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NMRAPaul
08-02-2006, 06:24 PM
http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/aerial.jpgThe First Annual Motive Gear NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Nitto Tire might not have been the biggest gathering of doorslammer dragracers ever assembled in one place, but if it wasn’t, you’d be hard-pressed to find a venue large enough to handle one that was bigger. The world-class facility at Joliet’s Route 66 Raceway was busting at the seams by Friday afternoon, with more than 400 championship-class cars filling the pits. The record temperatures kept the fans under cover for most of the weekend, but even a tornado warning and five inches of rain in 45 minutes on Thursday couldn’t douse the enthusiasm and excitement generated by this landmark racing event.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/prowinbischoff.jpg DiabloSport Pro 5.0 kicked off the weekend with another killer qualifying effort from self-admitted Chevy guy Tony Bischoff, who’s 6.598 at 212.66 was especially impressive in light of the very high density altitude in the oppressive heat. Bischoff wasn’t the only driver making good time, though; second-qualified Mike Hauf was running under the class record he had set in Reynolds as well, clicking off a 6.605 at 209.33. Defending champ Don Walsh, Jr., Burt Kelkboom, Joe Morgan, Chuck DeMory, and Steve Malcom rounded out the seven-car field, with all but Malcom finding a six-second tuneup by the close of qualifying on Saturday. The ladder gave Bischoff a freebie in the first round, while luck and attrition did the same for every other pairing in the opener. Morgan advanced on a -.065 redlight from Kelkboom while Walsh did the same thanks to a -.104 reaction from DeMory, and Hauf got an uncontested win when Malcom didn’t make the call. There would be no real racing in the semi-finals on Sunday either; Walsh did his hopes of a four-peat championship no good at all with a -.010 redlight of his own that sent Hauf on to the finals, while Bischoff took it easy with a mid-seven-second single when Morgan broke. The first real Pro 5.0 race of the weekend was also the last, with Bischoff and Hauf squaring off. Hauf was away first when the tree came down, but had to pedal the car mid-track and couldn’t keep up with Bischoff’s 6.633 at 211, running a 7.575 at 194 and having to settle for runner-up. Undefeated in his first two races, the odds are looking better and better that Bischoff will decide to run the remainder of the 2006 schedule and take a shot at the Pro 5.0 championship.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/ssowinurist.jpgMSD Super Street Outlaw pulled a full 16-car field at Joliet, with the top nine all finding a seven-second tuneup before the close of qualifying. Leading the pack was Don Burton’s nitrous sled, his 7.644 at 186.43 barely edging out Jarrett Halfacre’s turbo-boosted 7.647. Close on their heels with a 7.681 was blown racer John Urist and Phil Hines was batting cleanup at 7.834. In eliminations, Burton got past ninth-qualified Mike Trimandilis in the first round, but fell to fellow nitrous racer Sam Vincent in the quarter-finals when Vincent pulled a 7.589 out of nowhere to Burton’s 7.768. Vincent’s climb would end in the semis, stopped cold by Urist, who squeaked past with a 7.623 to Vincent’s 7.673. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ladder, Halfacre had surprisingly fallen in the first round to Zack Posey, Halfacre’s off-pace 8.174 giving Posey just enough room to squeak by with an 8.151. Posey’s luck ran out in the second round when faced with Billy Laskowski’s 7.779, an 8.258 not enough to stay in the race despite getting the holeshot. Laskowski gave up the move again in the semis, .063 to .045 against Phil Hines, but quickly brushed past and took the lead with a 7.744 to Hines’ 8.100. That set up an all-blower final, and when the tree came down Urist was away first with Laskowski locked on his quarter panel for the first hundred feet. Unfortunately, Laskowski’s car then began to spontaneously lighten itself by shedding pieces of cam bearing, and the inevitable result was another Urist victory while Laskowski silently coasted through the traps.