WMSD Labor Day Weekend Race Recap

West Michigan Sand Dragway’s Labor Day Weekend event is typically one of the top Michigan races of the race season, and certainly this year’s lived up to the hype. The weekend started off with a jam packed Test and Tune with many competitors testing for the Buggy Brawl as well as many duners trying their hand at the track. This all led to a regular Saturday WMSD race program, followed up by Sunday’s special event program. Let’s take a look at the weekend’s action.

Buggy Brawl

The big dollars of the race weekend were on the line on Sunday during the Appletree Automotive Buggy Brawl. Appletree put up a mind boggling $5000 purse for this class. 40+ Buggies of every shape & size entered for a shot at the big money in this Pro Tree Buggy-only Bracket Race.  The semi-final round came down to three distinctly different Buggies on this day. In the pair of the round, Matt Peel at the wheel of Ed Engel’s Dragonfly Big Block Chevy-powered Buggy faced off with Jon Sorg’s Unleashed VW-powered entry. This would be a close battle all the way to the stripe, where Peel would pull out the win with a stellar 3.51 on a 3.50 Index. Earning the semi-final bye run would be Kevin Roe in his Motorcycle-powered Mini-Buggy. So, the final would be set between the V-8 & the Mini-Buggy. When the tree dropped, veteran racer & former track champion Peel, pulled a great RT and ran a solid 3.54 (3.50) to take the $2500 victory. Roe took $1500 for second place with Jon Sorg earning $500 for third place, while Jim Knoll won the quarter-final losers bracket to take 4th place and $250 with his Mini-Buggy and Andy Villemure took fifth place’s $250 while putting on a great wheelie show during time trials.


Matt Peel - Buggy Brawl Winner


The Buggy Brawl Winning Crew...


Kevin Roe - Buggy Brawl 2nd Place


Jon Sorg - Buggy Brawl 3rd Place


Jim Knoll - Buggy Brawl 4th Place



Andy Villemure - Buggy Brawl 5th Place

Sunday Classes

The Top Gun Shootout always is a highlight of this event as only class winners from the past season are eligible to enter this event. This Shootout allows the “best of the best” to line up & battle it out, often with matchups that are rarely seen during regular events. The final round came down to two cars this year as Buddy Hammett in his newly purchased “Blue Thunder” S-10, who qualified for the event the night before as he won the Pro class, faced off with NSDN Editor Tom Bray in the Black & Yellow Jeep. This would be a great battle with Tom leaving first .072 to .092, and holding on for a narrow victory 5.00 (4.99) to Buddy’s 4.44 (4.42).


Tom Bray - Top Gun Winner

The Big Bud Shootout is a class that all vehicles can enter that run 5.99 seconds or faster. This always has a healthy payout & also draws many of the best racers vying for the Benjamin’s. This class would come down to an all-Shocker Racing final round as the father-son team of Matt & Steve Ewing lined up with their Snowmo-powered ATV’s. Matt would cut it close with an incredible .002 RT and hang on for the win with a 4.03 (4.00). This topped a great weekend for Matt, as you will read about his amazing Saturday later in this story.

Like the Adults, the Junior racers have their own Top Gun Shootout, a Winners-only event. This class would come down to a pair of tough Junior Dragster competitors as Joshua Rammacher and Bennet Dozeman faced off.  These two racers come from great racing families, and put on a great show in the final. When all was said & done, the win light came on in Rammacher’s lane as Dozeman’s incredible 2012 winning streak came to an end with a breakout.


Joshua Rammacher - Junior Top Gun Winner

Saturday Classes

The Quick 16 class is a highlight of normal WMSD action with a full field of cars running 3.80 or Quicker waging war. It all boiled down to Roger Jareo’s Turbocharged Big Block Chevy-powered Dragster against another Turbo entry in Frank Martuscelli’s potent Pauter-powered Buggy. Roger took a slight edge on the tree, and ran a great 3.42 (3.40) for the win.


Roger Jareo - Quick 16 Winner

Shocker Racing’s Matt Ewing had a great Saturday as he took the Pro ATV class over Brian McWethy with a 4.07 (4.00), then defeated a red lighting Dan Johnson in the Sportsman ATV class with a 4.00 (3.97). Matt’s wins give him a solid lead in both the WMSD Pro & Sportsman point series championship races.


Matt Ewing - Pro ATV, ATV, & Big Bud Winner.

The Pro Truck class came down to an all-Funny Jeep battle as the Big Block-powered entry of Chad Reust lined up against the Small Block power of Jim Brantley. Both would struggle a bit at the tree, but Chad would run right on with a 3.80 (3.80) to take his first Pro Truck class win with the new Capital Punishment Jeep.


Chad Reust - Pro Truck Winner

Another first win would happen in the Pro Bracket class as Buddy Hammett did the job in his first race with his “Blue Thunder” S-10 that was just acquired from Jim Bailey. In the final, Buddy faced off with long time WMSD racer & super tough competitor Tim Holstege in the “Altered State” Small Block-powered Altered. Tim left first, but fell off to a 3.70 (3.60), which opened the door for Buddy’s solid 4.45 (4.40) to take the win.


Buddy Hammett - Pro Winner

The Sportsman class saw a great final round as Dave Weaver in the Baa’d Lands Sheep Farm SBC-powered Dragster against the always competitive Don Parmenter in his VW-powered Buggy. Dave’s starting line edge would be the difference as he earned his way into the Top Gun Shootout with a 4.30 (4.27) for the win.


Dave Weaver - Sportsman Winner.

The Papenhagen crew put on a clinic in the Junior classes on this day. Ty Papenhagen ran a solid 6.09 (6.05) to take the Junior ATV class over Jessie Berzley. Brock Papenhagen would force Kiley Skacal into a breakout in the Mighty Midgets final round. In the only non-Papenhagen win of the day, Angie Lirones took her dad Ted’s guidance to the Winner’s Circle with a 6.08 (6.00) for the victory over Makayla Beld.

Photos Courtesy: NSDN

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