Tim's Dragstrip News For June 21, 2009        

Rick McFarlin- Pro King of the Track

King of the Track 6/21/09

           King of the Track is similar to King of the Hill, except it's only between 1st place winners from the day's regular eliminations... and there's only one Wally Parks trophy: King of Track.

           Just like Saturday, Sunday's South Coast Tire Shootout, hosted by Willits Tire Center and North Coast Tire, was chock-full of good reaction times and close-to-dial ins. Racer Rick McFarlin, of North Coast Tire, put up 100 bucks cash for the first racer in eliminations to get a perfect reaction time. We had our starter official Bart Overson hang on to it and called it Pick the Starter's Pocket, in which the racer had to return with the timeslip to claim the cash.

         Greg Crone focused on Advanced Licensing passes with his Donovan-powered '69 Camaro, making two 182 mph passes, the first with a 7.47 e.t., the second successful pass (i.e., running 7.50 or quicker) a 7.49 e.t. After a third successful pass he'd complete his Advanced License, the first one earned at Samoa Dragstrip during Crone's first year of racing.

           Tom Brazil has been campaigning his '88 Hemi-powered dragster since 92. Previously owned by Top Alcohol driver Mindy Frye, the quickest it's gone is 7.84 while driven by one of Brazil's crew. Brazil's personal best is 8.17 in the season-opener Super Pro final against Ray Rapp. He came out of the Tire Shootout time trials top qualifier with an 8.50 at 160 mph, running 8.42 and 8.29 on Saturday.

          Even during time trials, great reaction times were being made (remember: actual competition for the highly esteemed Best Reaction Time Cash would start in Eliminations; Jim Toledo had an .003, Pam Conn and Leticia Hill had an .001, James Surber on a high-leaping compact Honda bike was top qualifier amongst bikers with an .008 on a .400 tree, following it up with an .003.

           Mike Wright and Hill started Eliminations with good runs, Wright running dead-on his 10.83 dial in, Shasta Lake's Hill running dead-on a 9.85 dial in after an .005 reaction time (.500 tree). The starter's pocket would later get picked by Ray Rapp.

            Rapp and Hill were both on it in Eliminations, fittingly becoming the Super Pro Final. Along the way, Rapp would run 10.18 on a 10.17 dial-in with an .006 reaction time against Jake Morris, whose dragster brokeout. Hill's '73 Camaro took the win light in double-breakout finish against Ken Drake, Sr.'s '32 Chevy sedan. In the Final, Hill would pounce .005 before the green light for a red-lit 9.84 pass at 135 mph against Rapp's 10.175 on a 10.17 dial in at 131 mph.

             In Junior Dragsters, Kevin Will's undefeated season was marked with a red-lit start against Kaycee Mela in the Final, Mela with a winning 1/8-mile run of 10.42 at 60 mph to Will's 8.42 at 76 mph. Melissa Surber took Consolation win over Liz Sjoquist, 9.00 at 70 mph to Sjoquist's 11.42.

             In Sportsman Motorcycles, Rick McFarlin took a 10.13 win over points leader George Brooks' 9.79, Brooks returning after a 1st place win in Motorcycles, Saturday.

In Sportsman, Robert Kielselhorst's '76 Toyota pickup, running for years on a circle-track, would make it to the semi-finals, but be on the wrong end of a double-breakout finish against Robbie Waddell, Mitch Marlin's '87 Thunderbird beating Tyler Myers' 12-second Honda hatchback before beating Waddell's '69 Nova in the Final.

            Colin Beddow's diesel '06 Ram charged its way to the Pro semi's, but couldn't out run Jim Broderson's '63 Falcon. Jason Giacone's Mustang took a win over Troy Beck, and in the Final would leap too soon into the starting lights, Broderson's Falcon with a winning run of 11.72 at 114 mph to Giacone's 10.74 at 122 mph.

            Then came time for four drag racers to compete for one coveted Wally Parks trophy, to also become King of the Track 2009. One of them - Sportsman points leader Mitch Marlin - was runner up to the crown in '08 against Track King Dale Waddell, campaigning the same freebie '87 T-Bird. This year he was in a double-breakout finish against biker Rick McFarlin and lost in the semi-final. This was just after Broderson and Rapp raced, Rapp's Vega with a red-lit (-.009) start, Broderson's 11.67 against the Vega's red-lit run of 10.18 on a 10.17 dial-in.

             So for a new year, new King of the Track finalists: Broderson vs McFarlin, as McFarlin would take the crown running dead-on his 10.10 dial in at 132 mph against the Falcon's 11.81. A tight one at the finish line, too: .033 of a second seperating the victor from the runner-up.

             We're now a race away from being halfway through a 12 points-race season, with Rapp maintaining a lead in Super Pro, followed by rookie Jake Morris, Mike Giacone and Mike Scoggin. Rapp also leads in a tighter points race in Pro with Harlan Tucker, John Antongiovanni in third and Troy Beck trailing Antongiovanni by a mere two points. Beck has been a semi-finalist in each race except June 7th.

             In Sportsman points, Mitch Marlin has the good lead over Josh Rapp, followed by Larry Ghidinelli and newcomer Tyler Myers. In Sportsman Motorcycles, George Brooks leads the points, followed by rookie Mike Pettit, Jr. and Mike Pettit, Sr. In the Junior Dragsters' Pro Pacific Auto Repair Series, Kevin Will has lost only one Final, Austin Petersen maintains 2nd, followed by Ashley Johnson.

              The halfway mark in the season is the upcoming Drake Crone Memorial Race Weekend, July 11 and 12th. Sponsored by Bella Vista Realty and Greg's Paint Repair, it will include Sunday's Slant 6 bracket, but I'll bet more than anything those same fun Dodge freaks will be filling the staging lanes Saturday as well, as they did last year, making NHRA world records in Slant 6 division. Don't forget the continuing Budweiser Racing Street Legal Series, Saturday the 11th at 5:30pm, free to race and free to watch, at the historic Samoa Dragstrip.

                          -- Tim O'Brien

                       Track Announcer