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/renwincook.jpgProCharger EFI Renegade also filled out an entire ladder at Route 66, and based on what had happened previously this season, expectations for the weekend were high. Renegade fans weren’t disappointed, as Modular-powered Aaron Stapleton came off the trailer and set the early pace with an 8.598 at 160 and change in his first qualifying attempt, then bettered it with an 8.563 in the second. That pass would stand as the quickest in qualifying, leading the rest of the field by nearly a full tenth and igniting a debate over the existence of a “pushrod gap.” Tony Orts claimed second rung on the ladder with an 8.659 at 157.67, while defending champ Scott Lovell, Zoop Zellonis, and Bob Cook rounded out the top five. In all, you’d have to go a dozen cars deep into the rankings before you found your first nine. Thanks to a 17-car field, the first round saw a single for Stapleton, followed by an easy 8.624-to-9.909 victory over Tobener in the second. Stapleton escaped by the skin of his teeth in the quarter-finals, losing the holeshot to Zellonis, .089 to .028, but managed to pull it out with an 8.683 to Zellonis’ 8.807, crossing the line with a .0638-second margin of victory. The odd ladder delivered Stapleton another bye straight into the final round, where he’d meet Bob Cook. Cook had been working through his half of the field, trailering Matt Cruise in the first round and taking an easy win from Joel Howard in the second before getting a gift when Tony Orts was unable to run against him in the quarter-finals. That left just Scott Lovell between Cook and a final round appearance, and Titanium Bob pulled it out in a holeshot win – his .045 reaction versus the champ’s .082 was enough to stay ahead of Lovell’s faster run, with Cook posting a slower 8.878 to Lovell’s 8.849, crossing the finish line less than two feet ahead. In the final round, Cook had his reaction set to “kill,” leaving with a .019 to Stapleton’s .067, but at the half-track mark it was clear that something had gone away in Stapleton’s engine and the race was all Cook, 8.940 to Stapleton’s 9.443.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/hswinbooze.jpgBy the end of qualifying on Saturday, 14 cars were in the show in Edelbrock Hot Street, led by Bangin’ Bob Hanlon. His 9.013 was closely followed by Charle Booze, Jr.’s, 9.015, while Andy Schmidt was within a whisker at 9.085. When the fighting started, Hanlon ended Randy Henry’s weekend early in the first round on Saturday, then grabbed the competition bye to begin the day on Sunday. That put him straight into the semis where he faced Max Gross, who put up a good fight but couldn’t match Hanlon’s pace, running 9.224 to Bangin’ Bob’s 9.072. On the other side of the ladder, Booze had given the wood to Robert Blankenship in the first round, running a near-eight in the process, then picked up on Sunday with an easy second round victory over Judson Massingill. Third round was no sure thing – Booze escaped by the skin of his teeth, running 9.101 to Leo Johnson’s 9.131 and moving on to meet Hanlon in the final. When the tree came down, Booze was away first by a tiny margin, and both cars carried the wheels past the tree. Down-track, the race was too close to call, with the win light coming on in Booze’s lane on a holeshot win. The .044-to-.073 lead at the tree would be just enough to offset Hanlon’s 9.047 to 9.062 ET advantage and give Booze the win.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/drwinkolivas.jpgBFGoodrich Tires Drag Radial drew yet another sweet sixteen qualifiers, headed by Chad Doyle who posted a best effort of 8.227 at 171.01. John Kolivas, Mauro Vitale, and Chris Tuten all found eight-twenties as well in their qualifying tries. When things got serious, Doyle was an unexpected first round casualty on Saturday, leaving the door wide open. Second-qualified Kolivas got a gimmie when Jason Lee redlit, then another to start things off on Sunday when Mike King broke and couldn’t make the call. Kolivas’ first real race came in the semis against Tuten, but they don’t call Kolivas “Mr. Holeshot” for nothing – he left with a .005 light to Tuten’s .034 and drove it out to victory and into the finals. There, he’d meet Mauro Vitale, who had gotten a few freebies of his own along the way, with a broke single against Steve Thompson in the first round and an easy win over a limping Chris Evans in the second. Once again, the semis were the key, with Vitale facing Dave Hopper. Away first with a .063 to Hopper’s .080, Vitale stretched his lead down-track and into the finals. Fans couldn’t have asked for a closer deciding match; Kolivas was away first by half a tenth, but it was once again too close to call until the bulbs lit in Kolivas’ lane, his 8.232 to Vitale’s 8.273 ensuring another trip into the winner’s circle.


