Dome Valley TF Shootout 2013 Race Recap

The 2013 sand drag racing season kicked off on Jan 25-27 at Dome Valley Raceway in Wellton, AZ with the 4th Annual Top Fuel Shootout. Unfortunately, the first two days were held under overcast skies with occasional rain sprinkles, but this did not dampen the spirits as the racing action was as fierce as ever. As the final day of action commenced, the Sun made its first appearance of the weekend producing perfect weather to crown the first winners of the new season.

Top Fuel
This year marked the 4th edition of the Top Fuel Shootout at Dome Valley Raceway. Three of the best Top Fuel teams made the trek to the Yuma area to try to win this prestigious event. Qualifying was led by the Hammer Down Top Fuel team as Driver/Owner Dennis Rieck ran a sizzling 2.25/170MPH blast during Friday night’s session. The second spot went to the Pat Norris Racing/Clubhouse Grill team entry driven by Marcus Norris as they carded their personal best ET of 2.37/154MPH under the watchful eye of longtime NHRA crew chief Glenn Mikres. Rounding out the field was two-time Top Fuel Shootout champion Matthew Ludlow in the Coldwater Kid entry as the always tough Ludlow team struggled on their qualifying shots running a best of 2.48/128MPH as they sorted out some new equipment.
Sunday’s round one of eliminations saw things start to get bizarre. Dennis Rieck had the round one bye run as the Top Qualifier in the class. Dennis had issues with his Hemi-powered Dragster while staging and was unable to make the pass. Under Dome Valley Raceway rules, you are not required to make a bye run, so the team advanced on to the final round. The Hammer Down team would come back shortly after to make a Test pass, which resulted in a stellar 2.30/150MPH blast. Up next would be the pair of the round as the Pat Norris Racing and Coldwater Kid teams squared off. Both Phoenix area teams laid it all out on the table going for the win on this pass. Unfortunately for the Norris team, Marcus got a little too antsy leaving before the tree was activated automatically disqualifying them from competition. In the other lane, the Coldwater Kid team ran their best pass of the weekend with a solid .976 60’, however in bizarre fashion something tripped the finish line beams early negating the ET that popped up on the scoreboard. Crew Chief John Aleman said that the numbers were lining up for a low 2.3 second pass, which would set up a great final round.
Both teams took to the starting line for the Final Round of the Top Fuel Shootout with the goal of winning on their minds. When the dust settled, it would be the Coldwater Kid Top Fuel team earning their third victory at the Shootout running a solid 2.35/169MPH blast. Congratulations to all three Top Fuel teams for putting on an amazing show all weekend long for the Dome Valley Raceway fans.

Matthew Ludlow - Top Fuel Winner. (AZDRR Photo)

Dennis Rieck - Top Fuel Runner-Up & #1 Qualifier with a 2.25@170MPH. (S & K Photography Photo)

Marcus Norris - Top Fuel #2 Qualifier with a Personal Best 2.37@154MPH. (S & K Photography Photo)

