DOUBLE POINTS WEEKEND YIELDS FIRST WINNERS OF THE YEAR
With the shortened season facing points racers this weekend had a double header for those who wanted to make up some early ground on a possible road to the bracket finals. Saturday was a regular afternoon/evening affair while Sunday was a daytime race that included all the Summit Racing Series brackets in competition. When you take into consideration the limited number of opportunities to race for points and the potential for bad weather on the weekend, the sooner you score some round wins the better your chances of securing a berth on the Island Dragway team.
Saturday’s winners included George Roche Jr in the Super Pro category while Bob Boucher nailed the Pro honors. Tony Golonka was the best of the Street runners and Dave Ferguson went home with the trophy in the Bike bracket. The family Duplissis both went down in the opening round but earned their way back in via the buy-back system. Frank Duplissis Jr fell to Roche in the quarters as the small block powered Camaro got a hundredth on the tree and turned in a 9.14, 110 pass to force the dragster under the number at 6.33. Rich Wilk advanced his RED entry over the Camaro of Henry Barends, an on the dial 6.27 at 161 besting an 8.89, 115. Frank Duplissis Sr had a single and practiced up a 6.39. Roche automatically moved on with a bye in the semis and Wilk sent Duplissis to the trailer in the digger battle, a 6.27 and 158 holding court over a too quick 6.37, 160.23. Wilk gave up too much on the tree in the final that turned his 6.28, 158.99 into a runner-up ticket and gave Roche the season opening victory via his 9.15 at 110.86.
Pro eliminator worked down to a full eight car QF during which Bob Boucher defeated Frank Maffiore, Larry Pappas put away Gerard Lisa, Matt Cestra ended the day for Chuck Henion Jr and Kevin Pelanne finished off Nick Canova to set the stage for the semifinal. Boucher cut a light on Pappas and hustled his Roadster to the win light at a 9.91, 129 against the losing Firebird’s 10.50 and 115. Cestra held off Pelanne for the other side in the title dash, the Nova turning in a 10.81 at 121.79 versus a slowing 9.73, 136 by the Chevelle. Boucher then completed his title march by overcoming a later starting line reaction and running a sub-dial 9.87 at 130.43 that still made him the victor when Cestra broke out by a wider margin at 10.74 and a speed of 122.61.
Tony Golonka drove his Plymouth PT Cruiser to the Street honors, taking the nod over Rudy Gnehm and his truck. Gnehm had knocked off the Mustang of Russ Picone in the semis after Picone went red on the tree and the truck took a warm-up lap of 13.13, 99.90. After a solo run by Golonka, the two finalists paired off in a race that was over as it started when Gnehm was the one who saw red this time, a mistake that wasted his 13.13, 99.90 to give Golonka the cup at 15.49 and 87.94.
Bike bracket was taken by the sled of Dave Ferguson as he was better than Vinny Cianci. Ferguson beat Jason Beitel in the opener and had a semifinal bye to get to the deciding race. Cianci took out Gary Degrange and Don Hookway in the earlier goings and had to give up the handicap against Ferguson. The Arctic Cat rider hung a hole shot on the two-wheeler and the outcome was never in doubt as Ferguson lite the bulb on the scoreboard, 11.04 and 101.45 to a too late 9..30, 143.93.
Edward Horn bested James Harmon for Trophy, the S-10 timing out at 11.56 and 111.66 to get the stripe over the Mustang’s 13.13, 109.40. Mike Franek carded a 10.87 at 94.02 in winning Consolation Two over Randy Pobutkewicz, who lost the round on a 14.59, 65.71. The brothers Romanello faced off in the J/D trophy dash and Vincent emerged with the cup over Anthony. The winner clocked a 9.04, 74.11 to a second place card of 8.96 and 72.11.
Sunday dawned bright and a list of hopefuls filled the pits ready to battle it out for the top spots and the biggest points. The Super Pro contingent was led by Frank Duplissis Jr who worked his way into the semis with a victory over the Mustang of James Arata to square off with his father, Frank Sr to see who would enter the dash for the cash. Sr had soloed the QF and made a tough opponent in the SF faceoff, but the kid strapped an RT advantage on pop and blistered him with a 6.44, 156.52 to send dad to the trailer on a 6.47 and 154.42. Barry Hohnarth and his Beretta was the sole door-slammer in the semis and he went on over Bob Willing and his RED machine, the fendered car hitting a 6.97 at 147.15 to the dragster’s 6.66, 149.28. Hohnarth had previously taken out Scott Lorish’s dragster while Willing put a hurt on Jason Wilson. So to determine the deal it was Duplissis’ dragster and the Chevy of Hohnarth with the doored car getting the head start. Duplissis slapped on another almost routine RT edge and pounded out a winning 6.48 second, 151.48 mph time slip for the victory. Hohnarth fell short of the mark via a 6.99 and 139.57.
It took six round wins to haul in the Pro money, and it looked like child’s play for young Matt Lisa. The son of long-time racer Joe and a graduate of the J/D ranks, this young guy can handle a race car. Driving dad’s G/SA Nova, Matt mowed down competitors round after round until he got to the quarters, where he faced and beat the always tough Jeff Rahner, 11.60, 112.63 coming in less under the numbers that the losing 16.29, 80.42 in a double break out contest. Frank Maffiore Jr chased down Frank Sr in their pairing, 11.43 and 115.51 to a 17.78 at 74.58. Mike Franek went alone to close the round. Maffiore was the bye in the semis as Lisa and Franek went at each other. The Chevy pilot hit an 11.47 at 106.32 for the victory over a 10.41, 130.71 for the Mopar. Lisa then sealed the deal over Maffiore with a little starting line magic and a right on the number 11.60 at 111.82 for his first Pro bracket win. Maffiore gave a good accounting of himself, losing by a slim margin on an 11.44 and 114.31.
Vincent Gould has been trying his hand in Street for a time and this weekend it paid off, in spades. Gould raced and bested Bill Voelzke for a QF win while Doug Eberhart was downing Tom Woods and Mark Ketterer handled Pete Navetta in the round. Ketterer easily won his match with Eberhart when the latter fouled out a 12.29, 100.81 that made the 14.08 and 96.31 for the Mopar good to go. After a solo pass by Gould, he brought his Malibu up to the line to take on Ketterer and cut the best light of the day, a .001 that he coupled with a ticket of 12.55 at 107.02 to put on the win light in his lane. Ketterer made a nice pass on his dial but was unable to match the reaction time and settled for second best at a 14.09 and 95.55.
The Bike bracket once again featured final round that included Dave Ferguson, but this time he came up just a bit short. After having won the night before, Ferguson had some easy passes with a bye in the first round, a no-show opponent in the second, making his semifinal race with Dave Thoman his first competition of the day. Thoman was late in leaving and Ferguson went to his second straight final round on a 10.97, 107.23 to 10.91, 116.17 pairing. Charlie Koenig made his way to the title fight b besting Vinny Cianci and Neil Smith before a solo in the SF pitted him against Ferguson. The battle of the sled had Ferguson with the nod on the line but he was unable to run his dial and lost at 11.27, 87.87 and Koenig garnered the honors with his 10.27, 113.96 effort.
Finishing up the event was the Trophy class winner, Ben Carducci at the wheel of his plastic 57 Chevy. Chris Valentino got the last shot at the Vette but went red bulb on the tree, dumping a 14.71 and 93.10 ticket into a second-place position. Carducci lucked out as his comatose RT didn’t deter him here, and he won the cup at a 12.12 and 113.04.