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Sunday, May 25, 2014

JEGS ET Series #4 - May 25, 2014
National Dragster Challenge


After a great day of racing action on Saturday, the racers at National Trail Raceway returned to the track on Sunday for another intense day.  With the addition of the JEGS Quick 330 Shootout to all the classes from yesterday, it was to be a big day on the track.  As in the case with all racing activities, what happened on Saturday had little effect on what happened on Sunday.  Caleb Burns in JEGS.com Junior Dragster 2 was the only racer that was able to score two for the weekend.  Other winners included Glen Ginn (VP Racing Fuels Super 32), Steven Schmidt (RCD RV Super Pro), Buddy Jeffrey (Faslube Pro), Cameron Groff (Shade on 30th Street Sportsman), Chris Boyd (Super Pro Motorcycle), Jason Meddles (Street Motorcycle), Clay Coughlin (JEGS.com Junior Dragster 1), Michael Ruark (JEGS.com Junior Dragster 3), and Connor Grisez (JEGS Quick 330 Shootout).

With some changes to the roster of entries in the Super 32 category, the qualifying was just as intense as yesterday.  The Open side found yesterday's runner up Danny Waddle on top with a 4.405 and Steven Schmidt breaking the quickest bump from yesterday with a 4.772.  On the Door side, Tim Brown returned to the top spot with a 4.678 pass and Dave Askew sat in the #16 spot with a 5.551.  Missing the field with a tough 5.564 was yesterday's event winner Dewey Boggs.

From the #6 spot on the Open side, Ginn and his 2003 Undercover dragster from Galion, Ohio got around Jeff Sowers, Sean Graham, and Schmidt before defeating Bill Leahey with a .005 reaction time and a 4.642 on a 4.64 to advance to the final overall round.  Meanwhile on the Door side of the field it appears that the #16 spot is the place to be.  Askew and his 1974 Mustang from Pataskala, Ohio drove past Steve Eckard, Rick Bailey, and Scott Hessler before posting a just as great .002 reaction time and a 5.563 on a 5.56 to get past Tim Schmidt.  In the final round, Askew left the red light glowing and saw Ginn win with a .006 light and a 4.632 on a 4.63 pass.

Another huge gathering of Super Pro racers went after it for the National Dragster Challenge event win and the dragsters rose to the top at the end of the event.  Schmidt and his American dragster from Massillon, Ohio worked his way into the final round to race the Shreve, Ohio racer Joe West and his J&J Performance dragster.  Both were amped for the final round off the line as Schmidt used a .003 light to leave ahead of the .006 from West.  At the stripe, it was Schmidt posting a 4.747 on his 4.74 dial in to get the Wally over the breakout 4.658 on a 4.66 from West.  After the weekend, Ron Baisden Jr. and Jeff Sowers are tied atop the points by 32 over Jeff Hura.

The 1979 Malibu Wagon from Pataskala, Ohio driven by Jeffrey was a terror throughout the entire day in Pro eliminator.  Running consistently throughout the day, Jeffrey advanced to the final round of eliminations against the 1973 Barracuda of Dan Trainer Jr. from Orient, Ohio.  Trainer, who was the runner up in Sportsman yesterday was hoping to score the win in Pro but on this day that dreaded red light would find its way onto his side in the finals.  Jeffrey scored the Wally with a 11.318, his third straight 11.31 pass, on a 11.31 dial in.  After his win on Saturday, Woody Kilgore leads Brett Tanzillo in the points by 41.

A pair of former National Dragster Challenge winners would go against one another in the final round of Sportsman looking for another to add to their mantle.  Groff took his 1981 Cutlass from Columbus, Ohio to the starting line to matchup with the 2000 Firebird of Doug Thompson also from Columbus, Ohio.  It was another fantastic race that is typical of the action found on National Dragster Challenge day.  Groff got two thousandths of a second off the line and would then run a 12.003 on his 12.00 dial in to earn the Wally.  Thompson tried, but settled for runner up with a 13.598 on his 13.56.  The runner up for Thompson puts him 30 points behind the points leader Dana Thompson.

