It had been more than three years since Elijah Morton last visited victory lane with the ADRL, but it all came together again Sep. 29, at Summit Motorsports Park, where he defeated Doug Kirk for his second-career Extreme Pro Stock (XPS) win in the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
“We knew we had a tough competitor in Doug and the last time we raced each other we had the longest staging battle in history. So I was a little late getting up there and I told him I was sorry, but I had to put a bigger gas tank on my car,” Morton said with a laugh. “But this time I rolled right on in because I didn’t want to get into any game-playing situation again. They think I like to stage last, but it don’t really matter.”
After struggling somewhat in qualifying, Morton managed a best of 4.080 at 177.23 mph, however, that placed him 14th in the quickest XPS field in ADRL history.
It required a mixed bag of tricks to advance once racing began, too. Morton made it past a tire-spinning Richard Penland in round one, then used a holeshot to get by Dean Goforth in the quarter-finals before mounting a come-from-behind charge to beat John Pluchino with a 4.086 run at 178.02 in the semis.
Meanwhile, number-12 qualifier Kirk ran an identical 4.081 with defending champion and current points leader Cary Goforth in round one, but won with a .022 holeshot, and then caught a break in round two when David Schorr redlighted and Kirk coasted to a 16-second pass after something broke on the launch. That set up a match-up for Kirk with close friend and racing partner Brian Gahm in the semis, where Kirk again needed a holeshot to allow his 4.080 at 177.77 to edge out the 4.071 at 177.42 by Gahm.
In the final, Kirk got the jump off the tree by .016, but Morton posted his best run of the weekend while Kirk had his worst (under power). Morton ran 4.075 at 178.31 to take control of his destiny and beat the 4.114 at 177.39 by Kirk to score his first ADRL event win since July 2009 at Topeka, KS.
“When we left I felt my car pulling away from him and I knew we had it won at that point,” Morton said. “It was a nice, smooth ride, a 4.07, we run it a little bit conservative because we can’t throw everything it has at this track here, but it was a great run.”
As he was rolling into victory lane for post-race celebrations Morton also revealed he received some inspiration from an unlikely source shortly before eliminations began.
“We had a terrible weekend going in qualifying; we only had one good run there and that was it; even the first run this morning we messed up. But we had a guy, Dwayne, a fan, he came up to us right before the first round of eliminations and told us, ‘I had a whole trunk load of t-shirts and I didn’t know which one to wear and look what I pulled out.’ And he had one of our old t-shirts on and said, ‘It’s your day,’ and here we are. It was meant to be.”
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