SATURDAY NOTEBOOK - WINNERS ARE CROWNED WITH ONE RACE LEFT IN THE SEASON
Immediately upon climbing from his car at the top end of Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH, Alex Hossler declared himself “easily the least deserving” of all the winners Sep. 29, at the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
Driving the Al-Anabi Racing ’68 Camaro, Hossler had just survived a tire-smoking, 3.740-seconds ride at 199.40 mph to defeat an equally traction-challenged 3.783 at 182.11 by Tim Tindle in the Pro Extreme final.
“I don’t know what it is about this place; this is my third year in a row that I’ve been in the final round here, so that’s 12 straight runs for me in eliminations here and I don’t think I’ve made a good run yet,” Hossler claimed. “But I guess there’s just some places where you’re meant to do well and it was good enough to win, so I’ll take it.”
Hossler lost to Mick Snyder while on fire in 2010 at Norwalk, then won last year despite breaking on the launch when Joshua Hernandez left too soon and was disqualified.
This time around, Hossler qualified eighth with a 3.663 pass at 206.45, then opened eliminations with a 3.707 win at 205.72 over Tommy D’Aprile, who got out of shape and crossed the center line shortly before the eighth-mile finish line. In round two, Hossler ran 3.719 at 206.64 while polesitter and points leader Snyder posted a tire-shaking, six-second effort, his only bad pass of the weekend after going between 3.59 and 3.62 in five prior runs.
In the semis, a red-light start by Neal Wantye allowed Hossler’s own tire-shaking 7.010 to advance him to the final against Tindle, who started from the seventh position and improved slightly through each round of racing (3.670, 3.655 and 3.636) in taking out Todd Martin, Clint Thompson and Jason Scruggs, respectively.
Hossler left first with a .040 light to Tindle’s .071, but then the two traded places a couple of times as each struggled to find grip on the Norwalk track.
“I saw him out there a little bit at the beginning, but I pedaled it twice. It smoked the tires and was heading for the wall so I gave it a slap; then it was heading for the center line so I gave it another slap,” Hossler recalled. “Like I said, we got the win, but based on our performance we probably didn’t deserve it. We got lucky.
“But I’m happy for my guys, Frank (Manzo, crew chief) and them worked just as hard to win this way, maybe even harder, than they would’ve if we’d been out there setting records. I’m glad they’re going to get their picture taken in the winner’s circle. But I know Frank is going to be so ticked off that the car wouldn’t go down the track; we’re going to have to find a way to calm him down so he doesn’t ruin our fun. I’m happy, really happy.”
Scruggs entered the event just over one round behind Snyder in the championship chase, but due to going one round deeper in eliminations he left the track just six points back to set up a winner-take-all scenario in Pro Extreme for the season ender Oct. 19-20, at the Texas Motorplex, south of Dallas.
NEARLY CLINCHED - What once was old became new again for Pro Nitrous points leader Bob Rahaim Sep. 29, at the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH.
“I won my first-ever national event at this track back in 1991 in the IHRA Quick Rod division; same lane, same everything,” Rahaim said after winning his second straight and third ADRL race of the year in five final-round appearances. “I’ll never forget that day and now I’ll never forget this. This year has been like the dream come true for me. I could never have imagined a season like this; I just couldn’t.”
With the win Rahaim also practically clinched his first ADRL world championship with just one race left next month at Ennis, TX, though Doug Riesterer, who qualified number one but lost in round two at Norwalk, mathematically still has a chance to win the crown.
Also mathematically notable in the Pro Nitrous class were a pair of second-round matches between Stan Allen and Pat Stoken, and Robert Mathis and Rickie Jones. In the first instance, both Allen and Stoken posted 3.923 ETs, but Allen got the win by leaving first with a .048 reaction to a .087 by Jones. In the next pair up, Mathis was awarded the win by one-10 thousandths of a second after his .053 light plus a career-best 3.818 ET at 196.42 exactly matched
Rahaim ran 3.844 at 195.56 to qualify fourth in his Reher & Morrison-powered ’69 Camaro before putting together a string of 3.80s in eliminations to defeat Ray Schuler, Jim Laurita with a .045 holeshot, Randy Weatherford and Allen in the final round.
“We went into some tire shake, but it kept going straight so I just stayed in it,” Rahaim said of his 3.883 at 195.28 winning pass. “I think (Allen) had even more problems, though, so I feel really lucky, really thankful for things to come together and work out like this.”
