LADY LUCK STRIKES MORE THAN ONCE
Luck is a commodity that cannot be predicted and is always welcome, at least so long as it is good luck. And this weekend it was lucky that the event was able to be completed without major interruption. A storm appeared on the radar that looked as if it was going to put the sponge to activity well before a conclusion could be reached, and so a single time run was offered with competition to follow. But with varying circumstances and a breakup of the threat, a second round of qualifying was run and a full range of eliminations followed until winners were declared in all brackets.
And one of those bracket winners was Nicole Hoflund who drove her Chevy powered Oldsmobile to victory in the Pro division, wading through six tough rounds to emerge with the honors. Hoflund, working her way to her initial class win got a little lucky in the second round when she was able to push out Mike Franek under his dial to advance. Rich Martin went red against her in the next round and moving into the quarterfinals she fell into the bye run. Meantime Mick Lucas used a perfect light to oust Mark Santee, Larry Pappas beat Ben Carducci when the latter fouled out and Rob Zetterberg bested a too quick pass by James Trommelen to fill out a full four car semifinal field. Hoflund’s luck continued when Lucas fouled away a 10.22, 134 run to put the Olds into the final at 11.49 and 117.56. On the other side of the ladder Zetterberg was in a close contest against Pappas as they left even on the tree and the Monte Carlo took the slim win on a 9.69, 135.70 to a losing 10.10, 132.36 for the Camaro. Hoflund sealed the deal right on the line when she laid out a .025 RT and a time card of 11.37 at 118.11 to put on the win light. Zetterberg, who had spent the last three weeks as a finalist in Consolation Two, made it to runner-up in the Pro class on a 9.68,m 140.08 mph.
After struggling a bit earlier in the season it seems Bill Hakucsa has perhaps hit his stride in Street. The Camaro has been running on and near the dial in and Hakucsa has sharpened up his launch skills, hauling in the honors this weekend and making a strong move in the points. After a solo run in third round, Hakucsa won over Doug Eberhart when the Chevelle racer fouled out and Pat Conway gunned down Sal Bisesti’s Nova to move up the Malibu. Chuck Henion, recovering from a first round loss, soloed into the semis. The semifinal saw Hakucsa easily get by Henion on a better RT and Conway went alone to set up the title race. While Conway picked up over a hundredth on the tree his Malibu was too quick down the track and broke out at 12.21, 110.39. That gave Hakucsa the money and the extra 100 points when he carded an 11.68 at 121.53.
One key principal to winning and adding points to your total is to not beat yourself, and to be on your best game when it counts the most. Barry Stephens continued to live by those principals and ended up with yet another Bike eliminator. Stephens benefited from a George Bailey foul light in the opening round and faced his closest points competitor in round two, and it turned out to be a very close encounter. Dave Ferguson and his sled pulled up alongside the Suzuki in what could have been a sea change in the run for top spot. They left within .003 of each other on the reaction timers and were close all the way down the track, but at the stripe it was Stephens with the light, 9.69, 128 to a 9.78 and 129 for Ferguson. Scott McGrath took out Jason Beitel in their matchup and Don Hookway ran alone. After McGrath defeated Hookway and Stephens soloed, it was time for the money round. This was where it almost came unglued for Stephens as had a tenth on the tree and looked to have it sewed up. But he clocked a sub-dial 9.62 at 130.75 that would have changed the outcome except for the fact that McGrath went further under his number at 9.80 and 138.96. It is getting harder and harder to tamp down the juggernaut that is Barry Stephens.
Two old rivals met up in the Super Pro final when Todd Martin and Jason Wilson went at each other. Wilson beat Troy Lippincott and Bryan Mirsky to get a win over Barry Luyster in the semis. Martin had bested Luyster earlier (before he became a bye back racer), then sent John Zulla packing and received a bye run into the final. A little edge on the start and an on the number 6.37, 161.17 gave Martin the money while Wilson dropped the round on a 6.41, 157.43.
Pat Campomizzi and his Dodge truck won the Trophy class over the Nova of John Crowley. Crowley fouled away a 12.67 and 104.23 in the final that allowed Campomizzi the cup with a 13.15 and 103.58.
Finishing off eliminations was the Consolation Two contest where Steve Gillan made the most use of his second chance to defeat Matt Cestra. The gambler type race for first and second round losers went four rounds, ending with Gillan’s Monza getting the lion’s share as he posted up a 10.22 lap at 130.86 mph. Cestra dropped out early with a red light and a 10.46, 127.63 ticket.