A few new faces showed up in the winner’s circle this weekend, although not without some difficulties cropping up during the event. A lengthy clean up necessitated by a long oil down by a motorcycle made first round dials a guessing game as more than two hours expired between the call to go racing and the last time trial. But, facing adversity is a mark of a good racer and when the hail to start your engines went out, everyone was ready for the battle.

            David Hebig has his S&W RED on the auction block, and can prove it is a winning combination as he hauled in the Super Pro money for the night. As is so often the case, good skills sometimes need a withdrawal from the luck bank to be effective, and in this case Hebig made just such a withdrawal in the quarterfinal round, when he took on the Cavalier of Steve Jepko. For some unknown reason Hebig was super late in leaving the line, taking over 2 tenths of a second to react to the green go signal. In most cases that would be pretty much a lose ticket looking for a place to land, but lucky for the Orefield Pa racer, Jepko clocked a sub-dial 8.62 at 159 mph, allowing Hebig to advance eventually to the final race with a 7.42, 183 run. Joe Algieri’s Corvette took out a speedy Mike Sulc and his Dodge, 10.05, 130 versus a losing 8.66 at 152. And Rich Williams drove his Chevelle to a solo time of 9.20, 144.26. Williams and his second chance effort went off with Algieri in the semis and he had a slight advantage on the light, but Algieri prevailed at the big end by .006 seconds as the plastic Chevy hit a 10.05, 129 to a 9.23, 142. The final had Hebig launching after Algieri that left the outcome unsettled until the very end when the dragster flashed on the win sign with a 7.46 time at 182.30 mph. Runner-up time of 10.01 and 130.76 showed a too quick pass for Algieri.



            There are some racers that always seem to be hovering around a win light like moths near a flame, and Kevin Pelanne is just such a racer. He showed why he so often finishes in the top half dozen or so of points racers every year by dominating the Pro category. Pelanne’s Chevelle got by Lou Buxbaum’s Firebird in the QF match as Mike Franek was dispatching Joe Dukin’s S-10 and brother Bob Dukin pushed Craig Sonderfan under the number to move to the semis. Franek continued his string of wins by eliminating the second Dukin brother when Bob Dukin fouled out his Malibu and Franek tuned up at 10.08, 132. Pelanne walked into his first final round of the year on a single pass and made ready for the Chevy-Mopar final. Pelanne gave up a little head start but made up the difference quickly to hit the pay window with a 9.55 and 133.33 effort. That proved superior to Franek’s close but not close enough ticket of 10.12 at 128.32.

            Street bracket fell to Russ Picone and his Mustang after he got by Ron Zang in the title race. A full eight car quarter final field opened with Picone taking out George Ays and his Challenger, Chuck Henion’ Nova besting the Chevy of Sal Bisesti, Zang winning over a red lighting Patty MacDonald and her Gremlin, and Bill Hakucsa’s Camaro taking the nod over the too soon off the line Vette of Bob Gay. Picone quickly moved on to the final when Henion fouled out and Zang drove Hakucsa under the number to become a finalist for the first time this year as well. The tight trophy dash ended up well for Picone after Zang broke out on a 14.19, 95.38 while the Ford pilot cranked out a right on 11.59 with a speed of 114.91.

            Racing has its own component of mental issues, and nobody plays the mind game like Barry Stephens in Bike eliminator. Of course, just like in poker when you bluff, eventually you need to lay down your cards and you have better have something good if you want to win. Stephens generally has the goods and this week he made a trip to the final round for the third time in four races, running his win/loss record to two and one. Stephens was better than George Bailey in the QF and gunned down the guy who sent him to the exit one week ago, Scott McGrath in the semis. A. Dickerson managed to get past Joe Dipiazza and had a solo to become the last opponent. This one was over early as the Suzuki of Dickerson had mechanical problems shortly after leaving the line and Stephens nabbed another title at 9.59 and 125.12.

            Ron Booker emerged at the top of Trophy class when he passed Tiffany Seip for the award. Booker recorded a 10.28, 121.19 in a Nova while Seip’s S-10 carded a 13.28 at 101.91 for second place.

            Consolation Two was populated by familiar folks who had gone out early in the regular class competition. A week ago Jim Young and Scott Embley were in the final for Pro but tonight they staged up against each other in the semifinal round of C2. This time Young got the better of the deal, running a 10.69 and 124 while Embley’s 9.72, 125 took a loser’s slip. Rob Zetterberg made is out of the semi with a single and was looking to put away the Olds of Young, who had had a rough night in several classes. Young managed to salvage this one when his 10.67 and 123.52 turned out to be less under his handicap than Zetterberg’s 9.55, 140.59 was below his intended effort.

            Next week features a full slate of eliminators that includes all the regular classes plus all the new-this-year eliminators of the index and pro dial category as well as Modern Muscle. It can’t get much better than that.