9/10 +9/17/17 TWO SUNDAYS IN SEPTEMBER OLD TIMERS AND BIG BUCKS

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9/10 +9/17/17

TWO SUNDAYS IN SEPTEMBER

OLD TIMERS AND BIG BUCKS

After the regular season ended in August, Island Dragway began its Fall season with a mix of test and tune and special events.  One of the most anticipated events of the year is always the Ol Daze Drags, traditionally held the Sunday after Labor Day. This event, now in its 29th year, brings out the racers and fans to watch cars of a former era of the sport and to gaze in amazement at a host of antique iron in the form of the car show.  And this year was no different.  A good crowd on entrants filled the pits along with the ever popular NETO nostalgia club.  And although there were a few tough spots brought on by a medical emergency in the pits that worked out well and a violent crash by Craig Norton and his 55 T-bird, the day otherwise was hugely a load of fun.  Fortunately, according to published reports, Norton is recovering from his injuries and we all wish him a speedy recovery and a quick return to the track.  After the incident the rest of the event was run over the eighth mile distance for safety reasons.

Four classes of regular nostalgia cars were run based on elapsed time breakdowns.  Zach Carr took the N-1 honors with his Firebird over the Dart of Paul Crispyn, 5.82 to a 6.14. N-2 went to Mike Franek when his 6.33 time in the Dart bested the 7.37 effort of Jeff Rahner in a Buick convertible.  Steve Baker, coming off his number one finish in Street eliminator this season, grabbed the N-3 class by beating Bruce Kopco, a 7.67 in the Camaro overtaking the Vette’s 7.88.  And long-time racer Jerry Ackerman drove his Maverick to the N-4 trophy with a time of 11.36 that proved better than Russ Picone’s  foul starting 10.89 in a 38Chevy.

NETO Nostalgia was gathered in by Jerome Hillier aboard his Maverick Ford entry when he outlasted the Nova handled by Rich Mauceri.  Hillier had turned back the Fairlane of Frank Pisani in the semis while Mauceri bested Greg Schreiner.  Hillier won the final with a ticket of 7.95 at 85 mph when Maucri broke out on a 6.29, 103.49 slip.  The quickest and fastest car in the COMP division belonged to Lou LaFerrara and he drove his S&W altered to the victory, finally defeating the Camaro of Brian English.  Stringing together a bunch of mostly 4.7 second passes, the young driver out of Clark NJ ran past all comers and managed a bye in the SF round. English gunned down Scott Thorpe and his beautiful 55 Nomad in the semis and gave a good accounting of himself against LaFerrara.  But a .009 RT for the altered on a four tenths pro tree was just too much to overcome, and English’s .045 fell short of the goal to runner-up at 5.45, 127.67. Laferarra powered out another fine pass of 4.78 and 142.54 to take the title.

The following weekend it was time for the Division One Bracket Finals, which eventually had two Island Dragway entrants earning a trip to Pomona for a national championship opportunity.  Todd Martin won the Super Pro Division title while Barry Stephens came off a Race of Champions victory to also get the chance to go west based on the NHRA’s random ROC winners to fill out an eight car field for the title runs.  Good luck to this pair on the quest for a national title.  And congrats to Bill Doczi on a runner-up in Street and Anthony Capirose for a second place in the High School eliminator.  

On the Sunday after the finals it has become a custom to hold a $2,000 to win footbrake race for those who have not yet had their fill of racing for the weekend.  Racers from the area stop by to try for the big prize and it is always a most competitive event with some of the best pedal drives in the country.  This year the surviving five in the quarters included Rob Zetterberg and his Monte Carlo, Jim Young and his Camaro, Mike Rosa aboard a Nova, Brian Davison in a Camaro and Chuck Henion in his Nova.  Davison moved up to the SF and a bye run for an automatic shot at the money.  Zetterberg took out Rosa in there pairing of the semis when Rosa went red to bounce out a 9.81, 133 that allowed Zetterberg the other final spot on his 9.66, 140 effort.  Davison got the starting line advantage in the final and appeared to be on his way to a big pay day, but at the big end both drivers were edgy about running under the dial and both lifted just before the finish line. Zetterberg skinned by for the light on a ticket of 9.71 seconds at a speed of 125.46 mph.  Davison  got the $500 second place money with a slip of 10.80 at 126.47.

The remainder of the season contains more T&T events along with some interesting specialty races. October 1 features the diesel truck show and race, another big dollar footbrake race on the 7th, mid-month has  the Fall Nostalgia event and a bike only event is on the schedule for later in October.  Be sure to check the web site for updates.