SATURDAY FINAL - WINNERS CROWED, ONE MORE RACE LEFT ON THE SCHEDULE
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.
ROUND BY ROUND RESULTS
FRIDAY QUALIFYING: SNYDER TOPS FIRST DAY ADRL QUALIFYING
Mick Snyder added one more notch to his terrific 2012 American Drag Racing League (ADRL) season in Pro Extreme on Friday at Summit Motorsports Park.
With fantastic conditions leading to remarkable times across the board in every ADRL class, Snyder had one of the best performances of the day, running a career-best 3.598 at 209.95 mph to take the No. 1 qualifying spot after three sessions of the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
Snyder, the PX points leader, became just the fourth ADRL driver to run in the 3.50s, setting a track record in the process on what turned into a picturesque Friday in Norwalk.
“It’s pretty cool. The 3.50s club is a neat group and to be one of four is an awesome deal,” Snyder said. “We knew the conditions would be good enough, but to actually make the pass is very cool. The air was so good, we got the right tune-up and it all worked out really well.”
Other No. 1 qualifiers through three sessions on Friday included Pat Stoken (Pro Nitrous), Alan Pittman (Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5), Dave Vantine (Pro Extreme Motorcycle), Todd Hoerner (Extreme Pro Stock), Raymond Matos (Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified) and Joshua Vettel (Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman).
Vettel ran a 3.975 in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, becoming the first driver in the history of the class to make a 3-second run.
Saturday’s final qualifying session starts at 11 a.m., with eliminations for the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson to follow.
Snyder’s 3.598 was a welcome sign after a three-race slump that saw his points lead over teammate Jason Scruggs get slashed. But Snyder and his Powersource Transportation Corvette seemed to have righted the ship on Friday at Summit Motorsports Park.
“That was a great pick-me-up. The last three races, we’ve struggled. When you get in a little bit of a slump, it’s always nice to do something to get back out of it,” Snyder said.
“These cars are so finicky, but we’re back to being consistent and that’s pretty exciting.”
Brandon Pesz is No. 2 with a 3.603, while Scruggs, who trails Snyder by just more than 100 points, is third with a 3.614.
After struggling through the first two rounds in his RJ Race Cars ’69 Camaro, Pat Stoken returned with a vengeance under the lights, going 3.836 at 197.62 mph. It puts him in line for his third career No. 1 qualifier at the Ohio Drags.
“We were struggling through the first two qualifying runs, but we changed some things and that seemed to be the way to go. I knew we needed to do something,” Stoken said. “I didn’t think it would be that quick, but hopefully things will continue to go well.”
Doug Riesterer is currently second with a 3.843 and points leader Bob Rahaim is right behind at 3.844.
Stoken, who also thanked Reher-Morrison and Switzer Dynamics, also enjoyed the company of his twin brother, Mike, on Friday, who was watching him race for the first time in 15 years.
“Maybe he’s bringing me good luck, but we’ve got some good people helping us,” Stoken said. “This is a great facility and we always seem to do well here.”
Joshua Vettel put together a historic run in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, becoming the first driver in the history of the Top Sportsman class to make a 3-second run, going an incredible 3.975 at 177.53 mph.
It puts Vettel in the No. 1 spot in Summit Racing Top Sportsman for the first time in his career, doing it with an incredible run in the process.
“That was just amazing. It was definitely a lot of fun and definitely the fastest we’ve ever been,” Vettel said. “It’s a huge honor to be the first to go in the 3s.”
Mark Malcuit and his superb 4.027 at 180.94 mph is currently No. 2, while Travis Harvey’s 4.04 is third. Vettel’s 3.975 also leads the quickest field in the history of the Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman class in the ADRL, as the current bump (No. 16 Glenn Butcher) is a remarkable 4.21.
“We were shooting for No. 1 and tried to see how fast it would go. We knew a 3-second run was possible. The track was really good and the car took off on a rope,” Vettel said.
After watching Richard Penland slip momentarily past him into the No. 1 spot in Extreme Pro Stock with a 4.055, Todd Hoerner and his 2012 Jerry Bickel Race Cars Camaro ended Friday back on top with a 4.04 at 178.95 mph.
Powered by an EFI set-up from Sonny’s Racing Engines, Hoerner continued to stay consistent at Norwalk, giving major credit to co-crew chief Jeff Dobbins Jr.
“That was great to run that and take back the No. 1 spot for (Friday),” Hoerner said. “Jeff Dobbins Jr. just does a phenomenal job calling the shots. He’s really methodical, just taking baby steps, and more and more data really pays dividends.
“He said he thought it would run a 4.04 and he was right on. He’s the man and the power Sonny’s (Racing Engines) gives me is just phenomenal as well.”
Richie Stevens Jr. is third with a 4.057 while points leader Cary Goforth is fourth with a 4.058 in a super-tight field that is already the second-quickest in XPS history.
A career-best from Dave Vantine gave him the No.1 qualifying spot through three rounds in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, as the New York native ran a career-best 4.071 at 175.07 mph.
Points leader Eric McKinney is right behind with a 4.083, but Vantine was brilliant during the second qualifying session. He also hopes to build on the late-season success he had in 2011 that led to his first ADRL win at the final event of the year.
“The surface was great, our 60-foot time was good and there’s still some on the table,” Vantine said. “I’m pretty happy with it and it kind of came out of nowhere. We weren’t able to test and that was kind of a big jump for us.
“It was a little bit unexpected, but we always seem to finish the season well.”
In his first ADRL race of the 2012 season and just the second in his career, Raymond Matos jumped to the top spot in Aeromotive Fuel Systems Pro Modified, going a career-best 3.91 at 187.52 mph.
Driving a 1970 ‘Cuda powered by Sonny’s Racing Engines and Pat Musi Racing Engines EFI, the Puerto Rico native was consistent from the start, running in the 3.90s in all three sessions to make it a welcome return for the Dragstock V winner.
“It’s very exciting to come out and make this happen. It’s great to come out and start everything again,” Matos said. “We decided Monday to come out here without testing.
“We had some worries, but this is a very good car. The Sonny Leonard engine and the Musi Racing Engines EFI made a big difference and gave us a big advantage.”
Closing in on his first world championship in Mickey Thompson Extreme 10.5, Alan Pittman is the current No. 1 qualifier, running a 3.911 at 197.31 mph.
Billy Glidden is right behind, going 3.923 at 188.95 mph.
In the SuperCar Showdown class, Chris Holbrook set the world E.T. and speed record in the class, running a 5.667 at 121.34 mph.
His first pass included a run of 121.43 mph, good enough to make it the fastest run in the history of the class.
In Pro Junior Dragster, Camrie Caroso is the current No. 1 qualifier with a 7.90.
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