AutoZone Super Chevy Show at South Georgia Motorsports Park
Story and photos by Marvin T. Smith

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After rains washed out Friday’s race action, fans and racers gathered for the AutoZone Super Chevy Show event at South Georgia Motorsports Park were treated to beautiful blue skies on Saturday.  Unfortunately, the weather gods threw in some 20-30 mph winds.  Qualifying was limited to the eighth-mile distance for safety, but was as exciting as ever.

Defending Nitro Coupe champion Randy Adler led qualifying with a blast of 4.169 at 174.93 on the eighth-mile.

 

Eight Nitro Coupes made up the field.  Current series champion Randy Adler led qualifying with a blast of 4.169 at 174.93 in his 1957 Chevy.  Wayne Torkelson ran a 4.27 for second spot, followed by Mel Eaves in his new Corvette (4.28), Tommy Howes (4.29), Dave Tomasino (4.37), Jeff Merritt (4.617), and Mike Swinarski (4.619).  Bruce Boland ran his new ‘53 Corvette in the second session, but did not appear on the official qualifying sheet.

This year Top Sportsman was added to the Super Chevy program.   Dave Saul led qualifying with a 4.60 151.94, followed by Mike Thompson (4.80), Terry Duffy (4.83), Frank Palmer (5.06), Clarence Cloud (5.09), Flyin’ Brian Harrison (5.48), and Tommy Turner (6.87).

Top Sportsman was added to the Super Chevy program for 2005, and Dave Saul led qualifying on the eighth-mile with a pass of 4.60 151.94. 

 

In hot exhibition action, Bob Hall thrilled the fans with long wheelstands in his Airborne Express van.  Ken Walsh made great frame twisting runs in his Mr. 409 nostalgia super stocker.  The high torque action of this Chevy has to be seen to be believed.  Jessie Harris in the Queen of Diamonds jet and Watkinsville, Georgia’s own Paul Miller in his US-1 made two great passes.  In her final attempt, Ms. Harris ran a great 3.564 225.90 in the Queen of Diamonds when Miller fouled.

On Sunday, fans witnessed a great day of racing, with competition in Jets, Nitro Coupes, Wheelstanders, Top Sportsmen, Super Pro, Pro, DOT racers, and Jr. Dragsters thrilling the crowd.

Bob Hall thrilled the crowd with the high-flying antics of his Airborne Express wheelstanding van. 

 

In the first round of jet competition, Jessie Harris and Paul Miller topped 300 mph side by side.  Jessie set the track record with a 5.269 at 301.00, edging out Paul Miller who ran a close 5.310 300.00.  In the second of two scheduled runs, Jessica bettered her E.T. record with a 5.227 but the clocks failed to record her speed. Miller had problems and was forced to shut off early. 

In Nitro Coupe competition, No. 1 qualifier Randy Adler looked like the man to beat, but this is drag racing!  In round one, Adler (6.41, 217) beat Mike Swinarski (6.72, 202), Tommy Howes (6.56, 213) beat Dave Tomasino’s beautiful stars and stripes Camaro (6.80, 208), Mel Eaves in his new ‘63 Corvette (6.34, 223.88 low E.T. and top speed of eliminations) beat Bruce Boland (7.05 215), and Wayne Torkelson (7.55, 146) beat a troubled Jeff Merritt (13.11, 60.98).  In round two, Howes upset Adler with a 6.49, 214 to a losing 9.41, 92.91.  Eaves ran a consistent 6.367, 223.73 to down Torkelson’s game 6.54, 214.  In the final, Howes ran 6.59, 209 to beat Eaves’ blower-exploding 6.86, 166.91.  Experience and consistency paid off for Howes as he beat the favorites on his way to the podium. 

Jessie Harris and Paul Miller blasted to side-by-side 300 mph passes in their jet dragsters, with Harris setting the track record with her 5.269 at 301.00. 

 

In Top Sportsman presented by Procharger, seven cars battled for the honors over the eighth mile. In round one, Terry Duffy ran a 4.96 on his 4.70 dial in to beat a troubled Flyin’ Brian Harrison.  Mike Thompson ran a 4.80 on his 4.79 dial to oust Clarence Cloud’s beautiful Willys, 5.07 on a 5.00 dial.  Frank Palmer beat a fouling Tommy Turner.  Palmer would have broken out on his run. Number one qualifier Dave Saul took a single in the odd car field.  In round two, Thompson beat a fouling Palmer, and Saul ran an impressive 4.587 on a 4.58 dial in to beat Terry Duffy who broke out with a 4.75 on his 4.80 dial in.  In the finals, Saul had staging problems and fouled to hand the win to Mike Thompson, who took an easy single.

No. 2 Top Sportsman qualifier Mike Thompson went all the way to the winner’s circle on a single when his opponent, top qualifier Dave Saul, had trouble at the starting line.

 

Eighty-three cars battled for the Mr. Gasket Bracket #1 (Super Pro) bragging rights on Sunday.  This division also ran the eighth-mile distance.  In the final, reigning Super Pro track champion Carey Locke had a perfect .000 reaction time and ran 4.761 on his 4.74 dial only to lose to Mike Ruff’s outstanding 6.234 on a 6.23 dial in and a reaction time of .001.  This is racing! 

In eighth-mile Pro action, 53 cars fought it out.  In round six, Brandon Wood’s wheelstanding red Nova ran a 6.825 on his 6.83 to beat a fouling J. R. Hamelink.  Kelly Spring took a single.  In the final, Wood ran a 6.832 on his 6.83 dial in (.033 reaction time) to beat Spring’s 6.903 on his 6.89 dial in (.055 reaction time).

Full quarter-mile DOT eliminator boiled down to Brandon Tillman’s orange Corvette out of Moultrie, Georgia and Lea Uhler’s van out of Gainesville, Florida.  In the double breakout final, Tillman won with a 15.05 on his 15.14 dial to Uhler’s very late light and 12.56 on a 12.70 dial in 

Brandon Wood outlasted 52 other Pro competitors to take the win in Valdosta, running 6.832 on his 6.83 dial to best Kelly Spring’s 6.903 on a 6.89 dial in a double breakout affair.

 

Jr. Dragster was a family affair as reigning class track champion Bobby Mouat beat sister Morgan.  The racing Mouat family had quite a weekend as dad Bruce won the special Saturday night bonus race combining Super Pro and Pro.  Bruce ran a 4.904 on his 4.90 dial in to take the money.  Joe Williams in his beautiful “Undercover” dragster had to settle for runner-up with a 5.08 on is 5.05 dial.

Bob Hall brought out his exciting Airborne Express wheelie van to thrill the crowd.  After a couple of great passes, he broke the crank.  But Bob was not finished.  He dug deep into his trailer and brought out the old Paddy Wagon wheelstander and made more great passes to the delight of the crowd!  What a showman!   

Mel Eaves had his new ’63 Corvette Nitro Coupe in Valdosta. After qualifying in the No. 3 spot, he laid down a run of 6.34, 223.88 in the first round of eliminations to claim low E.T. and top speed. He advanced to the final, but a blower explosion ended his weekend one run too early. 

 

 

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