“It’s about time!”
That was the declaration of Ronnie “The King” Davis immediately upon emerging from his Roush Yates-powered ’63 Corvette after winning the ADRL Dragstock IX Top Sportsman final Aug. 4, at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC.
“This is a big win, a very big win; I was beginning to wonder if I was getting too old for this,” the three-time IHRA world champion and two-time NHRA Division 2 champ said of his career-first ADRL victory that came over Chip Forman in the final.
Davis qualified second behind only Travis Harvey with a 4.075 at 182.33 that briefly gave him both ends of the class records before Harvey officially backed up his pole-sitting 4.016 at 185.23 mph in the fourth and final session on Saturday.
Davis, however, missed out on his fourth qualifying run when his car wouldn’t start, forcing him to dial in on the 4.07 pass he’d run the night before instead of around the 4.30 he normally would have set up for in the final session.
Starting with a 4.06 dial, Davis ran 4.091 at 173.05 to defeat Joshua Vettel in round one, then ran 4.077 at 181.84 against a 4.07 to beat John Lassiter and 4.070 at 182.01 against a 4.06 dial in the semis against William Brown III.
“I like racing this fast,” the Suwanee, GA-based golf cart dealer declared after round two.
In the final round, Davis dialed in at 4.05, while Forman drew 4.15 on his windows. Forman left first with a great .009 light, but Davis wasn’t far off at .018 and his 4.085 at 162.98 easily took the win over Forman’s 4.599 at 168.77 after his ’68 Camaro lost traction midway through the run.
“I caught and passed him pretty quick and knew I had to be out in front so I lifted right before the finish,” Davis said. “The car was running dead on all day; if I hadn’t lifted in the final it would’ve run a 4.05, there’s no doubt about it.”
After struggling with consistency at both ends of the track in the ADRL season’s first few races this year Davis said he returned his chassis set-up to the way he’d been running it last year and his results improved immediately, beginning last month at the ADRL’s previous event in Martin, MI, and continuing at an outlaw Top Sportsman event where he reached the final just a couple of weeks before Dragstock IX.
“We’ve got a real good race car again and it makes up a lot for the driver,” he said. “The mechanical part is always going to be more consistent than the human part and it’s just me and Pete (March), my only crew guy, doing everything on the car at the track. So I set it up with Pete’s help, but I did say a little prayer before every run today.
“I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out; to win Dragstock and to do it at zMAX, well, it couldn’t be much better for a first ADRL win—and like I said, it’s about time!”
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