THREE W WEEKEND
WOW, WHOA AND WINNERS
It seemed an eternity since the points racers had an opportunity to go some rounds, losing the entire month of May to either weather or special events. With only three races complete in the first half of the season, there were many hopefuls looking to get on the board with some round wins, and others looking to put the rest of the field behind them. Who could anticipate the turn of events that made it a rather unusual Saturday night in Great Meadows.
Firsts, let’s get the whoa out of the way. In the opening round of Pro, Al Newsome and his Oldsmobile won the first pairing over Joe Theodore, then just after the finish line stuffed the front end of the big orange machine into the right hand guardrail. A little too late on the whoa. In the second round of Super Pro, Greg Georges’ Camaro took a head start against the RED entry of Barry Luyster. In the right hand lane, Georges had about a second on the tree, and then, as if an invisible hand just pushed against the Chevy, it made a hard right hand turn and took the left side guardrail head-on, right in front of Luyster. Second Whoa. Then the wow. Somehow, as if using some kind of magic, Luyster managed to steer around the bouncing Camaro, driving into the right hand lane without touching either the Hugger or the other side rail, and drove down the track for a win light.
Okay, now that the negative actions have been recapped, let us take a look at the last W, the winners. John Graziano drove his 66 Impala to the S/P title over Steve Jepko’s Cavalier, ending a long absence from the title race for both drivers. Pro ended up in the hands of local driver Joe Dukin aboard his S-10 speedster when he outlasted Tylor Wyker’s similar S-10 in an all Great Meadows final. And Ron Zang marched through the Street bracket contenders in his for sale Camaro, downing the 2012 Corvette of Bob Levers. And Gary DeGRange held off Barry Stephens for the Bike honors that still put Stephens into the points lead.
Super Pro quarters had the dragster of Barry Luyster gunning down the Chevelle of Jeremy Dittmar while John Graziano was taking care of business against Dave Hebig in the quickest entry of the day. Steve Jepko soloed the round and faced off with Luyster in the semis, the Chevy hitting a 7.44 at 144 that pushed the dragster under at 6.47, 152. Graziano came off the bye to square up with Jepko for the money. Cutting a .005 light, the Impala clocked an on the dial 7.85 seconds at a speed of 128.31 for the win. Jepko dropped to second place on a 7.39, 143.67.
The gang in Pro worked down to five cars in the QF, opened by Joe Dukin’s S-10 setting aside the Monte Carlo of Rob Zetterberg, Tylor Wyker sending Lou Buxbaum home in their match and Craig Sonderfan going unopposed. Wyker fell into the bye in the semis and Dukin dispatched Sonderfan in a close race, 9.02,141 to a losing 9.78 at 130 for the Chevelle. Dukin had the final well in hand right from the start when he hung a light on Wyker and caught up quickly to take the nod via a 9.05, 135.25 ticket while the 10.33 and 127.09 by Wyker came up a little short.
Ron Zang is the last representative of a long-time racing family who is still pounding the track, and his for sale Camaro picked up the title in Street. A little help from the opponents in both the QF and SF rounds sent Zang to the trophy pass. He was later to react to the tree against George Renz in the quarters and Connie Wackermann in the semis, but was close enough to push them under the handicap and take the wins. Bob Levers and his 2012 Corvette bested Jeff Rahner’s Buick to become a semi-finalist and received a solo in the semifinal round. Levers, who had RTs no worse than .068 with opponents and had cut a .029 on his single in the prior round, went red on the tree by a negative .054 and tossed away his chance at the money. Zang lifted a bit for a 14.00, 95.17 victory.
Don Hookway came into the event in first place in points with Barry Stephens a close second. Stephens met up with Hookway in the semi-finals and with a win closed the gap even more. Looking to secure as much advantage as possible, Stephens was gunning for Gary DeGrange and his HD Sporster, who had ousted Chris Miele in their contest. DeGrange cut the best light of his day just when he needed it the most, and his .012 RT coupled with a neat 11.34 at 112.53 was enough to take the nod. Stephens, with his runner-up finish of 9.50 and 134.81 moved into first place by a slim margin.
Vinnie Yannone was the best of Junior Street when he caught Dillon Renz with a better launch. Yannone and his gorgeous Mustang ran a 9.19, 77.60 to beat the good looking Camaro of Renz that posted up a 9.26, 73.52. Francis Vignola was better than Garrett Sprague in Junior Dragster. In a race that utilized the new True start system, both racers were away before the green but a lesser foul by Vignola won the day on a slip of 9.46 and 69.48 versus an 8.93 at 73.71. And Ray Raswow ran unopposed for the Trophy cup.