Perhaps the toughest call for a track operator to make revolves around the weather. When it is pouring with no chance of changing, the call is easy. It’s the days when the clouds are everywhere, the forecast is iffy at best and there is just no way to tell if or when it might rain. So, this was one of those weeks when there was enough doubt in the forecast that it was decided to go with one time shot and see what the status was after that. With a heavy cloud cover and the threat of showers headed towards the track, the decision was made to cut it at one and begin eliminations. The purpose,, after all, is to get in as many rounds as possible, pile up the points and determine an ultimate winner in each class.
Even with just one practice session there was some unexpected and unusual happenings. During qualifying there were five perfect reaction times recorded, three of which occurred in the Junior Dragster class. That represented thirty percent of the entrants who cut a perfect light, something that hasn’t happened in the past so far as anyone can remember. It may have been an omen for the terrific competition that followed.
Three of the seven quarterfinal racers in Super Pro were previous winners this year and they were all gunning to become the first repeat winner of the year. Richie Williams went solo on the bye run while Scott Hakucsa took down Joe Redunski. Todd Martin was better than Rich Wilk in their pairing and Jason Wilson, who had been a runner-up before, defeated Justin McGough. Williams and his Chevelle cut a .001 RT against the Camaro of Hakucsa and beat him with a 7.74, 128 to 8.45 and 121. Wilson’s dragster was later than Martin, who was racing his dad’s Fairmont again this week, but pushed the Ford under the dial at 7.74 and 134 to roll on at 6.32, 157. In the old days Williams would have lost the final because he was the slower car and got the head start and fouled by ,006, But in the era of TruStart, both cars need to make it to what would be a green light and in this case Wilson was a red lighter by .008 seconds. According to the program, Williams was closer to going green and was awarded the victory. His time of 7.72, 129.87 was all out while Wilson eased off at 6.47 and 132.01. So Rich Williams became the first to double up in this bracket for 2021.
Terry Benton recorded his initial title in Pro when he outlasted Rob Zetterberg. Both racers were making their first appearance in a final round and worked hard to get to that point. Zetterberg tossed out Lou Tullo Jr in the QF as Benton did likewise to John Hedenburg. Frank Armando sent Pat Barbone to the exit. In the semis Benton was an automatic finalist with a bye run and Zetterberg won a super close race with Armando. Armando had the starting line advantage and made a nice pass at 10.82 and 119.65 that fell just short of the goa;. Zetterberg overcame the extra head start he gave up when he ticketed a 9.51 at 138.10 mph. That left a MOV in favor of the Monte Carlo of .001 seconds. Benton was sharper on the launch in his GTO on the money run and cranked out an exactly on the dial 10.850 and 126.03 to flash the win light. Zetterberg’s respectable 9.52 at 136.30 was good for second place.
Sportsman bracket is a tough place to race as well and Dan Baker took on, and took out, some of the finest for his victory. Bill Hakucsa bested Doug Eberhart and Baker got by Mitch Speert to move into the semis. Todd Martin, in his street Mustang, was better than Jim Romagna while Anthony Picone punched out Johnny Hedenburg. Baker and Hakucsa hooked up in a SF race that was all Baker as the Ford Lightning ran a 15.28 to the Camaro’s 11.907. Martin used an 11.96 to hold off the Mercury of Picone who ran an 11.69. The race for the money was over early when Martin went red on the tree and slowed to a 12.01, 100.10. Baker posted a time of 15.34 at a speed of 87.54.
Don Hookway and Chris Miele have been dominant in Bike so far this year while Barry Stephens has been generally out early with the exception of one final round appearance. Coming alive this weekend, the multi-time champ used some good riding and a little luck to take his first win of the season. In the semis, Stephens got out later than Joe DiPiazza and ran 9.85 on a 9.79 which made him vulnerable. But DiPiazza had mid-track troubles and slowed to a 9.57 that moved Stephens into his second final race. Hookway was fortunate to get past Scott McGrath in the opening round and again when he defeated Jacob Teats in the semis. Hookway has been struggling with trying to adapt to the use of electronics in this class and was much better on the tree in the race with Stephens. But Stephens carded an on the dial 9..79 at 129.94to take the stripe as Hookway was a little off the mark at 9.35 and 143.60. One thing is certain, when these two long time opponents and former track and division champs tangle, it is going to yield a great contest.
It was a great night for Anna Sawicki as she was the champ in both Junior
Dragster and Junior Street. Sawicki faced Shawn Sanseverino for the J/D honors and after gaining .014 on the start hit an 8.05, 79.91 that ran down the runner-up’s too quick 8.42 and 76.85 effort. Not content with one trophy, Sawicki then hopped in her Mustang to race with Jayson Focarino’s S10 in the J/ST final. She again was better on the start and carded a 9.50 at 69.10 to hold off the 9.09, 73.32 of the second place finisher.
Bobby Pip rounded out the winners with a cup in Trophy class.