SCSDA Soboba May '12 Race Recap

Mayhem at Soboba was the name of the event as the SCSDA held their second race of 2012. This race lived up to its name with some wild rides and fast action despite the warm weather throughout the weekend. Here is a recap of all the action from this event.

Top Fuel

Two of the leading Top Fuel teams showed up to wage battle at the SCSDA Mayhem at Soboba event. The CANIDAE team of Scott Whipple would face off with the Hammer Down team of Dennis Rieck. Rieck’s Hammer Down team came into this event off of a positive test session, which saw them make some big gains on their new Hemi-power plant and clutch combination. This would yield big dividends at Soboba as Rieck would run a solid 2.33/150MPH on Friday night that would hold for the top spot as Whipple’s best qualifying effort would be 2.36/161MPH.

On Sunday afternoon, the Fuelers paired up to decide the weekend’s champion. Unfortunately, this one would be decided at the tree as Rieck would over stage handing the win to Whipple, who ran a stellar 2.35/157MPH in the heat of the day. This would be Whipple’s third victory of 2012, and gives him a solid point lead heading into the second half of the season.


Scott Whipple


Dennis Rieck


Top Alcohol

Five Top Alcohol Dragsters recorded qualifying laps at this SCSDA event. Point leader Gary Mink paced the field with an off the trailer 2.53/137MPH. Jim Hammond in the April’s Dream TA Dragster ended up right behind Mink with a personal best 2.56/130MPH on Friday night. Scott Carroll (2.60), Ashley Sanford (2.61), and Pedro Villa (2.70) rounded out a quick TA field at this event.

The pairing in round one saw the Frederosa’s Team Extreme “Free Bird” dragster of Ashley Sanford go up against Pedro Villa’s “The Express” team entry. Sanford would take a slim starting line edge, but at the finish line Villa ran a personal best ET of 2.68 to narrowly defeat Ashley’s 2.70. The other three entries earned round one bye runs with each carding nice passes with Mink (2.62) being the quickest followed by Hammond (2.65) and Carroll (2.72).

Mink would continue to roll on through eliminations with a solid 2.61 to get by Villa, who red lighted away his chance at the win. The next pair would be a great battle between the #2 & #3 qualifiers, Hammond and Carroll. When the tree dropped, Carroll would leave first .619 to .627, but Hammond would hold off a big MPH charge for the win 2.73 to 2.75.

The final round came down to the two quickest Top Alcohol Dragsters on the property all weekend. Defending series champ Gary Mink came into the final round undefeated on the season against the resurgent effort from the April’s Dream team of Jim Hammond, who debuted a new engine combination at the previous race and recorded personal best ET’s at both events. At the hit, Hammond would do a great driving job taking the edge .524 to .573, and that would be just enough to hang on for a 2.66 to 2.62 hole shot win by just .005. This was a hugely popular return to the Winner’s Circle for the likeable Southern California-based driver and team. Mink’s runner-up finish strengthened his hold on the point series lead while Hammond’s win moved him up to fourth place.


Jim Hammond


Gary Mink


Scott Carroll


Pedro Villa


Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator class continued to put on an amazing show during the 2012 race season. Qualifying was quite the roller coaster with point leader Billy Morris ending up in the top spot with a 2.961. Defending class champ Jim Rossi ran a 2.969 to start race day from the second spot while Larry Minor’s entry of Geoff Gill put him third (2.98) and Avenal race winner Paul Taylor sat fourth (3.00).

Round one started off with a single run for Morris as April Soboba race winner Todd Kinney could not make the call. Morris would run a solid 2.965 to advance on. Next up would see Taylor face off with #5 qualifier Paul Graham in “The Excavator” Buggy. Taylor’s “Outta Control” Dragster carded a stout 2.969 to defeat Graham’s 3.21, which would set up a pivotal semi-final round match up between the top two in points. As the round continued on, the Central California-based Blown BBC Dragsters of Jim Rossi and Ron D’Artenay pulled to the line. When the dust settled, the 2011 series champ Rossi ran a little too fast with a 2.942 (2.95 Class Index) handing D’Artenay’s 3.10 the win. Finishing off the round, Gill in the Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep matched up against Larry Snow in his “Lap Dance” Buggy. When the tree dropped, Gill left just .006 too soon handing Snow the win with a 3.08.

A prime time match up rolled up to the starting line to kick off the semi-final round. The supercharged Big Block Chevy-powered Dragsters of Morris & Taylor launched hard with the win light turning on in Morris’ lane. Billy carded a 3.01 to defeat Taylor’s game 3.02 with the difference being on the tree, .509 to .633. Next up would see a pair of racers looking to make their first final round of 2012 with Snow and D’Artenay waging battle. Unfortunately for D’Artenay, he would turn on the red bulb as Snow took the win with a 3.14.

This set up a final round between the dominant car of the weekend in the Morris Family Racing Dragster of Billy Morris and the underdog #6 qualifier Larry Snow. On this weekend, the Morris team could not be stopped as Billy had a solid .512 light and 3.01 to outrun Snow’s 3.17. This would be the Morris team’s second win of 2012 and gives them a 29 point lead over Taylor heading into the second half of the season.


Billy Morris


Larry Snow


Paul Taylor


Geoff Gill


Fast Fours

This weekend would be a historic one for the Fast Fours class as Mario Tavares and the Pauter/Tavares team put up a performance that has never been seen in this category. Tavares started off with a 2.87 in Q1 on Friday night, which would end up in second spot right behind Daniel King’s solid 2.85. This would be the only pass of the weekend that they did not run Low ET of the round. They started off with a 2.81 in the heat of Q2 on Saturday, and then it became obvious that these guys were on to something special with a 2.769 in Q3, which was just .001 off of the current world record by DL King. Anticipation was high going into the final qualifying session with most predicting Mario would obliterate the current record with the conditions getting better, but it just wasn’t meant to be on this pass as he dipped into the 70’s again with a 2.78. King’s Friday night 2.85 ended up 2nd in qualifying with Aaron Mamer (2.91), John Cronin (2.99), and Art Cronin (3.06) rounding out the field.

Mario made a big stab at the record in his round one bye run as he carded a stout 2.774/111MPH. King would run a 2.92 while Mamer recorded a 3.00 on their respective bye runs. In the only pair of the round, the Cronin Racing 4-cylinder Dragsters faced off with the Meltdown ride for Art taking the win with his best lap of the weekend, a 2.96/117MPH.

The semi-final round kicked off with the class of the field on this weekend Tavares pulling up to the line against defending series champ Cronin. A huge starting line advantage .488 to .622 was erased by the big Pauter horsepower as Tavares drove around with another 2.7 pass, 2.789/115MPH for the win. The next pairing lined up the 2-3 qualifiers from the weekend. When the tree dropped, King averted disaster as he nearly pushed through the beams early, recording a great .417 RT and hanging on for a close 3.02 to 2.91 hole shot win over Mamer.

All eyes from the four-cylinder world were on the starting line at Soboba on Sunday afternoon as the Pauter/Tavares entry faced off with the Animal Control Dragster driven by Daniel King & tuned by current record holder DL King. The question remained if Mario could find that extra thousandth of a second to take the World Record away. King would leave first by just over a tenth of a second in this battle, but soon after the Pauter power took over and “Super Mario” never looked back falling just short of setting a new record with a 2.797/114MPH. This would put the exclamation mark on a simply amazing performance from start to finish. Heading into the weekend, there were only 4 known four-cylinder passes in the 2.7 second zone. At this event alone, Mario recorded FIVE 2.7 second passes. All eyes will certainly be on the Pauter/Tavares team as they head into the second half of the season. Their dominating performance moved them to fourth in the point standings while King has a 12 point lead over Mamer.


Mario Tavares


Daniel King


Aaron Mamer


Art Cronin


Pro Mod Unlimited

Pro Mod saw a couple of different entries take to the track at this particular event. Jim DePasse intended on running this class with a new Larry Minor BAE Hemi in his own Funny Car chassis. Unfortunately, a monster wheelie ended up with a destroyed chassis, but the positive part is that Jim was 100% fine. Derek Balcunas made his debut in the PMU class with the second Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep sporting a BBC Nitrous-assisted combination. He would qualify #2 with a 3.29. At the head of the class would once again be Geoff Gill with a solid 2.98 in the Larry Minor Motorsports Blown SBC-powered Jeep.

Round one started with another PMU newcomer in Nick Shultzman with his Altered sporting a Blower for the first time up against Balcunas. On this pass, Derek would have a stellar .421RT and never look back in a 3.41 to 3.60 win. On the bye run, Gill would record a 3.06 for final round lane choice.

The all Larry Minor final round fell short of expectations as Gill would lose the brakes in his Jeep as he rolled up to the line, and smartly shut the car off before staging allowing Balcunas to take a single run to his first PMU class win. Derek would run his best pass of the weekend with a solid 3.211/99MPH effort for the win.


Derek Balcunas


Geoff Gill


Pro Bracket Classes

The Pro 1 class had 13 quality entries make the first round call at Soboba. There were many close match ups throughout eliminations with several races decided by less than .025. The final round came down to a pair of Southern California campaigners as Bob Cambridge made it to his second final round of 2012 against Derek Balcunas, who was trying to double up after winning the Pro Mod Unlimited category. Balcunas would take the starting line advantage, but this race would be decided in a double breakout decision at the stripe with veteran bracket campaigner Cambridge taking the win 3.352 (3.38) to Derek’s 3.536 (3.58). Cambridge’s win moves him into second place in the point standings, just five markers behind Keith Ahart, who did not make this event.


Bob Cambridge

After the April event at Soboba, it was hard to imagine George Amos having a better weekend in 2012 as he won both the Pro 2 class as well as the Motorcycle Pro 2 class. Fast forward to May, and the opportunity had arisen again. Amos sliced through the MP2 class on his trademark 3-wheeler to take his first win of the day. Amazingly enough, after a semi-final round bye he was now in the final round of Pro 2 as well for the second race in a row. He would face a tough customer in Wes Gilmore with his “Rattitude” Jeep. When the tree dropped, Gilmore took a small starting line advantage, but when the dust cleared it would be Amos running a 3.842 (3.82) to turn on the win light in his lane by just five-thousandths (.005) of a second to complete back-to-back double up victories. George’s Pro 2 victory moved him into the points lead, just four ahead of Charlie Johnson.


George Amos

Pro 3 was a stellar field with 18 entries making the round one call. Three of the best bracket racers in the region would be left when the semi-final round emerged. Chris Adamson and Charlie Johnson lined up in the semi-final round pairing with mere inches deciding the winner at the stripe as Johnson pulled out the win by just eight-thousandths (.008) of a second. Charlie’s “Back N Black” Jeep would battle against the “Nick of Time” Dragster of David Cox. These two would have similar RT’s, but a double breakout decision would turn on the win light in Johnson’s lane as his 4.549 (4.55) break out was less than Cox’s 4.249 (4.30). Charlie’s win moved him into third place in Pro 3 points behind his brother Wes, who is just two points back of leader Arend Schouten.


Charlie Johnson

The Motorcycle Pro 1 guys and gals once again put on a great show at Soboba. When the final round came to the starting line, it would be a couple of veterans doing battle as defending series champ Mark Ratliff lined up against numerous time event winner Bo Crossland. In this instance, Bo would emerge victorious after leaving first and running closer to his dial with a 4.646 (4.49). Ratliff’s runner-up finish gives him a massive 48 point lead in the point standings over Christian Payne.


Bo Crossland

Motorcycle Pro 2 may have lacked some in entries, but it certainly did not in fierce competitors. If you have read this story from the beginning, you probably already know the outcome, but the final round pairing would be between the three-wheelers of veteran racers George Amos and Randy Mings. Amos would play catch up as Mings got the starting line advantage, but Randy could not run close enough to his dial as George would take the win with a 4.931 (4.82). This would be the second win for Amos in the MP2 class in 2012 as well as part of his second double up victory at Soboba this season. Taking a look at the standings, Ratliff currently holds the tiebreaker for the lead over Amos with Grant Hutchinson just one point behind them. This class should be fun to watch as the championship is decided over the second half of the season.


