PTN WMSD July '11 Race Recap

lead.jpgThe Pro Truck Nationals (PTN) series held their 2011 point series finale at West Michigan Sand Dragway in Mears, MI on July 15-16. This race lived up to all the hype with some of the best racing seen anywhere all season, and amazing point series finishes. Check out the great photos in this recap by our friends at Lonestar Graphics. Gary & Michelle did a superb job at this even capturing all of the action. To view all of their photos, go to www.LoneStarGraphics.com.

Pro Truck

The PTN Pro Truck class championship was still very much up in the air heading to the final point series race of 2011. Lee Reynders held a slim lead over Kip Martin & Mike Page with Jim Brantley and Eric Gallay also having shots at the title. Qualifying was crucial with bonus points on the line and all the contenders trying to chop the tree down to earn these points. 2009 PTN Pro Truck champion Ben Dozeman laid it all out on the line and earned the #1 qualifier bonus points with a .004RT followed closely by Gallay with a .022 & Martin with a .026. Jay Poortenga ended up as the #1 ET qualifier with a 3.53 while Dozeman gobbled up more points ending up second with a 3.69 & Dave Kramer came in third with a 3.70.

There was some great racing in round one of eliminations. All five points contenders advanced on. Ryan Poortenga took the closest win of the round over Dale Flaugher by just .021. Round two kicked off with #1 qualifier Dozeman in his Bad Company Jeep facing off with the Ghost Rider Jeep of Ken Jackson. Ken would turn on the red bulb, handing the win to Dozeman with a 3.687 (3.60). Next up would be Neal Swain his SBC-powered Jeep against Mike Pages Blown SBC-powered Blazer. They would leave together, but at the stripe Neal’s 4.240 (4.20) forced Page into a 3.628 (3.70) break out. Two title contenders would line up next as Kip Martin in his Blown BBC-powered Primal Scream Jeep faced off with Jim Brantley’s SBC-powered Insandity Funny Jeep. Brantley would take a slim lead at the line, but Martin would track him down with a 3.767 (3.70) for a margin of victory being just .023. The next pair would see point series spoilers the father/son team of Jay & Ryan Poortenga face of, or at least that’s what the plan was. Ryan would be unable to get his Track Attack SBC-powered Funny Jeep started, handing the win to Jay’s Drag Nasty Funny Jeep with a 3.603 (3.50). Point series leader Lee Reynders in his SBC-powered Jeep would face off with 2010 PTN Pro Truck champion Dave Kramer in the Super Toy Jeep. Reynders would cut a great .014RT and force Kramer into a 3.674 (3.70) break out. Tom Hartman’s SBC-powered Blazer would turn on the win light over a red lighting Scott Papenhagen in his BBC-powered Jeep & #2 qualifier Gallay would take the round two bye run. So, after round two it was down to two contenders for the title as Page was defeated & Gallay was mathematically eliminated from title contention.

Round three kicked off with Swain throwing down a .001RT on Dozeman & taking the win with a 4.270 (4.20). Next up would see Illinois’ Gallay take a big win over Poortenga with a .053RT & 3.928 (3.90). The next pair would be a huge match up as points leader Reynders would battle against the always tough Tom Hartman in his trademark Blazer. Reynders would leave first .035 to .059 and edge out Tom at the stripe with a 4.451 (4.40) for the win. That round win was critical for Reynders as Martin took the round three bye run & would have clinched the title if Lee had lost.

The semi-final round was up next and the tension was building as four of the best Pro Truck racers throughout the season rolled into the lanes. First pair up would be Martin, still in pursuit of the title, against Neal Swain. Swain would play the role of spoiler on this day as his .022RT and 4.220 (4.20) eliminated Martin from contention for the race win as well as the championship. This would make Lee Reynders the 2011 PTN Pro Truck class champion. Lee’s work would not be done as he rolled to the line in the next pair against Gallay. The champ would cut a psychic .004RT, but in his excitement the fuel pump was not turned on causing the car to shut off and handing Gallay the trip to the final round with a 3.938 (3.90). This set up a great final round between two first time PTN series Pro Truck finalists with Swain & Gallay. Both drivers would drill the tree as Swain took a slight .013 to .016 advantage, but at the stripe it would be Gallay running closer to his Index with a 3.938 (3.90) for the win. This was one of the best battles all year long and will be remembered all winter. This would be Gallay’s first PTN Pro Truck class victory, and it would move him past Martin for second in the final point standings.

