Good morning race fans! It’s time to wrap things up on the 2013 NMCA West championship season, and we’ll be getting things underway shortly here at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Be sure to check out the complete qualifying results and photos posted on the following pages, and check back throughout the day as we update results.
Saturday Qualifying Gallery
Sunday Pit Notes
We have an update from Drag Radial racer Artis Houston on exactly what happened in test-and-tune on Friday that put him into the wall:
“Something locked up in the drivetrain during deceleration and it took control of the car and I was along for the ride. [I am] Thankful God allowed me to walk away from this. I have never experienced complete silence in the car so fast, which kind of tells me the rear tires were airborne… further explaining why I had no control of the direction the car was going before impact. With that said, I am truly blessed and fortunate to be typing right now, WITHOUT ANY PAIN WHATSOEVER!”
He went on to add that his Racepack data showed that the engine decelerated from 8147 RPM to 1404 RPM in .7 seconds. Ouch.
Elimination Round 1
The first heads-up race of the day paired the mid-pack qualifiers Greg Seth-Hunter and John Durden. When the tree dropped, Durden grabbed the holeshot with a .009 light, but had to pedal almost immediately, while Seth-Hunter made a clean 6.37 pass into the second round. Next up were Mike Bowman and Wayne Schott, but when Schott didn’t show it gave Bowman an extra practice run – fortunate, as he shook at the 100 foot mark and rode it out to a high eight second pass.
The third pair out of the water box was top qualifier Scott Oksas and number ten on the ladder, Enrique Soto. Soto never took a green in qualifying, and was laddered as a provisional entry, making for what you would expect to be a very one-sided race. But anything can happen in eliminations, and Soto went all the way in immediately, complicating Oksas’ staging and boost-building routine. At the hit, Oksas came up hard on the bars, carried the tires, and had to pedal twice, but still ran a winning 6.80 versus Soto’s off-pace 7.72.
Next up were John Scialpi and Robert Costa. Scialpi had a half-second advantage in qualifying, but the elimination pairing was a close one. Costa had a tenth lead at the tree, but down track Scialpi reeled him in with a 6.24 to 6.36 victory at the stripe. Finally, Lee Smith and Joe Lepone faced off. With lane choice due to his qualifying status, Lepone was the only Pro Street racer to choose the left lane over the right, and it turned out to be a good decision. Smith, losing grip and pedaling a bit at the 60 foot mark, struggled to keep pace with Lepone but was left playing catch-up and ran a losing 6.65 to Lepone’s 6.14.
The second round will pair Lepone with Scialpi, Bowman and Seth-Hunter, and Oksas with the first competition bye.
First out of the staging lanes were Al Jimenez and Bert Heck, and the race went to heck immediately in the figurative sense – he went up on the tire and lifted, while Jimenez just drove away to a 6.99 victory. Roger Holder and Allen Stewart were next, and Holder had issues even before staging, having to re-fire the car while Stewart waited, then came up on the tire and had to lift just off the line. Stewart’s 7.44 pass, two tenths quicker than qualifying, would take him into round two.
Third up were Jermaine Boddie and Chris Kephart. Kephart, who struggled all through qualifying, had no better luck in eliminations, watching Boddie get small in the distance as he ran a 9.62 to the winning 7.35. The following matchup between Kelly Henry and Neil Richards was close for the first hundred feet or so, but Henry pulled away on the top end to take the win, 7.02 to 7.83.
Mark Luton and Jeff Kyle paired up fifth, and it was an ugly race. Luton looked like he had no boost off the line, while Kyle pushed down-track with his engine banging and popping through 7.86 agonizing seconds. Luton put on a push once his combination finally hit, but just ran out of track to catch Kyle. Finally, Rick Snavely and Steve Kuhls closed out the True 10.5 class, and in an upset, Snavely struck the tires and had to lift, losing 11.50 to 7.77 and ending his bid for the 2013 championship.
In the second round, Jimenez will race Kuls, Stewart will race Kyle, and Henry will race Boddie.
275 Drag Radial
The first round in DR was also the semis, thanks to the four-car field. James Lawrence and Chico Coleman were first – a violent, crossed-up launch ended the race early for Coleman, while Lawrence powered through to a 7.44 at 186 MPH. Then, it was time for Kevin Young and DJ Reid to meet. Again, trouble off the hit sealed the deal, with Reid having to lift and Young cruising to another 7.44 with 189 MPH through the traps.
The all-motor class kicked off with Mike DeMayo versus Vic Brum – while it was a clean race, Brum just didn’t have the juice to keep pace with DeMayo, who clocked an 8.02 at 167 to Brum’s 8.41. Joe Keurjikian and Matt Funkhouser were next, and when Funkhouser didn’t show, Keurjikian ran his surprise single out to an 8.36.
In the matchup between Tony Aneian and “Gypsy Mike” Valentino, the defending champ Aneian took a big lead at the start and never looked back, despite two big bounces from the front tires, winning 8.54 to 8.60. The final pair in the N/A class were Bryan Cobbett and Ryan Bell, but another no-show from Bell let Cobbett make an unopposed 8.39 pass into the semi-finals.
In the semis, DeMayo will face Keurjikian and Aneian will race Cobbett.
