Dome Valley Top Fuel Shootout Feb '12 Race Recap

lead2.jpgThe 2012 sand drag racing season kicked off with a huge show at Dome Valley Raceway in Wellton, AZ. A Dome Valley Raceway record of over 200 entries turned out for the season opening Top Fuel Shootout event. This race also served as the first race for the 2012 NSRA point series, so racers are starting their quest for the season championships. Read on for the Race Recap.

Top Fuel

The 2012 version of the Top Fuel Shootout saw the big guns in the sport converge on Dome Valley Raceway aiming for the prestigious event victory. Qualifying was certainly a shootout with Scott Whipple throwing the first punch. The CANIDAE Fueler threw down a track record 2.24/169MPH to lead the pack after Q1. Alongside of Whipple on that pass, Terri Blair and the Fugowie dual-tire Dragster ran a great 2.43/141MPH. Unfortunately for Terri & the Fugowie team, she had some issues in the shutdown area, which resulted in a crash that would take them out for the weekend. Terri would emerge A-OK after the wild ride. Their 2.43 with a sub 1.00 (.989) 60’ would be the fourth quickest qualifying lap of the weekend. In Saturday’s first qualifying session, the Cadzow Motorsports Fueler of John Cadzow would lay down a sizzling 2.31/148MPH blast with a .961 60’ time to take the 2nd qualifying spot heading into race day. Six cars would make it to race day with the order being: Whipple, Cadzow, Matthew Ludlow (2.39), Marcus Norris (2.48), Dennis Rieck (2.49), and Shane Sanford (2.91).

The closest match pairing of round one would see the 4-5 qualifiers of Norris and Rieck face off. Dennis and the Hammer Down small-block Fueler would take the starting line advantage, but Norris would drive around with a personal best 2.44/147MPH to defeat Rieck’s 2.55/126MPH effort. The next pair would see two time and defending Top Fuel Shootout champion Matt Ludlow in the Coldwater Kid entry against Shane Sanford’s Lucas Oil - Frederosa’s Team Extreme Fueler. Ludlow would leave first and never look back with a great 2.33/157MPH hit to advance on over Sanford’s 2.74/147MPH. Cadzow would take it easy on his bye run, while top qualifier Whipple took it anything but easy by laying down Low ET of the round with a 2.28/163MPH run.

Round two of Top Fuel eliminations started with the CANIDAE team of Scott Whipple squaring off with the Pat Norris Racing/Sage & Sand Grill Fueler driven by Marcus Norris. Norris would get the starting line edge, but the Famous Amos Satterlee-tuned entry for Whipple drove by with a stout 2.26/167MPH blast to cover Norris’ game 2.48/148MPH. This would surely set up a battle between crew chiefs Famous Amos against John Aleman as the final pair of the round would be the Aleman-tuned entries of Cadzow & Ludlow. Ludlow took a nice starting line advantage of .104 in the Coldwater Kid/Sage & Sand Grill Fueler, but at the stripe his teammate Cadzow with the Cadzow Motorsports/WSM Auctioneers entry narrowly edged him in a 2.36/160MPH to 2.48/162MPH decision by just .017 at the stripe.

This would set up a huge final between the two quickest Top Fuel cars on the weekend. Both Satterlee and Aleman had their Fuelers cackling for the final round showdown. Whipple would take the starting line advantage, while Cadzow had a great .969 60’ time before breaking a blower belt not much further out. This allowed Whipple to cruise on to the win with a stellar 2.25/165MPH shot. Congrats to Scott, Amos, and the whole CANIDAE team on their huge victory with their impressive string of all five passes on the weekend in the 2.2 second range.

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Scott Whipple (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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John Cadzow (NSDN Photo)

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Matt Ludlow (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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Marcus Norris (NSDN Photo)

Top Alcohol

The Top Alcohol category headed into the 2012 season led by class champion Gary Mink and several other contenders aiming to knock him off of the top spot in the class. Qualifying saw last season’s runner-up Scott Carroll lead the pack in Q1 with a nice 2.56. Session two would see Mink make his first pass of the season and it would be a solid 2.46/134MPH blast, which would hold up for the top spot. Unfortunately for Gary, he would suffer some major engine damage that would sideline him until eliminations. Carroll’s Q2 2.54 would hold up for second spot; followed by Top Alcohol rookie Ashley Sanford with a great 2.55, veteran Central California campaigner David Morton with a 2.59, and Pedro Villa working out the bugs of his new combination.