Top Eliminator
Any regular reader of NSDN knows that the Top Eliminator (2.95 Index) category is the most hotly contested category in the sport of sand drag racing currently. Many top teams across the country dial their hot rods in to try to run as close to that 2.95 Index target as possible. This race would have a bit of a cross country flavor to it as Oklahoma would take the Top Qualifying position presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports as Dee Trower wheeled her “Fast Forward” Blown Small Block Chevy-powered Dragster to the #1 spot with a 2.974. Right behind her would be 2012 NSRA point series champion Billy Morris in the 2 Dolla’ Bill/Morris Family Racing Dragster with a 2.975. Rounding out the top half of the field would be Central California racers Paul Taylor (2.98) and Marc Whitmore (3.06).
Round one played host to some incredible battles to set the tone for the day of eliminations. Trower would lead off the round against the Flagstaff, AZ Blown Alcohol Dragster of Mike Carroll. Dee would take the win in a 3.03 to 3.34 decision at the finish line. Next up would be the two closest qualifiers as the 4-5 pair squared off with Whitmore in his Blown Altered battling against New Mexico’s Tim Martin in the “Truck Toys N Tops” Dragster. Martin would leave first .162 to .168 and hang on for a 3.03 to 3.04 decision by just twelve-thousandths of a second (.012). Defending class champion Morris would utilize his Eddie Knox Racing-tuned horsepower to take a 3.10 to 3.34 victory over Yuma local Pat Headington in the Ralph Adamson-owned Blown Alcohol Dragster. Finishing off the round would be Bakersfield, CA’s Paul Taylor in the “Outta Control” Dragster against Kansas City, Missouri’s Russ Bailey, making his first west coast appearance with the Blown Altered he purchased in mid-2012. Russ would run his best ever ET with the Front Engine Altered as he turned a 3.08, but that would come up just short of Taylor’s solid 3.00.
The first pair in the semi-final round would have an interesting flavor as Oklahoma’s Trower faced off against New Mexico’s Martin. When the tree dropped, Martin had a distinct edge but he would drive it too hard with a 2.945 break out while Dee advanced to the final with a 3.02. Next up would see the classic match up that highlighted the 2012 Top Eliminator season in the NSRA series as Morris and Taylor would light off their Blown Big Block Chevy-powered Dragsters. Morris would continue his starting line prowess as he took a .052 to .091 edge, and would hold on at the finish line as both competitors turned great 2.97 second Elapsed Times.
It was an electric atmosphere as the top qualifier Trower and 2012 class champion Morris rolled to the starting line, both looking for a big start to the new season. When the tree dropped, Morris jumped out to a slim .080 to .090 advantage. As the racers crossed the finish line, Dee would get there first, but she would come out on the losing end of a 2.90 to 2.86 double breakout decision. The Morris Family Racing team would start their title defense on a high note while the Trower team certainly had a lot to be proud of as they headed home to Oklahoma, where we will see them in Mid-America Sand Drag Series competition later this season.

Billy Morrs - Top Eliminator Winner. (S & K Photography Photo)

Dee Trower - Top Eliminator Runner-Up & #1 Qualifier. (AZDRR Photo)

Tim Martin - Top Eliminator Semi-Finalist. (AZDRR Photo)

Paul Taylor - Top Eliminator Semi-Finalist. (AZDRR Photo)

Top Alcohol
The Top Alcohol class put on a spectacular show at Dome Valley as two of the best battled it out in the final round. Defending champion Gary Mink in the Fresno, CA based “Bad to the Bone” Dragster lined up against Oklahoma’s Rod Trower in the Strasburg Brothers-tuned “Thunder” Hemi-powered TAD. Trower was the top qualifier with a great 2.46/138MPH blast off the trailer on Friday, which was also his quickest ever pass. When the drivers blasted off the line on Sunday afternoon, Trower took a slight starting line advantage as both Dragsters were locked side-by-side down the track. When they crossed the stripe, it was Mink edging out Trower by mere inches in a 2.47/141MPH to 2.51/137MPH decision.

Gary Mink - Top Alcohol Winner. (S & K Photography Photo)

Rod Trower - Top Alcohol Runner-Up & #1 Qualifier with a 2.46@138MPH. (AZDRR Photo)

Fast Fours
It was a Good News / Bad News type of weekend in the Fast Fours category as the car count was low with just two entries, however both were high quality Dragsters as defending class champion Aaron Mamer would battle against class rookie Robert Skidmore in his new ride, the former Mike & Steve Hoffman owned “Smooth Sucka” Dragster. Skidmore got the better of the Sidewinder in qualifying as both carded 2.92 second ET’s. When both of the big horsepower 4-cylinder Dragsters lined up for the final, it would be experience winning out as Mamer held over a tenth of a second edge on the starting line, which would be good enough for a 2.93 to 2.92 second victory for the 2012 Champ.