Just before entering the Summit Motorsports Park winner’s circle to receive his trophy and enjoy the accolades of the crowd, Rahaim referred back to a photo that appeared a couple of years ago in Drag Illustrated magazine depicting his car’s hood scoop being blown skyward by a big nitrous explosion at the Texas Motorplex.
“You remember that picture?” he asked. “That’s what I had to do before I could do this. I had to do that first.”
MONUMENTAL VICTORY - Only four cars showed up for the Extreme 10.5 (XTF) class at the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson, but as far as Billy Glidden is concerned, a win is a win.
With a 3.923 at 188.96 qualifying pass, Glidden and his nitrous-fed 2010 Mustang slotted in behind Alan Pittman at 3.911 and 197.31 mph in his screw-blown ’09 Mustang. The pair would settle the final after Glidden easily handled Dan Myers and his California-based Chevy Cameo pick-up with a 3.886 pass at 190.16 that set low ET of the meet, while Pittman had an equally easy time beating Cleveland’s Nick Jackson and his supercharged ’41 Willys with a 4.243 at 195.28 mph.
Glidden led from stripe to stripe in the final, leaving with a .056 holeshot that allowed his 3.939 pass at 187.11 to beat Pittman’s quicker and faster 3.894 at 197.48 mph by a slim nine-thousandths of a second.
“I was spinning down there, pretty significantly,” Glidden said later. “It really should have run at least as well as it did the run before, like an .88 or something.”
It marked the 14th win in the class for Glidden and returned to him sole status as the ADRL’s winningest driver. That it came with his mother, Etta, in attendance at a race other than the U.S. Nationals for the first time since 1996 made the accomplishment that much more special for Glidden.
“It’s great for a lot of reasons. It’s a Mickey Thompson race and this is the Mickey Thompson car, we’ve got a lot of friends out here with us this weekend and then there’s Mom. I told everyone to prepare for the Apocalypse because she actually left the house and came to a race other than Indy,” the Whiteland, IN-based driver joked. “But it was awesome to have her here; very awesome.”
FIRST TIME FOR ROEMER - For a while it looked like Dave Roemer might not even make it into his home-track ADRL event, as the Avon, OH, racer struggled in Pro Mod qualifying for the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson. But by the close of eliminations Sep. 29, he was standing in the winner’s circle at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH.
Roemer opened with a 4.211 at 156.70-mph pass that placed him third with his nitrous-boosted ’06 “Gladiator” Cavalier after the first qualifying session, but that time was bumped down to ninth and out of contention after round two. It got no better in Friday’s third-and-final qualifying opportunity, as Roemer encountered huge tire shake and coasted to a 13-second elapsed time.
Finally, in Saturday’s last-chance round, Roemer qualified fifth with a solid 3.978 effort at 189.07 mph.
“Yesterday was the worst; today was the best,” Roemer said after making a 4.070 pass at 182.38 mph to beat doorslammer legend Pat Musi in the Pro Mod final. He had previously sent Jeffrey Cummins Jr. packing with a .061 holeshot after both posted exactly 3.974 on the scoreboards, and beat Monroe Guest in the semis with a 4.087 at 179.88 that gave up lane choice to Musi.
“I was a little nervous going up there because we knew we were running against some very tough competition, but things just worked out great,” Roemer said of the final. “The car left awesome; it got into a little tire shake in the middle, but I drove it around and it settled down; I tried to keep it in the center of the groove and got it down through there.
“This is my home and what can I say; home cookin’s the best. My brothers and I have worked hard to make this thing happen and I’ve gotta’ say, it tastes pretty good right now.”
ANOTHER ONE FOR ELIJAH - 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.”
A SERIES CHAMPION CROWNED - Pro Extreme Motorcycle (PXM) star Eric McKinney took over this year from where his tuner left off in 2011, turning in a dominating performance that’s included six wins in eight final-round appearances and clinching the 2012 championship with one of 10 scheduled events still to be run.