http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/rswinhemminger.jpgJust one driver found a single-digit tuneup in 5.0 Magazine Real Street in qualifying, and that driver was Michigan winner Bruce Hemminger, with a 9.998 at 133.98. That earned Hemminger the first-round single in the nine-car field, putting him directly into the second against “Uncle” Robin Lawrence. Hemminger once again had Lawrence’s number, taking the holeshot and running 10.100 to Uncle Robin’s 10.326. In the third round, Hemminger found a little more against Brian Meyer, clicking off a winning 10.050 to Meyer’s 10.172 despite giving up the leave. That left just Mark Magnuson between Hemminger and his second win in a row. Magnuson had started off eliminations slowly with a 11.482, fortunately enough to get past Jim Coger’s 12.884, then picked it up against Mark Alfeo. In that match, Magnuson stretched a tenth and a half advantage at the tree down-track, running 10.372 to Alfeo’s 10.541. That gave Magnuson a bye run straight into the finals and up against Hemminger, where Magnuson’s 10.287 just wasn’t enough to hold off the nitrous car, running 10.036 at 130.92 mph and carrying Hemminger to his second win this season.


http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/pswinanderson.jpgTremec Pure Street brought together 13 racers in qualifying, and Ron Anderson would lead them with a 10.391 at 128.92. That feat earned Anderson the first round bye, and a second round victory over Brandon Alsept kept him on the march. Third round saw Anderson coming out on top over Victor Downs despite giving up a .237-to-.165 holeshot, and that brought Anderson straight into the finals. There, he’d meet Bad Brad Meadows, who had qualified second, then trailered David Hill in the opening round and scored the second-round single before facing Ryan Hecox in the semis. There, both drivers clipped excellent lights, with Meadows ever so slightly ahead, .012 to .014. Down-track, Meadows pulled ahead and into the finals with a 10.541 to Hecox’ 10.671. Though it promised to be a close match, the final was done before it started when Meadows jumped the gun and lit a -.103 redlight, handing the win to Anderson.


http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/fswinjohnson.jpgDespite the temperatures, the dozen cars filling the ranks of K&N Factory Stock were running well, led by Michael Washington’s 11.767 at 115.57. Perennial front-runner Shawn Johnson could only muster an 11.822 in qualifying, good for fourth spot, but once he’d dispatched Louis Sylvester in the opening round, he proved he had a little something for Washington in their second round matchup. Johnson’s .075-to-.176 holeshot would prove critical; Washington’s 11.745, though faster than Johnson’s 11.808, wasn’t fast enough to overcome the head start, and Johnson would move on. The win earned Johnson what would have been Washington’s semi-final bye run into the finals, and there he’d meet third-qualified Dennis Merrow. Merrow kicked things off in the first round on Saturday with a big win over Alan Cann, then went on to open things up on Sunday with a second round squeaker versus John Leslie, Jr. The semi-finals were another close one; Jeff Schmell ran quicker with an 11.903 to Merrow’s 11.959, but Merrow’s holeshot was enough to hold Schmell off and send Merrow to the finals. In the deciding round, it was all Johnson, running 11.806 to Merrow’s faltering 12.576 and putting another one in the “win” column for the defending Factory Stock champ.

http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/mmwinbeyer.jpg We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – Vortech Modular Muscle always packs them in, and Route 66 was no exception. 37 cars filled the lanes for the first round, led by Stacy Estel thanks to his .004 light in qualifying. Five rounds later, that giant field had come down to the final pair, with two S197 three-valve cars duking it out. The tree would come down first for David Beyer, his 11.50 index giving him the head start on Paul Svincki, running on a 10.19, and when it did, Beyer was away with a .100 light. When the ambers hit in Svincki’s lane, he was just a little too quick on the trigger – a -.002 redlight gave top honors to Beyer without a fight.



