Atoka Heartland Nationals '14 Race Recap

The 2014 Heartland Nationals at Atoka Motorsports Park in Atoka, OK had a National Event-type feel to it with racers coming from as far away as Arizona and Michigan to battle it out in Southeastern Oklahoma. This was the first trip for the Pro Truck Nationals (PTN) group to Atoka as well as the first race for the PTN/Pro Sand Drags Association (PSDA) alliance. These groups brought some big money and unique classes to spice up the Oklahoma show and add to the already great local program at AMP. Here’s a rundown of the action at the 16th Annual Heartland Nationals.

Top Alcohol

Atoka has a long history of great battles in the Top Alcohol class and this year’s race was no exception. Marc Luce debuted a brand new Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Dragster after his mishap late last season in Missouri. Marc’s new ride came together the week before the event with help from the Allen Racing team. Crew chief Dan Allen put a solid tune up in Marc’s ride to take the #1 Qualifying position with a 2.77/123MPH blast on the brand new chassis’ first full pass. The three car Goodale team made the long haul from Michigan to compete in Top Alcohol. The team’s newest pilot Brett Gilberson ran an impressive 2.79/125MPH off the trailer to earn the second quickest qualifying time. Unfortunately for Brett, the motor in the “Crude Awakenings” Dragster let loose on the next lap sidelining him for the weekend. Team Goodale crew chief Ted Lirones stepped into the “Drag Queen” Blown Chevy-powered Dragster typically driven by Pat’s wife Lori, and qualified it number three with a solid 2.83/123MPH. Rounding out the field was the potent Hemi of Pat Goodale as his Village Motorsports Top Alcohol Dragster ran a best of 2.88/128MPH. Ted was getting a handle on the tune up of Pat’s car heading into the final qualifying session, but unfortunately the Hemi was wounded so they decided to park the car for the weekend.

This set up a classic Oklahoma vs. Michigan battle on Race Day for the Top Alcohol title as track record holder Marc Luce and his Lucas Oil Hemi-powered Dragster would square off with the Chevy-powered Goodale/RPM Racing Engines & Chassis ride. Both teams would make single passes on Sunday morning in Round One with Luce recording Low ET to that point 2.76 while Ted wasn’t far behind with a 2.88. All eyes were on the starting line when theses guys rolled to the line for the final round. Luce had the performance advantage of around a tenth of a second, but Lirones being a veteran driver and having won some of the biggest TA races in the country couldn’t be counted out for the victory. Ted was on point at the tree with a .083 RT grabbing nearly a tenth and a half advantage over the Lucas Oil Dragster, but it would be the Allen Racing-tuned Hemi power in the Luce entry that would take the win at the stripe by just .013 with Low ET of the weekend 2.74/135MPH to Ted’s solid 2.90/115MPH. These guys put on a great show for the Oklahoma crowd all weekend long.


The Top Alcohol Final Round launching with Marc Luce (Near Lane) taking the win. (NSDN Photo)


Marc Luce - Top Alcohol Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)


Ted Lirones - Top Alcohol Runner-Up (Lonestar Graphics Photo)


Top Eliminator

I probably sound like a broken record when talking about the Top Eliminator category in each race recap, but there simply isn’t a more competitive class across the country in sand drag racing. The 16th Annual Heartland Nationals at Atoka Motorsports Park is another example of that. The Qualifying show alone was worth the price of admission. In the first qualifying session, Courtney Stidham continued his domination of the TE class with a solid 2.986 on the 2.95 class Index. Courtney’s run looked like it would earn him the top spot until the very last car in Q1 pulled to the line. Marc Luce in his Breakin’ Luce Blown Chevy-powered Dragster proceeded to throw down a 2.977 to take the top spot at the time. The next session would see Terry Glasscock’s Turbocharged Pinto-powered Dragster make a great effort with a 2.987 to move into the #3 position. Next up would be Stidham’s Blown small block Chevy-powered Dragster. Stidham, coming off of big wins at Dome Valley (AZ) in January and Atoka’s Fall Fest in October, jumped to the top of the list with a 2.972. Saturday afternoon’s Q3 saw both Stidham and Luce record 3.00’s, which would not improve them in the order. All eyes were on the track as the final qualifying session hit the track. Luce would be up first and recorded a 3.04. The next car down the track would be Glasscock, and the Pinto power would go to the top of the list tying Stidham exactly with a 2.972. The tie breaker would be MPH and Glasscock would edge out Stidham 111 to 109 earning him the top spot. Stidham would finish out the round with a 3.00, which would leave him the #2 qualifier heading into race day.

Glasscock continued on the right path with a 2.969 on his round one bye, which would stand for the Best Run of the round. Dee Trower recorded a 3.08 to defeat Tim Hatfield, who lost fire heading to the line and was unable to restart. Stidham ran another solid 3.00 on his single pass when Kenny Kapple was unable to make the call. Finishing off the round was Luce taking the win with a 3.21 over a red lighting Rod Trower in his brand new “Thunder” Turbocharged Pauter-powered Dragster.

The semi-finals kicked off with an all Turbocharged affair as Glasscock’s Pinto power lined up against Dee Trower’s Pauter Dragster in a Missouri vs Oklahoma battle. This race would be decided at the tree as Dee stage fouled rolling in just a tad too deep handing the win to Glasscock, who recorded a nearly dead-on 2.942. Next up was an all V-8 battle as the mighty small block power of Stidham lined up against the screw-blown big block powerplant of Luce. This was a solid race as Stidham took the starting line advantage .050 to .152 and never looked back taking the win in a 2.994 to 2.959 decision.

