralph DeBruin in Super Pro and it can be anticipated that these two will be doing everything they can to go rounds next week. Todd Martin has an outside chance of taking the title but will need a lot of help from the other two and an exceptional outing to do so. In Pro Greg Myers is ahead by about three rounds over Rob Zetterberg and Craig Sonderfan, even though the Camaro pilot has not won an eliminator all year. Bernie Kelly holds a slim hope of overtaking the three drivers ahead of him but also needs a very poor showing by those drivers along with a victory to pull off the upset.
This week’s Super Pro bracket had all three contenders go as far as the quarter finals, but in the end it was a victory for Rich Wilk over Ralph DeBruin to end the affair. Wilk took out Bryan Mirsky in the QF and DeBruin dispatched Jason Wilson. Todd Martin ended the day for Randy Wendtland to make it a three car semi. Wilk walked into the final on a solo and DeBruin used a 6.38, 160 pass to bump Martin’s 6.39, 147. Wilk took the rubber round on a slightly better RT and a 6.25 ET at 158.06, which was enough to push DeBruin under his dial at 6.37 and 162.16.
In Pro Joe Theodore bested Mark Ketterer and Jim Young took out Greg Myers in the QF as Matt Cestra ran alone. Cestra added to his win list when he ran a 10.42 at 119 that was better than the 10.16, 135 for Theodore and Young ran unopposed. Young, who has been hot the back half of the season hung a light on Cestra and held on for fourth win in five final round appearances since the second season began, and his fifth winner overall, pushing his Chevy-powered Olds to the victory with a 10.75 second, 118 mph ticket. Cestra fell to runner-up with a 10.38, 125 performance.
Bill Hakucsa appeared on a mission all season long and picked up another title this weekend. Appearing in six finals and winning five of them, Hakucsa pummeled the opposition, and rarely went out early when he was not a finalist. Hakucsa beat Tom Woods and Bill Doczi got by Russ Picone for quarter final wins, while Keith Burnham was better than Eric Stewart and Blaine Hertzog ran solo. Doczi was way late against Hakucsa in the SF and Burnham benefited from a foul light by Hertzog to set up the final between the Chevy racers. Burnham actually picked up a couple of hundredths on the tree and had a good chance of taking down the champ, but a too quick 12.31 and 109.28 dropped him to second place. Hakucsa nailed down his fifth win on an 11.58 at 121.30 that was just slightly less under the handicap than his opponent.
Barry Stephens rolled to another win in Bike, downing his final round foe in the form of Vinny Cianci. Capping off the night with his sixth win in seven tries, Stephens rolled over Artem Pomaliysky after starting from the number four position and drew a bye in the semis. Cianci gunned down Scott McGrath and Don Hookway to work his way to the trophy run. Stephens worked his magic one more time, taking the win light at 9.60 and 123.98 against a 9.22, 148.62 slip for Cianci.
Patty MacDonald drove her Gremlin to the Trophy title by holding off the Dodge of Frank DeNapoli. The AMC entry recorded a 17.28 at 76.79 for the winning effort as the Mopar broke out at 13.64, 101.62.
Finishing off the night was Kevin Gnehm and his truck grabbing the Consolation One honors over the Camaro of Robbie Boyd. Gnehm used a 9.28, 107 effort that was good enough to topple Boyd’s 7.59, 131.73. And Rob Zetterberg took the measure of Larry Papas in Consolation Two. Zetterberg’s neat Monte Carlo rapped out a close to the dial 9.63 and 133.98 to gain the stripe first. Pappas and his Camaro made it close with a losing 10.08 at 126.96.
With one more week to go, you can be certain that there will be a number of racers trying their best to make the exclusive field of entrants to the Division One Bracket Finals event in September. Best of luck to all those still in the hunt.