Race Recap

yumalead.jpgThe National Sand Drag Association headed March 14-15 to Yuma, AZ for their second point series event of the 2009 season. Warmer temperatures slowed down the record setting ET’s slightly, although a new TF MPH record was still able to be set. This race saw tough competition from start to finish and some surprise winners taking home the trophies at the end of the day.

Top Fuel

Qualifying set the tone for the weekend in the Top Fuel class with a first time #1 qualifier in Shane Swtizer, running a 2.360 at a booming 165.68mph. Geoff Gill, ET Record Holder, slid into the second spot with a 2.376/154.35mph. Scott Whipple made it to Yuma in time for the last qualifying session after a driving stint in Mexico at the SCORE race, ran a 2.382/151.94mph on his only qualifying pas for the third position. The quick seven car field went down through Marcus Norris, who received his license on Saturday and qualified with a stout 2.652.

Round one started off with Switzer on a bye run coming up with a 2.423/164.21mph run that backed up his 165.68 Saturday pass for the TF MPH record. The next pair ended up as a single when Dennis Rieck could not make the call, so Jeff Janoe ran it out to a 2.597/161.44 to move on. The next race would be the upset of the weekend as #6 qualifier Matt Ludlow ran a career best ET and Low ET of the weekend with a 2.346 to take the win over two-time and defending NSDA TF Champ Scott Whipple, who ran a 2.426. The final pair of the round saw Geoff Gill in the Gill Bettencourt Racing entry run a 2.373/159.18 to take the victory over Marcus Norris.

The closest race of the weekend in TF kicked off the semi-final round as Shane Switzer squeaked out a victory by .007 over Jeff Janoe 2.470 to 2.496. The second pair also saw a great match up as Ludlow continued on after a hole shot .088 to .134 was enough to hold off Gill with a 2.553 to 2.529. This set up a final round match up that would see a first time winner in the Top Fuel class. In the final, Switzer took a small starting line advantage and held the lead through the finish line 2.479/164.21 to Matt’s 2.654/147.01. Shane’s win moves him up to second place in points, just one behind point leader Gill. Whipple and Janoe sit third and fourth respectively, only a couple rounds out of the lead.

Shane Switzer

Matt Ludlow

Geoff Gill

Jeff Janoe

Top Alcohol

A tough eight-car field in the Top Alcohol class showed up to compete in Yuma. Qualifying was tight with the top half of the field all within three-hundredths of a second. Top Alcohol ET Record Holder Gary Mink stayed at the top of the qualifying list for this event running a 2.468/137.76 for the top spot. Dan Allen put the Lucas Oil dragster in the #2 spot with a great 2.484 blast. Nick Januik and Mike DeNunzio both laid down 2.497’s to put them third and fourth respectively. DeNunzio’s 2.497 was his first run in the 2.4 second zone.

Gary Mink started off eliminations on a single run with what would be Low ET of the weekend 2.422. The next pair saw both former champs of the NSDA TA class battle it out with DeNunzio running 2.504 to defeat Shane Sanford’s 2.718. The big upset of the round was up next as #2 qualifier Dan Allen rolled through the beams for a red light handing the win to Craig Sines. The final pair of the round saw Januik lay down a nice 2.522 to defeat Scott Carroll.

In the semi-final round, Mink got a little too antsy at the tree and handed the win to defending TA champ DeNunzio. In the other pair, Januik went 2.562 to defeat Sines’ 2.849. The final looked to be a great match up, however DeNunzio had engine breakage in the semi-final round rendering him unable to make the final round call. This would give Nick Januik a single run to take home the win, and he ran it all out with a picture perfect 2.509/137.67. Januik’s first NSDA Top Alcohol class win moved him to within three points of point leader Mink, with DeNunzio and Dan Allen rounding out the top four.