With Ashley Owens, winner of eight events and the class title last season, calling the shots on his 2012 Suzuki, McKinney’s latest victory came Sep. 29, at Summit Motorsports Park, where he beat Canada’s Terry Schweigert in the PXM final of the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
“I don’t know what to say, I really don’t,” McKinney said after winning a mixed-up final that saw Schweigert leave before the tree was activated and McKinney go red by a whopping -.252 before posting a 4.112-seconds at 172.96-mph pass. “We’ve worked so long and so hard for this all year and to finally get it done (the championship) is just awesome. I know I say this all the time, but I really have to thank my dad and my mom, my Uncle Steve and of course Ashley Owens, the guy really is a genius when it comes to running these bikes. I really don’t think there’s anyone else even close to him.”
Unfortunately, Casey Stemper, McKinney’s closest rival in the points chase, suffered a serious engine fire at the end of his first qualifying pass that severely damaged the wiring and other critical systems on his bike and he had to withdraw from competition.
The weekend also started off on a sour note for McKinney after he burned up an engine in his first qualifying pass and injected a sense of caution into the entire McKinney team. A 4.083 at 171.99 landed them in second place on the eight-bike qualifying list, behind David Vantine who scored his career-first top qualifier with a 4.071 pass at 175.07 mph.
In round one, McKinney easily handled TT Jones with a 4.079 at 173.43 that lost lane choice by just one thousandth to Paul Gast for the semis. Once there, Gast left with a .039 reaction to McKinney’s .053 and it was almost enough to win, but McKinney’s 4.083 at 172.85 was just enough to edge ahead of Gast’s 4.103 run at 173.81 by six-thousandths of a second at the eighth-mile stripe.
“That was some great racing; the most exciting I’ve had in a while,” McKinney said. “Paul asked me if I had looked over at him, but I told him no way, I was just concentrating on my tuck and hitting my shift points and not screwing anything up.”
Winning the championship at the Norwalk, OH, track made it an extra-special experience for McKinney as he made his PXM debut there in 2008 and living about three hours away in Hamersville, OH, he was able to celebrate the moment with several friends, family members and co-workers.
“We had at least 20 or more people here with us this weekend and with this being our home ADRL track there just couldn’t be a better place for this to happen. I could do backflips right now,” the normally reserved McKinney declared. “This is awesome, just awesome.”
TWO-TIMER - At the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson, Ronnie Davis joined his final-round rival as the only drivers to post multiple ADRL Top Sportsman wins. Marco Abruzzi became the first multi-time winner in the class just three weeks earlier in Memphis and Davis beat Abruzzi in the final Sep. 29, at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH, to add to his breakthrough win in August at Charlotte.
“I feel very fortunate, very blessed, to win this race. We worked hard and we maybe shouldn’t have won this race, but we deserve it because we work hard and we don’t quit,” Davis said after going .060 on the tree before running 4.176 at 172.76 against a 4.15 dial in, while Abruzzi broke out at 4.163 and 169.15 mph against a 4.17 dial.
“It was a tough weekend; we never got a good run in on four (qualifying) shots—shook every time, including this morning in the last qualifying round. So I went back, took a run from Michigan this year in July, put that tune-up in the car, put it in the weather station and took it from there,” Davis explained.
He ran just one-thousandth over a 4.19 dial in the opening round against Travis Harvey.
“I’ve got records on every run I’ve made for probably the last 20 years, so I went back, picked the run conducive to the tune-up I wanted, put it in the weather station and that’s what we did,” he continued. “Then, the second round the guy redlighted on me so I ran it out the back door and that’s really what gave something to dial in.”
Ohio racer Randy Primozic went red by -.007, while Davis ran 4.190 at 172.61 against his 4.17 predicted elapsed time. In the semis, William Brown III left with a .009 light, but his car slowed to 4.238 at 169.23 against his 4.19, while Davis posted a .042 reaction time before going 4.172 at 172.76 on a 4.17 dial in.
“The transmission started acting up; it’s full of metal. It’s dragging and not releasing itself and that’s why my lights were a little off, too. We changed the transmission fluid and the filter for every run,” Davis said.
On the opposite side of the ladder, points leader Abruzzi made it past Don Klooster, polesitter Joshua Vettel (who ran an unprecedented 3.97 in qualifying and was dialed in at 3.95) and a redlighting Lizzy Musi.
“It’s a real honor to race someone like Marco in the final; he’s the cream of the crop out here,” said Davis, who is locked in a tight points battle with only Abruzzi and Brown ahead of him as they head to the ADRL season ender Oct. 19-20, at the Texas Motorplex, near Dallas. “But I don’t look at points; not during a race, at least; that’s just added pressure.”
