Sunday, May 06, 2012
The final day of the JEGS Drag-Slammer Open brought a great end to the entire weekend. If the racing action was tough on Friday and Saturday, then what we saw here today is truly another level. Two drivers were consistent all day long on both sides of the program and basically copied one another in the last few rounds to race for the event win. When the dust settled, it was the first tally for the dragsters as Adam Lear won a great final round race against Aaron Vail.
For Vail, from Fortville, Illinois, the race to the final in the Door side of the field was a picture of beauty. His high-flying 1973 Trans Am marched to the final round of his side and matched up with last night's Racecraft Shootout winner Wes May and his 1982 Regal from Indianapolis, Indiana. Vail, coming off a perfect .000 reaction time in the previous round win over John Martin, used a .027 reaction time to get the edge off the line with May. May tried to catch up to Vail but fell in the end on a holeshot. Vail ran a 6.988 on his 6.98 to win over May's 6.916 on a 6.91.
Lear and his family from Newark, Ohio also was working his way through the Open side of the field all day long. In the final, his 2008 Race Tech entry went up against the 2008 Mac Sherrill dragster of Jono Gerber from Shreve, Ohio. Like Vail, Lear entered the final round off a perfect .000 reaction time in the previous round to defeat his opponent Dean Karns Jr. And like Vail, was also .027 off the line in the final round. Gerber was slightly better off the line, but wasn't able to get as close to the dial as he needed to get past Lear. Lear's 4.776 on a 4.75 got inside Gerber's 4.928 on a 4.89 dial in.
With both drivers basically copying one another before the runoff final, it was anyone's guess as to how the battle between Vail and Lear would go down. Both driver's used perfection on one end of the track in the final round, but Lear's was better in the end. Off the line, it was Lear that posted the perfect .000 reaction time to Vail's .038. When they hit the stripe, Lear pulled out in front to score the win with a 4.774 on his 4.76 dial in. Vail tried his best, and his 6.980 on a 6.98 was as good as he could, but it wasn't enough in the end.
National Trail Raceway and Fuqua Motorsports would like to thank everyone that came out to the JEGS Drag-Slammer event this weekend. It was a great time all weekend long and a lot of outstanding racing action was going down the track. We look forward to having you all return in the fall to the second JEGS Drag-Slammer Open here at National Trail Raceway.
The Saturday of the JEGS Drag-Slammer Open was a fast and furious event that found a ton of racing action going down the track throughout the day. In addition to the originally scheduled events for the day, the conclusion of Friday's rain-delayed event also took center stage as well. In the large events for the day, it was total domination by the Door cars as both winners from that side of the events took the overall title. Phil Combs (Friday) and Jeff Melnick Jr. (Saturday) were the big winners. Also winning today was Wes May who claimed the Racecraft Shootout.
With 27 drivers left in competition when the race resumed today, all of them were looking for the chance at grabbing the opening event win. On the Door side of the field, it was a family fight for the title as the Combs brothers went head to head for the win. Phil's 1979 Malibu went up against Benny's 1972 Camaro. Both drivers, from Demossville, Kentucky were tough all day long but the run was determined off the line when Benny left the line too soon with a -.005 light. Phil went to the final with a 6.943 on his 6.95 dial.
On the Open side of the field, it was Dean Karns Jr. and his 2012 Diamond dragster from Fairborn, Ohio going up against the 2005 American Dragster of Corey Griffith from New Albany, Ohio. Like in the Door side of the field, both drivers knew that they would have to be ready for the final encounter, and it bit the loser like it did Benny in the Door final. With a -.015 light, Griffith fouled his shot away and gave Karns Jr. the win with a 4.567 on a 4.54 dial in.
In the runoff final round, Combs and Karns Jr. squared off for the win. Karns Jr. was suprisingly tardy off the line and made his task of winning the event more difficult. Combs was also playing for keeps with a .006 reaction time and ran a 6.958 on hid 6.94 dial in to win over the 4.574 on a 4.56 for Karns Jr.
Jeff Melnick Jr (far lane) defeated Dan Sayres in Saturday's Drag-Slammer final round with a 5.338 on a 5.33 dial in.
After a time trial for everyone, the race for Saturday took off. The Door car final was the first to the line as the 2002 Avenger of Melnick Jr. went up against the 1977 Lemans of Columbus, Ohio's Ron Baisden Jr. Melnick Jr., from Hubbard, Ohio gained a slight starting line edge and then ran a 5.345 on a 5.34 dial in to earn his berth in the final runoff. Baisden Jr. ran a 6.672 on a 6.63 dial in.
In the Open side, a pair of black dragsters squared off for the right to the final round. Dan Sayres, from Waverly, West Virginia went to the line with his 1998 Mullis dragster and squared off with the 2012 Racecraft dragster of Danny Nelson from Batesville, Arkansas. The path to the final for Sayres was made easier for him after he left the line as Nelson fouled out with a -.007 red light. Sayres advanced to the money round with a 5.226 on a 5.20.
Like in the Friday final round, it was the same page for the Saturday final round. Melnick Jr. was ready for the final round, while Sayres was a little late off the line and had to settle for runner up. A .006 reaction time and a 5.338 on a 5.33 for Melnick Jr. won the $8,000 top prize over the .022 light and 5.246 on a 5.22 dial in.
But perhaps the best race of the day came in the Racecraft Shootout where the winner received a new 2012 roller dragster chassis thanks to Racecraft. The final pitted May and his 1982 Regal from Indianapolis, Indiana against the 1983 Camaro of Dennis Meade from Newark, Ohio. Both Door car racers were looking for the win and a new dragster and did not disappoint. May got the edge with a .014 to .016 reaction time, and needed it all to squeak by for the win. May ran a 6.921 on his 6.92 to win over the equally as great 6.081 on a 6.08 for Meade.
Sunday's event begins at 9:30 AM with a single time trial session before the beginning of eliminations. Church service is set to begin at 9:00 AM prior to time trials.
The opening JEGS Drag-Slammer Open day today took the track with all the competitors looking to get their share of the great purse. For many, that dream will have to move on to tomorrow's race. For others, the dream also will move to tomorrow but for different reasons beyond their control. The weather that rolled into the track in the evening hours meant that the Friday's race conclusion would be pushed back to Saturday early in the day.
As the racing action begins tomorrow at 10 AM, there are 12 Open and 15 Door cars left in competiton for the $8,000 top prize. For the rest of the racers, prep for the Saturday event will start at the conclusion of the first round on Saturday for the Friday concluding event.
Racers still in competition entering Saturday:
| Dan Sayres|
| Cristy Morgan-Back|
| Ron Stayer Jr.|
| Brad Slaughter|
| Joshua Morgan|
| Jerry Newport|
| Corey Griffith|
| Jamie Bridge|
| Brian Newport|
| Dean Karns Jr.|
| Gary Williams|
| Gary Williams (2nd Entry)|
| Kurt Harrington|
| Randy Duncan|
| Mark Claypoole|
| Roy St. Denis|
| Chris Castle|
| Jeff Keyser|
| Phil Combs|
| Gary May|
| John Gray|
| Rob Kropfeld|
| Jared Bargo|
| Mike Perry|
| Greg Braskett|
| Benny Combs|
| Wes May|