Tim's Dragstrip News For June 7, 2009        

Pam Conn - 2008 Rookie of the Year


Boss Eliminator

The season continues with more surprise turns and so much mystery, some crew chiefs found onlookers looking underneath their race cars (true story; more later).

After a packed track of racers in Saturday night's Budweiser Racing Street Legal series, in which some purchased timed runs at the traditionally heads-up race, several of those racers were back Sunday morning for some points racing.

For rookies like Janie Chambers, it paid off. I'm not sure if she ran timed runs, Saturday night, but her practice paid off for Sunday in Gamblers. The Gamblers bracket was deep, the ladder including crate-motor racers, sleeper Mustangs and snowmobiles. The final consisted of two Mustangs: veteran Jason Giacone's Pro class '66 and rookie Chambers' '99 street legal. Giacone would jump too soon off the starting tree, Chambers would take home most of the cash.

They may be out to re-race each other, in Saturday's special Mustang class. Hosted by Arcata Transmission, it will be an extra part of King of the Hill Saturday, the first of several double-event weekends at Samoa Dragstrip. Samoa's first Wally Parks trophy-feature (of two), this year, happens Sunday, with King of the Track.

In Sportsman, last year's runner-up in King of the Track - Mitch Marlin - quietly and stealthfully worked his sleeper '87 T-Bird to the Boss final against Doug Atkins' '69 Z28, taking First Place and reaching 3rd in Sportmans points behind Slant 6 racer Glen Terry and leader Josh Rapp. Marlin credits good reaction times throughout the day, Atkins continues to be so impressed with the same motor he's raced with for decades, he's not about to modify it any time soon.

Pro was a mixed bag in the Boss Eliminator. Returning from a 1st place win in the Competition Eliminator, Jerry Toledo made it to the quarter finals before Mike Wright would take the win light. Pamela Conn would beat Don Kohls' '37 Chevy, and that 2008 Rookie of the Year would race veteran John Antongiovani in the Final, Conn's '74 Camaro taking a win over his '63 Nova, for 1st place. Jerry Toledo still leads Pro in points, as Conn and Ray Rapp are tied for 2nd - 12 points behind Toledo, Antongiovanni is 4th in points with Ana Toledo 5th in points.

Rapp may not have taken 1st in Pro, but still had a great day at the office. Crew chief Ron Macklin spotted some young men looking underneath the '72 Vega in the pits. When asked what they doing down there, they admitted they were trying to find out "what the secret was". In Super Pro, Rapp beat Redding's Bill Wood in a tight race, after Tom Brazil's dragster beat Ricky Ellsworth's dragster. Brazil's Hemi-powered rail met beat Rapp's leaping Vega to the finish line in the Final- but went faster than his dial-in, running 8.17 on an 8.20 dial-in, Rapp's winning e.t. 10.21. The current points leader in Super Pro, Rapp has a 41-point lead over Brazil, who is 2nd in points, followed by Mike Scoggin. Rookie Jake Morris is tied for 4th in points with fellow dragster pilot Ricky Ellsworth, as Jim Toledo is 5th.

Mike Pettit, Jr. continues to have a great rookie year in Sportsman Motorcycles, having graduated from Junior Dragsters. Copping great reaction times on his quarter-mile snowmobile, he advanced in the Boss Eliminator to face veteran George Brooks. Brooks' Hybusa bike - top qualifier in bikes with the day's best reaction time - would come up from behind to take 1st place in a clean race, but Pettit would emerge 1st place in Motorcycle points, Brooks behind him by 9 points.

One of the most interesting features of the Eliminator was the Junior Dragster series. In the Final, for the third race in a row it was Kevin Will taking the win, this time against Ashley Johnson. Young Ashley caught a perfect reaction time of .500 earlier in the day, joining Dan Hodge as the only two racers of the day to do so. In the final, Kevin Will took a winning run of 10.91 at 86 mph in the eighth-mile against Johnson's 8.61 at 71 mph. Kevin's brother Austin would race Mellissa Surber for the Consolation win, banking on Surber's red-lit run of 8.97, Austin running 8.82.

We're headed for a packed weekend at the 'strip, starting with King of the Hill, Saturday June 19th, followed by the Budweiser Racing Street Legals at 5:30pm (Remember: free to race and free to watch the street legals), with the weekend's third event - King of the Track - beginning Sunday morning. Don't forget about the special Mustang class that will be a part of Saturday's bracket racing, with an extra purse and set of prizes.

See ya at the Samoa drags,

-- Tim O'Brien

Track Announcer