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Thread: Route 66 Race Wrap

  1. #1

    Route 66 Race Wrap

    By Paul Huizenga

    The Second Annual Motive Gear Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing presented by Nitto Tire brought the cream of the Keystone NMRA Ford Nationals series to Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois, to battle it out with their Blue Oval brethren in 11 championship classes, then face off against the “Brand X” competition from the NMCA in the Super Bowl Shootout to determine who’d have bragging rights this year. With near-perfect weather all weekend, the Chicagoland fans were treated to a full schedule of racing, car shows, jet car exhibitions, and the most extensive manufacturer’s midway we’ve seen all year. Here’s a look at the NMRA action on the track:

    Attrition took its toll during qualifying in the DiabloSport Pro 5.0 class, with the field going from five to three overnight. What was left was undoubtedly the best of the best, led by last year’s Super Bowl champ Tony Bischoff with a quickest pass of 6.586 seconds at 210.77 mph. In eliminations, Bischoff rode a competition bye straight into the finals, where he’d meet Mike Hauf, who had defeated David Schorr in the opening round to earn his slot. Hauf, the 2006 class champion, knew he’d need it all to beat Bischoff, but hit the tree too hard and came away with a -.128 redlight for his trouble, handing the Pro 5.0 title to Bischoff.

    MSD Ignition Super Street Outlaw was on fire in Chicago, literally and figuratively. With much drama during qualifying, it was Jarrett Halfacre in the pole position going into eliminations, coming back from a top-end brush with the wall during Thursday’s test and tune session to post a 7.457 second blast that tied to the thousandth with Sam Vincent, with the nod going to Halfacre thanks to his huge 195.85 mph trap speed. Speaking of speed, Joliet saw the fastest side-by-side pass in SSO history with Halfacre and Manny Buginga running 195-plus in their matchup. The field came down to Zack Posey, qualified 13th in the 17-car field, and John Urist, who was having his own drama in the form of a burned piston during the final round of qualifying that almost ended his weekend. When the tree dropped on the SSO final, once again it was reaction time that told the tale – Posey’s -.020 redlight meant that Urist would go to the winner’s circle after a roller-coaster ride all weekend.

    Another class on the move in Joliet was ProCharger EFI Renegade, with more than 16 cars taking laps in qualifying. The best of the bunch was Brian Tuten, running the quickest Renegade pass of the weekend with an 8.656 at 152.33 mph to claim the top spot. When eliminations had narrowed the field to the final pair, defending champ Brian Mitchell would be scheduled to face nitrous hot-shot Tony Orts, but a no-show gave the Route 66 win, and a very helpful boost in the points chase, to Mitchell unopposed.

    Nobody was happier about the mild temperatures and sticky track than the racers in the naturally-aspirated Edelbrock Hot Street category – Roush Performance engine builder Ben Mens took advantage of the good air to turn an 8.801 at 152.40 mph on Friday evening that would stand as both the top qualifying mark, and the quickest Hot Street ET of the meet. In eliminations, Mens rose through the ranks to square off against perennial class superstar Charlie Booze, Jr., and once again, attrition caused by the extra passes required to reduce the field down to the last pair took its toll. While Booze still had a bit left in his bag, Mens left before the tree came down and gave away the winner’s laurels without a fight.

    A mid-season rule change aimed to level the playing field between blown and turbocharged entries in BFGoodrich Tires Drag Radial, but defending champ John Kolivas wasn’t having any of it. Rather than put the mandated 100 pounds on his car to go with the existing 88mm turbo, with just two weeks to prepare he switched to an 85, got the car down to the minimum allowable weight, and proceeded to take the top qualifying spot with an 8.099 at 173.14 mph. Though Kolivas was the quickest man on Drag Radials in Joliet, he wasn’t the fastest – fellow turbo racer Kevin Fiscus ran through the traps at an unprecedented 177-flat on his way to meet Johnny K in the finals. Kolivas, always murder at the tree, pegged a .073 reaction, but Fiscus wasn’t giving up much with a .115 of his own. Down-track, though, Kolivas pulled farther ahead, running 8.107 to Fiscus’ 8.477 and once again proving that if there’s a way to stay fast, he’ll find it.

    Last year, 5.0 Magazine Real Street racer Bruce Hemminger had to attribute at least a little bit of his Super Bowl success to the miserable heat and humidity – his nitrous combination meant he was bringing his own atmosphere to the track. This time, his competition had one less excuse as Hemminger earned the top spot despite the much-improved conditions with a 9.944 at 133.57 mph. Hemminger leveraged the top spot on the ladder into a trip to the finals, where he met number two qualifier Jim Breese. Despite losing the razor-thin .048-to-.090 holeshot to Breese, Hemminger jumped to a short-end lead and held on to win, running 9.865 at 139.33 to Breese’s 9.919 at 136.14.

    In qualifying, the spotlight in Tremec Pure Street was on Bad Brad Meadows, thanks to his field-leading 10.359 at 128.14 mph. Once the dust had settled in eliminations, though, the racers to watch were defending class champion “Grandpa” Ron Anderson, returning to battle after a three-race absence, and Jimmy Wilson, who turned his number four slot in qualifying into a trip to the deciding match. Unfortunately for Wilson, a heartbreaking -.001 foul start in the final lit the red bulb and meant he wouldn’t be able to prove he was quicker than Anderson, relegating him to runner-up status.