Final PTN Pro Truck Point Standings
1. Lee Reynders 65
2. Eric Gallay 58
3. Kip Martin 57
4. Ben Dozeman 46
5. Mike Page 46

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Eric Gallay

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Neal Swain

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Lee Reynders

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Kip Martin

Pro Outlaw FE

The 2011 PTN Pro Outlaw FE championship was all but clinched heading into the season’s final event at WMSD. Kathy Ellington’s win at the Season Opener in Cleves coupled with a runner-up in Kentucky put her in the driver’s seat for the title with just the Team Richards entry driven by Rich Simon on this weekend with an outside shot. Qualifying saw the return of “The Boss” driven by Brian McWethy. The McWethy team suffered major damage at the Season Opener in Cleves, but was able to get a new motor together for this event. The maiden voyage on the motor would be in Q1 and it would be a spectacular 3.103/103MPH blast to earn the #1 qualifying spot. Jay Poortenga pulled the body off of Drag Nasty and turned the Nitrous up to run a 3.306 for the second spot followed by points leader Kathy Ellington, earning one bonus point for the third qualifying position with a 3.355.

Round one started off with the #1 qualifier McWethy pairing up with Simon, the number five qualifier. The screw-blown power of McWethy would prevail with a nice 3.095/105MPH to dispatch Simon’s 3.388. This run would also clinch the 2011 PTN Pro Outlaw FE championship for Kathy Ellington. Ellington would be next to the line and turn on the win light with a 3.37 over newcomer Dave Billings. #2 qualifier Poortenga would run a 3.33 to defeat the Wilson-Steele Connection Racing Altered of Matt Wilson, who ran a 3.45. The final pair of the round would see Dan Wies in the potent Missouri-based Wies Racing SBC-powered Altered against Steve DeLeeuw’s Blown BBC-powered Bodacious Altered. DeLeeuw was unable to make qualifying, so he was seeded eighth heading into eliminations. Steve would throw away Low ET of the weekend with a 3.026/109MPH shot on a red light handing the win to Wies’ game 3.429/97MPH.

The second round started with some drama as the newly crowned champ Ellington put up a valiant effort to get the Black Widow started in the lanes, but was unsuccessful. This gave McWethy a single to the final round, where they would just stage the car & advance on. Rounding out this session would be Poortenga versus Wies in a battle of SBC-powered Altereds. Poortenga’s nitrous-assisted entry had that little extra power to take the victory in a 3.34 to 3.41 decision.

Both finalists had been running great all day long after qualifying in the top two positions. When the tree came down, Poortenga would take a .081 to .172 RT lead, but at the stripe it would be the screw-blown power of McWethy tracking him down for a 3.095/108MPH to 3.324/96MPH victory. This would be the McWethy team’s first PTN Pro Outlaw FE class victory.

Final PTN Pro Outlaw FE Point Standings
1. Kathy Ellington 64
2. Team Richards 39
3. Wies Racing 38

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Brian McWethy

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Jay Poortenga

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Kathy Ellington

3.5 Index

The PTN 3.5 Index class saw a series record 17 entries show up to compete for the big money on Friday night. Missouri’s John Dreher held the point series lead heading into the final night of racing for the second year in a row. With Brian Harrison not making the haul to MI, Kathy Ellington was the only other racer with a shot at knocking Dreher out of championship contention.