A PERSISTENT WINNER - It turned out to be a memorable weekend at Summit Motorsports Park for the only driver to compete in all nine of the ADRL’s new SuperCar Showdown (SCS) series so far this year, as Chris Holbrook drove his supercharged 2012 Cobra Jet Mustang to new class records and won the final round Sep. 29, at the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
Holbrook set the stage with a then-record 5.671 pass at a record 121.43 mph in the opening round of qualifying, and then lowered the ET in round two with a 5.667 at 121.34 that also established him as the top qualifier and reset both ends of the official SCS class records.
“We’re constantly tweaking on these things and we found something that seems to work this time,” the Redford, MI, racer said of the factory-stock hot rods that make up the class. “There’s not a lot we really can do to them, but we never stop looking.”
Holbrook remained consistent in eliminations, posting wheelstanding wins of 5.694 at 121.38 over Rick Rodgers, 5.670 at 121.79 against Blaine Ramey in the semis, and 5.674 at a new record 121.88 mph over Jimmy Ronzello in the final round.
“It was fun to have a few cars out here this weekend,” Holbrook said, referring to the sometimes very short fields the class attracts as it establishes itself among the ADRL’s traditional outlaw doorslammers and motorcycles. “I wish the Camaros would hurry up and get out here, too. Then we could really have a race.”
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK -
TOP GUN - Mick Snyder needed a little something to break a mini-slump he’d been feeling over the last couple of races that had allowed his teammate and number-one rival, Jason Scruggs, to close to within about one round of his Pro Extreme (PX) points lead.
He got that something in the form of a class-leading 3.598-seconds pass at 209.95 mph in the second of three rounds of qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson. And as if to make certain everyone knew it was no fluke, Snyder laid down a very consistent 3.609 at 209.85 in the evening session.
“We actually wanted to go even faster that last run, so I was actually a little disappointed at the end of it,” Snyder admitted. “But then my dad got down there and said, ‘Hey, a .60 is a darn good run!’ and you know, he’s right. The fact that we have our consistency back is very exciting on its own.”
With the 3.59 pass, Snyder joined an elite group of just three other PX drivers (Scruggs, Frankie Taylor and Joey Martin) who have dipped into the 3.50s over an eighth mile.
“That’s very cool, it’s a very cool club to join,” he said. “We knew the conditions were here with the weather and the track and it was just a matter of us having to make the right calls.”
Brandon Pesz came close to joining the club, too, as he slotted into the second position with a 3.603 pass at 209.69 mph, with Scruggs third at 3.614 and 209.56 mph while posting some incredible 60-foot times of .882 and .877 that would rival those of a nitro Funny Car. Meanwhile, Bubba Stanton set top speed of the day with his fourth-place 3.629 at 210.34 and Taylor rounded out the top five with a 3.634 at 209.07 mph.
At 3.868 and 200.68 mph, Chris Russo held on to the provisional 16th and final qualifying position based on speed after Art McMahan also ran 3.868, but only managed 193.16 mph.
TURNAROUND - From worst to first, that was Pat Stoken’s performance in the third and final round of Pro Nitrous qualifying Sep. 28, for the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
Stoken was mired in last place with his ’69 Camaro among 17 entries at Summit Motorsports Park with only a dismal six-second run to show after two sessions. He stepped up with a solid 3.836-seconds effort at 197.62 mph on Friday night, however, to bump Doug Riesterer’s 3.843 from the top spot.
“We had kind of struggled the first two passes and the track was only 70 degrees when we went up there, so we really didn’t know if we’d get down on that last pass,” Stoken said. “We had changed things up quite a bit and it looks like we went in the right direction.”
Still, Stoken added the car shook a little through second gear, “so it probably would’ve been in the .70s if it hadn’t done that,” he figured.
Stoken had a full complement of family members with him at the track, including his wife, Terrie, sons Cory and Casey, and his twin brother, Mike, who was watching him race for the first time in 15 years.
“Maybe they’re bringing me good luck, but we’ve got some good people helping us, too,” Stoken said, singling out Brandon Switzer. “He’s made a big difference here.”
If his time holds up through Saturday’s final qualifying round it will be Stoken’s third number-one start in six runnings of the ADRL Ohio Drags.
