The Southern California Sand Drag Association continued their 2013 campaign with the April Fuels event in Mid-April. This event also served as Race Four for the NSRA Quality Aircraft Care point series. Sunshine and warm temperatures turned into cloud cover with cooler temps on Sunday race day, but that made for some great conditions for comfortable sand drag racing. Here’s a run down of this event.

Top Fuel

The Top Fuel class saw the Hammer Down Racing teammates of Dennis Rieck and Marcus Norris make the haul to the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA. Rieck came into Soboba with momentum from a big win at Dome Valley three weeks prior while the Norris team was encouraged from the progress of a totally new combination in its first outing at Dome. These teams did a great job on Friday & Saturday, where they made some extra test passes to learn the updated Soboba track surface as well as put on a show for the fans. Rieck would run his Quickest pass of the weekend on a Saturday afternoon test pass with a sizzling 2.27/157MPH. This was the second quickest pass of all time at the Soboba San Jacinto track, just .003 off of a pass by Scott Whipple last season. Rieck would go into race day as the top qualifier with his 2.41/148MPH pass on Saturday afternoon. The Pat Norris Racing team with Marcus at the wheel made their best Qualifying hit in Q2 with a 2.50 at a booming 153MPH. The Norris team was definitely on the right track with the new set up.

Sunday came around and the Top Fuel teams squared off at high Noon for the Southern California fans. This was an epic battle with Norris chopping the tree down .516 to .658, but it was Rieck’s Hammer Down Hemi horsepower that drove around in the lights for a 2.39 to 2.59 victory. Making this final even more thrilling was Norris carrying the front end through the finish line at least a couple feet off of the ground in a monster wheelstand. They were definitely making horsepower with their Hemi. Unfortunately, when Norris set the front end down it did major damage to the chassis. On the bright side, Marcus walked away none the worse for wear. Look for the Norris team to debut a new 300” chassis when the Fall season starts back up. Rieck’s win puts him thirty points ahead in the NSRA/QAC standings with three events to go.

Dennis Rieck

Marcus Norris

The Hammer Down & Pat Norris Racing Top Fuel Teams

Top Alcohol

On this weekend, Jim Hammond was the lone ranger in the Top Alcohol category. Hammond with the April’s Dream Top Alcohol Dragster kept up their pace from March’s event where they broke into the 2.4’s for the first time. Hammond would run a best of 2.49/137MPH on this weekend as he soloed to the TA victory.

Jim Hammond

Top Eliminator

Speaking of epic battles, the Top Eliminator Showdown at Soboba was one that won’t be soon forgotten. Thirteen entries made attempts in Qualifying as the biggest TE field in many years battled it out for the $1000 Hammer Down/Quality Aircraft Care Bonus Bucks award that would go to the winner on this weekend. Qualifying was a dog fight as racers ripped and clawed trying to run as close to the 2.95 Index as possible. On this weekend, it would be Ron D’Artenay in the Red Warrior Dragster that led the field with a 2.954. He was followed by fellow Central California racer Jim Rossi in the #314 Bad Toy Dragster who ran a nice 2.969. Amazingly a 3.05, just .10 off of the Index, was only good enough for the #12 spot out of 13 entries. This field was ready for battle.

With such a stacked field, there undoubtedly would be some big hitters going home in round one. Number four qualifier Terry Crawford & 2012 April Fuels Winner Todd Kinney both went down to red lights in the opening stanza while the always tough Geoff Gill in the Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep lost in a close 3.00 to 3.08 decision to Zac Bogner.

The second round started off with a prime time match up between top qualifier D’Artenay and NSRA point’s leader Billy Morris in the Morris Family Racing / 2 Dolla’ Bill entry. Billy started out of the eight qualifying spot and got by Paul Graham in round one as he was shooting for his fourth straight TE victory. When the tree dropped, it was D’Artenay leaving first .496 to .535 and ending Morris’ winning streak in a 3.00 to 3.02 decision at the stripe. Finishing off the round; Larry Snow got by a red lighting Mark Punos with a 3.04, Paul Taylor ran a 2.96 to defeat a wild ride for Bogner, and Bad Toy Jim Rossi went 3.01 on a bye run.

