Atoka Heartland Nats May '10 Race Recap

lead.jpg2010 marked the 12th edition of the Heartland Nationals at Atoka Motorsports Park in Atoka, OK. This year’s version saw the trademark warm temps & high humidity, but lacked the passing rain storms throughout the weekend that are normally seen in SE Oklahoma this time of year. This set the scene for another great Heartland Nationals with racers coming in from as far away as Washington, Arizona, California, and Michigan for this event.

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Top Alcohol


The Top Alcohol field saw four quality entries make the haul to Atoka for this annual event. Oklahoma was represented by Rod Trower & the Trower Racing team with his “Thunder” TA Dragster. Missouri’s John Moreland returned to the track with his new look “AMSOil” Dragster. Pat Goodale hauled in from Michigan with his Ted Lirones-tuned Crude Awakenings TA Dragster. Last but not least, was last year’s event winner Scott Carroll, from Arizona, with his TA Track Record holding entry.

In qualifying, it was Scott Carroll’s first attempt at the track that would set Low ET of the weekend with him and Dan Allen putting the car near the TA Track Record with a 2.736 hit. Pat Goodale would follow closely behind with a great 2.76 in the Friday night qualifying session. John “Johnny Speed” Moreland put on a show Friday night with a huge wheel stand on a pass that looked like it could go to the top spot before he had to lift. He would come back and slide into the #3 qualifying spot with a 2.94. Rod Trower’s crew worked their tails off to get his “Thunder” Dragster prepared to make Saturday’s qualifying rounds and ran a 2.94 to put him in the show.

Round one kicked off with Goodale and Moreland facing off. The AMSOil entry of Moreland got off to a hole shot start and looked to be running away with the round win until the burst panel kicked out, allowing Goodale to go by with a 2.87/119mph pass. Goodale would move on to the final, while Moreland’s team put together a good showing for the first time back at the track in some time and with a whole new crew. The next pair would see #1 qualifier Carroll face off with Trower. This race would be over at the starting line as Carroll would turn on the red bulb by just .006, advancing Trower to the final round. Carroll would run a 2.90 on that pass while Trower experienced massive tire shake before kicking the burst panel out.

Upon inspection of the car, Rod’s crew, led by Pro Mod racer Chris Russo at this event, found a problem with the blower that would take him out of competition for the day. This would give Pat Goodale a single to the TA class victory. Ted Lirones threw as much as he could at the track in the final round single. However, the surface just couldn’t handle it as Pat would blister the tires to a 2.88/131mph shot. The Goodale-Lirones team put up a solid effort throughout qualifying and put their car in victory lane on race day.

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Pat Goodale

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Rod Trower

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John Moreland

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Scott Carroll

Top Eliminator

There was great anticipation for the Top Eliminator class heading into the Heartland Nationals. Rod & Dee Trower put up a great purse for this class, ensuring that the winner will have an excellent pay day. 16 high quality TE entries converged on Atoka for this event with 5 states represented; Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan, Washington, and Texas.

Qualifying was definitely a battle. In round one, Washington’s Carey Mahoney struck the first shot as he laid down a great 2.99 off the trailer to lead the pack. Carey was definitely the early favorite as in round two of qualifying he would run another 2.99. However, late in the round it was Atoka local Robert Smith, who would steal the top spot away with a sizzling 2.970. So, Smith would hold the top spot heading into Saturday. The third qualifying session would see things change up again as Michigan’s Lori Goodale would get even closer to the Index with a .007-over 2.957 to lead the pack. She would hold on to the top spot through the final session to lead the class into Sunday’s eliminations.

At this event, a unique ladder structure was put together with the #1-8 qualifiers racing on one side of the ladder & #9-16 on the other side. This put together some interesting strategies that we would see play out on race day. Amazingly enough, this field was so tough that it took a 3.080 to crack into the top half of the field.

Competition would be rough on this day as evidenced by a myriad of first round upsets, including #1 qualifier Lori Goodale & last year’s event champion Terry Glasscock both with early exits. The second round would kick off with Texas’ Courtney Stidham facing off with Missouri’s Karen Hauser. Stidham led this one wire to wire carding his best pass of the weekend with a 3.019. Next out would be Washington’s Carey Mahoney versus Missouri’s Stacey Sieg. Mahoney would continue his trek through eliminations with a 3.03 to 3.07 close victory over Sieg. Next up would be Stacey’s brother, Jeff Sieg, versus Michigan’s Burt VanBennekom. Burt would take a big hole shot lead, but the NOS-assisted Small Block Chrysler could not hang on as Jeff would pass him in the lights for a 3.07 to 3.21 victory with a .006 Margin of Victory. The final pair of the round would see two Turbo 4-cylinder dragsters face off as Nathan Dial and Kenny Kapple came up to the line. Dial would lead this one wire to wire for a 3.21 to 3.29 win.

This would set up a final four with Texas, Washington, Missouri, and Oklahoma all represented. The first pair would see the Blown Alcohol Small Block Chevy Dragster “Twisted” of Courtney Stidham face off with Washington’s own Carey Mahoney in his Blown Alcohol Big Block Chevy-powered Dragster. Stidham would be holding nearly nine-hundredths of a second passing the tree and would not look back to advance to the final in a 3.02 to 3.00 hole shot decision. Next up would be the BIG Big Block Chevy-powered Dragster of Thunder Valley Sand Drags’ own Jeff Sieg facing off with the Turbo 4-cylinder “All Dial’d In” Dragster of Nathan Dial. Both drivers would cut exceptional RT’s with Sieg having the advantage .405 to .432, and at the other end Sieg would hold on for a 3.04 to 3.18 victory.

At this point, 16 tough entries are cut down to just two. The last two standing would represent a Texas versus Missouri showdown for the big money.  This one would be decided on the starting line as Stidham laid down a .462 RT to Sieg’s .606, and never looked back for another hole shot victory, 3.02 to 3.01. Congrats to Courtney, Jackie, and the whole Twisted Team on their huge Top Eliminator win at the 12th Annual Heartland Nationals.

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Courtney Stidham

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Jeff Sieg

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Carey Mahoney

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Nathan Dial

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Lori Goodale

Quick 16’s

A staple of the Heartland Nationals is the Quick 16 Shootouts on Friday night. The quickest 16 racers in the cars and quads classes from the day’s test and tune face off with a big money payout. This year’s edition would see the final round of the Q16 Cars class come down to Jessie Wyche in his front engine V8 Buggy facing off against Dustin Moore in the “Ground Loop” 4 cylinder-powered Buggy. At the finish line, it would be Wyche taking home the trophy & and the winner’s share of the prize money. In the Q16 Quads class, it came down to Randy Kimbley against who else, but the always tough Bobby Kincaid. Once again, Bobby would have the magic touch and pull out the big victory.

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Jessie Wyche

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Bobby Kincaid

Bracket Classes

Pro 1 Cars is always a tough category at the Heartland Nationals. This year, the final round would come down to Kenny Kapple versus Marc Luce. Both drivers had problems, but it would be Kapple recovering quicker to take a huge win at the Heartland Nationals. In the Pro 1 Quads class, the final round came down to Rick Lovelace against Kevin Self. Lovelace would drive around Self at the other end to take home the Heartland Nationals title. Other big winners in the bracket classes on the weekend include Michael Tomlinson (Pro 2 Quads), Tony Pierce (Pro 3 Quads), Bevan Smith (Pro 4 Quads), and Marli Nagel (Peewees).

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Kenny Kapple

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Marc Luce

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Rick Lovelace

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Wyatt Fomby

Photos Courtesy - Lone Star Graphics

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