Avenal Sand Drags in Avenal, CA played host to the fifth event of the 2013 NSRA Quality Aircraft Care Sand Drag Series. Racers from as far away as Washington, Oregon, and Phoenix made the haul to Central California as an exceptional group of racers gathered to battle it out for the hardware. This led to some of the best west coast racing seen in a long time. Read on for the full recap.

Top Fuel

The Hammer Down Top Fuel Team made the haul to Avenal shooting for a new World Record. Dennis Rieck had one leg on the record on two separate occasions with the Hammer Down Hemi. The heavy track surface in Avenal is conducive to quick times, so they had the Hemi loaded for bear. Dennis started the weekend with a solid 2.34 followed up by a 2.38 on the two Saturday passes. Unfortunately, neither of those passes would be good enough for a leg on the record. On Sunday morning, the Hammer Down team rolled the Dragster to the line and carded a solid 2.245/157.51MPH with a .944 60’ time. This pass would be good enough to back up any run between 2.200 and 2.220 for a new record. The pressure was on during the heat of the afternoon as they came to the line in their final attempt of the weekend. The result was a 2.44/128MPH. They would fall short of their record setting goals, but put down four solid passes and put on a great show for the Avenal crowd.

Dennis Rieck

Top Alcohol

Two of the toughest west coast Top Alcohol entries squared off at Avenal Sand Drags. Defending class champion Gary Mink and the Bad to the Bone team would line up against the Morton Racing entry piloted by David Morton. Morton ran a best of 2.50/137MPH to take the top spot in qualifying. Mink broke a transmission on his only qualifying attempt. After a thrash, the Mink team was ready for the final round against Morton on Sunday afternoon. When the tree dropped, it was all Mink as he had the starting line advantage .080 to .117 and held on for the win with a 2.56/139MPH to Morton’s 2.60. This would be Mink’s third win on the season as he edges closer to his fifth consecutive class championship.

TA Final Round - Winner Gary Mink (Near Lane) vs. David Morton

Top Eliminator

It was the Bad Toy of Jim Rossi leading the Top Eliminator field into race day in Avenal. Jim ran a 2.979 on the 2.95 Index to secure the qualifying top spot. Marc Whitmore qualified second in the Whitmore Speed & Custom Blown Small Block Altered with his first ever 2 second pass, 2.999. Paul Taylor ran a 3.00 to sit third while Adam Ross had handling issues in Qualifying that relegated him to a 4.24 best. The previous event’s winner Ron D’Artenay broke a rear end in Qualifying and was unable to continue after his 3.23 qualifying pass.

Rossi would earn a single in round one after Ross did not make the round one call. Jim ran a solid 3.05 to advance on. The next pair would be big as Whitmore and Taylor squared off. Both racers always are tough, but on this day it would be Taylor turning on the win light as Whitmore went red by .056. Paul ran a 2.997 for the win. This would set up another Bad Toy vs. Outta Control final round battle. The last time they went head to head was in Albuquerque last year. This time would have the same result as Taylor turned on the win light in a 2.97 to 2.98 side-by-side battle. Taylor’s first win of the season moved him into second place in the standings, 18 behind Billy Morris with two races to go.

TE Final Round: Winner Paul Taylor (Near Lane) vs. Jim Rossi

Pro 1

The Pro 1 class competition was fierce at Avenal with an additional $500 to the winner of the class on the line as part of the NSRA Quality Aircraft Care / Hammer Down Bonus Bucks program. The final round saw two tough customers pair off for the money as point leader Bob Cambridge and Steve Foster Sr. pulled to the starting line. This was a classic Dragster vs. Jeep battle. Foster took the advantage off the line .060 to .080, but would take a little too much stripe for a 3.580 (3.60) while Bob ran 3.504 (3.45) for the win. This was Bob’s first win of the season, and gives him a whopping 48 point lead with just two races to go.

Bob Cambridge

Bob picking up the Quality Aircraft Care / Hammer Down Bonus Bucks award.

Pro 2

A strong Pro 2 field made the trek to Avenal for this event in April. The final round saw Oregon’s Jim Smith pull to the line against the point’s leader, Norco, CA’s Chris Adamson in an all-Jeep battle. Jim would be too much on this day as he combined a 4.164 (4.15) and .054 RT to pull off the Pro 2 victory. Adamson’s runner-up gives him a 31 point cushion over Charlie Johnson with two races left.

