Battling temperatures well into the mid-90s and a heat index well over a hundred degrees, Shannon “Iceman” Jenkins fought through six tough trips down the eighth mile at zMAX Dragway Aug. 4, to win in Pro Nitrous at the ADRL’s Dragstock IX.
Rain and the track’s 10 p.m. curfew had delayed Friday’s night’s scheduled third round of qualifying to Saturday, in which Jenkins vaulted from fifth to the number-one position with a run of 3.879 seconds at 195.17 mph in his Al-Anabi Racing 2012 Camaro. His time held up through the already set fourth and final qualifying session before he entered into what turned out to be four rounds of eliminations for the Tuscaloosa, AL-based doorslammer-driving legend.
“I actually like racing that way. You get in a rhythm and just get ready for the next round and you don’t have a lot of time for the heat and conditions to change,” Jenkins said.
“But it was hot; it’s been some of the most miserable racing that I can remember this summer between all the tracks that we’ve been going to. It’s been trying; it’s hard on the team, hard on the car, hard on the track. Not that the track was terrible; it’s just that heat is heat and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Jenkins opened eliminations with a 3.934 pass at 193.65 mph against Ray Schuler, then ran an almost identical 3.933 at 193.54 opposite a red-lighting John Hall in round two. In the semis he easily handled series newcomer Chris Juliano with a 3.893 at 193.74 mph.
Meanwhile, Doug Riesterer and his ’68 Camaro from Victoria, TX, started from the number-10 position before taking down Robert Mathis, Keith Haney and Stan Allen to reach Jenkins in the final round.
Once there, Jenkins left with a .038 holeshot leading into a 3.870 wining pass at 194.02 mph, while Riesterer got out of shape and slowed to 4.231 at just 148.99 mph. It marked Jenkins 11th career win in his 12th Pro Nitrous final.
“The track’s been real tricky, so we were just trying to be real conservative and we really didn’t know how to step up on it tonight. It would’ve been a lot better if I had put some clutch in it,” Jenkins said later.
“We did make some changes and added some counterweight (to the clutch), but we needed what felt like nine more grams, which is like a mile, but hey, we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
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