With five entries in Top Alcohol, there would be one pair and three bye runs in the first round of eliminations. Morton and Villa would match up in the pair of the round. Villa sorted out his earlier issues with his “Villa’s Express” entry running a great 2.72, but in the other lane Morton would run a solid 2.55//135MPH run to move on to round two. Out of the bye runs, Scott Carroll in the Northern AZ Diesel Repair entry would run Low ET of the round with a great 2.510.

There was question heading into the round if defending class champion Mink would be able to make the round two call as his crew worked feverishly all the way up to the start of the round to get his entry ready for action. When the call was made to fire the engines, Mink and his Bad to the Bone team was ready for battle against the fellow Central California team of Morton Racing with David Morton behind the wheel. This would be one of the best side-by-side Top Alcohol races in recent history. They left together with RT’s within three-thousandths of a second, and at the stripe it would be the Champ taking the round win in a great 2.42 to 2.46 decision. Despite the loss, it was great to see the Morton team step up and run right with the Mink team. They should certainly be a contender at any race they attend in 2012. Speaking of contenders, on the other side of the ladder Carroll would face off with the Lucas Oil-Frederosa’s Team Extreme entry of Ashley Sanford. In this race, Sanford would stage foul handing the win to Carroll, who would run a 2.68 for the win.

The Top Alcohol final round looked familiar as Mink and Carroll would face off for the class victory. They split four final round battles during the 2011 season. This battle would be over at the starting line as Carroll’s car crept through the beams, which turned on the red light and handed the win to Mink. Gary ran a solid 2.44/142MPH lap to take the victory. Congrats to Gary & the whole Bad to the Bone team on their great start to 2012.

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Gary Mink (NSDN Photo)

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Scott Carroll (NSDN Photo)

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David Morton (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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Ashley Sanford (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

Top Eliminator

Top Eliminator looks like it certainly will be ultra competitive in the new 2012 race season. Qualifying for the first race of the new season was brutal with 2011 class runner-up Paul Taylor taking the Good Vibrations Motorsports #1 Qualifying Award with a Perfect 2.950. Paul Graham sat second with a 2.971 while 2011 class champion Jim Rossi ran a 2.978 in the Bad Toy Dragster & “2 Dolla’ Bill” Billy Morris rounded out the top half of the field with a 3.01. Just showing how tough this category is, Larry Snow’s 3.03 (just .08 off the Index) was only good enough for the seventh qualifying position.

With breakage cutting the field down to 9 racers, the 8-9 qualifiers faced off in the Race-In Round. Todd Kinney in his screw-blown Jeep faced off with Ron D’Artenay’s Red Warrior Dragster. Ron’s struggles continued as Todd laid down a solid 3.03 to defeat Ron’s 3.33. Kinney & the Team UTI crew moved on to face off with top qualifier Taylor. Todd would take a .076 to .163 RT edge and run his first two-second pass with a 2.99 to pull off the upset over Paul’s 3.00. Next up would be two tough customers as Morris would face off with Washington’s Carey Mahoney in the “Big Time” Funny Car. Billy would pull a stellar .047 RT and use that lead to take a 3.06 to 2.97 holes hot win. All eyes were on the starting line as the two Blown Alcohol BBC-powered Buggies of Graham and Larry Snow pulled to the starting line. This would be one of the best races of the weekend as Paul took a slight starting line advantage and hung on for the win in a side-by-side 2 second battle, 2.98 to a losing 2.99. The final pair would see the defending champ Rossi pull up to the line against the always tough Tim Martin, from New Mexico. Rossi would take three-hundredths of a second advantage at the tree, and run a solid 2.96 to force Martin into a 2.942 breakout.

The semi-final round saw four of the toughest racers shooting for the event victory. The first pair was a battle between many time TE winner Billy Morris in the “2 Dolla’ Bill” Dragster against Todd Kinney in his first ever TE race with his Team UTI Blown Jeep. Morris dodged a bullet in this round as his car crept forward on him while staging and he was able to hold it back just enough to cut a .001 RT, while in the other lane Kinney had a great launch before destroying the rear end about 30’ out. Morris would pedal to a 3.19 victory. The next pair would see the “Excavator” Buggy of Paul Graham battle with the “Bad Toy” Dragster of Jim Rossi. Graham would leave first .131 to .133, but at the stripe Rossi ran a 2.971 to defeat Graham’s 2.976 by just three-thousandths of a second.