Fast Fours Final Round: Aaron Mamer (Far Lane) takes the win over Robert Skidmore. (NSDN Photo)

Robert Skidmore - Fast Fours Runner-Up & #1 Qualifier. (AZDRR Photo)

Pro Outlaw FE
The Pro Outlaw FE category was entertaining as usual as the wild short wheelbase entries vied for the trophy throughout the weekend. The final round would see pit area neighbors Marc Whitmore from Lemoore, CA line up against Kansas City, MO’s Russ Bailey for the money, plaque, and bragging rights. Bailey would get the better RT .028 to .052 as both were up for the battle on this day, and he would hang on for the win in a 3.16 to 3.14 decision. Russ got to the finish line first by just seven-thousandths of a second (.007), which would make his drive home to Missouri all that much sweeter.

Pro Outlaw FE Final Round: Russ Bailey (Far Lane) takes the win over Marc Whitmore. (NSDN Photo)

Russ Bailey - Pro Outlaw FE Winner. (S & K Photography Photo)

Marc Whitmore - Pro Outlaw FE Runner-Up & #1 Qualifier. (AZDRR Photo)

Pro Bracket Classes

At the Season Opener, the Pro 1 class was a little light but the on track action was great as usual. The final round came down to Missouri racer Dennis Burrows in his VW-powered Buggy against Yuma local Steve Anthony in his Chevy-powered Dragster. Burrows would make it 2-for-2 in Pro 1 action at Dome Valley as he also won the class in his first trip to the track in late 2011. Dennis had over a tenth of a second starting line advantage and ran a 3.752 (3.74) for the win.

Dennis Burrows - Pro 1 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Despite the Pro 1 class being a little on the light side at Dome Valley, the Pro 2 category was unusually large with 17 entries making the round one call. The final round match up would see Norco, CA’s Chris Adamson in the “Bounty Hunter” Jeep against young Budy Palmer from Oregon with his Jeep CJ-5. This race would go to the veteran California racer Adamson with a .053 RT and 4.371 (4.26). The Pro 3 class would see Adamson go for a Sunday double-up as he battled with Arizona racer Brian Root in the final round. Adamson would use a .042 RT and 4.386 (4.26) to take his second class win on the day. This was the fourth class win of the weekend for the “Bounty Hunter” out of five classes entered. Keep reading to learn about the rest of the Adamson Family’s great weekend.

Chris Adamson - Pro 2 & Pro 3 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Pro 2 Final Round: Chris Adamson (Near Lane) takes the win over Budy Palmer. (NSDN Photo)

MPC Racing’s Mark Ratliff started off his title defense in Motorcycle Pro 1 on the right foot as he advanced to the final round against the always tough Mike Brock. But this was Ratliff’s day as he had a great .034 RT and 4.462 (4.45) to take the win and early season points lead.

MP1 Final Round: Mark Ratliff (Far Lane) wins over Mike Brock. (NSDN Photo)

Former Motorcycle Pro 2 class champion Joey Weaver has had a couple of tough season recently, but he more than made up for those with a great Sunday at Dome Valley. Joey advanced to an all-California final round as he lined up with defending class champ George Amos. Weaver was up for the battle with a .015 to .102 RT edge, and would hang on for the win with a 5.724 (5.46) as George broke right off the line.

Joey Weaver - Motorcycle Pro 2 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Other Bracket Classes

The Open Pro class saw some amazing bracket racing action from start to finish. The final round in the fast half of the class came down to the two Pro 1 racers that dominated the 2012 season as class champion Arizona’s Keith Ahart lined up against runner-up California’s Bob Cambridge. Ahart would leave first .033 to .063, but would take just a little too much stripe with a 3.583 (3.59) breakout while Cambridge advanced on with a 3.431 (3.38). The ‘B’ half of the class saw an interesting final round pairing as a couple of California-based Jeeps lined up. But the unusual part of the battle was that the normal drivers weren’t behind the wheel of these Jeeps as Justin Adamson was piloting his dad’s “Bounty Hunter” Jeep while Mike Williams was in his dad’s “White Lightning” Jeep. Mike would keep up his great driving on the day with a .042 RT, but he would make the same mistake as Ahart in taking too much stripe in a double breakout loss 4.342 (4.35) to Justin’s winning 4.296 (4.30). This would set up a great final between Adamson and Cambridge. Cambridge would take a slight starting line edge .035 to .043, but a rare mistake cost Bob as he accidentally shifted into Neutral allowing Adamson to take the big win with a 4.427 (4.30).