D’Artenay would line up his Blown Hemi Dragster in the semi-finals against Larry Snow in the “Lap Dance” Blown BBC-powered Buggy. Ron would again show his starting line prowess leaving first by a tenth of a second and taking a 2.99 to 3.03 victory. Next up would be the Central California teammates of Rossi and Taylor. Both of these guys know how to run the 2.95 Index; it would just be a battle of who can leave first. Taylor was hungry for the win with a .488 to .562 edge, but heartbreak for the “Outta Control” team of Taylor shortly ensued as a major transmission/driveline failure ended their chances for victory as Rossi sped through to a near breakout 2.954 victory.

This would set up a final round between the top two qualifiers in D’Artenay and Rossi. These two faced off in the Avenal final from last fall with Rossi taking the win in that battle. This time would be different with D’Artenay turning on the win light at the stripe. Rossi took a stellar .530 to .674 lead, but would take too much stripe in a 2.937 break out while Ron ran a winning 3.04. Congrats to the Red Warrior team on the huge win and earning the Hammer Down/Quality Aircraft Bonus Bucks award.

Ron D'Artenay

Jim Rossi

Ron D'Artenay and the Red Warrior Team team accepting the Quality Aircraft Care / Hammer Down Bonus Bucks award.

Fast Fours

The Fast Fours class saw five entries battling it out for the top prize, including the class debut of Greg Johnson. Greg earned his license on Friday in the car he purchased from Oklahoma racer Mike Smith, who raced it in the MASD Series TE class. Qualifying saw a wild ride for the Short Fuse entry of Brian Chapman as an extremely hard launch ended up in an NSDN Showcase Photo moment getting up on one wheel. Chapman used his years of Fast Fours driving experience to get the car back under control without sustaining any damage. Mario Tavares led Qualifying in the Pauter Racing entry running a best of 2.776/115MPH in Q2. Right behind him would Art Cronin in the Meltdown Dragster as he found the combination en route to a 2.81/117MPH. Another team that struggled in early Qualifying rounds was Daniel King in the Animal Control entry, which would solve the gremlins in the final session with a 2.83/109MPH.

The pair in round one of Fast Fours saw veteran campaigner Brian Chapman line up against class rookie Greg Johnson. Chapman would leave first, but the Short Fuse entry had a hiccup shortly off the line allowing Johnson to parlay his Personal Best ET of 2.94/105MPH into a round win. The other three entries had bye runs with King turning in Low Et with a 2.81/105MPH.

Top qualifier Tavares would be the next racer to face off with the upset minded class rookie Johnson. On this day, the Pauter power was too much as Tavares carded a solid 2.79/114MPH to advance to the final round. Next up would be the 2-3 pair as Cronin and King pulled their four-cylinder entries into the beams. King would use his starting line prowess to take the win on this run as he left first .508 to .545 and used a 2.88/104MPH to defeat a quicker but losing 2.85/114MPH.

This would set up a great final pair between the Pauter entry of Tavares and the King Family’s Animal Control Dragster. Daniel would once again show his driving skills earning a tenth of a second advantage on the tree for a hole shot win 2.86/109MPH to 2.83/111MPH. These two are dead locked atop the class point standings with King having a one point edge. The championship battle is just heating up, though, as six competitors are all within eight points as the season progresses.

Daniel King

Mario Tavares

Pro Mod Unlimited

Pro Mod Unlimited would be a battle of the Larry Minor Motorsports-bodied Blown Alcohol Jeeps as Jimmy DePasse in the DePasse/Otis Simpson entry lined up against the Larry Minor house car shoed by Geoff Gill. Qualifying saw DePasse take the top spot with a 3.04 to Gill’s 3.07. This would be a great side by side battle on Sunday afternoon as the deadly on the tree Gill left first .458 to .600, but the Hemi horsepower in the DePasse ride was too much as he used a 2.94/107MPH to take the win over a 3.10/105MPH. DePasse’s final round 2.94 backed up his earlier 2.924 in TE class competition to earn a new A/Pro Jeep World Record. Congrats to the DePasse/Simpson team on their great weekend at Soboba.