    K&N Filters Factory Stock is heating up this year, with four different winners in as many races. One thing that’s stayed rock-solid is who’s the quickest guy in the class come the end of qualifying – Steve Gifford extended his season-long streak with another pole position, earned with an 11.472 at 118.21 mph. Unfortunately for Farmer Steve, once again he’d be shut out of the finals, with Jeff Schmell and Alan Cann duking it out instead. A .097-to-.122 holeshot in favor of Schmell set the tone immediately, and with an 11.516 to Cann’s fading 12.078, it was Schmell ahead at the stripe and on to the Route 66 winner’s circle.

    With points awarded for ladder position this year, qualifying has taken on a whole new importance in Roush Performance Modular Muscle, and as is often the case, a perfect light is the cost of being number one going into eliminations. In Joliet, top qualifying honors went to Derek Kernodle thanks to his .000. Once eliminations had narrowed the field to just two, it was sixth-qualified Brandon Peterson going up against nineteenth-seeded Mike Zamboni. Both drivers were on a hair trigger, but Zamboni’s -.042 reaction put him on the wrong side of the clock, turning the race over to Peterson uncontested.

    Crane Cams Open Comp had no fewer than three racers pulling perfect lights during qualifying, with John Voshell getting the nod ahead of Don Bowles and Dale McClenaghan of the Roush Racing camp thanks to doing it earlier in the process. In eliminations, the 41-car field eventually came down to Aggressive Andy Blackmon and Rodney Adams, fourth and sixth on the ladder respectively. At the tree, once again reaction time would be the determining factor – Blackmon’s slower index gave him the leave, and he was away with a .062 light. When Adams’ side of the tree came down, the red bulb told the tale of a reaction that was -.033 too quick, handing the victory to Blackmon.

    In Detroit Locker Truck & Lighting, Dave Cole was out to repeat his victory last year at the inaugural Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing, and got an excellent start with a .003 light in qualifying that gave him top rung on the ladder. Cole worked that early advantage into a final round pairing against Ray Johnson and his F-150, but when Johnson had starter problems at the head of staging and couldn’t fire up, Cole reluctantly took the broke single pass and ran unhindered to the event win.

    The much-anticipated Shootout paired NMRA and NMCA champions on a staggered tree to level the playing field, and the battle began with A/NMC racer Heath Shemwell taking down Truck & Lightning representative Dave Cole with a 10.512 on his 10.50 index to Cole’s 10.929-on-10.91. The next pair in the water box were the Open Comp racers from both series, with the win going to the NMCA’s Vince Brown on a double-breakout race against Andy Blackmon. Down two to nothing, the NMRA fired back with a win courtesy of Modular Muscle champ Brandon Peterson versus Late Model EFI winner Jason Phillips. A -.053 redlight from Nostalgia Super Stock racer Jason Krueger against Factory Stock’s Jeff Schmell tied the score up at two-two, with seven races left to go. Next up was Grandpa Ron Anderson from Pure Street versus Mean Streeter Jeff Swanson. Anderson’s 10.378 at 128 and change was enough to stay ahead of Swanson, and the win put the NMRA up for the first time. Bruce Hemminger from the Real Street ranks extended the NMRA lead when his opponent, Street Race winner Tim Meagher, couldn’t make the call, and Hot Street champ Charlie Booze added his own contribution with a huge .009 light against Pro Stock racer Jeff Chandler, running three hundredths under the fastest Hot Street pass of eliminations in the process. With just one more win needed to clinch, Drag Radial champ John Kolivas pulled to the line to run against the wounded Extreme Street Corvette of “SpongeBob” Curran, who had gotten a lucky final round win when he suffered a nasty starting line nitrous sneeze but his opponent crossed the center line. With Curran unable to take a serious shot, it was all Kolivas, sealing the deal for the Blue Oval faithful. The following match paired Renegade racer Brian Mitchell against Nostalgia Pro Street winner Jack Boer, with the win going to Mitchell in a clean race. John Urist, coming off of an amazing turnaround win in SSO, faced Super Street champ Billy Glidden, but was overmatched as the Mustang racing legend pulled a tenth out of nowhere and ran 6.972 at over 200 mph. That left just Randall Haynes’ wild Pro Street ’41 Willys and Tony Bischoff’s Pro 5.0 Cougar, and the pair were evenly matched all the way to the 1000-foot mark, where Bischoff’s nitrous-fed big block started to go away and Haynes pulled out the win. The final tally – NMRA 7, NMCA 4, and everyone looking forward to doing it all again next year.

  2. #2

    Re: Route 66 Race Wrap

    My family and I were in the Chicago area on vacation last weekend and I made sure we made time to see this event. We live in Gainesville Fl., so having an NHRA track close by is normal for us. What is not normal is having a real NHRA track. The track in Joliet is amazing. That is a first class track. I would have to say Joliet and the track in Bristol are far better then most other tracks. I have not been to that many tracks but from those Ive seen, Joliets track is very nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Glen Ellyn. IL

    Re: Route 66 Race Wrap

    Quote Originally Posted by NMRAPaul
    By Paul Huizenga

    Another class on the move in Joliet was ProCharger EFI Renegade, with more than 16 cars taking laps in qualifying. The best of the bunch was Brian Tuten, running the quickest Renegade pass of the weekend with an 8.656 at 152.33 mph to claim the top spot. When eliminations had narrowed the field to the final pair, defending champ Brian Mitchell would be scheduled to face nitrous hot-shot Tony Orts, but a no-show gave the Route 66 win, and a very helpful boost in the points chase, to Mitchell unopposed.
    Tony Orts wasnt a no-show in the REN final, he went red.
    Tony MacDonnell---Dr. Jamie Meyers nephew

    thanks to:

    Some people are like a slinky, they have absolutely no value, but they provide you hours of entertainment by pushing them down the stairs.

  4. #4

    Re: Route 66 Race Wrap

    My bad - it was actually a LBTA, now that I think about it

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