WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES
S/P CHAMP PICKS UPWHERE HE LEFT OFF
Just one week ago the afternoon high was in the 80s. Fast forward to this race day and the temperature reached only into the 50s, with a forecast that brought a chill to the thought of going too deeply into the night. So in an effort to get the rounds in before a cold track would either create a safety hazard and force a halt to the action before final rounds, the decision was made to start time trials an hour earlier than usual, and limit each class to a single practice run. It proved to be the correct maneuver as all racing was completed just after sundown and before the track surface took a hike.
Last season Todd Martin won just about everything he could, taking the top spot in Super Pro Points, the Division One title and the National Championship and a driver of the year award. After missing the opener, Martin rolled this weekend with something to prove, that being that his previous actions were no fluke. And he picked up right where he left off by winning the S/P bracket in convincing form. Martin had the starting line advantage on every race but one, the quarter final, where Duane Smith’s Avenger beat him off the line and finished first, only to drop out with a bigger breakout mark of 6.28, 165 that gave the win light to the dragster with a sub-dial 6.23, 160. Andrew Bracuto’s Firebird took an easy win over the red lighting Frank Duplissis Jr , at 8.32, 121. And Dave Hebig’s RED machine ran 5.83 at 171.86 to dispose of Barry Luyster’s 6.42 and 159.51. For the semis Martin had a solo on the ladder and Hebig faced Bracuto. Hebig, who had run as quickly as 5.82 had some mechanical issues and staged hoping Bracuto would miscue. Bracuto went green and 8.31 to advance. In the final Bracuto, running off the foot brake, cut a nice .024 light and ran near his dial at 8.33, 122.29, which might have been good against most other competitors. But with Martin in the other lane, the ace cut a .017 RT that was just enough to get him the victory with a slip of 6.24, 161.29.
Pro bracket had some great racing to offer, and at the end of the day it was Randy Pobutkiewicz and a loaner pickup that hefted the trophy. Randy P broke the motor in his own truck and so was piloting the GMC of Steve Gillan to keep involved in the points program. One of his toughest challenges came in the QF round when he defeated Andrew Bracuto’ Pontiac on a double foul race decided by the Trustart system in favor of the truck. Craig Sonderfan, racing in a borrowed Camaro, took out the roadster of John Moreno and John Iacono byed the round in his Mustang. Randy P shut down Iacono in the semis while Sonderfan was unopposed. The title race end quickly when last year’s Pro points champ went red on the tree for an automatic loss and Pobutkiewicz breezed to the title on a card of 10.9652 and 123.01.
Street was the largest bracket contested for the second straight week, and leading the way was Ed Kozak aboard his Ford Mustang. Kozak sent the Dodge of Bill Voelzke to move out of the quarters while Bill Hakucsa motored past Russ Picone’s Mustang and Doug Kelly bested Tim Irven. Hakucsa won over a fouling Kelly to queue up with Kozak after a single. Hakucsa made his only mistake of the day when he lit the red bulb and flew to a runner-up time of 11.40 at 123.53. Kozak mobbed the money and Muller Custom bonus via a shut off 14.67, 57 mph.
Chris Miele showed he is a player in Bike by taking out Barry Stephens in the SF and then squeaking by Gary DeGrange for the win. Miele had to ride past some of the best in the bracket, including Don Hookway and Dave Ferguson on his way to the Stephens match. DeGrange worked his way along before receiving a solo in the semis, and with a much better reaction in the trophy pairing appeared to be on his way to the pay window. But DeGrange must have thought his lead was going to result in a breakout and lifted at the top end and let Miele play catchup and take the light at 9+.54, 125.23 versus a losing 11.85 at 116.50. Stephens took his own number one qualifier money by having the best RT in qualifying.
Mark Bogusat made it two in a row in Trophy class when he was better than Scott Hakucsa. Hakucsa left better on the tree but a too quick 10.15 at 131.43 in his Camaro dropped him to second place. Bogusat’s beautiful Nova clocked in with a 9.98 132.69 that was less under his handicap.
Junior Dragster fell to Madelyn Elsea over final round opponent Harley Parson. Parson moved off the line ahead of the green light and fouled out his 7.94, 82.11 effort. Elsea recorded at 7.98 at 81.87 to take the class. And Kurt Rainey was the best in J/St when he beat Michael Franks. Rainey’s Altima ran a 10.97, 61.95 in the final to defeat the Mustang’s 10.21 and 78.54.