The Dirt 300 Nitro Nats '14 Race Recap

The Third Annual Nitro Nationals at Motiva Motor Speedway’s The Dirt 300 in Albuquerque, NM took place in late June with racers from as far away as Texas and California making the trip. This year’s race format featured a majority of the racing under the lights with evening racing at The Dirt 300 for the first time. The cooler temperatures led to some great racing action with big money on the line in the Pro Bracket classes. Let’s take a look at the on track action.

Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator class saw two solid racers square off for the top prize in New Mexico. Qualifying was a battle with Texas racer Courtney Stidham taking the top qualifying spot with a 3.06. This was a great start to the weekend for Stidham as he was going for four wins a row dating back to Atoka, OK last October. But in Qualifying his opponent Las Vegas racer Terry Crawford was close behind with a 3.11 best in his Yabba Dabba Doo Blown BBC-powered Dragster. These two pulled to the line Saturday night under the lights to determine the weekend’s Top Eliminator champion. This race would be decided on the starting line as Stidham once chopped the tree down with a .067 RT, and his small block power would be enough for a hole shot win with a 3.12 to Crawford’s Best ET of the weekend 3.10. Congrats to both teams for putting on a great show in New Mexico, and to the Stidham Racing team for scoring their fourth consecutive TE class win (Atoka - October ’13, Dome Valley - Jan ‘14, Atoka - May ’14, Albuquerque - June ’14).


Top Eliminator Final Round: Courtney Stidham (Right Lane) took the win over Terry Crawford.

Pro Open Bracket Classes

At the Nitro Nationals, there were some healthy payouts on the line in both the Pro Open Cars & Pro Open Quads classes with the Winner of these classes taking home $1500.

Twenty-one entries went for the title in the Pro Open Cars class. Qualifying ET sets the ladder for the Pro Open category and Phoenix racer Keith Ahart took the top spot with a 3.62 in his “Second Urge” Dragster. The top qualifying spot also earned Keith a bye run in Eliminations. The Pro Open Cars class was split into an ‘A’ half & ‘B’ half based on ET. The ‘A’ half was the Quicker in ET and the final round of this group came down to a battle between local racers Anthony Brown in a BBC-powered 4WD Altered against Steve Maas in his Mopar-powered Altered. Both racers had been on their game all day, but it would be Anthony turning on the win light with a .088RT and 4.233 (4.21) to advance on. The ‘B’ half final round would also see a pair of local New Mexico racers as Shawn Maloy in the SBC-powered “Nothin’ But Trouble” Jeep against Mike Carpenter’s VW-powered Buggy. Mike would earn the starting line advantage, but it would be Maloy running closer to his dial with a 4.944 (4.88) for a close Margin of Victory being just .014. This would set up the overall Pro Open Cars final round between the young guns Anthony Brown in his Altered and the Jeep of Shawn Maloy. This would be a close race at the stripe, but the .071 RT of Brown earned him a tenth of a second advantage at the line which would be the deciding factor. Brown lifted early to a 4.367 (4.21) to take a Margin of Victory being .047. Congrats to Anthony, his dad Bill, and the whole Brown Family on the huge win at the Nitro Nationals.


Anthony Brown - Pro Open Cars Winner


Shawn Maloy - Pro Open Cars Runner-Up

The Pro Open Quads class had a strong 17 entries competing for the $1500 Winner’s check and hardware. New Mexico racer Kris Tapia scored the top spot in Qualifying recording a stout 3.96. Kris was the only racer to record a 3-second ET in the ATV class. The semi-final round saw a great matchup between Texas racer Chris Rodriguez and Phoenix racer Grant Hutchinson. Both were running great up to this point, but it would be Hutchinson moving on to yet another final round as Rodriguez went red by .072. Grant would face off with New Mexico racer James Miller in the final round. These two faced off in Round One of eliminations with Hutchinson taking the win, but with first round buybacks in effect Miller bought back in & raced on to the final round. This time around would be a different story as Miller earned a two-tenths of a second RT advantage and parlayed that into a MOV of .089 to score the huge Pro Open Quads class win at the Nitro Nationals. Congrats to James Miller and his whole team on this great accomplishment.


James Miller - Pro Open Quads Winner


Grant Hutchinson - Pro Open Quads Runner-Up


Other Classes

Mike Pruitt ran a solid string of 4.3-second ET’s to record the victory in the Open Heads-Up Quad class win over Jeremy Gatewood. KC Springer impressed in his first outing behind the wheel of the newly acquired “Bounty Hunter” Jeep previously owned by Chris Adamson as KC earned the 4x4 Sportsman class victory over Monty Ross. The Quad/Bike Sportsman class victory went to John Eberhard, who used great RT’s and runs close to his dial to take home the trophy. Travis Brown was on fire Saturday night as the Brown Family continued their winning ways as he doubled up taking both the Junior & Junior Gambler class titles to go along with his brother Anthony’s Pro Open Car victory. New Mexico racer Damon Hall put the crowd pleasing Krank-E Fiat in the Saturday Pro Gambler winner’s circle with a final round win over Virgil Rankin while California’s Bill Meaney scored the Friday night Pro Gambler win over Steve Maas. Justin Eberhard won the Saturday Pro Open Quads Gambler class while it was Grant Hutchinson taking the Friday Pro Open Quads Gambler win back with him to Arizona. Other winners on the weekend included Antonio Marquez (Youth) and Christopher Segura (Friday Junior Gambler).


Mike Pruitt - Open Heads-Up Quad Winner


KC Springer - 4x4 Winner


John Eberhard - Quad/Bike Winner


Travis Brown (Right Lane) won both the Junior & Junior Gambler classes on Saturday.


Damon Hall - Saturday Pro Gambler Winner


Bill Meaney - Friday Pro Gambler Winner


Photos Courtesy
NSDN

Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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