After finishing as runner-up a season ago, Comp Eliminator standout Jason Coan returned to his winning ways to lead the list of champions crowned on Sunday at the JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky.
Coan won the race for the fifth time, as the Kokomo, Ind., native posted a winning time of 8.717 at 113.14 mph in his dragster. Coan, who qualified No. 14, beat Terry Smith in the final round after Smith suffered a red-light disqualification.
Michael Bryant claimed the Super Stock crown, beating No. 1 qualifier Cody Lane in the final. Driving a 2008 G5, Bryant, of New Orleans, La., went 10.018 at 131.88 to beat Lane. Bryant qualified No. 22 before working his way to the winner’s circle.
A flurry of first-time NHRA national event winners also graced the winner’s circle, including Ricky Pennington in Stock Eliminator, who drove a ’12 Cobra Jet to beat Jeff Adkinson in the final round. Pennington, of Gardendale, Ala., won with a 10.586 at 115.55.
Jonathan Anderson secured his first NHRA national event win by knocking off Austin Williams in Super Comp. Anderson, of Griffin, Ga., used an impressive .004 reaction time in the final round, running 8.945 on an 8.90 index at 163.41 to best Williams’ 8.951 at 165.74.
The first NHRA national event win for Joe Harper came in Super Gas. The Florence, Miss., native claimed the title with a 9.904 on the category’s 9.90 index at 148.71 in his ’98 Avenger to oust Steve Hoyt’s 9.909 at 172.21.
Gary Horstmann of Festus, Mo., won in Super Street for his first JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals event victory, going 10.896 at 138.12 for a double-breakout win against the category’s 10.90 index. Driving a ’61 Falcon, Horstmann’s winning run came against Jeremy Schell, who posted a 10.876 at 133.12.
Jason Lynch, now a five-time NHRA JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals winner, claimed his first event victory in Top Sportsman. Lynch of Cedar Hill, Tenn., went 6.656 at 213 in his ’03 Grand Am, qualifying from the No. 12 position to knock off Mark McDonald’s 6.622 at 206.13.
In Top Dragster Lynn Ellison celebrated his 50th birthday in style, grabbing the victory with a performance of 6.31 at 211.79. Ellison, a Central City, Ky., native who qualified eighth and had a final-round reaction time of .036, edged out Michael Kile’s 6.261 at 217.14. [06/01/17]
Harry Hruska at the Four-Wide Nationals.
Harry Hruska, founder of Precision Turbo and Engine, qualified number one on Friday, May 19, at the NHRA Heartland Nationals at Topeka with a 5.76 at 255 mph. The following day he made the quickest turbo Pro Mod quarter-mile pass in NHRA history at 5.72 seconds. [06/01/17]
It seemed like Take your Dad to the Races Day at the Barona Drags. Del Worsham (who was also driving his Funny Car) was in attendance with his daughters Maddy and Kate, who drove to the semifinals of Jr. Dragster.
Robert Hight was with his daughter Autumn.
We’ll have a look at all the action coming in the June issue of DRO. [06/01/17]
DRO has been told that Texas Pro Mod racer Gaylen Smith and some business associates are building a state of the art eighth-mile track south of Dallas. The Agent is told that it will be an all concrete track with all of the bells and whistles.
With the closing of Texas Raceway in Kennedale, this new track when open will be a bonus for those racers and series that ran at the venerable Texas track of 50 years. [06/01/17]
The Agent is happy to report that both I-57 Dragway in Illinois and the Harrisburg Dragstrip in Illinois have re-opened for the 2017 season after going through some rebuilding and ownership issues. The agent wishes these tracks well. [06/01/17]
The Professional Drag Racers Association enters the halfway point in its eight-event 2017 season with this weekend’s PDRA North-South Shootout, June 1-3, at Maryland International Raceway.
The storied Maryland track is considered “home field” for two of the series’ stars: Pro Extreme’s John Stanley (shown), Hagerstown, MD, and Pro Nitrous’ Tommy Franklin, of Fredericksburg, VA.
Franklin, the defending world champion in Pro Nitrous, is coming off an event victory at the PDRA Spring Nationals two weeks ago, when he also claimed the No. 1 qualifying spot. He currently leads the Pro Nitrous points standings.
In addition to Pro Extreme and Pro Nitrous, the PDRA North-South Shootout will feature Pro Boost, Extreme Pro Stock, and Pro Extreme Motorcycle. The sportsman racers of the PDRA in Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Pro Junior Dragster, Top Junior Dragster and the Edelbrock Bracket Bash will also compete at the North-South Shootout. [06/01/17]
T.J. Paschal walked away with the biggest share of the cash purse at the 19th annual “Big John” Leviner Memorial Weekend Bracket Nationals at Rockingham Dragway but the McLeansville veteran will have to wait at least another year to get his iconic “Wally” trophy.
Paschal beat Raleigh’s Richard Alford Jr. to claim the $7,500 top prize in Sunday’s Top Eliminator race but it was Footbrake winner Chris “Hot Rod” Gibson of Lexington who got the Wally in the one-run showdown at the conclusion of each day’s program that constitutes the National Dragster challenge.
Chris “Hot Rod” Gibson
Gibson used a .021 of a second starting line advantage to get his 1971 Z-28 Camaro to the finish line ahead of Paschal’s dragster. The margin of victory was a mere .004 of a second.
