ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE
The second event of the year brought much improved weather and it looked like old Mother Nature was going to cooperate through completion. But late in the racing she took on a nasty tone and the final couple of rounds were delayed several times due to sprinkles. Now sprinkles on an ice cream cone are great, they are exactly the opposite when they locate on the track surface. What began as a great night almost became a late night, though eventually all eliminators were finished with the exception of Super Pro.
That Super Pro bracket had a nice turnout with solid performing cars from the tristate area. With buy backs adding to the rounds, the quarter finals were dominated by back-motored dragsters, and two of the three semifinalists were in via the buyback route. Todd Martin took care of Jim Russo in their QF match while Jason Wilson was better than Mike Capasso and Barry Luyster pushed out Jay Ralston. Martin opened the SF locked up with perennial opponent Wilson in a race where they were almost glued together at the start and both ran within a couple of hundredths of their dials. Martin’s 6.34 at 160.06 won the race by a mere .004 seconds as Wilson posted a slip of 6.37, 157.21. Following that, Luyster made his solo run at an early click off 6.52 and 133.83 mph. Unfortunately, just when it was time to determine who would take the crown, the drizzle returned and the event was declared finished.
In the Pro determiner it came down to a fight between teammates as Mike Olsen squared off with Rob Zetterberg. Zetterberg, in his Monte Carlo Chevy hit a 9.55 at 139 that sent Bill Wackermann’s Camaro to the bench on a 140.79, ,126 ticket. Olsen went off against Jim Young where the racers had identical reaction times and the BBC powered Mopar got the win at 9.58, 138 versus the Camaro’s 10.287, 128.65 breakout. Ken Destefano’s Chevelle left too early to foul away his 10.86 shut off time and gave Dan Caissie’s Mustang a pass to the SF with his 11.45 at 119.73. Zetterberg dispatched Caissie in a 9.57, 132 to an 11.52, 113 margin and Olsen was a single. Zetterberg determined the final race outcome quickly when he went red on the tree to waste a 9.59 and 127.32 effort while Olsen secured the big check with his 9.56 and 138.84 ticket.
Steve Baker picked his first win in Street when he
outlasted Frank Armando in the title dash. Patty Franek moved her SBC powered Grelim X entry out of the quarters when Chuck Henion fouled out and the AMC machine ran an on the dial 11.74, 108.36. Pete Navetta was having a good outing until he ran up against Frank Armando in the round and the Camaro pilot gunned down the Nova racer with a better RT and an 11.64 at 113.42 to a losing 11.802 at 113.40. Baker had a bye run. Armando secured a solo in the semis and Baker faced Franek for the other berth. Franek over reacted to the tree and red lighted away an 11.71, 112 that allowed Baker the shot at the trophy with his 12.12 and 109.48. The red bulb figured into the Street trophy run as well when Armando gave up a half second on the starting line and then went red by .006 that sent his 11.54, 118.37 combination to runner-up. Baker wore the crown on another great pass of 12.12 seconds at a speed of 109.23.
Bike bracket started out as usual, Barry Stephens having a bye run in the opening round. But something went wrong for Stephens and he was unable to answer the call to race in the semifinal round and that allowed Ken Thiedemann to race solo at 9.11, 153 and Don Hookway was a single on a 9.91, 142.22 trip. Thiedemann’s Suzuki fouled out on the start and Hookway annexed his first win of the year, a9.54 and 146.61 easily besting the loser’s 9.19 at 154.02.
Two well- known racers paired off for the Trophy honors as Scott Hakucsa and his 68 Camaro took on the Nova of Mark Bogusat. Bogusat had for years run a Malibu in the Pro bracket and Hakucsa was competing in both Trophy and Pro for the first time in quite a while. The last race had Hakucsa giving up over a second head start and the difference in RT was only .002 seconds. Being that close there was a top end braking game that determined the outcome as both drivers tried to keep from running too quickly, but only Hakucsa was successful. Bogusat ran under at an 11.21 and 118.26 for the loss. Hakucsa ran just over his dial at a 10.15 and 122.67 mph.