Ionia PTN/TA Shootout July '09 Race Recap

lead.jpgIonia Sand Drags in Ionia, MI held presented their Top Alcohol Shootout alongside the 2009 Pro Truck Nationals series at their July event. Cool conditions and cloudy skies made for great horse power weather and the numbers recorded were evidence of that. Let’s take a look at the action.

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Photos Courtesy Lone Star Graphics.

Pro Truck


The 2009 Pro Truck Nationals series Pro Truck class continued on with their third race of the season at this Ionia event. Ben Dozeman was the #1 qualifier in the class with a 3.547 in the 18 entry field. Round one saw a key match up in the championship chase as the Rich Simon and Steve Bobeldyk, who were both tied for the point series lead faced off. Simon’s transbrake did not hold causing a stage foul and handing the round win to the Compromised team.

In round two, Bobeldyk would face off with Trent Everett, Jr. where Everett would take the win. Eliminations wore on to the semi-final round where Jay Poortenga would get the lucky bye run into the final round. The match up in that round would see Mike Page’s Blazer go up against Brent Lokker’s Jeep. Brent would get out of shape by 60’ causing him to lift and giving Page the trip to the final round. In a wild final round, the win light would come on in Page’s lane; however it would be Poortenga taking the win. Jay would break out with a 3.57 (3.60), but Page would cross the center line and take out the finish line reflector disqualifying himself. Page’s win moved him into championship contention heading into the final race of the PTN series.

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Jay Poortenga

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Mike Page

4X4 Shootout

Ryan Wilson would be the lone entry in the 4x4 Shootout entry at Ionia after the McWethy team pushed out a head gasket during Friday’s Test and Tune. Ryan would take the win and also set a new B/4WD record at 3.41 seconds at this event with his Kentucky-based Altered.

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Ryan Wilson

3.5 Index

The PTN 3.5 Index has produced some of the tightest racing seen anywhere in the 2009 race season and this race was no exception. Ben Dozeman won the 3.5 Index class at the first two PTN races of the season and would earn a final round spot at Ionia after defeating Trent Everett Jr. in the semi-finals. Dozeman would face off with Matt Peel, driving Ed Engel’s Dragonfly buggy in the final round. The Bad Company Jeep of Dozeman would take the starting line advantage and force Peel into a break out for the win. Dozeman remained undefeated in the 3.5 Index class heading into the final PTN event of the season the next weekend at West Michigan Sand Dragway.

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Ben Dozeman

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Matt Peel

Top Alcohol Shootout

The Top Alcohol class was highly anticipated at this event with some high horse power cars coming to do battle in Michigan. Qualifying would see Pat Goodale record the first 2.4 TA pass east of Nevada. Pat ran a 2.485 pass in the second round of qualifying with his Ted Lirones-tuned Crude Awakening dragster. This would stand as a new Ionia Sand Drags track record. There was nearly another 2.4 pass in the final qualifying session as the Scheytt Family Bad Frog dragster of Rob Scheytt laid down an excellent 2.513 run for the #2 position. Oklahoma’s Rod Trower would set third in qualifying with his Friday night pass of 2.593.

Round one of eliminations kicked off with Goodale dispatching of Scott Scheytt’s Bad Frog Dragster. Scott’s brother Rob was up next and he won a close match over Bob Piunti 2.56 to 2.65. The final pair of the round saw some serious excitement as Rod Trower would take a close win with his Thunder dragster running a 2.70 to Jay Poortenga’s 2.68 in his Blown Profit dragster. Excitement ensued past the finish line as Poortenga kicked the burst panel out at about 250’ and motored down through the shut down area, fortunately Jay would get the car shut down and the only damage done was to four rows of corn at the end of the track.

The semi-final round kicked off with a mild upset as Trower’s Darren Mayer-tuned dragster would step up their performance to a 2.62 to defeat Scheytt’s troubled 2.67. Goodale would set down the gauntlet with a 2.53 on his semi-final round bye run. The final round would see an incredibly close race as Trower would drill Goodale to the tree .022 to .128, however Trower’s chute came out at the hit and slowed him to a 2.719 allowing Goodale to drive around for the win with a 2.572.

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Pat Goodale

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Rod Trower

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Rob Scheytt

Top Eliminator

At this event, the Top Eliminator class saw a four car field battle it out in a unique double elimination-style format. Qualifying saw Dee Trower driver her Fast Forward dragster to the top qualifying position with a great 2.960. California’s Bob Gill qualified second with a 3.032 followed by Michigan racers Brian Ambs (3.082) and Burt VanBennekom (3.182).

Round one saw VanBennekom pull the upset win over Trower on a huge hole shot 3.14 to 3.01. The other pair would also see the lower qualified car win as Ambs ran a great 3.00 to defeat Gill’s 3.06. Round two saw the losers from round one face off in an elimination match. Gill would advance on. Ambs would defeat Burt in the other match up netting himself a bye run in the next round. The next round would see VanBennekom narrowly defeat Gill in a 3.16 to 3.19 decision eliminating Gill. The last two left would be Ambs and VanBennekom. Ambs had zero losses, thus for VanBennekom to win he would have to beat Ambs twice. In the next round, Burt would put a hole shot on Brian and win a 3.13 to 3.12 decision. This set up a final round winner take all match up between the two. In the final, both cars turned hard left about 60’ out and a pedal fest ensued. The longer wheelbase Dragster of VanBennekom recovered quicker and ran a 3.29 to take the unique double elimination Top Eliminator win.

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Burt VanBennekom

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Brian Ambs

Quick 8

A tough group of fast bracket cars entered the Quick 8 class at this event. Qualifying was led by Bob Gill running a great 3.007. The bump spot in this quick field was a 3.57 by Mike Bolyard in his Bronco. Eliminations came down to a final round between Arizona’s Keith Ahart in his Second Urge dragster and Michigan’s Ed Engel with his Dragonfly buggy. In the final, Ahart took the starting line advantage, but would break out with a 3.45 (3.50) handing Engel the victory.

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Ed Engel

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Keith Ahart

Bracket Winners

Tim Holstege topped a tough Pro 1 class with his Altered, defeating Brent Lokker’s Jeep in the final round. The Sportsman car class was won by Andy Villemure in the ‘Lil Vill dragster defeating Frank Stover’s truck in the final round. Rich Wood doubled up in the ATV and Pro ATV classes on the night, defeating Hopper in the Pro ATV final and Chad Louth in the ATV class final round. Tristan Simon was the Junior class winner while Bennet Dozeman took home the hardware in the Mighty Midgets class.

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Tim Holstege

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Brent Lokker

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Andy Villemure

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Rich Wood

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Hopper McKerrnan

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Rich Wood

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Chad Louth

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Tristan Simon

Photo Bonus


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Trent Everett Jr. had a strong semi-final finish in the 3.5 Index class on Friday night.

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Frank Martuscelli made some impressive passes in Quick 8 and Pro 1 action over the weekend.

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Bob Piunti laid down a great 2.65 in round one of TA action, however Rob Scheytt edged him out on that pass.

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Brian Wagner thrilled the crowd with wheel stands throughout the weekend in Pro Truck action.

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Matt Willis defeated "Shocker" Matt Ewing in their Friday Night Grudge Match.

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Bob Gill qualified #1 in the Q8 class with a 3.007 as well as finished in the semi-finals of both the Q8 and Top Eliminator classes.

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