This would set up a rematch of last year’s Atoka Fall Fest final round between Missouri’s Terry Glasscock and Texas racer Courtney Stidham. The race would be decided at the tree as Stidham pulled out his best RT of the weekend .036 to Glasscock’s .129 and took the stripe first in a hole shot decision 2.993 to 2.975. This was Stidham’s third consecutive TE class win with the Texas-based “Twisted” Dragster.


Courtney Stidham - Top Eliminator Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)


Terry Glasscock - Top Eliminator Runner-Up (Lonestar Graphics Photo)

PTN / PSDA Classes

The PTN 3.5 Index put on a great show with some of the best bracket racers from across the country going for the win. Oklahoma’s Stephanie Kimbley qualified #1 with her Blown SBC-powered Dragster running a 3.505 on the 3.50 class index. The final round came down to two veterans of the sport as Michigan’s Bob Ramlow in his “Strictly Business” Altered lined up with Arizona’s Keith Ahart in his “Second Urge” Dragster. Ramlow would grab a .065 to .099 RT advantage and hold on for the win with a 3.62 as Ahart’s car shut off early when it didn’t shift. Congrats to “World Famous Bob 502” on the win in his first trip to Oklahoma.


Bob Ramlow - PTN 3.5 Index Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)

The always popular PTN 3.95 Index Pro ATV class had a solid turnout at Atoka with 14 entries making the round one call. Oklahoma’s Krista Loudermilk led the pack in Qualifying with a stellar 3.967 on the 3.95 Index. Wrapping up a great day of 3.95 action was the final round between Oklahoma’s John Pate and Texas racer Joseph Evans. Both were on their game all day as they advanced to the final. When the tree dropped Pate was on his game using a .055 RT and 4.013 to take the first PTN 3.95 Index Pro ATV title of the season. Congrats to John Pate on the big win!


John Pate - PTN 3.95 Index Pro ATV Winner (NSDN Photo)

The PSDA ATV Heads-Up categories put on a great show in their first outing at Atoka. In the PSDA 3.7 Index final round, Michigan’s Steph Bennett on the Rigger Racing ride turned on the win light in a 3.85 to 4.00 decision over Missouri’s Trey Williams on the MDR Racing ride. However, the tables would be turned as Williams defeated Bennett in the Twin 0-650 final round 3.69 to 3.82. The same two racers would face off in the Twin 650+ class with Bennett piloting the KW Racing entry in this class. Williams would take the win with another 3.69 to Bennett’s solid 3.75. The Three-Cylinder Unlimited class saw the MDR team once again victorious as Jeff Patterson rode the team’s Scimitar to the win with a 3.56 over H&H Racing’s Landon Holmes.


Trey Williams - PSDA Twin 0-650 & PSDA Twin 650+ Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)


Steph Bennett - PSDA 3.7 Index Winner (NSDN Photo)


Jeff Patterson - PSDA Three-Cylinder Open Unlimited Winner (NSDN Photo)


Quick 16 / Friday Night Classes

Friday night’s Quick 16 classes are always a popular part of any Heartland Nationals weekend. This year’s had the best fields in recent memory on both the Cars & Quads sides. The Quick 16 Cars class ranged from Top Qualifier Marc Luce with a 2.97 down to the #16 spot of David Collins with a 3.91. Arizona’s Kenny Hayes in the “Claytie’s Ride” Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep would continue his winning ways coming off of the big win at Avenal (CA) last month as he faced Oklahoma’s Wyatt Fomby in the Fomby Racing 007 Dragster. Hayes wouldn’t be stopped on this day as he used a 3.87 (3.80) with a .057 RT to push Fomby into a 3.741 (3.76) break out. The Quick 16 Quads class ranged from Top Qualifier Nick Allen’s 3.50 to #16 qualifier Dylan Williams’ 4.31. After some great action, the final round would come down to an all MDR Racing final round as the Missouri team’s riders Jeff Patterson and Trey Williams faced off in the final round. Both had wounded bikes in the final round and Jeff would inch ahead at the finish line for the victory by just .009. The PTN Ironman category had a strong turnout at Atoka as it was contested for the first time at this track. Kalin Nagorski would represent the Quads in the final round against PTN Head Honcho Buddy Hammett, who advanced to the final on the Cars side of the ladder. Hammett used a stellar .049 RT to track down Nagorski and take the win.


Kenny Hayes - Quick 16 Cars Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)


Jeff Patterson - Quick 16 Quads Winner (Lonestar Graphics Photo)



Buddy Hammett - PTN Ironman Winner (NSDN Photo)

Other Bracket Classes

The Pro 1 Cars class had 18 strong entries start out eliminations at Atoka. Two of the best local racers squared off in the final as Danny Mathews used a .019 RT and 4.345 (4.33) to take the win with his V-8 Dragster over Tim Feuerhelm’s Motorcycle-powered Dragster. 21 entries battled it out for the Pro 1 Quads title on Sunday at Atoka. Another all-Oklahoma final would be contested as John Pate won his second final round of the day with a 4.068 (4.01) over Rick Lovelace. Michigan’s Buddy Hammett scored his second class win on the weekend as he won the Pro 2 Cars class with a 4.528 (4.51) to defeat Texas racer Natasha Fauske in the final round. Other class winners on the weekend included Rick Lovelace (Pro 2 Quads), Bobby Kincaid (Pro 3 Quads), Jera Davidson (Pro 4 Quads), and Brayden Hamer (Peewees).


Danny Mathews - Pro 1 Cars Winner (NSDN Photo)


John Pate - Pro 1 Quads Winner (NSDN Photo)


Buddy Hammett - Pro 2 Cars Winner (NSDN Photo)


Photos Courtesy
Lonestar Graphics
NSDN

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of Lonestar Graphics


Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN


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