Andrew Bracuto ran up a commanding points lead in Super Pro with another victory in three straight final round appearances in the first half. While was securing a seat on this year’s team, there were newcomers celebrating initial wins in Pro and Sportsman brackets. Kevin Render pulled off the deal in the Pro race while Keith Burnham showed the Sportsman field how t’s done.
With the largest turnout so far ion Super, Bracuto showed why he finished first last season ion not only this division but in Pro as well. And although his fortunes in Pro are less than stellar at this time, he carries a ten round point lead into the final weekend of the half after having made the title race on all completed events thus far. Philip Fryer felt the sting of the Pontiac in the quarters as he fell to the champ[. Matt Ricchezza, who eventually took the number two spot, jumped on Richie Williams to advance to the semis. Chris Cassidy was better than Frank Maffiore and Dave Hebig shut down Bryan Mirsky. Ricchezza eliminated Cassidy to move up and Bracuto pushed Hebig under his number to earn his spot. Bracuto made his record two of three when his 8.33 and 121.20 ticket brought out the win light as Ricchezza’s Mustang got close but lost on a run of 8.36 and 116.20.
The biggest showing of the year in Pro had the money up for grabs and close racing practically every pairing. Emerging from the pack was Tanner Kootsares in his Camaro and Kevin Render aboard a Monte Carlo. Mike Franek and John Iacono dropped QF contests. Render easily won against Pat Barbone whose Malibu feel silent and Kootsares used a hole shot to best John Moreno. Kootsares laid out a .003 RT in his match with Render but as both vehicles approached the top end they got edgy about breaking out. A little0 too much brake pedal slowed Kootsares to a runner-up time of 10.22 at 126.48 and gave the nod to Render as he posted a 10.50 at 124.26.
Sportsman was also well attended and at the top of the leader board when all was said and done was Keith Burnham and his Caprice. Bill Hakucsa gunned down points leader Russ Picone to get out of the quarters while Burnham defeated Joe Morena and Mitchell Speert ran unopposed when his competition could not answer the call. Hakucsa fell with a slack light to Burnham and Speert ran alone again on the bye. Speert, who has struggled a bit thi9s year, was perhaps a bit over anxious with his Mustang and went red on the tree to toss away a 14.15, 99.73 effort. Burnham collected his first trophy of the season with a ticket of 15.785 and 86.56 mph.
When you are accustomed to winning and know you fell short of the top spot in Bike last year, it makes you try that much harder. That is good news for Barry Stephens but bad news for the rest the Bike eliminator riders. Knowing that weather can cut short your chances to earn points, Stephens ran up his lead this week with another Bike title. Along the way he took out Bobby Denapoli, Charlie Koenig and Dave Ferguson to face arch nemesis Don Hookway for the bucks. Hookway got past Art Romaliysky and Jacob Teats before having a single in the semis. Another rematch of last year’s Division final between this pair found Stephens hot on the tree with a .009 launch and a victor at 9.59 and 133.71. Hookway carded a 9.38 at 144.44.
Chris Valentino was better than Bryson Feichtl for the Trophy class honors. Valentino cranked out a 12.97, 99.96 to best Feichtl’s 14.01 at 100.86. Marl Orlowski’ Vega held off John Graziano’s Impels for Consolation One. 8.35 and 124.48 numbers for Orlowski were sufficient to push Graziano ever so slightly under the dial to lose with a 7.84, 126.59. Consolation Two was four rounds of fury with Don Lo9ng Jr emerging with the honors. Long and his Mopar used a better launch and a 12.65, 103.11 on the victory lap. Rob Zetterberg had his Monte Carlo in hot pursuit but couldn’t secure the win as he broke out with a 9.42 at 143.57.
The junior racers keep on providing some of the closest and exciting action with practically anyone capable of winning at any time. Anna Sawicki ended up the best of the Jr Dragster ranks when she turned back Riley Parsons for the cup. Sawicki ran right on her number at 8.21 and 79.13 as Parson also turned in an on the dial effort of 7.96 at 84.55 for second place. For the Jr Street division i9t was To0m Dugan earning his first award when he defeated Jaina Embley. These two youngsters buried their handicaps wi9th huge run out numbers but Dugan hauled in the win at 10.66, 64.49 (.16 under) as Embley hit a 10.39 at 70.89 (.20 under) for runner-up.
This coming weekend should bring out a bunch of points racers to claim as many as they can to end the first half of the count. Add the possibility of earning a Wally for winning the King of the Track, and the oily variable will once again be the weather forecast. Let’s hope for a dry one.