Another four-car class, Outlaw 8.5’s opening round was also the semi-finals. First up were Dan Hale and Eric Carlstedt, and when the tree dropped there was just .015 between their reaction times with the slight lead going to Hale. Down track, Hale stretched that to a solid win, running 5.13 to Carlstedt’s 5.57. On the other side of the ladder, Ryan “Toaster” Jones got an unexpected gift when Ron Shaw was a no-show, running the broke single out to a lightning-quick 4.87.
Post-1st Round Elimination Pit Notes
Elimination Round 2
Round two of Pro Street kicked off with Oksas’ competition bye run, which he used to see how much the track would hold and was rewarded with tire smoke and a 9.20 into the semis. Next, Bowman and Seth-Hunter took the tree, and it was a close race stripe to stripe, with Seth-Hunter ahead at half track as Bowman pedaled a bit, but with a 6.04 to 6.17 win for Bowman who was trailing heavy smoke, with a scant .06 second margin of victory at the finish.
Finally, Lepone and Scialpi paired up to determine the final entry into the semis, and it was all Lepone, running 6.15 at 217 to Scialpi’s lifting 8.89.
Jimenez and Kuls led off in True 10.5, with a clean match that ended with Kuls on the losing end of a 6.88 at 207 from Jimenez, putting the defending champ straight through to the finals on a competition bye. On the other side of the ladder, Henry ran against Boddie in another good, clean race, with Henry clocking a winning 7.03 to Boddie’s 7.33. Stewart was back to face Kyle, and again the black Mustang popped and banged its way down the track but still ran a solid 7.09 to edge out Stewart’s 7.39.
In the semi-finals, Kyle and Henry will pair up to decide who gets to run Jimenez for top 10.5 honors.
The second round would be the semi-finals in the all motor class, and first up was a Mustang versus Firebird match between DeMayo and Keurjikian. DeMayo continued his eight-flat pace from the first round with an 8.01 at 169, simply outrunning the Pontiac’s 8.35. On the other side of the ladder, it was Aneian and Cobbett, with Aneian double-bulb staging and Cobbett going wheels-up at the green. Down track it was all Aneian, 8.11 to 8.31 to get the chance to try to take DeMayo down in the finals.
Elimination Round 3
The PS semis began with Bowman just firing the car long enough to get a green at the tree, then pushing back through the cloud of oil smoke to head back to the pits to attempt repairs before the finals. Oksas and Lepone lined up to see who’d face him there, and the big purple Duster grabbed a huge lead at the tree, with Lepone holding on at the top end to edge out the hard-charging Oksas, 6.08 to 6.17 but also trailing smoke. The finals may very well be decided by who got banged up the most on the way there…
Al Jimenez didn’t hold anything back in his semi-final bye, running a full steam 6.88 at 208. Kyle and Henry matched up to see who got to run Jimenez in the money round, and it was an exciting race, with the cars welded door-to-door all the way down the 1320. In the end, reaction time decided the pairing, with Kyle taking a 7.08-to-7.06 holeshot win.
With both cars hurt, race officials stalled for as long as they could before putting Bowman and Lepone back on the dragstrip, but the moment Bowman fired up his Chevy, the twin plumes of smoke from the exhaust bullhorns gave notice that the clock was ticking on what little remained of that engine’s lifespan. The burnout produced even more, and Lepone joined in with a petrochemical haze of his own. The pair staged up and brought their engines up to full song (or as close as they could) and then, as seems to have been the case so often this year, weirdness ensued.
Before the tree could activate, Lepone was off and down-track, and Bowman, presumably not wanting to totally destroy his engine waiting for a green that would never come, followed a heartbeat later. Both cars trailed sickly clouds of oil smoke all the way down track, and when the scoreboards stayed blank, there was a momentary silence while everyone wondered, “OK, how does this work, then?”
In the end, the NHRA rulebook was consulted, and because Lepone clearly had the first LBTA, he was DQ’ed, giving the Pyrrhic victory to Mike Bowman
The True 10.5 final turned out to be one of the better races of the day – on the short end of the track, Kyle looked like he was going to give Jimenez a run for the money, with both cars side by side to the 330. But as the track unwound beneath them, Kyle started to lag while Jimenez’ Camaro just kept hauling the mail, running a winning 6.90 at 206 MPH to Kyle’s 7.41 at 170.
275 Drag Radial
The DR final turned out to be a good one – straight off the hit, Lawrence and Young were side by side, but at the 330 foot mark Young broke traction and had to dial it back to gather the car back up. That gave Lawrence daylight and he made the most of it, running the quickest DR pass of the season with a 7.35 at 189 to claim victory over Young’s 8.43.
Tony Aneian knew he’d need everything he had and more to overcome Mike DeMayo’s raw speed, and in his eagerness he lit the stage bulbs on his side of the tree before DeMayo had prestaged. Unfazed, DeMayo got staged up, the tree dropped, and the Mustang clicked off another bracket-consistent 8.00 run, while Aneian looked like he might hang but fell back on the top end, clocking an 8.39.
Toaster and Hale squared off to determine the Outlaw 8.5 champ and gave the fans in the stands some very good 1/8th mile racing – a clean run from both cars netted a 4.95-to-5.11 win for Jones, showing he is clearly the man to beat next year in this small-tire class.