Open Pro Final Round: Justin Adamson (Far Lane) wins over Bob Cambridge. (NSDN Photo)

Motorcycle Open Pro came down to a match up between California’s Mark Ratliff against Arizona’s Dakoda Crockett. Both racers were ready as Mark took a small RT edge .021 to .056, and he would hang on for the win with a 4.642 (4.50) as Dakoda had problems off the line.

Mark Ratliff - Motorcycle Open Pro Winner. (AZDRR Photo)

The Sportsman 1 final round saw Bill Meaney face off with his Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep against “Mr. Excitement” Larry Brown in the Lucas Oil Ford-powered Dragster. This day was all Meaney’s as he parlayed a .118RT and 4.061 (3.99) into the class win. An all local final round squared off in the Sportsman 2 class as Jhovany Cota drove his Blazer to the win with a 6.305 (6.23) over Steve Stone in his RZR 4.

Bill Meaney - Sportsman 1 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

A father-son final round capped the Motorcycle Sportsman 1 class as Mark and Garrett Ratliff battled it out for the plaque. Father knew best on this day as Mark took his third class win of the weekend with a 4.751 (4.45). Garrett would also make the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class final as he paired off with Phoenix racer Grant Hutchinson. Garrett also had a bogging issue off the line on this pass as Grant took the win with a 5.028 (4.85).

Mark Ratliff - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Grant Hutchinson - Motorcycle Sportsman 2 Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Aimee Mamer was the star of the show in the Junior Dragster class on this weekend as she ran a 5.864 (5.85) to defeat Ryan Rodriguez in the final round. Other Junior winners were Torrey Stone (Kids) and Emmanuel Beas (Youth).

Aimee Mamer - Junior Dragster Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Friday Bracket Classes

One of the most anticipated classes of the weekend was the second Annual west coast Pro Truck Shootout presented by Pro Truck Nationals and Richards Auto Parts. This popular Midwest class has obtained a great following when it is contested on the west coast. The final round came down to 2012 winner Charlie Johnson looking to repeat as Pro Truck class winner against Chris Adamson. Charlie took a nice .012 to .042 advantage at the tree, but would give up the stripe as Adamson drove around for the win with a 4.312 (4.30) to Johnson’s 4.473 (4.40). This was the fourth class win on the weekend for the father-son team of Chris and Justin Adamson with the Bounty Hunter Jeep.

Pro Truck Final Round: Chris Adamson (Near Lane) takes the win over Charlie Johnson. (NSDN Photo)

The Pro Shootout saw some excellent racing and it came down to a couple of veteran racers as Phoenix campaigner Keith Ahart lined up against Yuma local Jim Clark’s CJ-5 Jeep. Keith took no prisoners in the final with a solid .011 RT and ran a 3.678 (3.64) for the win.

Keith Ahart - Pro Shootout Winner. (NSDN Photo)

The Friday ATV classes saw a similar ending as Grant Hutchinson and Garrett Ratliff would square off in both final rounds. In the Pro ATV final, Garrett would cap his return to the seat with a win after his crash last season kept him off the bike for 10 months. Garrett had a sizzling .011 RT and ran a 4.574 (4.55) for the win. In the Sportsman ATV, the tables were turned as Grant left first .071 to .088 and ran a 4.923 (4.85) en route to the victory.

Garrett Ratliff - Pro ATV Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Grant Hutchinson - Sportsman ATV Winner. (NSDN Photo)

Photos Courtesy
AZ Drag Race Report (AZDRR) - Charlie Lowe -
S&K Photography - Sarah Land & Kyle Reinertson - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo Gallery - Courtesy of S & K Photography

Photo Gallery - Courtesy of AZDRR

Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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