Jan. 14 -BONINFANTE WINS WAR STORIES
Don't let Nicky Boninfante's youthful appearance fool you. When it comes to storytelling, he can spin a yarn like a drag racing old-timer.
Boninfante, a co-crew chief for Kalitta Racing, outlasted his competition to score victory in the sixth annual War Stories Showdown presented by CompetitionPlus.com. His 58.3 share of the votes in the final round was enough to repeal a strong first two days of voting for his competitor, Jim Nicoll.
"I am so honored just to have been a part of the competition, and to win ... this is the icing on the cake," said Boninfante, following the conclusion of the event. "When you work and live the drag racing experience you pick up so many stories along the way. I am very thankful for those who voted for my stories and to beat someone of the caliber of Jim Nicoll is a dream come true."
Nicoll, a former nitro racer in the 1960s and 70s, was congratulatory towards Boninfante and plans to make another run at the title in the next event scheduled to begin in December of 2013.
"Of course I'm mad that I lost -- it doesn't matter what you're doing, drag racers don't like losing," Nicoll said with a laugh. "The kid did a great job. He told great stories, and in the end, he deserved to win. I just can't say thanks enough to CompetitionPlus.com for keeping the memories alive for us old time drag racers. This has been a great experience."
Bonifante opened the competition with a strong win over jet car legend Roger Gustin and then beat two-time NHRA Funny Car series champion Frank Hawley to advance to the finals against Nicoll. On the other side of the ladder, Nicoll defeated Sid Waterman and then beat longtime friend Chip Woodall to reach the finals.
Boninfante's victory gives him a berth in the War Stories Grand Champion event scheduled to begin in December 2014. He joins previous winners Scotty Cannon (2007), John Force (2008), Bill Doner (2009), Louis Force (2010), Larry Sutton (2011), Pat Musi (Wildcard - 10 round wins) and the winner of the 2013 War Stories competition.
jan. 7 -FINALS SET - NICKY BONINFANTE VS. JIM NICOLL
Only one round remains before the title of storyteller of the year is handed down.
Nicky Boninfante and Jim Nicoll will do battle later this week to determine the winner in the sixth annual War Stories Showdown final round.
Boninfante told the story of Joe o', the inebriated dynamite-possessing crewman which garnered a 55.49 percentage of the votes to defeat Frank Hawley, who shared his story of a personal Cannonball Run with legendary tuner Austin Coil.
On the other side of the ladder, Nicoll edged out longtime friend and racing buddy Chip Woodall in a match which often only separated the two by five votes. On the final day, Nicoll pulled ahead and never looked back en route to a 54.78 winning share of the vote.
Boninfante gets lane choice by a mere .71 percentage over Nicoll. Lane choice in this competition means the contestant gets to tell their story first.
The final round is scheduled for 9 AM, EST Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 and concludes on Friday at 8 PM, EST.
The winner will be entered into the Grand Champions event scheduled for Dec. 2014.
Previous War Stories winners include Scotty Cannon, John Force, Bill Doner, Louis Force and Larry Sutton. Pat Musi, the winningest contestant with 10 round wins, was seeded into the field.
Dec. 30 - ELIMINATIONS UPDATE - WOODALL, NICOLL WIN TO CONCLUDE FIRST ROUND
The first round of competition for drag racing's finest story-telling competition came to a close on Saturday evening. A field, which started with eight participants, has now been whittled down to four. If the first round of the War Stories Showdown presented by CompetitionPlus.com is a harbinger of the competition to come in the semi-finals, the readers are in for a treat.
Rounding out the first round, No. 7 seeded Chip Woodall pulled off the only upset of the first round by commandeering 70.47-percent of the votes to beat Paul Candies. Woodall will face an opponent he's very familiar with when he goes up against longtime friend Jim Nicoll. Nicoll grabbed 64.68 percent of the votes against Sid Waterman.
Nicky Boninfante was the top vote getter of the four matches as he soundly defeated Roger Gustin. He will have lane choice (or in this competition, the ability to tell his story first) against Frank Hawley. Hawley eliminated John "Tarzan" Austin. The two will meet on January 3, 2013 to determine who reaches the final round from the "a" Bracket of the ladder.
On the other side, Woodall will face Nicoll with the winner reaching the finals.
Dec. 29 - ELIMINATIONS UPDATE - BONINFANTE, HAWLEY ADVANCE TO SEMIS; BALANCE OF FIRST ROUND STORIES END TODAY
Kalitta Racing tuner Nicky Boninfante and two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Frank Hawley won convincingly in their first round matches to advance to the semis of the 6th Annual War Stories Showdown presented by CompetitionPlus.com.
Boninfante, in the No. 1 seed, won by the largest margin ever in the history of the War Stories Showdown by garnering a 91.9-percent share of the votes as he beat out Roger Gustin. The key to Boninfante's victory was an incredible tale of a fiery pit bike/rental car incident at The Strip at Las Vegas. For his part, Gustin told a great story of a UFO sighting back when UFO's were deeply feared, unfortunately the tale came up against a Boninfante buzzsaw.
In his battle, Frank Hawley commanded the lead early in the match against John "Tarzan" Austin and never relinquished the top spot. Hawley's winning story involved an incident with federal immigration agents during his first championship run at Indy. Hawley deported but the historical tale was enough to overcome Tarzan's story of Jim Nicoll's unfortunate Tequilla incident.