Sunday evening was finals time as the two California-based Blown Alcohol Dragsters squared off. There was high anticipation of this battle as Morris and Rossi certainly cemented themselves as the top cars in the class over the course of the weekend. This battle would be over at the tree, though, as Morris cut another great .036 RT to Rossi’s .185 and Morris would pedal to a 2.98 to 2.93 victory. Congrats to Billy and the whole Morris Family Racing team on their great start to 2012.


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Billy Morris (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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Jim Rossi (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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Todd Kinney (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

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Paul Graham (NSDN Photo)

Fast Fours

The Turbocharged four-cylinder warriors of the Fast Fours category set records and had close competition from start to finish in 2011. They certainly came ready for more of the same at the 2012 Season Opener. Qualifying saw Daniel King shoe the Animal Control Dragster tuned by his grandfather DL to the top spot with a stellar 2.808. Right behind him was John Cronin running a 2.83 in his first full pass behind the wheel of “Meltdown 2” that the Cronin Racing team just purchased from Mike Rasmussen. Aaron Mamer ran a 3.02 for the third position with 2011 champ Art Cronin going into Sunday fourth with a 3.06. 2011 Season Finale winner Don Diffenbaugh experienced issues in qualifying & could not make it to Eliminations on Sunday.

With a four car ladder on Sunday, the first pair saw the top qualifier King face off with the defending champion Art Cronin. Unfortunately for Cronin his problems continued with a slow launch, and King made a nice clean 2.93/110MPH run to advance on. In the next pair, John Cronin rolled up to the line against Mamer in the famed Sidewinder Dragster. Mamer had his usual stellar .087 RT; however Cronin ran a great 2.87 to drive around the 3.16 for the Sidewinder team.

This set up a final round between Daniel King and John Cronin. Again tough luck set in for the Cronin Racing team as John had to shut off the car after they fired it for the final, handing King a single run for the victory. Daniel legged out the Animal Control Dragster to a 2.88 for the Fast Fours victory. Congrats to Daniel, DL, and the whole Animal Control team on their Season Opening victory.

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Daniel King (NSDN Photo)

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John Cronin (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

Pro Outlaw FE

Three great Front Engine entries made the trek to Dome Valley for the Top Fuel Shootout Season Opener. Qualifying saw Bob Gill lead the pack with a stellar 2.92/116MPH run with his Funny Jeep. Frank Prock’s Triple Nickel Funny Car ran a stout 3.07/104MPH with his unique sideways-mounted Blown Alcohol combination. Michigan’s Jay Poortenga turned up the Nitrous in his small block Chevy-powered Altered to run a 3.18/100MPH to take the third qualifying position.

Round one saw the 2-3 match up between Prock and Poortenga. This one was over at the starting line as Prock would turn on the red light and Poortenga ran a solid 3.22/101MPH to advance on. On his round one bye run, Bob Gill would have issues and have to shut off early.

This set up a Big Block versus Small Block final round battle between Gill and Poortenga. In the final, Poortenga would take a .063 to .141 starting line edge, but his Altered would turn hard to the left forcing him to lift before 60’. In the other lane, Bob Gill would drift right and lift early, but still take home the Pro Outlaw FE victory with a 3.04/91MPH. Congrats to Bob, Joe, and the entire Gill-Bettencourt Motorsports team.

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Bob Gill (NSDN Photo)

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Jay Poortenga (NSDN Photo)

Pro Brackets

The Pro 1 class put on a great show at Dome Valley as always with the final round coming down to Pro Outlaw FE finalist Poortenga in his Drag Nasty Funny Jeep against Steve Foster in his Impatient Too Funny Jeep. When the tree dropped, Foster took a slight lead .025 to .050, but Jay ran close enough to his dial with a 3.599 (3.54) to take the victory at the stripe.


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Jay Poortenga (NSDN Photo)

Pro 2 saw two of the toughest competitors in the class face off for the big money as Steve Anthony’s Insandity Dragster squared off against Steve Foster Jr.’s Impatient Jeep. Foster would leave first, but just like in his dad’s Pro 1 final round, Anthony would run closer to his dial with a 3.816 (3.81) to take the win.

