WALLY NIGHT 2021 FANTASTIC
Once a year the track holds a special race now referred to as the NHRA.TV CHALLENGE. What makes i9t special is that the bracket winners receive a special Wally trophy similar to those handed out to national event winners. And while the financial payouts are based on the regular schedule, it seems e very racer wants a Wally for their shelf and so you can count on an increase in the turnout. When you mix that with the anniversary weekend, you just know the racing is going to be some of the best of the year. And this weekend did not disappoint.
Super Pro ended up a fight between two Chevys as John Magiulli took down Justin McGough for the title. Dan Tice had to buy his way back into Pro to get to the money by besting Rob Zetterberg. Both John Dickson and Dan Baker made use of the second chance option to duke out the Sportsman final that went to Dickson. And Chris Miele was the best of Bike as he defeated Neil Smith who was in his second straight final in the bracket with similar results.
Magiulli didn’t depend on super reaction times to garner his Super Pro title but he was consistently on or near his handicap. The Camaro driver beat Rich Manginelli in the QF when the latter fouled and took out Mike DeBruin in the semis despite DeBruin’s perfect RT. McGough worked his way past Rich Wilk to get a single run in the semis and a trip to deciding race. This pairing proved to be an easy one for Magiulli after McGough caught a late light and gave the top money to the Randolph racer when he tripped a8.84, 109.21 to the 8.50, 115.65 for the loser.
Pro brought out the largest first round field and required seven rounds to decide a winner. Dan Tice, losing in the first stanza and getting back in, took out John Lobosco in the quarters while Scott Franks Sr gunned down Ed Sebring. Rob Zetterberg ran unopposed. Zetterberg won his semi contest when Franks went red at the start and tuned up at 9.60, 127. Tice came out on a bye to race for the money. And Tice made good when he responded with a much better reaction and then ran an 11.88, 111 on an 11.87 dial for the final win light. Zetterberg was second best on a slip of 9.52 and 136.58.
In Sportsman eliminator it was a full eight car QF that rolled to the line in round 4. Jason Focarino opened the action by beating Tim Irven and Mike Barbone got around George Renz. Dan Baker rolled past the younger John Hedenburg and John Dickson closed out the session with a victory over Pete Navetta. In the semifinals Baker drove his Ford Lightening past Barbone’s El Camino to set up his battle with Dickson, whose Nova took care of Focarino. The two first round losers who tossed in the extra cash to reenter the class went off with high hopes and lead feet. Baker gained the starting line advantage by 16 thousandths to apply pressure on Dickson. The Rockway pilot cranked an on the dial 11.810 at 102.70 to just dust Baker’s 15.36 and 87.03.
Chris Miele maintained his Bike points lead by winning another event in style. The Suzuki rider expanded his lead when he dumped Barry Stephens who has been trying to close the gap in round two and Don Hookway lost to Neil Smith in the opener. Smith, who made his first appearance of the year at the last race and managed a runner-up, proceeded past Dave Ferguson and Jacob Teats to go to his second final in a row. Miele was not to be denied a Wally and nailed the title at 9.17 and 141.76 that left Smith with another second place on hid 10.77, 118.35.
The NETO club was on hand for the weekend and provided some excellent competition by the nostalgia cars. Brian English, coming in as the points leader in Comp, added to his total with a victory in that bracket. The Camaro out of Norwalk Ct faced Prospect Park’s Jim Mullen, who turned on a red light that wasted a 7.93, 149 effort. English motored to an 8.53 time and speed of 159.34. Nostalgia class came down to a contest between the 62 Dodge wagon of Steve Consentino and the S10 of Frank Paradiso. Consentino’s Yankee Clipper entry emerged with the win as the tank ran 10.49 and 127.47 against an 11.12 and121.30 for the truck. English then finished off the evening by taking the King of NETO race over Consentino, 8.55 and 150.78 versus a 10.63 at 127.29.
Nyls Gamble finished up the win list with a solo pass for the cup in Trophy eliminator as his Camaro posted a 12.28, 1145.78.