For a while it appeared that the 2020 racing season was going to be a total washout. With state mandated restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID19 pandemic, several months of built anticipation and frustration was putting a severe strain on both operators and racers. While still not entirely or of the woods, the approval was finally granted to allow some competitive racing to take place, albeit with a pile of restrictions and without spectators allowed on the property. But, with some careful planning and great cooperation by the racers and crews, the long delayed season is officially in the books. Now the trick will be to do everything possible to get in as many events as possible, build a bracket finals team roster and keep the gates open with hopes for better days to come. Not the way the celebration for the 60th anniversary was planned, but just surviving is now the prevalent effort.
Good entry counts in all brackets made for great racing and with the addition of the Big Buck option the payday for the three auto eliminators proved a big hit. Super, Pro and Sportsman entrants who decided to pay an extra ten dollars at the gate were guaranteed a first place payout of $1,000 to win in Super and Pro and a $500 winner’s share in Sportsman. And all three bracket victors did indeed buy into the deal and earn the enhanced prize money.
Leading off in Super Pro, the quarterfinalist were all doored cars as the last two remaining dragsters exited the program in round three. Bryan Mirsky and his 66 Chevy opened the quarters with a double break out win over the gorgeous 68 Camaro driven by Randy Wendtland. J0om
Russo squeezed by Kevin Render when his Ford ran closer to the dial than the Monte Carlo. And Richie Williams was unopposed with his Chevelle. Mirsky’s bye run in the semis automatically moved him into the title race and Williams was an instant winner against Russo when the latter fouled on the line. Williams gave up the head start and gained a hundredth or so on Mirsky but the big blue mach9ine ran closer to hi9s dial at 8.02 and 127.85 for the win light while Williams dropped to second best via h9s 7.63 and 132.48 slip.
Andrew Bracuto picked up right where he left off last year by taking the money in Pro. A full eight car QF round saw Bill Wackermann besting Tanner Kootsars to advance along with Mike Barbone taking out Chris Cassidy. Also in this round Bob Dukin was better than John Lobosco and Andrew Bracuto got by Pat Barbone. Wackermann barely pulled the plug on Barbone when the Camaro posted a 10.95, 118.61 to hold off the loser’s 11.42 and 116.34. Bracuto drove his Firebird to a win over Dukiin when the Chevelle racer went red and an on the number 10.14, 130.32 flashed up the wi9nner. Showing why he has been the top points earner ion the bracket for the past two seasons and the ROC champ at last year’s finals, Bracuto rapped out a slightly under the dial; 10.13 at 129.40 that held up for the enhanced payout while Wackermann broke out bigger at a 10.890 and 120.12 mph.
Sportsman action was hot and heavy with the ultimate award falling to Brent Log and his Mopar entry. Long too care of Joe Coss and the GMS truck in the quarters. Bill Hakucsa gunned down Mitch Speert’s Mustang and Vince Gould took out Anthony Picone. Multiple time and defending track champ Hakucsa was a single in the semis and Long sent Gould to the showers after Gould jumped on the opposition on the tree but used too much brake at the big end and slowed to a 13.88 and allowed Long into the final via his 11.89 time. Long made the most of his good fortune as he bested Hakucsa at the green and then pushed the Camaro under the handicap to drop the race at 11.l46, 118.65. Long captured the title with a ticket of 11.73 and 114.20.
The battle in Bike is already showing signs of being intense with familiar names exhibiting early dominance. Barry Stephens rolled into the semifinal locked up with Don Hookway in a rematch of so many pairings between these two over the years. Stephens got the better of this match and defeated Hookway 9.95, 111.53 against a 9.25 at 144.50. Dave Ferguson ran solo at 9.92 and 129.55 on his sled. You might think Stephens had the advantage in the race based on his many track championships, including last season. But as they say, you are only as good as the next race, and Ferguson was determined not to let the reputation of his opponent get inside his head. While the sled gave away a little on the tree it had enough up top and carded a 9.97, 127.67 that held up when Stephens lifted and slowed to a 9.98 at 124.73 for a runner-up finish, with a margin of victory of only one hundredth of a second.
Pro Dial eliminator was captured by Paul Bodgan when he outlasted Bill Wackermann.
The dial your own handicap race off a Pro tree bracket gets to run once a month and it is a different experience to watch a staggered countdown with only one amber flash on the tree. Bogdan’s Corvette easily won the final w9oth a 10.17, 135.45 effort after Wackermann fouled out his Camaro.
Violet Sawicki was the champ of Junior Dragster when she proved better than teammate and family member Anna Sawicki. Violet used an 8.85 and 67.56 to get the job done as Anna was slow in reacting and lost at 7.97, 72.56. Pat Myers won Junior Street by beating Evan Wackermann, 10.82 and 66.75 versus a9./04, 74.15.
Completing the evening’s events were the Impala Club racers, who ran their traditional double race program. IMP 1 was won by Bill Deblasio after Dean McFadden fouled. The winning time was 12.18 at a speed of 113.21. IMP 2 belonged to Stew Drozd aga9in as a result of a foul start by Dean McFadden. A 13.28 and 103.21 carried the Connecticut racer to the trophy while the loser t9icketed a 14.908 at 88.85.
We want to thank all the folks who came to the show for cooperating with the rules on social distancing and the wearing of masks and such. It is important to do all we can to protect everyone from this virus and to ensure we can continue to stage events within the rules established by the governing body. This is going to be a challenging seaso0n to say the least but as throughout all sixty years of operation, we can make it happen. And we appreciate your patience and patronage as we move forward.