Gibson, Greg Broadway of New Bern and Lumberton’s Jerry Brewer were the winners of the iconic trophies which are identical to those awarded to event winners on the NHRA Mello Yello pro and Lucas Oil sportsman tours. A fourth Wally went to Jr. Dragster driver Chase Wagner of Willow Springs who won a shootout with five others in last race of the weekend, the Summit Jr. Dragster Challenge.
It was a big weekend for the Wagner family. Chase won Sunday’s Jr. Dragster race and Casey won on Monday. Both raced in the Summit Jr. Dragster Challenge although Casey was ousted in the first round by Jason McCandless of Graham, grandson of Pro Stock legend Herb “Mr. 4-Speed” McCandless.
A field of more than 300 participated in the three day event which awarded points for the NHRA ET bracket series and for Rockingham track championships. Paschal waded through a 155-car Top Eliminator field to get the biggest cash prize but Broadway and Brewer both came away with $5,000 winners’ shares.
In Footbrake, Gibson shared center stage with Saturday winner Tommy Duff of Holly Ridge and Monday champion Barbara Terry of Haw River who came up just .002 of a second short in the “Run for the Wally” at the wheel of her 1971 Pontiac Firebird.
The one Jr. race not claimed by the Wagner family went to Rockingham regular Zach Pennington, who beat a red-lighting McCandless to win on Saturday. [06/01/17]
Former IHRA president, Aaron Polburn, has a few things to say about Chris Lencheski his firing as CEO by IRGSE anmd the possible future if any of the IHRA here. [06/01/17]
The Agent contacted PDRA’s Bob Harris and verified that the sanctioning body is soon going to announce a rule change for their Pro Extreme class that will allow those cars to burn nitromethane. The rules for burning nitro will be released in the next week or so Harris told the Agent. [06/01/17]
Clay Millican is retiring the dragster that brought him the top qualifying spot at two races and also took him to the semifinals twice. But it had more than 350 run on its back half, and it was time for a change.
After Topeka Millican’s Stringer Performance crew made their first car change ever, and Millican even got involved.
“I got in there and helped put the driver’s compartment together so I didn’t have any surprises come Epping,” he said.
A new sponsor, Strutmasters, has been added to the Parts Plus/Great Clips/University of Northwestern Ohio Top Fuel dragster. [06/01/17]
John Gaydosh at the Gatornationals.
John Gaydosh is ready for his busiest month of the year. The independent Pro Stock racer will compete at all four races on the NHRA East Coast Swing beginning this weekend with the New England Nationals in Epping, NH.
“The fans at New England Dragway are the nicest and friendliest fans in the racing series. They actually come up to you and thank you for coming up to New Hampshire,” the Baltimore native said. “They truly appreciate having NHRA Drag Racing back up here and they come out rain or shine to see us on the track.”
As much as Gaydosh loves coming to the event, he is also hoping history does not repeat itself when it comes to the car’s mechanical issues.
“We have lost a motor the last four years here at New England Dragway,” Gaydosh said. “The first year we had to borrow a bullet from Brogden, the next year we borrowed one from Gray and the next two years had to lease engines from Gray. We don’t want to do that this year. We hope to turn our luck around.” [06/01/17]
VOLUME XIX, NUMBER 5 - May 2017
DRAGRACINGOnline will be published on or around the 8th of each month and will be updated throughout the month.
DRAGRACINGOnline owes allegiance to no sanctioning body and will call 'em as we see 'em. We strive for truth,integrity, irreverence and the betterment of drag racing. We have no agenda other than providing the drag racing public with unbiased information and view points they can't get in any other drag racing publication.
Editor & Publisher, CEO Jeff Burk
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Editor at Large, Bret Kepner
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ET DRAG RACING
NEWS & ANALYSIS
BACK TO TOP
We are happy to hear that Alexis DeJoria will be returning to the seat of her Tequila Patron Funny Car this week at Epping. (Not that we don’t like Chad Head.)
“I’m excited to get back to racing,” said DeJoria, who has missed the last couple of NHRA events due to a family matter. “I want to thank everyone for their support these past few weeks. Missing races is never easy and certainly not a decision that was made lightly. I can’t wait to get back at it and resume the fight for our spot in the Top 10 this weekend.
“I’ve got a great team and a car capable of running with the best of them. I have nothing but the utmost confidence in Nicky (Boninfante) and Tommy (DeLago). We’re going to race hard and just keep charging forward.” [06/01/17]
After being selected as one of 25 finalists in Champion Spark Plugs’ ‘Search for a Champion’ contest, Marina Anderson will begin her 2017 season with the final passes required to earn her NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster license.
Anderson and her dragster, built at Competition Fabrications, will head to Route 66 Raceway this weekend for the Burndown at Sundown NHRA North Central Region race, June 2-4. Though she isn’t entering the race, Anderson will use the opportunity to make her final licensing runs.
Anderson and her family-owned A/Fuel dragster anticipate a multi-race schedule with the NHRA and ADRL series. The Illinois team will be working with Premium Motorsports Products (PMP) to accommodate its parts supply needs and to provide supplementary technical support.
Anderson, 24, was one of only two drag racers to be named a finalist in the 2017 Search for a Champion contest, put on by Champion Spark Plugs since 2012. Anderson’s story of fabricating and driving her nitromethane-injected A/Fuel dragster captured the attention of thousands of voters over the multiple voting periods required to reach the “Finalist” status.[06/01/17]