“I didn’t even realize that until I heard (ADRL announcer Bret Kepner) say that over the P.A., so I guess that’s good,” said Stoken, who hails from Eureka, Montana, but keeps his race rig at RJ Race Cars in Missouri between ADRL events. “I don’t know why we do so well at these northern races; maybe it’s just that we’re northerners, too, and we’re used to the conditions.”
Just one thousandth behind Riesterer in qualifying were Robert Mathis and points leader Bob Rahaim, who both ran 3.844, but Mathis got third place based on running slightly faster at 197.31 compared to Rahaim at 195.56 mph.
ON A ROLL - Todd Hoerner led at the end of all three rounds of Friday’s Extreme Pro Stock qualifying Sep. 28, at Summit Motorsports Park, but it wasn’t until the final pass of the day that he secured the top spot heading into Saturday’s final session.
Hoerner came out with a 4.056 in the opening round that stood up as number one through round two, but with points leader Cary Goforth just two-thousandths of a second behind. In the third round, Richie Stevens Jr. squeezed between the two at 4.057 seconds before Richard Penland stepped up to run 4.055 and take over the top position, leaving each of the top four qualifiers just one-thousandth apart from the next.
That changed when Hoerner lined up beside Scott Hintz for the final XPS pairing of the day as he ran a career-best 4.040 at 178.95 mph in his unique EFI-equipped 2012 Camaro.
“It was great to run that after we saw Richard (Penland) take the lead away right in front of us,” Hoerner said. “Jeff (Dobbins Jr., crew chief) told me it was going to run a .04 and he was right on. He did a great job on the clutch all day and with our Sonny’s motor and Bickel car it was a collective effort from everyone that got the job done for us.”
With one more qualifying round scheduled before eliminations begin Saturday afternoon, the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson has produced the second-quickest XPS field in history, anchored by the 4.107 at 175.52 by Brad Waddle in the provisional 16th position.
Notable non-qualifiers at this point included former race winners Brian Gahm and Hintz, as well as John Montecalvo, the 2010 XPS champion and winner of the previous ADRL event at Memphis earlier in September.
HANG ON, MAN - For the first time in his ADRL career, Dave Vantine ended a day’s qualifying with his name in the top spot on the Pro Extreme Motorcycle (PXM) list.
Following Friday’s three scheduled rounds of qualifying for the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson, the Hamilton, NY-based rider held the lead with a career-best 4.071 at 175.07 that was “a little unexpected,” he admitted.
“It wasn’t the straightest pass, so I guess it’s kind of nice to know there’s actually a little bit more there,” Vantine said.
He may need it, too, because Vantine isn’t convinced the ET will hold up for number one after Saturday’s fourth and final qualifying round.
“You know those McKinneys don’t like being behind anyone, so I expect they’ll be going after it,” said Vantine, referring to points leader Eric McKinney and his father, Scott, who along with last year’s class champion, Ashley Owens, have dominated the ADRL’s two-wheeled class this season.
McKinney was second on Friday with a 4.083 at 171.99, followed by Dave Norris and Carlos Wilkerson for what will be an eight-bike field since only 10 entries turned out to contest the class at Summit Motorsports Park.
THREE - FEAT - In just his second ADRL appearance, Joshua Vettel of Phillips, NE, made history Sep. 28, with the first-ever, three-second Top Sportsman pass.
“All I know is I put my foot to the wood and she ran on a rope,” Vettel declared after going 3.975 at 177.53 mph in round three of qualifying for the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson.
“We were definitely shooting for the number-one qualifier and set it up to maybe run a three, but really we were looking for that number one,” said Vettel, who made his ADRL debut in August at Charlotte, where he qualified 15th before losing to eventual race winner Ronnie Davis in round one. “We knew the car could do it.”
Vettel’s previous best pass in his nitrous-injected 1970 Camaro came just a couple of weeks earlier when he ran 4.12 at 175 during the NHRA Division 5 race at Earlsville, IA.
“We did that tonight on three of four hits (nitrous stages), but we’ll probably go back to two hits for Saturday qualifying to get a number we can dial in from,” Vettel said—right before asking what it would take to back up his ET within the required one percent for an official record. “That was a lot of fun and definitely a real honor to be the first to go in the threes.”