Nick Januik

Mike DeNunzio

Gary Mink

Top Eliminator

Seventeen entries showed up in Yuma for the second race of the 2009 NSDA season in the Top Eliminator class. For the second straight race, Leon Januik topped the qualifying sheet, this time with a 2.964. Art Cronin opened a lot of eyes with a great second place qualifying position with a nice 2.974. To show how competitive this field was, it took a 3.043 to make it into the top half of the field.

Round one kicked off with a huge upset as the top qualifier Januik lost on a hole shot to Frank Prock, making his first TE class appearance with the NSDA in his “Triple Nickel” dragster, 3.168 to 3.036. Paul Taylor won the closest pair of the round over Jim Rossi 2.985 to 3.012. Paul’s 2.985 would be the best pass of eliminations in the Top Eliminator class.

Eliminations continued on with upset minded Prock taking another round win. This time the win was over Taylor, who stage fouled. Larry Snow continued his great start to ’09 with a 3.044 win over Bob Gill. Art Cronin continued his great weekend with a 3.019 win over Mike Erwin. The round was capped off with a huge match up between two of the favorites for the ’09 TE class championship. Tiffany Januik had a .024 to .070 advantage off the line over Billy Morris, however Morris would have enough Chittenden-tuned power to drive around for a 3.061 to 3.147 victory by .040.

The semi-finals started off with Prock’s under dog day coming to an end with him leaving before the tree was activated, giving the win to Larry Snow. Snow would face Morris in the final round, who had a single when Cronin could not make the call. In the final, Morris had a .085 light and never looked back for his second NSDA TE class win. Morris’ win moved him within 12 points of early season leader, Snow. Tiffany Januik and Leon Januik sit third and fourth respectively just a handful of points behind Morris.

Billy Morris

Larry Snow

Art Cronin

Frank Prock

Pro 1

The Pro 1 class saw a nice turnout of fifteen entries vying for the class win in Yuma. Round one saw a big upset as winner at the Season Opener Craig Durning was ousted in a close race against Mike Gazzeny. Low qualifier in the first round of eliminations was Tracy Malan with a .022 RT. The best Reaction Time of eliminations went to Joe Janoe in round two, but unfortunately for Joe he ran 3.698 (3.70) breaking out to hand the win to Todd Randolph. The first semi-final race saw Randolph and Malan face off in a pair of Altereds. Tracy left first .061 to .072 and ran 3.766 (3.73) for the win. The other side of the ladder saw another huge match up as 2008 NSDA Pro 1 champ Mike Erwin faced off with the always tough Bill “Wild Willie” Swim. Swim left first with a brilliant .003 RT to Erwin’s .044, but Erwin would run closer to the dial 3.623 (3.58) for a win by .004. This set the stage for a great Pro 1 final between Erwin’s Jeep and Malan’s Altered. Malan would tree Erwin .019 to .047, but Erwin once again ran close enough to the dial 3.600 (3.58) for a .009 Margin of Victory. Malan was closest to the dial in the class with a .003, 3.733 (3.73) in round one of eliminations. Todd Randolph is the surprise point leader after the first two races with Swim and Durning tied for second, just three points back.

Mike Erwin

Tracy Malan

Pro 2

A strong Pro 2 class showed up to compete in Yuma led by 2009 Season Opener winner Todd Kinney and 2008 NSDA Pro 2 champion Wes Johnson. Unfortunately for both, this would not be a great race. Johnson matched up with Gary Gosz in the “Rumble Bee” Bronco and went .004 on the tree (Best RT of eliminations); however, Johnson went too fast 4.024 (4.06) putting him out of action for the day. Kinney also had trouble with a .254 red light against Steve Anthony in round one action. This left the door open for someone else to take the Pro 2 class win.

Donnie Burns was the #1 qualifier in Pro 2 with a .007 RT in his round one win. Burns went on to defeat Jim Williams in round two, which would send him to the final round after a semi-final bye run. The other semi-final race would see Steve Anthony in his dragster face off with Nick Schulzman’s altered. Nick left first, .012 to .030, however Steve would drive around with a 3.938 (3.90) to send him to the final round. In the final, Burns left first in his Team Hardcore Bronco .042 to .054, but Anthony was able to run close to the dial 3.956 (3.90) for his first Pro 2 win of the 2009 season. Anthony’s win puts him atop the Pro 2 standings with Kinney second and Charlie Johnson sitting third. Chris Adamson was closest to his dial in Pro 2 eliminations running just .003 off in round one.

