Atoka Heartland Nationals '12 Race Recap

Atoka Motorsports Park held their 14th Annual Heartland Nationals over Memorial Day Weekend. This has traditionally been a great event held in the Heartland of America, and this year's edition certainly didn’t disappoint. Also in 2012, this is the first event for the Inaugural season of the Mid-America Sand Drag Series. Racers got a jump start on the competition as they strive to win the season long championships. Here is a recap of all the action from Atoka.



Top Alcohol

With many of the other Top Alcohol regulars at this event having prior commitments on this weekend, Rod Trower ended up being the only entry in his “Thunder” BAE Hemi-powered Dragster. This gave Rod & his crew, led by Mike & Jeff Strasburg of B&J Transmissions as well as NHRA Top Fuel fame, a great opportunity to learn more about and improve the car. This is exactly what they did as they ran quicker each pass throughout the weekend culminating in an amazing 2.634 on Sunday afternoon. The 2.634 pass would be just one-thousandth (.001) of a second off of the Atoka Motorsports Park track record set by Gary Mink in 2011. This certainly gives the team great confidence heading into the remainder of the 2012 Mid-America Sand Drag Series.


Rod Trower

Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator class at this year’s Heartland Nationals saw seven entries vying for the elusive class victory. Qualifying was brutal with Dee Trower running an amazing 2.951 (2.95 class Index) off of the trailer on Friday, which would hold up for the top spot. Courtney Stidham’s 3.05 and Robert Smith’s 3.07 would be good enough for the second and third qualifying spots respectively, however both would suffer parts breakage and not make the call for eliminations.

Round one started off with Dee Trower running a solid 2.966 in her “Fast Forward” Blown SBC-powered Dragster. Next up would be Missouri racer Terry Glasscock in his turbo Corvair-powered “Danger Zone” Dragster against Atoka local Marc Luce in his screw blown BBC-powered “Break N Luce” Dragster. Marc would take a slight starting line advantage, but at the finish line Terry ran his best ET of the weekend by far with a stellar 2.957 to defeat Marc’s 3.07. Finishing off the round would be a pair of single runs. Thunder Valley Sand Drags track operator Jeff Sieg qualified 7th with his Blown BBC-powered Dragster and ran a 3.09 on his single pass as Stidham could not make the call. The second half of the Sieg Racing team on this weekend would be Russ Payne, piloting the Dragster normally driven by Jeff’s brother Stacey. Russ would run a 3.07 to score semi-final round lane choice over his teammate.

The two cars that had run closest to the Index over the course of the weekend paired off the start the semi-final round as Trower and Glasscock pulled to the line. Glasscock would pull out a psychic .426 RT to Trower’s solid .502, and at the stripe it would be all Corvair as Terry’s 2.97 covered Dee’s 3.02. This would set up an all-Missouri final round. The Missouri-based Blown BBC-powered Dragsters of Sieg and Payne lined up for their match up. There certainly were no team orders here as they put on the closest race of eliminations with Sieg taking a 3.04 to 3.03 hole shot win by just .035 at the stripe. This was simply a great race for the Oklahoma crowd.

This would set up a rematch of the 2009 Heartland Nationals final round between Glasscock and Sieg. In racing, nothing is predictable, and this final round certainly was not. When the tree dropped, Sieg was gone and the red light was on while Glasscock got out of shape and had to lift early as he headed towards the win with a 3.59. Glasscock takes the early season MASD point series lead in TE with Sieg, Trower, and Payne right behind him heading into race two.


Terry Glasscock


Jeff Sieg


Dee Trower


Russ Payne


Pro Bracket Classes

The Pro 1 Cars class was solid all day long on Sunday with most races decided by just mere thousandths of a second. Friday night’s Quick 16 winner Texas racer John Acker lined up for the final round against Atoka regular Ethan Fomby in the final round. Acker his streak of hot RT’s continued with a .439 and forced Fomby into a 3.798 (3.85) break out. Acker’s win gives him the early MASD points lead over Fomby & Tim Feuerhelm heading into Race 2.


John Acker

Another Texas racer topped the field in the Pro 1 Quads class as Luke Martin had the hot hand during Sunday’s eliminations. Martin would line up against Danny Travis in the final round. Martin would leave first, and force a 4.245 (4.28) break out on Travis. Luke’s win puts him atop the early season MASD standings in Pro 1 Quads ahead of Travis and semi-finalist Nick Allen.


Luke Martin

Thunder Valley Sand Drags regular Bill White showed no mercy on the Atoka regulars in the Pro 2 Cars category on Sunday. Bill ran ultra consistent all day long culminating with a 4.479 (4.43) to defeat the Firebird of local racer Timmy Hamer in the final round.


Bill White

Saturday bracket class winners included Kevin Self (Pro 2 Quads), Cody Ford (Pro 3 Quads), Chloe Cooper (Pro 4 Quads), and Cody Reeves (Peewees).


Kevin Self

Quick 16 Classes

The Friday night Quick 16 classes always put on a great show for the traditionally strong Friday night Atoka crowd. Texas racer John Acker had his Dragster dialed in on Friday night with some great Reaction Times en route to a final round victory over Tim Feuerhelm. Acker would cut a .460RT and run 4.293 (4.27) for his first win of the weekend as he would go on to win Sunday’s Pro 1 Cars as well. The Motorcycle side of the Quick 16’s was dominated by Phoenix AZ’s Keith Ahart. He would face off with fellow veteran racer Kevin Self for all of the marbles on Friday night. Self would inadvertently stage too deep handing Ahart the win with a 4.450 (4.40).


John Acker


Keith Ahart


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