http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/ocwinmotycka.jpgToyo Tires Open Comp was even more overstuffed than Modular Muscle, with no fewer than 47 cars fighting it out. In qualifying, a .100 light would only earn you the 35th spot, and you’d need a .010 or better to break into the top ten. In this distinguished field, Enzo Pecchini took top honors with a .001 for the number one slot. It took five rounds to boil that field down to the last pair, pitting Robert Motycka against Mr. Open Comp, Larry Geddes. Indexed at 10.13, Geddes would get a slight head start against Motycka, who had 10.01 as his goal. Geddes extended his advantage with a .027 light to Motycka’s .041, but as the pair sped down-track, the win light came on in Motycka’s lane, his 10.055 closer to the mark than Geddes’ 10.192.


http://promediapub.com/filehost/files/3/route66/trwincole.jpgDetroit Locker Truck & Lightning pulled the biggest field so far this year at Route 66, with 13 drivers in the mix. Leading the convoy in qualifying was Mike Motycka with a .010 light. Motycka would advance through the field, cruising through his first round single before taking down Brian Wolski in the second and Johnny “Lightning” Wiker in the semi-finals before facing Dave Cole. For his part, Cole had trailered Doug Garrity in the opening round, then drawn the second round single. In the semis, Cole got the go-ahead when Scott Sexton pulled a -.042 redlight. With the final pair set, Cole would take the advantage at the tree, .072 to .126, and hold on long enough to take the win, running 11.244 on his 11.21 index to Motycka’s 12.333 on 12.30.


NMRA vs. NMCA – the final challenge

One of the highlights of the weekend’s racing was the NMRA versus NMCA shootout, pairing similar classes and using a handicap system to ensure parity. The opening round, pitting Nostalgia Muscle Car champ Jeff Barr against Mod Muscle winner David Beyer, went to the NMCA on a breakout by Beyer. The NMCA made it two-zip in the second when Super Truck winner Michael Roup defeated Truck & Lightning champ Dave Cole on a holeshot. It was starting to look like a shutout when the NMCA’s Open Comp winner Robert Motycka redlit against NMCA Open Comp racer Ron Arbogast, but then Factory Stock’s Shawn Johnson finally put the NMRA on the scoreboard when Nostalgia Super Stock champ Bud Cochran pulled a red bulb of his own. With the score 3 to 1 in favor of the “other guys,” the Ford racers began fighting back in earnest when Drag Radial winner John Kolivas took down Xtreme Street’s Cameron Coble. The tide was beginning to turn, and Pure Street racer Ron Anderson tied it up with a win over Mean Street champ Jeff Swanson. The NMCA gave away another point when Street Race driver Tim Meagher left before the tree came down in his race against Real Street’s Bruce Hemminger. Charlie Booze made it 5 to 3 in favor of the NMRA in his Hot Street victory over Pro Stock representative John Langer, but the NMCA got their two minute drill going and came back hard, with Nostalgia Pro Street champ Johnny Baio going past Bob Cook’s EFI Renegade Mustang like it was standing still. In a touch of irony, it would be Super Stock winner (and former NMRA racer) Bill Glidden who would tie things up again, taking down Super Street Outlaw champ John Urist and running under the 7.04 index by almost two hundredths. That left just one match to decide who’s cuisine would reign supreme; Pro Street driver Brian Robbins versus Pro 5.0 rookie Tony Bischoff. Bischoff pulled a big holeshot, .027 to .236, but Robbins launched hard in pursuit, riding herd on his bucking Olds and dragging it back into the groove by sheer force of will. At the stripe, Bischoff’s arrow-straight pass was just too quick, and Robbins ran out of track before catching the fleeing Ford. The final score: 6-5 NMRA in the first annual Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing.