BAKER COOKS IN STREET
MARTIN, SONDERFAN AND TOTARO SCORE WINS
After a delayed start to the season due to weather, finally a nice day for racing greeted folks and despite some strong winds
early in the day, the track action was superb. Perhaps no one was more pleased with the outcome of the event than Steve Baker when he completed a back to back scenario with the winning combination in the Street Bracket. Baker, who entered the event as the defending champ from the previous race, strung together six rounds of win lights to go two straight, including taking down the perennial points champ Bill Hakucsa in the final. Two other top notch points contenders scored victories in Super Pro and Pro as Todd Martin tripped up Greg Georges in the former eliminator and Craig Sonderfan made Rob Zetterberg a bridesmaid for the second week in a row. Jim Totaro picked up his first title in a while when he outlasted Gary DeGrange in Bike.
After the preliminary contests were finished, Bill Hakucsa made it to the fourth round of Street for the first time this year. Pete Navetta, who has been doing well thus far fell in this round as his Nova was late on the light a lost at 12.02, 111 to the Camaro’s 11.69, 104. Steve Baker took out Bob Gay’s Corvette when the Camaro hit a 12.12 at 109 to a too little too late pass of 12.15, 110. Chuck Henion ran unopposed. When Hakucsa ran solo in the semis and Baker posted up a 12.19 at 103.08 that set down the 11.51 at 114.48 of Henion, the stage was set for the showdown. If one were to play the odds, this race belonged to Hakucsa, having won the track championship in the bracket for the past several years. But odds are only a guess, and Baker showed that nobody is unbeatable. The pair left almost dead even the tree and both broke out at the top end. Baker took the nod with a less under the dial 12.10 at 108.51 while Hakucsa a tad further under on an 11.48, 120.65. With two consecutive victories Baker opens up a points lead here in the early going.
Todd Martin is always a racer to watch in Super Pro as he is generally sniffing around the top of the points chart. Martin pulled off his first of the season win in the bracket by beating Robbie Best in the QF, 6.31, 159 to a 7.47 and 138. Frank Duplissis Jr., in his first appearance of the year, drove the family Camaro past the Dodge of Mike Sulc, a 7.75 at 130 barely prevailing against the losing 7.23, 137 for the Mopar, reflecting a MOV of .002 seconds. Greg Georges’ Camaro, having gotten back into action after a first round loss, fell into the bye run. Georges won a close race with Duplissis when both cars were under the handicap and the win/loss decision came down to the thousandths points in the elapsed time. Martin was a single and then it was time for the deciding event for the night. Martin set out in pursuit of Georges with a hundredth plus in the bank, and at the big end even his runout 6.29 at 158.20 held up for the light. Georges had turned in a 7.60, 144.67 ticket that showed a bigger break out for runner-up.
Craig Sonderfan was driving like his usual self in Pro and took the title with his Chevelle. Finishing first in points in
2016, this guy is a threat to break through at any time and grab the dough in the bracket. With no single runs for him all night long, the Midland Park racer mowed down the new Nova of Mark Bogusat in the QF and moved on to the semis where he sent Joe Theodore out the door. Rob Zetterberg, meanwhile, was doing his best to work his way into a second week of being a finalist as he got around Sean Conway and then ran alone in the semifinal. Zetterberg was more than ready for the final and gained almost a hundredth on the start. As both cars approached the finish line they were door handle to door handle and dared no lift off the pedal. Both racers were just under the numbers Sonderfan’s win light came on, 9.757, 138.06 holding sway over Zetterberg’s 9.565 and 139.29 in a race where only .002 seconds in break out data was the determining factor.
Jim Totaro had a good night in Bike. His Kawasaki two-wheeler was better than the Suzuki of Scott McGrath in the QF and his SF opponent, Don Hookway fell out of competition. Gary DeGrange rode his HD mount past Barry Stephens and byed the next to last race. With the use of the True Start system this season, the final was a double foul start affair Totaro’s -.050 RT and 8.85, 152.92 ended up closing the deal. DeGrange reacted by -.092 that dropped his 11.17, 114.19 to second place.
Mick Lucas had to survive four rounds to win the Consolation Two title, eventually going off against Andrew Bracuto. Lucas and his Chevelle out of Bangor Pa easily won this one at 10.61, 107.29 when Bracuto’s Firebird struck the tires and slowed to a 14.64.
Vinnie Yannone hauled in the Jr. Street title over Greg Brinster. Yannone drove a 2013 Mustang to an eighth-mile time of 9.42 at a speed of 77.62 mph while Brinster’s Raptor was too quick with a 9.230, 72.90. And Madison Meredith was better than Madelyn Elsea in the Jr. Dragster division. Using a superior RT, Meredith handily won the final at 7.92 and 83.11 versus the losing 8.13, 80.26 posting by Elsea.
The Middle Atlantic Nostalgia Drag Racing Association, MANDRA, made its first appearance of the year for a good round of old fashion racing. This group had a little of everything with doored entries as well as dragsters and altered in competition. At the end of the day Mike Volpe and his 71 Chevelle faced off with the 32 Austin Bantam of Randy Campbell to see who would be the titlist. Volpe was a full tenth of a second better on the tree and was never challenged as the Chevy recorded an 11.78 second, 107.63 mph time slip for the win light. Campbell made a nice second place run at 10.80 and 118.35.