With another tremendous performance on Saturday, Bob Rahaim moved closer to his first American Drag Racing League (ADRL) championship.
The Pro Nitrous standout had a brilliant day during the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson at Summit Motorsports Park, going 3.883 at 195.28 mph to beat Stan Allen in the finals and win his second straight race.
It also puts Rahaim on the cusp of clinching his first ADRL world championship in Pro Nitrous, which could come in three weeks at the ADRL World Finals VIII presented by CarSafe at Texas Motorplex.
“I just feel lucky and thankful to have things come together like this,” Rahaim said. “It’s a monumental undertaking to put this together and this is a really special moment. It truly is amazing and I just feel very fortunate.”
Other winners included Alex Hossler (Pro Extreme), Eric McKinney (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Billy Glidden (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Elijah Morton (Extreme Pro Stock), Dave Roemer (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified), Ronnie Davis (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman) and Chris Holbrook (SuperCar Showdown).
Rahaim went as quick as 3.83 in eliminations, but his main focus in picking up his third win in five finals appearances in 2012 was staying consistent in his ’69 Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro powered by Reher-Morrison and Switzer Dynamics.
Staying in the left lane throughout eliminations also proved to be beneficial.
“In 1991, I won a race here in the left lane and I just stayed there. I guess it’s just my lucky lane at this track,” Rahaim said. “I tried to be consistent and just get down the track. The team has really jelled and they’re just doing a fabulous job.”
Eric McKinney’s first race in the Pro Extreme Motorcycle class was in 2008 at Summit Motorsports Park, and on Saturday he wrapped up his first ADRL world championship by winning his fourth straight race and sixth overall in 2012 with a 4.112 at 172.96 mph in the finals against Terry Schweigert.
Making a memorable moment even sweeter was that he was able to celebrate the win and world championship with more than 20 family members and friends at his home ADRL track.
“To wrap up the championship, and to do it here, I just don’t know how to explain it,” McKinney said. “This was the best race of the year. I could do back flips right now. There’s so many people behind me, this is just a great feeling.”
McKinney, who qualified No. 2, went as quick at 4.079 in advancing to his eighth final in nine races. In a season filled with accomplishments, McKinney has done nearly everything, becoming a dominant rider in the process.
“When we went 4.02 in Memphis, I never thought we could go that fast. Everybody here just helps make my job easier,” McKinney said. “This has just been a great year with a great team.”
Alex Hossler continued to have incredibly good fortune at Summit Motorsports Park in Pro Extreme, advancing to the finals for the third straight year and winning for the second straight year by going 3.74 at 199.40 mph to knock off Tim Tindle.
“Somehow I’ve just been able to keep getting lucky here,” Hossler said. “I love the facility and it’s a wonderful track. You know it’s always going to be great here and we’ve just been lucky to have this kind of success here.”
Hossler, who now has two wins in 2012, knocked off points leader Mick Snyder in the second round with a 3.719 in his Al-Anabi Racing Tim McAmis Race Cars Camaro. He also got a fortunate break in the semifinals when Neal Wantye went red.
“We’re making wholesale changes and trying a lot of new things,” Hossler said. “With the guys I have and with (crew chief) Frank (Manzo), I know he’s going to get us running as well as anybody in this class.”
Jason Scruggs advanced to the semifinals to get to within less than 10 points in the championship chase against Snyder before falling to Tindle.
Ronnie Davis stayed in title contention in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, edging out Marco Abruzzi in a fantastic side-by-side final after Abruzzi broke out.
Davis finished with an impressive 4.176 at 172.76 mph, picking up his second win of 2012 in the process.
“This was an awesome win. This was a very meaningful race for me because this is one of my favorite race tracks,” Davis said. “I love the area and the track, and it’s a very meaningful win, especially against a guy like Marco. That’s elite company there.”
Davis chopped down the top two drivers in points in eliminations, beating William Brown III in the semifinals before slipping past Abruzzi in the finals.
The Summit Racing-sponsored Abruzzi did well at his home track to take the points lead into the final event of the season, but Davis also managed to make up some ground at a key time.
“I have a shot at the championship and that’s very exciting,” Davis said. “I’m pretty thrilled and pumped up about it.”
Elijah Morton finally found a bright spot in his frustration-filled 2012 season, picking up his second career ADRL win in Extreme Pro Stock by going 4.075 at 178.31 mph to defeat Doug Kirk. Both were making their first finals appearances of 2012, but it was Morton who chased down Kirk under the lights.
“We’ve struggled all year, and this is just an awesome feeling,” Morton said. “We haven’t won many rounds and to do this is just incredible. My team works as hard as any team out there, and to have my family here, it was just great. We figured we would be the giant killer today and now we’ve got our mojo back.”
Morton and his 2012 Jerry Haas Race Cars Mustang was the ultimate beneficiary of a wild first-round in XPS when the top eight qualifiers, including the top three drivers in the points standings (Cary Goforth, Richie Stevens and Todd Hoerner) all lost.
“We changed everything before eliminations. We went a completely different direction and the car liked it,” Morton said. “Jerry Haas has given us a great race car and I think we figured out what the car likes.”
Goforth will keep a significant lead over Stevens and others heading into the World Finals, making him a heavy favorite to clinch his second straight world championship in Extreme Pro Stock.
Dave Roemer picked up one of the biggest wins of his career, and doing it at his home track made it even more significant, as he beat Pat Musi with a 4.07 at 182.38 mph in the Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified final.
It was a brilliant Saturday for Roemer, who didn’t even get into the field until going 3.978 in the final qualifying session. He added another 3.974 in a first-round win before topping it off by beating Musi, who shook immediately, in the finals for his first ADRL win.
“This means everything to us. To be able to get this first win at our home track, it’s just amazing,” Roemer said. “A lot of people talk about the pressure of running at your home track, but I just tried to feed off of it.
“Friday was all bad and (Saturday) was all good. It was just a matter of getting the right set-up.”
Billy Glidden became the first competitor in ADRL history to get to 14 wins, going 3.939 at 187.11 mph to beat Alan Pittman and his 3.894 on a holeshot in the Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 finals.
“It’s been a very good weekend. The last time I was in the final against Alan, I red-lighted, but this time I was a little later than I wanted to be,” Glidden said. “It was pretty tough for us, but we’re excited to get this win.”
Pittman will retain a significant lead in the Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5 heading into the World Finals.
In the SuperCar Showdown final, Chris Holbrook went 5.674 at 121.88 mph to beat Jimmy Ronzello and wrap up a record-setting weekend. In addition to the win, Holbrook also set the E.T. (5.667) and speed (121.88 mph) world record in the class.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Nick Isenhower got the victory, running 7.91 at 83.25 mph.
The 10th and final stop on the 2012 ADRL Tour takes place on Oct. 19-20 with the ADRL World Finals VIII presented by CarSafe at Texas Motorplex in Dallas. World champions will be crowned in every ADRL class at the season-ending event.
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