Steve Anthony

Donnie Burns

Pro 3

Pro 3 was once again one of the toughest bracket classes in competition throughout the weekend. Round one would see Charlie Johnson cut a .038 light in a win over Jim Clark to put him as the #1 qualifier and would stand as the best RT of eliminations in the class. Round two saw a huge upset as Fran McKinney laid down a great pass 4.343 (4.33) and .060 to defeat Season Opener Pro 3 winner Jose Beas despite his Closest to the Dial pass in Pro 3 running just .003 off his dial. McKinney moved on and once again ran very close to the dial with a 4.348 (4.33) to defeat Carlos Carrasco in the semi-final round. Waiting for Fran in the final round was low qualifier and 2008 NSDA Pro 3 champ Charlie Johnson. The final was a close race with Johnson taking the advantage off the line .056 to .065, then ran 4.451 (4.40) for a MOV of .046. Johnson’s win puts him twenty points ahead of Jose Beas in Pro 3 points heading into Primm. 

Charlie Johnson

Motorcycle Pro 1

The always tough Motorcycle Pro 1 class would see a first time winner in Yuma. Round one saw Mark Ratliff end up as #1 qualifier on a bye run win with a .040 RT. This would also be the Best RT in eliminations. In the semi-final round, 2008 NSDA MC Pro 1 champ Ryan Winkle would take out the #1 qualifier with a 4.179 (4.09). On the other side of the ladder, Brooks Ryan had a single run into the final over Ron Garnas. In a close final round race, the ’08 champ Winkle had the better RT, but could not hang on as Brooks Ryan ran 4.501 (4.39) to take home his first NSDA MC Pro 1 class win. Ryan Winkle holds the point lead heading into Primm and also had the Closest to the Dial pass in eliminations running .006 off his dial in round one of eliminations.

Brooks Ryan

Ryan Winkle

Motorcycle Pro 2

Motorcycle Pro 2 started off as it normally does, with Rob Winkle as the #1 qualifier after a first round RT of .083 in a win over Season Opener winner Brad DeForest. In round two, Winkle faced a tough challenge as Garrett Ratliff laid down the Best RT of eliminations with a .060, but Rob ran closer to the dial with a 4.827 (4.75) to advance to the final round. In the other match up of the round, Joey Weaver advanced to his first final round of the season with a 5.924 (5.80) to defeat Scott Kinney. This set up a great final round race between Winkle and Weaver. Winkle would take a .074 to .100 advantage, but he could not hold off Weaver who had a great Closest to the Dial run of eliminations 5.801 (5.80) to take his first win of the season. Weaver’s win moves him eight points ahead of Winkle for the class point series lead.

Joey Weaver

Rob Winkle

Pro Mod

The Pro Mod class saw four entries start out for this event in Yuma. Bob Gill repeated his low qualifying performance from the first race of the season, with what would be Low ET of the race, 3.400. Round one saw Clayton Record advance to the final with a 3.608 to defeat Jim DePasse, who made his Pro Mod debut with his Blown Roadster. Gill would get a first round single run when Francisco Anaya could not make the call. Gill was fortunate for the single on that run when he got out of shape and had to lift. In the final round, it was Record with a great .033 RT and holding on for the win with a 3.576 to defeat Gill. Gill leads the point standings heading into Primm.