George Amos

Sportsman Bracket Classes

It was certainly a great weekend at Soboba for Sportsman 1 racer Jay Shearer. He met his long time goal of bettering the current B/Buggy World Record as he ran a 3.56 to displace a 3.78 that was in the record books. While in the process of chasing speed, Jay ended up going several rounds with his “Stinger” Buggy and ended up in the final round against the always tough Wes Gilmore in his “Rattitude” Jeep. This race would be over at the tree as Wes turned on the red bulb handing the big win to Shearer. Congrats to Jay & his whole team on not only the event win, but the World Record as well. Kermit Larby still holds on to the points lead via tie breaker with 5 racers all separated by just two points as the season hits the halfway point.


Jay Shearer

A stout field of entries supported the SCSDA in the Sportsman 2 class at this event. The final round came down to a pair of local Jeeps as Frank Wagner & Bill Meaney squared off to determine the winner. Unfortunately for Meaney, he would get a little too antsy and turn on the red bulb by just .016 handing Frank Wagner his first win of 2012. Frank’s win moved him up to a tie for fifth in the class point standings. After four races, Richard Ross hangs on to the lead with the top ten racers all with 10 points of him.


Frank Wagner

When Mark Ratliff is on his game, it’s rather hard to beat the defending champion of three out of the four NSRA Motorcycle classes. On this day, he would be unstoppable in Motorcycle Pro 1 action. With points leader Heather Taylor going out in round one, Mark capitalized by reaching the final round against Craig Wright. In this match up, Ratliff had the starting line lead and never looked back taking the win with a 4.455 (4.20). Mark’s win moved him eight points ahead of Taylor in the season long points battle.


Mark Ratliff

Motorcycle Sportsman 2 racer Grant Hutchinson has experienced the highs and lows in this class in 2012. Grant started out the year with a major win at Dome Valley Raceway. However, things haven’t been so great for the Phoenix racer as round one exits at Soboba (April) and Avenal dropped him down the standings. This race would be a different story, however, as he marched to the final round against Kevin Cadell. In this final, Grant would use up some luck as Cadell left first, but broke out at the stripe with a 6.915 (7.00). This would be Grant’s second win of 2012 in MS2, and puts him atop the standings by 9 points over Matthew Ortiz.


Grant Hutchinson

The Junior Dragster class was as tough as has been seen in recent history at this Soboba event with 17 entries making the first round call. When it all boiled down to the final round, Avenal race winner Ray Pantoja would line up against Kyla Belville to determine the class winner. Both drivers had been on their respective game all day long, so it was certainly going to be a great race. When it was all said and done, Belville would turn in her first class win of 2012 as Pantoja broke out with a 7.340 (7.48). Belville’s win moved her into a close fourth place in the standings heading into the second half of the season, just eight behind leader Pantoja. The race for the Junior Dragster championship should sure be interesting to watch down the stretch.


Kyla Belville

Bonus Bracket Classes

Al McKinney topped a who’s who list of west coast bracket racers en route to the win in the Pro Bonus class on Saturday night at SCSDA’s Mayhem at Soboba event. In the final, Al’s Blown rear-engine Jeep faced off with the always tough Chris Adamson in his “Bounty Hunter” Jeep. Adamson would turn on the red bulb by just three-thousandths (.003) of a second handing the big win to Al & his “Drag N Slayer” Jeep.


Al McKinney

Bo Crossland’s weekend started off the right way with a big win in the Motorcycle Pro Bonus category. He ran solid all day long and forced Steve Lackey into a 4.485 (4.50) breakout in the final round. Bo would go on to double up on the weekend as he also won the Motorcycle Pro 1 category on Sunday.


Bo Crossland

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