Dreher would face a tough opponent in round one with Ryan Poortenga in the Track Attack Funny Jeep. The Dreher Race Cars Altered would suffer an untimely Nitrous backfire on the line, taking him out in round one and opening the door for Ellington’s shot at the title. Ellington would face a tough customer in round one against Matt Peel, driving Ed Engel’s Dragonfly Buggy. Ellington would take the starting line advantage and use a 3.515 to force Peel into a 3.447 break out.
Round two would kick off with 2010 PTN 3.5 Index champion Dan Wies up against Ryan VanBennekom in his Mopar-powered Dragster. Wies would have trouble getting the potent N/A SBC up to launch RPM allowing Ryan to get a big hole shot lead and the win. Next up would be the Backdraft Dragster of Dave DeLoof up against the Richards Auto Parts Funny Jeep of Rich Simon. DeLoof would get a touch too antsy and turn on the red bulb by just .001 handing the win to Simon’s 3.473. The third pair of the round would see Poortenga’s Funny Jeep pair up with Missouri’s David Risher in his SBC-powered Altered. Poortenga would leave first .046 to .065 and hold on in an extremely close 3.596 to 3.585 decision. The next pair would decide the championship fate as Ellington would face off with Roger Jareo’s twin turbo BBC-powered Dragster. An Ellington round win here would earn her the Round 3 bye run & clinch the championship for her, while a defeat would hand the title to Dreher. On this night, Jareo would play the spoiler as his .039RT and 3.581 would be enough to defeat Ellington. This run would clinch the 2011 PTN 3.5 Index championship for John Dreher. Jay Poortenga would close the round with a 3.57 on his bye run.

The third round started with a bizarre match up as VanBennekom appeared to handily defeat Simon, but VanBennekom jumped the guard beam causing a break out and advancing the RichardsAutoParts.com Funny Jeep to the semi-final round. The next pair would see the father-son Poortenga match up as Jay would lay down a great 3.513 to put away Ryan’s 3.637. Jareo would run a nice 3.531 on his bye run.

Two veterans of WMSD action would start off the semi-finals as Poortenga and Jareo put their cars in the beams. Jareo would leave first .038 to .050 and force Poortenga into a 3.494 break out with a 3.561/89MPH win. Jareo would meet Simon in the final, who had problems on his semi-final bye run. In the final, it was all Jareo as he took a .066RT to a 3.514 to 3.527 victory. This would be Jareo’s first PTN 3.5 Index class victory.

Final PTN 3.5 Index Point Standings
1. John Dreher 50
2. Kathy Ellington 41
3. Rich Simon 36
4. Brian Harrison 33
5. Ben Dozeman 30

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Roger Jareo

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Rich Simon

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John Dreher had this nasty nitrous back fire, but still hung on for the 2011 PTN 3.5 Index championship.

Saturday Classes

The Quick 8 Pro ATV class boiled down to SHOCKER Racing domination as Matt Ewing took the final round win over Dylan Beld as well as the 2011 PTN Quick 8 Pro ATV class championship. Ewing edged out Brian Snikeris & Brad Adams for the title. An all-Buggy final round came to the line for the Quick 8 Cars class as Matt Peel would edge out Frank Martuscelli for the victory. Jim Brantley emerged victorious over Tim Holstege in the Pro 1 Cars final. Matt Ewing took the Pro ATV victory in an all-SHOCKER Racing final round over his dad, Steve Ewing. Pro Truck class runner-up Neal Swain turned on the win light in the Sportsman Car final round over John Schultz. Chloe Simon took her first ever ATV class victory defeating Rick McComas in the final round. Caitlynn Page (Junior ATV), Garrett Curtis (Junior Dragster), and Havannah Wagner (Mighty Midgets) took home the Kids class wins.

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Matt Ewing

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Matt Peel

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Jim Brantley

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Neal Swain

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Chloe Simon

Friday Night Classes

The always popular Sportsman Truck class was contested on Friday night of this event with NSDN Editor Tom Bray coming out on top defeating Ken Jackson in the final round. SHOCKER Racing domination continued in the ATV classes at Steve Ewing took the Friday night ATV win over Dylan Beld.

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Tom Bray

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Steve Ewing

Photos Courtesy - Lone Star Graphics.

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