The AA/FC final round at the Rockabilly Rod Reunion was an absolute classic as two defending AA/FC National Champions met to not only decide the winner of this race, but the Championship points lead in both the DRO Series and the Hot Rod Heritage Series would be determined by this race.
As for the final round itself, it turned out to be a real barn-burner. John Hale had a slower than .200 RT and still won for the second time in Eliminations. Hale had a .245 RT to Rupert’s .148 and still got the win. Hale ran Low ET of the meet at 5.737/251.81 while Rupert slowed to a 5.848/ 252.19 losing effort. When you add the reaction times to the ET, Hale had a 5.982 and Rupert a 5.996.
Determining who would leave the race with the points lead in either Heritage or DRO points is going to take some serious calculation. Hale won the race and set a new speed record which is now official, and the odds are very good that Rupert holds the ET record. He also qualified seven spots better than Hale. As for the Heritage series, both Hale and Rupert have a win and runner-up finish but Rupert has had the Heritage points lead since Hale was DNQ at the March Meet. Having said that, both men are assured of being either first or second in points in both Series leaving this event.
Unlike Saturday, when oil downs were a major issue resulting in two DQs of qualified cars, that wasn’t an issue today with only a single oil down, which came when winner John Hale burnt some pistons and trailed a little oil in the final round. The race ran absolutely on schedule from start to finish. Rupert, who slowed significantly in the final, said that they had too much weight on the clutch. “I could feel it (the car) slowing down because of the clutch. It caught itself late in the pass and I started reeling Hale in but by then it was too late.” Track manager Chris Blair told DRO’s Jeff Burk that the race was a financial success and that it would be on the schedule for next season with the DRO Series cars returning.
Also, for the first time the winner and runner-up of a AA/FC race had their pumps disassembled after the race was completed and the gears were checked with both a micrometer and the DRO Series Go-No-Go guage in front of witnesses. The NHRA also made the decision after the race to send each racer’s pump back to KJ Crawford to be re-certified and re-sealed. The next race on the DRO schedule will be at Cedar Falls Iowa in July. Beeee Theeeerrrr!