Boninfante and Hawley will line up against each other in Thursday's semi-final round.
The other half of the first round matches will be decided later today. Chip Woodall holds a lead over Paul Candies, and Jim Nicoll is ahead of Sid Waterman. Voting for those races ends at 8 PM this evening.
Dec. 28 - ELIMINATIONS UPDATE - BONINFANTE, HAWLEY LEAD FIRST DAY ELIMINATIONS PAIRINGS AS RACES WIND DOWN
Eliminations for first-day stories in the 6th annual War Stories conclude this evening and currently No. 1 seeded Nicky Boninfante and No. 4 Frank Hawley lead their respective races.
Boninfante jumped out to an early lead on opponent Roger Gustin and has never looked back. The assistant tuner at Kalitta Motorsports told the story of an unfortunate evening in Las Vegas where he was in the car when then employer Bob Gilbertson decided to punish a pit bike. Gustin told a great story as well, offering his account of the day a UFO crossed the path of the traveling jet car caravan.
Hawley jumped out early on John "Tarzan" Austin in a battle of two excellent stories. The two-time series champion Hawley told the tale of the day he ended up in the INS offices with agents questioning his immigration status during one Indy weekend. Tarzan told the tale of Jim Nicoll and tequila consumption gone wrong.
Voting for these stories end at 8 PM, EST. on Friday evening.
A second batch of stories were posted on Thursday, and in those matches Jim Nicoll leads Sid Waterman while Chip Woodall is ahead of Paul Candies.
Dec. 24, 2012 - FIELD SET - BONINFANTE SCORES NO. 1 SEED FOR WEDNESDAY'S ELIMINATIONS
The field is set for the sixth annual War Stories Showdown presented by CompetitionPlus.com and for Nicky Boninfante, he hopes to dominate eliminations are convincingly as qualifying.
Boninfante, who works as assistant crew chief for Kalitta Racing, led qualifying voting from start to finish and scored the No. 1 side by grabbing a 36.26 share.
"I'm stoked and ready for this start now," Boninfante said. "I am glad I was invited to participate in this deal. I hope in the end, the readers of CompetitionPlus.com feel I have the best stories."
Paul Candies, who finished No. 2 in qualifying, also held his position throughout qualifying.
"I've read this competition for years and I'm grateful to be a part of it," Candies added.
The No. 3 through No. 6 seeds changed hands dozens of times from Friday until Sunday. When qualifying concluded on Sunday afternoon Nicoll was third with a 10.54 share. Frank Hawley was fourth after gaining a 9.58 percentage.
Returning contestant John "Tarzan" Austin grabbed 9.27 to edge Side Waterman's 8.95.
First time participants Chip Woodall and Roger Gustin rounded out the field.
Elimination rounds begin on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 9 AM, EST., with the 1-8, 4-5 matches. Thursday will present 2-7 and 3-6 matches. Wednesday races end Friday at 8 PM. Thursday's end on Saturday at 8 PM.
ELIMINATION SCHEDULE & PAIRINGS
Wednesday, Dec. 26
No. 1 Nicky Boninfante [91.9 percent] def. No. 8 Roger Gustin [8.1], No. 4 Frank Hawley [60.76] def. No. 5 John "Tarzan" Austin [39.24]
Thursday, Dec. 27
No. 7 Chip Woodall [70.47] def. No. 2 Paul Candies [29.53]; No. 3 Jim "Superman" Nicoll [64.68] def. No. 6 Sid Waterman [35.32]
SEMIS – Thursday, Jan. 3
No. 1 Nicky Boninfante [55.49 percent] def. No. 4 Frank Hawley [44.51]; No. 3 Jim "Superman" Nicoll [54.78] def. No. 7 Chip Woodall [45.22] VS. - Voting ends, Jan. 6
FINALS – Thurssday, Jan. 10 Winner crowned – Mond. Jan.. 14
Event Completed - No. 1 Nicky Bonifante 58.3 def.No. 3 Jim Nicoll 41.7
FIRST ROUND RACES
LINKS TO STORIES LOCATED UNDERNEATH PHOTOS. THEY GO LIVE ONCE STORY IS POSTED
NO. 1 NICKY BONINFANTE VS. NO. 8 ROGER GUSTIN
RACE COMPLETED: No. 1 Nicky Boninfante [91.9 percent] def. No. 8 Roger Gustin [8.1]
RACE COMPLETED: No. 4 Frank Hawley [60.76] def. No. 5 John "Tarzan" Austin [39.24]
SECOND DAY, DEC. 28
RACE COMPLETED - No. 7 Chip Woodall [70.47] def. No. 2 Paul Candies [29.53]
RACE COMPLETED - No. 3 Jim "Superman" Nicoll [64.68] def. No. 6 Sid Waterman [35.32]
RACE COMPLETED - No. 1 Nicky Boninfante [55.49 percent] def. No. 4 Frank Hawley [44.51]
RACE COMPLETED: No. 3 Jim "Superman" Nicoll [54.78] def. No. 7 Chip Woodall [45.22]
EVENT COMPLETED: No. 1 Nicky Bonifante 58.3 def.No. 3 Jim Nicoll 41.7