OPENING EVENT FOR 2017 KICKS OFF SEASON
With great weather in January and February casting hopes of some super racing weather to kick off the new season fell flatter than a slow squirrel in the fast lane. March was a total wipe out with cold, snow and rain messing up every attempt to turn some tires and the first week of April was no better. Finally, with the schedule set for the initial points race for the season on deck, there was no rain, no snow, but there were plenty of cool temperatures and a brisk wind that made one long for the good old days of two months ago. Regardless, the hardy folks who strapped on the coats and hats to brave the conditions had a good day at the track and set the controls for what should be a great year of competition.
There was a new face that showed up in both the Super Pro and Pro brackets and with an odd machine with which to go drag racing. Rob Snyder made the trek from Sinking Springs Pa with his 1975 Ford Granada and looked to put the hurt on the regulars in both divisions. Snyder ended up going one for two as he raked in the S/P title and went deep into the Pro category where he lost in the semis to eventual winner Jim Young. Jeff Rahner had his BBC motored Buick ragtop entry dancing on the dial and took the Street award for the day. And when it came to the Bike entries, well, 2017 started off where 2016 ended, as in Barry Stephens hoisting the cup at the end of the race.
Snyder sent Mike Capaso and Barry Luyster’s RED entries to the trailer to face off with Bryan Mirsky’s 66 Chevy in the title run. Mirsky, who last year started the season in a Street Biscayne and qualified for the S/P team with his big blue machine, took down Robbie Boyd’s Camaro and the 68 Chevelle of Jeremy Dittmar to earn his spot for the money. Both racers let almost on the same light and by the time the thousand foot stripe came up, Snyder and his Ford flashed on the win signal with an 8.41 at 114.84 that dropped Mirsky’s close but losing effort of 8.27, 122.68.
Pro had the most entries for the day and the quarters wound up as a five car face-off. Leigh Ratzkovich, whose Mustang used to run in SS eliminator before he down sized to the 351C motor for brackets, pushed Jim Trommelen’s Spirit AMC rig, advancing on a 10.38 to a too quick 11.27. Jim Young had his Camaro on the money when he sent Bob Conway to the showers, 10.24, 128 versus a run under 10.21 at 127. Rob Snyder and his Granada soloed the round with a time of 10.39 and 108.22. Ratzkovich byed the semis and Young almost bit the dust when Snyder went .002 on the tree and looked to be in charge, but he thought he was going too quick and slowed at the top end to lose at 10.85 and only 90 mph that let Young into the trophy dash on a 10.29, 115.72. Young controlled the tree in the final and after giving away a small head start came through for the victory on a slip of 10.24 and 122.82 mph. Ratzkovich made it a good race with a runner-up ticket of 10.41 at 116.14.
In Street Patty MacDonald, Jeff Rahner, Doug Eberhart and Ron Zang all moved out of the QF round to have at each other in the semifinals. Zang used a superior RT to best MacDonald, the Camaro going 14.03, 95.13 against an 11.68, 110.05 for the SBC powered Gremlin X. Rahner and Zang were locked up in a tight one that was decided by math when both ran under the handicap. Rahner survived with his 11.47, 118.32 while Zang was just a tad further under with his 13.95, 95.69.
As noted Barry Stephens opened up his season with a win in Bike.
track champ numerous times had his Suzuki going through its paces after soloing in the opener, then taking out Don Hookway’s ride in a 9.40, 125 to 9.41, 142 contest. After Dave Ferguson had a semi bye run, the turbo sled was a bit late on the tree and Stephens triggered the win on a 9.34 at 137.74 against a 9.40 and 135.62.
Junior Dragster honors went to Francis Vignola over Madison Meredith. The Mahwah youngster hit a 9.42 at 70.82 for the win as the young lady from Haskell took second place with a 7.87, 81.82. For Junior Street Saige Embley drove the family grocery getter to victory over Anthony Yonnone. Embley easily took the title when Yonnone fouled out in the final with the winner recording an 11.35 at 64.35 to a losing 9.15 and 78.48.
Robbie Boyd ran solo for Consolation One and Rob Zetterberg ran alone for Consolation Two after Bill VanGoor put his Camaro in the sand in the semis.
The ECISSRS group, basically Chevy Impala enthusiasts ran a triple this weekend.
Race One fell to Jim McCabe of Waterford Ct. when he was better than Keith Burnham, a 14.55 and 93.93 holding off a red light starting 15.53, 88.95. Bill Deblasio, out of Huntington Station bested Newington Ct racer Stew Drozd in Race Two, 12.39, 110.8 against a 13.16 and 102.56 for the loss. Keith Burnham raced his Westfield NJ Caprice to the Race Three title when he outlasted Jim McCabe who was looking to go two for three. Burnham recorded a 15.68 at 77.39 that proved sufficient to hold off McCabe’s 15.08 at 91.14.
So the first race of the season is in the books. Let’s hope for good weather, safe racing and lots of good racing for the rest of the year.