Jimmy DePasse

Pro 1

The Pro 1 class saw a former class champion return as “Wild Willie” Swim made the transition out of the Announcer’s booth back into the driver’s seat in his trademark green Blown BBC-powered Dragster. This would be a huge story on the weekend as Willie would not just return to driving, but also return to victory lane as he scored a huge final round victory over Pro 1 rookie Tristan Graham with a stellar run of 3.593 (3.55) and .403 RT. Swim’s win certainly was a popular one throughout the pits. Bob Cambridge bowed out in Round Two, but that finished moved him into the NSRA point’s lead over Tommy Zavala.

Wild Willie Swim

Pro 2

Defending class champion George Amos meant business on this weekend at the Soboba Casino. He took no prisoners en route to the final round against fellow California racer Bill Meaney in his Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep. In the final, Amos used a 3.983 (3.90) with a .434RT in his Dragster to force Meaney into a 3.940 (3.97) break out. George’s win moved him into fifth place in the standing, still within striking distance with three races to go in as he attempts to defend his title. Chris Adamson holds on to a slim 4 point lead over Meaney.

George Amos

Pro 3

A great Pro 3 field turned out for this SCSDA event shooting for top honors. The final round would see Chris Adamson going for his second win of the season against the Larry Minor Motorsports/Lucas Oil Jeep of Derek Balcunas. The Bounty Hunter would not be denied on this day as Adamson used a solid .414 RT and 4.398 (4.35) to record the final round ‘W’. Adamson’s second win of the season moved him past, and five points ahead of Charlie Johnson atop the standings.

Chris Adamson

Motorcycle Pro 1

The Motorcycle Pro 1 class came ended up with a great final round by two veteran racers. Bo Crossland, who swept the first SCSDA event of the season, would line up against Brad Olson for the top honors. Crossland was going for two sweeps on the season as he also qualified #1 at this race with a .476 RT. Bo would use a .513 to .591 starting line edge and a 4.545 (4.49) to take his second victory of the season. His two sweeps in four races moved him into the Top 5 of NSRA points, only 23 out of first. Olson’s runner-up moved him into the series lead, just six ahead of Mark Ratliff.

Bo Crossland

Motorcycle Pro 2

George Amos kept up his hopes of a repeat MP2 class championship with another great day at Soboba. After taking the Pro 2 win in his Dragster, George hopped back on his 3-wheeler to face off with young Austin Ratliff in the MP2 final round. The veteran Amos proved to be too much for Ratliff in his first ever MP2 final round. Austin left first .482 to .494, but Amos put enough pressure on to force Ratliff into a 5.107 (5.15) breakout. The runner-up finish moved Amos to within five points of leader Mark Ratliff with three races left.

George Amos

Sportsman Classes

Mike Ghan sliced right through the Sportsman 1 class to take the win over Wes Gilmore’s Rattitude ride in an all-Jeep final round with a .410 RT and 4.180 (4.10). Al McKinney topped a massive Sportsman 2 class with a final round victory over Rick Hendershott running a 4.364 (4.33) and .419 RT. Team UTI’s Joey Weaver dominated the MS1 class carding a 4.628 (4.39) to defeat Taylor Holmes in the money round. James Browning ran a 5.930 (5.90) to force Austin Ratliff into a breakout in the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class final. 2012 Junior Dragster champion Kyla Belville continued her winning ways as she took the win over Ryan Rodriguez with a 5.738 (5.65).

Mike Ghan - Sportsman 1 Winner

Al McKinney - Sportsman 2 Winner

Joey Weaver - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner

James Browning - Motorcycle Sportsman 2 Winner

Kyla Belville - Junior Dragster Winner

Gambler Classes

Clayton Record outlasted a tough Pro Gambler class to take home the hardware on Saturday night. Clayton used a hole shot to defeat Justin Adamson’s “Raped Ape” Jeep in the final. Meanwhile, Mark Ratliff threw down a 4.502 (4.45) with a .449 RT to take the Motorcycle Gambler final over Jason Sanchez.

Clayton Record - Pro Gambler Winner

Mark Ratliff - Motorcycle Gambler Winner

Photos Courtesy NSDN

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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