GREAT RACING IN GREAT WEATHER
FOUR BRACKET WINNERS SCORE SECOND VICTORIES
Finally, a weekend without wet falling from the sky and virtually no threat of such an event. And the racers responded with some great racing in all categories that saw the four winners in the money brackets score their second victories of the season. Todd Martin went to his third final round of the year, one of which was not finished, and cashed in his second S/P win. In Pro, Craig Sonderfan made his first trophy race appearance since late April, but when it counted, the Chevelle driver was up to the task and put on the final win light for the class. Ron Zang has now been in four deciding races and evened his count at two and two after finished as the runner-up one week ago. And Don Hookway hauled in his second title in Bike, shut out of the final since back in mid-April when he was the victor. With only a few weeks left to score points, every round of racing now becomes ever more important as the points racers try to not only get a spot on the finals team, but shoot for the coveted number one position to qualify for the Race of Champions.
Todd Martin rolled out of the Super Pro quarter finals with a strong 6.33, 159 ticket and watched as James Arata’s Mustang used an 8.06 and 127 run to oust Ed Korpos. Rich Wilk was in contention with his RED mount and took out Jason Wilson, 6.27, 127 to a break out 6.35, 157. Martin was assured of a final round with a bye in the semis, and Arata ran another 8.06 at 126.89 to down Wilk’s 6.25, 162.16. Martin’s dragster caught the better light and got by Arata by about two hundredths of a second, taking the title via a 6.32, 159.51 time slip to the Ford’s 8.06, 126.96.
The Pro QF had Mike Franek, Randy Pobutkiewicz, Jim Young and Craig Sonderfan advancing to the next go. Walt Morgan, Joe Theodore, Greg Myers and Greg Leifken all lost their heats. Both Young and Sonderfan ran exactly the same amount off their dials, a mere .005 seconds, but Sonderfan’s .005 light was enough to secure his win with a 9.83, 130 to a 10.37 at 123. Mike Franek and his Dodge then held on against the C-10 PU of Randy P in a double break out race where Franek’s 10.12, 127 ticket was less under than Randy’s 10.54, 123. Sonderfan’s Chevelle had both ends of the track in the final as his RT was half of that of Franek and his time of 9.82 at 130.90 was right on the money. Franek dropped to his second straight runner-up finish with a card of 10.09, 130.42.
Ray Zang may be rethinking his decision to put his Camaro up for sale as he made his second consecutive final round appearance in Street bracket. Zang ousted John Dickson in the quarters, as Patty Franek did likewise to Russ Picone. Bill Hakucsa ran unopposed. Franek and her SBC motored Gremlin entry ran close on her number at 11.63, 112.171 that was just enough to push Hakucsa under his target time to lose on a run out with an 11.535 and 114.81. After Zang was the bye his Camaro and the Gremlin squared off for the money run. Zang got the head start and was an automatic winner when Franek caught a red light and wasted her on the dial 11.63, 112.89 pass. Zang, moving up from a week ago to take the top spot, recorded a time card of 13.98 at a speed of 95.22.
Don Hookway has had an on again, off again year thus far. Leading in points at one time, he has slipped to second behind Barry Stephens. But Hookway is a never give up kind of guy and he is convinced he can recover and make a race of the bracket and contend for that number one qualifying spot. And he showed that resolve this week by winning in Bike bracket with four impressive passes. He gunned down Joe DePiazza in the opener, took down Stephens in the quarters and got by Dave Ferguson to advance to the final. Curiously enough, Frank DiNopoli had broken his bike and was riding the backup sled of Ferguson and doing well enough to beat Gary DeGrange and Henry Clark before racing solo in the SF round. The final was almost heads up with only.02 seconds going to
DiNopoli on the sled over the Suzuki of Hookway. It was over quickly when Hookway got over three tenths of a second on the reaction timer advantage and then it was just a matter of staying in his own lane and not running too quickly. Even at that the Flanders racer hit his dial at 9.51 and 131.09 to flash the win light in his lane. DiNopoli posted up a 9.51, 135.02 that was much too little and much too late.
Ted Covalence raced his for sale T-bucket to Trophy honors over the Cobra of Ray Reno. On his best light of the day, Covalence pushed through the traps with a time of 11.24 and a speed of 106.65 versus the losing effort by Reno of 13.83, 99.52.
Francis Vignola bested Madison Meredith for J/D honors and Saige
Embley was the best of Jr. Street when she was better than Vinnie Yannone. Vignola, who seems to own the J/D class for now, was in his fifth final of the year and got his fifth win, 9.25 and 70.50 while Meredith dropped her second straight final at 8.01 and 81.33. Embley hadn’t been in a final in J/ST since opening day but collected her second win as she hit a 9.47 and 67.56. Yannone has appeared in all six finals this year and lost for only the second time, albeit to Embley again, via a 9.24 at 77.28.