Labor Day Bracket Drags Results
More than 320 racers braved the Labor Day heat to compete in the final Summit ET points race of the season at Infineon Raceway. With track championships undecided in each of the five contested classes, much was at stake, which provided for some interesting on-track action.
Kevin McClelland of Rohnert Park came in with a narrow 12-point lead over Brentwood's Greg Stanley in Pro ET to capture the track championship. Also in the hunt were Vacaville's John Ledford, Sean and Mike Eling and defending track champ Rich Nedbal. Stanley's narrow loss to Gene Fridolfs in round 3 and McClelland's win over a red-lighting John Ledford gave McClelland's Flow Master Big Mac Racing Street Roadster a seat in the Race of Champions at the ET finals next month in Bakersfield.
In his Chamberlin-backed 1957 Chevy, Napa¿s Fridolfs scored wins over Mike Souza, Greg Matthews and then knocked off Division 7 defending Super Street champ Gary Thompson in the semis to earn a spot in the final against veteran Ted Seipel. Seipel, in his Helmet City sponsored 1956 Austin Healy, started off by dumping Sean Ulitin in round one then got by Bob Nance followed by wins over Joe Brown and new track champ Kevin McClelland. Seipel got the head start using a .011 RT to Fridolfs¿ slightly better .011. At the stripe, it was Fridolfs¿ 11.06 (11.00 dial in) 129.53 as Seipel slowed to an 11.83 (11.73) 111.85
In the non-electronic Sportsman Class, points leader Jeff La Salle from Rohnert Park decided to control his own destiny with his 1967 Dodge RT, getting wins over Sergio Felipe's 1967 Mustang followed by a victory over Herb Peterson, then a single. He then got a win over Mitch Whorton's 1957 Chevy truck and a semi-final win over Bob Norrbom's 1969 Pontiac. On the other side of the ladder, newly-crowned Sacramento Raceway champ Lisa Caldwell, of American Canyon, was taking care of business in her 1973 Dodge Dart with wins over Hank Raney, Darryl Adams, Don Czapkay, Tommy Thompson, and Larry Gilley's wheel-standing 1968 Barracuda. In the all-Mopar final, it was LaSalle getting the head start using a .024 RT to Caldwell's .055 with the win light going to Lasalle¿s 10.46 (10.45) 117.30 to Caldwell's too quick 11.07 (11.09) 116.79
Street ET had its drama as well as points leader Bill Taggart of Richmond discovered a major water leak in his engine after the final time run and had to make quick repairs on his 1967 Camaro. Taggart started off the day getting around his nearest competitor and only threat in the points race, Maryo Mendez, in a thriller. He then capped off getting wins over Jim Maul, Steve Skarry, Justin Strom and a bye into the final. San Francisco's Mat Moran, who scored a win on Wednesday night, continued with his winning ways in his 2001 Jaguar getting by Robert Bromell, Rol Thayer, Scott Sterley, Steve Romans, and Stephanie Paz. Taggart got the handicap head start with a .048 light to Moran's great .006 RT. Moran got the win light with a 13.63 (13.58) 94.48 as Taggart slowed to a 13.55 (13.45) 93.40 but leaves with the track championship.
In Motorcycle, it was points leader and new track champ Aris Bernales of Santa Clara on board his 2000 Kawasaki meeting up with Wednesday Night Drags regular Tim Kenney on his Santa Rosa-based 1993 Yamaha. Bernales worked his way through the class stopping Dana Fennie, Mark Loeffler and racing teammate and former-Division 7 champ Trace St Germain in the semi. Kenney put away Matt Armstrong then a single in round 2 followed by a win over fellow Wednesday Night Drags racer Clint Graves. The race was decided on the starting line when Kenney fouled out with a .-008 red light and ran a shut-off 13.70 (12.03) 81.42. Bernales took a victory lap using a .042 RT and a 9.81 (9.64) 137.92.
Stephanie Paz made history by winning her third straight track High School Championship. The 18-year-old Stockton teenager, with backing from Paz Automotive, drove her silver 1968 Nova to a final round win over Spencer Neft of Petaluma, who earned runner-up honors in a 1972 Mustang. Neft's late .222 RT and an off-pace 15.74 (15.52) 86.46 was no match as Paz posted a .060 RT and a 12.31 (12.19) 104.82.
Concord's Dave Morgan took the win in Super Eliminator, downing Sacramento's George Prather in the all-dragster 7.90 final. In a bizarre race, Morgan recorded a .357 RT to Prather's much better .047 light, but Prather was unable to run the number slowing to an 8.22 at 136.17. Morgan recovered and put his DeNova Homes entry into the winner¿s circle with a 7.91, 179.06 effort. The lone semi finalist was former Division 7 Super Comp champ Terry White from Half Moon Bay, who earlier won the Association shootout.
Top honors in Super Street went to Napa's Carl Hagan, who had his 2001 Dodge Avenger running like a fine-tuned Swiss watch. Hagan beat Fairfield's Ron Manley's 1968 Camaro with a .026 light to a .053 and ran a winning 10.93, 133.78 to Manley's .04 off 10.94, 127.81. Jeff Fear and Tom Pulliam got as far as the semis before dropping out.
Bob Hanson was the big winner in the California Foot Brake Racer Association class that featured non-electronic equipped cars between 10.00-13.99 seconds. The Fairfield refinery worker in his 1968 Barracuda met up with CHP officer Marty Franklin of Sonoma in a 426 Max-wedge-powered 1963 Dodge in the championship round. Hanson got the head start with .058 RT with Franklin right behind with .078 light. Franklin got into trouble early as the car drifted side ways allowing Hanson the win with a 14.06 (13.57) 80.65. Franklin shut down and ran a 16.51 (10.53) 54.48. Craig Garcia of Millbrae picked up a check for a semi showing with his 1971 Nova.
Trophy honors went to Steve Tran of Santa Clara who got around El Sobrante's Paulo Maris. Tran's 1999 Mazda had a .312 RT and was able to overcome Maris¿ better .295 in his 1987 IROC Camaro. Tran got the win light, with a 14.69 (14.58) 96.47 to a trailing 13.47 (13.25) 103.81. Semi honors went to Jim Francis of Oakland in a 2001 Mustang and American Canyon's Rick Hall who was driving Steve Del Buono's 1955 Chevy.
In ICRA club competition, it was Down Town Don from Discovery Bay in his 2001 Dually Ford Truck over Alameda's Steve Skarry¿s 1968 Olds. The truck had the better light .052 to Skarry's .149 with the truck getting the win 18.60 (18.55) 70.14 to Skarry's fast closing 13.93 (13.80) 95.72.