Placing second at 4.027 seconds was Mark Malcuit, followed by Travis Harvey, Chuck Mohn and Lizzy Musi, who was leading with a 4.06 after two rounds. At 4.210 and 172.17, Glenn Butcher held onto the 16th and final provisional position for what already was the quickest Top Sportsman field in ADRL history with one more round of qualifying to go on Saturday.
MAKING THE MOST - The first time Raymond Matos entered an ADRL race he visited victory lane. In his second appearance this weekend in the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags VI presented by Mickey Thompson, he’s already the provisional number-one qualifier for Pro Mod after Friday’s three sessions.
Matos, from Puerto Rico, won in Pro Nitrous at the ADRL’s Dragstock V in 2009, immediately after purchasing his ’70 Cuda from former PN racer Dennis Radford.
“When I told Dennis I wanted to race there (Rockingham Dragway), he told me, ‘I don’t know, I haven’t had good luck at that track,’ but I’m glad that I did,” Matos recalled after going a career-best 3.910 at 187.52 to pace the Pro Mod field at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH.
“I decided to come here and race this time to get rid of stress; to get out of the office and have some fun,” said Matos, who has entered several NHRA Pro Mod races recently, too.
“That was the best pass ever for my car and it is my first time with Pat Musi’s fuel injection on the car and I think that was the big difference,” he added.
In a truly international twist, Swedish racer Adam Flamholc slotted into second with a 3.924 at 189.79, followed by Jeffrey Cummins Jr. at 3.975 and 187.65 mph and current points leader Jeff Naiser, who was not qualified going into Friday’s final session, but responded with a solid 3.986 pass at 187.13 mph.
Monroe Guest, Todd Tutterow, Larry Higgenbotham and Dan Stevenson with a 4.111 at 195.62 on the bump spot, made up the current bottom half of the eight-car field. Six other drivers were left looking forward to Saturday’s fourth and final opportunity to break into eliminations contention.
PATRICK UNINJURED IN BIG CRASH—While running in the right lane alongside Doug Riesterer in round one of Pro Nitrous qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags presented by Mickey Thompson, Robert Patrick lost control of his 2010 Mustang and struck both walls at Summit Motorsports Park.
Fortunately, Riesterer encountered severe tire shake immediately off his launch and shut off early, as Patrick’s car darted left across the center line shortly before reaching the eighth-mile finish line, crossing Riesterer’s path and exploding in a shower of parts and body panels as it hit hard, almost head on into the left wall. Patrick then turned hard right and shot across the track again to impact the right wall before rolling to a stop well down the right-hand shutdown lane.
Though he emerged on his own from the wreck, as a precaution Patrick was transported by ambulance to a local Norwalk, OH, hospital to be checked out after he complained of a sore left leg. A Patrick crew member later told CompetitionPlus.com that he checked out okay and Patrick was expected back at the track later in the evening.
UPDATED: Robert Patrick was checked out a local hospital and it was determined the Pro Nitrous racer sustained a broken bone in his foot.
GOING FOR TWO — At the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags presented by Mickey Thompson, Pro Extreme Motorcycle racer Eric McKinney will be looking for his second win of the week after prevailing in a spirited demolition derby near his hometown of Hamersville, OH. With a wide points lead over second-place man Casey Stemper, McKinney has the opportunity to clinch the 2012 PXM championship this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUT— On Wednesday, Scott Hintz made the trip from Odessa, TX, to pick up his brand-new 2013 Mustang from Jerry Haas Race Cars in Fenton, MO. On Friday afternoon at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, OH, Hintz took the car on its maiden voyage down a drag strip with a 4.127-seconds pass at 174.89 mph in round two of Extreme Pro Stock qualifying.
“It was so smooth I didn’t think it went nearly as quick as it did,” Hintz said of the pass that landed him in 16th place heading into the evening session. “We’re thrilled with that. We hadn’t even started the car before this morning. We had some trash in the fuel lines that prevented us from making the first round, but now we have something to work from and we’ll get after it tonight.”
Powering Hintz’s new ride is the same Kaase 825 that he won two ADRL events with in his previous XPS car, a 2009 Mustang that remains in competition this weekend in the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags presented by Mickey Thompson.
“I sold that car to Ronnie Proctor and he’s running it here in Top Sportsman,” Hintz explained. After two rounds of qualifying Proctor had run a best of 4.304 at 163.69 that placed him 19th on the list of 27 entries.
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