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Steve Anthony (NSDN Photo)

In the Pro 3 Final, Alan Mamer’s “Snake” Buggy paired up with Jim Clark in his “Slow Goer” Jeep. Mamer would use a solid .027 RT and 4.804 (4.70) to take the win.

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Alan Mamer (NSDN Photo)

Two of the best Motorcycle Pro 1 racers put on a great final round as California racers Mark Ratliff & Brad Olson paired up. Ratliff left first .056 to .073, and drove the other end just right to take a double break out with a 4.315 (4.35) to Olson’s 4.158 (4.20).

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Mark Ratliff (NSDN Photo)

Shawna Mayo capped off a solid weekend with her first big race win by taking the Motorcycle Pro 2 victory. Shawna lined up against MP1 winner & 2011 champion Mark Ratliff in the final. Mayo took the starting line advantage, and forced Ratliff into breaking out more than her in a double break out decision.

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Shawna Mayo (NSDN Photo)

A huge field of Open Pro competitors battled it down to a final round between Nevada racer Bill Cole in his T-Bucket against Yuma local Kenny Thomas in the Swag-Nastee Jeep. When the tree dropped, Cole’s .097 RT was the better of the two and his 4.151 (4.10) was enough to force Thomas into a break out.

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Bill Cole (NSDN Photo)

The Motorcycle Open Pro final round came down to first-time finalist Angel Estevez against the always tough Garrett Ratliff. Angel would have the advantage off the line .092 to .136, and that edge would be enough to take the win in a close double break out decision.

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Angel Estevez (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

This event saw two ATV Index categories contested. Arizona emerged victorious in both of those classes as Lance Root took the 3.75 Index category while Keith Ahart ran great in taking the 4.00 Index victory.

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Keith Ahart (NSDN Photo)

Sportsman Brackets

Sportsman 1 came down to a couple of out of town racers as Nevada’s Jessie Weston battled with Washington’s Jack Bone in an all-Jeep final round. Weston got the starting line edge and never looked back as he took the win with a 4.193 (3.90).

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Jessie Weston (NSDN Photo)

Alan Mamer’s big weekend continued as he took his second class win of the weekend with the Sportsman 2 class final round. Mamer and his Buggy lined up against Chele Van Horn’s Yuma-based Jeep. Chele turned on the red light while Alan had a great .032 RT and 4.759 (4.72).

Collin Barnella scored the Motorcycle Sportsman 1 class win over MP1 champion Mark Ratliff in a great race. Barnella would leave first .146 to .172 and his 4.244 (4.12) was closer to his dial for the win.

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Collin Barnella (NSDN Photo)

The Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class final saw Phoenix area racer Grant Hutchinson take the win. Grant paired up with MP2 winner Shawna Mayo, and Mayo broke out with a 5.959 (6.00) handing the win to Hutchinson.

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Grant Hutchinson (NSDN Photo)

The Junior Dragster class saw a great battle between Lauren Rodriguez and Aimee Mamer. Both racers killed the tree with Mamer taking a slight advantage .050 to .056. At the stripe, Rodriguez would go slightly too quick with a 5.982 (6.00) handing 2011 class champ Mamer the win. Dakota Barnella (Kids) and Emmanuel Beas (Youth) rounded out the Junior class winners on the weekend.

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Aimee Mamer (NSDN Photo)

Friday Bracket Classes

Friday afternoon saw some great bracket racing at this event with three unique classes in competition. The Pro Truck class was contested for the first time on the west coast with sponsorship from Pro Truck Nationals - www.ProTruckNationals.com. 17 entries made the call for first round, and there was great action throughout eliminations. This day would belong to Charlie Johnson in his “Back In Black” Jeep as his great .018RT and 4.420 (4.40) took the win over Steve Foster Jr. The Quick 8 bracket class also saw some amazingly close action throughout eliminations. Wes Gilmore would emerge the winner in an all-Funny Jeep final round with Steve Foster. Wes ran a 3.660 (3.60) for the win. Motorcycle Ironman ended up being an all-run Sportsman tree category, and Lance Root would take his second class win of the weekend in this category. In the final, Shawna Mayo turned on the red bulb by just .034, which gave Lance the big win.

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Charlie Johnson (NSDN Photo)

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Wes Gilmore (NSDN Photo)

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Lance Root (Crazy Photo Squad Photo)

Photos Courtesy Crazy Photo Squad (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) & NSDN

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