Jim Smith

Pro 3

A lot of eyes were on the star studded Pro 3 field at Avenal as 24 entries made the round one call. It was hard for anyone to choose a favorite with so many solid racers in the field. As the rounds wore on, the guys favored to go deep in eliminations fell by the wayside. Point leader Chris Adamson lost a tough semi-final match up against Eric Moran. Moran and his Big Blue Chevy Truck would line up against fellow local racer Tom Newton in his Orange Water Pumper for the hardware. This final round was all Moran’s as he ran a nearly perfect 5.483 (5.48) with a .134 RT to take his first NSRA point series class win. Adamson’s semi-final round finish stretched his lead to 21 over Charlie Johnson.

Eric Moran

Motorcycle Pro 1

The MP1 class was quite a roller coaster ride for the Garnas family as eliminations went on throughout Sunday. Ron Garnas emerged victorious in match ups against both his son Robert and daughter-in-law Christy to advance to the final round. Garnas then reached the final round against point leader Brad Olson. This would be an epic battle with the Margin of Victory ending up as just .010 in favor of Garnas, who ran a 4.287 (4.15). Olson’s runner-up finish gives him a 37 point cushion over Mark Ratliff with just two races at Soboba left.

Ron Garnas

Motorcycle Pro 2

Motorcycle Pro 2 always sees some stellar action, and this weekend at Avenal was no exception. Defending class champion George Amos is always a favorite when he rolls through the gates and it looked like his day until Taylor Holmes threw a .026 RT down forcing George into a 4.914 (4.93) in the semi-final round. Holmes would then use a .032 RT in the final to push Jeff Coale into a 4.644 (4.70) break out to earn his first victory of the 2013 season. Amos’ semi-final finish moved him into the class lead by 20 points over Mark Ratliff as he chases back-to-back class titles.

Motorcycle Pro 2 Final Round: Winner Taylor Holmes (Far Lane) vs. Jeff Coale

Sportsman Classes

Bill Meaney topped the Sportsman 1 class driving a different Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep for the first time, as he defeated Steve Foster Sr. in the final round with a 3.697 (3.63). Bill’s win pushed him into the class points lead by 16. Sportsman 2 saw Oregon’s Jennifer Smith come out on the winning end of a double break out final round against Tom Newton. Alvin Rego III earned the Motorcycle Sportsman 1 victory after limping through the last two rounds with problems to his Pro ATV, his final round opponent Josh Crampton went .032 red allowing Alvin to idle down the track for the win. Two tough competitors squared off in the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class final as Jeff Coale and Steve Lackey lined up. The veteran racer that he is, Lackey used a hole shot and ran closer to his dial with a 4.539 (4.50) to take the victory. La Quinta, CA’s Ryan Rodriguez was the lone competitor in the Junior Dragster class, so he took the win and used the points to take a 42 point lead as the series heads to the final two races.

Bill Meaney - Sportsman 1 & Pro Gambler Winner

Jennifer Smith - Sportsman 2 Winner

Alvin Rego III - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner

Steve Lackey - Motorcycle Sportsman 2 Winner

Ryan Rodriguez - Junior Dragster Winner

Other Classes

The Pro Gambler class ended up being 38 strong as they loaded the lanes for round one. After a cut throat day of eliminations and night as the final rounds got delayed until Sunday, the final round rolled to the line with best bracket racers facing off. Hemet, CA’s Charlie Johnson in the Mopar-powered Back N Black Jeep paired off with Battle Ground Washington’s Don Boespflug with the Little Tiger SBC-powered Jeep. Johnson used a .058 to .114 RT edge to take the stripe with a 4.546 (4.51) by just .035 for the big win. Sunday saw a Sportsman Gambler take place, and Bill Meaney took his second class win of the weekend. Bill ran a 3.709 (3.69) to defeat Nick Young in an all-Jeep final round. Other winners on the weekend included Marcus Lancaster (Pro 4), Matt Wilson (Sportsman 3), Preston Boespflug (Juniors 1 - Sat & Sun), and Cheyenne Hartman (Juniors 2 - Sun).

Charlie Johnson - Pro Gambler Winner

Photos Courtesy NSDN

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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