Clayton Record

Bob Gill

Pro Index

Qualifying in the Pro Index class saw very close competition at the top of the sheet with two time defending Pro Index champ Justin Adamson scoring the top spot with a 3.960, just .001 ahead of number two qualifier Wes Johnson. The semi-final round started off with Adamson facing off with 2008 Pro Mod champ, Mike Erwin. Erwin didn’t leave anything on the table by laying down a pass that had both the Best RT in eliminations, a .006 RT and great 3.963 for the win. In the other match up, 2008 Pro 2 champ Wes Johnson narrowly missed the tree with a .006 red light, sending Jose Beas to the final round. In the final, Erwin took a .061 to .091 lead, but Jose ran a great race forcing the Swag Racing Jeep into a 3.947 (3.95) break out. Beas ran a 3.978 for his first Pro Index win of the season. Defending champ Adamson still holds the lead, only by 9 points heading into Primm over second place Jose Beas.

Jose Beas

Mike Erwin

Sportsman 1

A great turn out in the Sportsman 1 category saw twenty-five entries show up for round one of eliminations. Bruce Wood, driving Steve Anthony’s dragster, had a great .001 RT in a first round win over Todd Randolph to take the #1 qualifying spot and Best RT of eliminations. The semi-final round started with Frank Griffin advancing to his first Sportsman 1 final round with a win over a red lighting Larry Brown. Meeting up with Frank would be another first time finalist in Carlos Carrosco, who drove his Jeep to a semi-final round win over Kevin Erwin. In the final, Griffin got a little antsy with a .065 red light giving Carrosco his first NSDA victory with a 4.541 (4.50) in his Jeep.

Carlos Carrosco

Frank Griffin

Sportsman 2

Defending Sportsman 2 champ continued his domination of the class in Yuma. Taylor started off eliminations with a win over 2008 class runner-up Arend Schouten. Tom Cox, in his buggy, ended up as #1 qualifier in the class with a .087 RT in his victory over Israel Quintero. The semi-final round saw Taylor throw down the Best RT of eliminations with a nice .052 in defeat of a breaking out Tommy Mommer. That set up a final round match up between Taylor and Cox. Taylor once again took the starting line lead, with a .103 to .132 and held on with a great Closest to the Dial pass of 4.583 (4.56). Taylor continues to hold the class point standings after this Yuma event.

Justin Taylor

Tom Cox

Motorcycle Sportsman 1

After a domination of the first race of the season by the Winkle brothers, the rest of the class was looking for pay back this time in Yuma. However, the Winkle’s had other thoughts. Rob started off eliminations with a .055 RT, which would be #1 qualifier and earned him the round two bye run. After the first round shook out, Garrett Ratliff was the lone survivor that did not have the last name Winkle. Ryan Winkle would cut a stellar .035 (Best RT of eliminations) and hang on to advance to the final round against his brother. In the final, Ryan red lighted it away on the starting line, ending up with the opposite result of the Season Opener. Rob’s win ties him with his broth Ryan for the point lead after two races.

Rob Winkle

Ryan Winkle

Motorcycle Sportsman 2

Eight entries headed into competition in the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class vying for the class win. Round one saw some great RT’s with Garrett Ratliff ending up as #1 qualifier and Best RT of eliminations with a .001in a win over Rob Winkle. Another great first round run saw Mark Ratliff run Closest to the Dial in the class with a 4.516 (4.50). The semi-final round started off with father-son facing off, and Mark killing the tree with a great .018 RT to take a win over Garrett. In the other match up, Scott Kinney took the win over Michael Dalton. In the final round, it was Ratliff once again with a great .009 RT, but he didn’t need it as Kinney fouled it away at the tree handing Mark his first NSDA win. Ratliff also took the class point lead with Rob Winkle sitting second heading into Primm.

Mark Ratliff

Scott Kinney

Junior Dragster

T. Graham drove his Rhino to the Junior Dragster class win in the final round over Elli Carroll. Graham ran a great 8.114 (8.10) for the win. Carroll was Closest to the Dial in her first round win with a 6.410 (6.40) while Graham had the Best RT with a .085, also in round one. Carroll is tied with A. Ratliff for the points lead heading into Primm.

T. Graham

Photos Courtesy C3 Productions – http://www.c3productions.net or http://www.myspace.com/c3productionsphotos.

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