Another rider in Super Pro Motorcycle has joined the list of racers that have taken a street based motorcycle to the winner circle during National Dragster Challenge day.  Boyd and his 2008 Suzuki from Dublin, Ohio matched up against last season's ND Challenge winner Freddie Castle and his 1973 Kawasaki from Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  Castle looked to be well on his way to the win with the better reaction time in the final round, but it was Boyd that had the better dialed in machine.  His 9.861 on a 9.85 won the race over the 8.954 on a 8.89 from Castle.  Dave Hill leaves this weekend with the points lead by 31 over defending track champion Mike James.

It has been a running thought that when the National Dragster Challenge event comes to the track, you can truly expect someone from the Burt family to score a win.  In Street Motorcycle, it was Bob Burt and his 2000 Honda from Orient, Ohio that was looking to do that again.  The winner from yesterday went up against the Columbus, Ohio based 2006 Suzuki of Meddles.  With the Wally on the line, Meddles made sure that he would be the man leaving with it.  His edge off the starting line would make Burt breakout at the stripe trying to stay ahead.  Meddles ran a 9.798 on a 9.77 to win over the 10.648 on a 10.65 from Burt.  Marshall Hutchinson Jr., who race to the late rounds on both days, leads Burt and Lee Hackler by 31 points.

With the top two in the Junior Dragster 1 points both bowing out in the second round, the winner on this day would be able to close the gap between them and the top.  Coughlin, last year's champion of the class, took his 2010 American dragster to the final round up against the 1992 Halfscale dragster of Jesse Cochran from Mount Vernon, Ohio.  Coughlin, from Delaware, Ohio, gave up the advantage off the line but had the car that was able to make up for the difference.  Coughlin ran a 12.106 on his 11.90 dial in to win over the 14.228 on a 13.15 for Cochran.  Blaine Bazell has the lead by 10 over the winning Coughlin after today's event.

It was a repeat of the final round from yesterday in the Junior Dragster 2 as Burns and his 1999 Bos entry from Fredericktown, Ohio matched up once again with the 2007 Barrs dragster of Myah Gross from Fairmont, West Virginia.  Gross, who was entering her first weekend of racing here at NTR after missing the first due to Basketball, was making up points quickly on this weekend.  Burns used a better reaction time off the starting line to make it two for two on the weekend.  His 8.943 on a 8.90 won over the 8.979 on a 8.95 for Gross.  With two wins in three final round appearances this season, Burns leads Nathan Altenbach by the largest gap in any class at 55.

After a crucial round two race that saw him finally stop Nick Altenbach from reaching a final round, Ruark and his 2009 Halfscale from Galena, Ohio raced to the final round where he would square off with Mason Gross and his 2010 Halfscale from Fairmont, West Virginia.  Gross, who was trying to salvage the day for his family with one win in the two finals he and his sister Myah made, did his part off the line with a slight edge off the line.  However, he took a bit too much stripe at the finish line and broke out.  Ruark made it tough with a 7.900 on a 7.90 to win over the 7.937 on a 7.95 from Gross.  The win by Ruark allows him and Altenbach to pull away from the field.  Altenbach leads by 11 over Ruark.

With the two finalists from the first Quick 330 unable to attend today, the battle for the event win and qualifying was a battle.  Nick Altenbach ended up on the top spot of the field with his new entry posting a 4.224 and Grisez anchoring the field with a 4.636.  While qualifying is important, the final round showed you have to get in the field and then its all open.  Grisez and his 2012 RPC from Vermilion, Ohio came from the bump spot to go up against the 2000 Nervo Coggin entry of Joseph Bay Jr. from Blacklick, Ohio who qualified #7.  Grisez had a better reaction time in the final round and cruised to the win running a 4.710 on his 4.63 dial in.  Bay ran a 4.707 on his 4.63 dial trying to get back ahead.  With the win, Grisez finds himself on top by 2 points over Trey Sizemore and Michael Ruark.