Albany Sandstorm 2014 Race Recap

Albany Sand Drags in Albany, OR was the site of Sandstorm 2014. This 2nd Annual event is a highlight race for the Northwest sand drag racing season. Racers from Oregon and Washington came out in big numbers to combine with some of the travelers from California and Arizona for an entry total of just over 250 for the weekend. There were plenty of stories throughout the weekend. Let’s take a look at the action.

Top Alcohol

A strong field of Top Alcohol Dragsters converged on Albany Sand Drags for Sandstorm 2014. Northwest racers Craig Sines and Craig Mark were ready for action against California racers Jim Hammond and David Morton, which put four high qualifying entries on the track vying for the hardware. Qualifying was a battle throughout the three sessions. Craig Mark and the Joe Bettencourt-tuned Eruption team led the pack with a stellar 2.474/139MPH hit off the trailer in Q1. That number would stand up for the top spot. Mark would also have Low ET in Q2 with a 2.501. David Morton would slide into the #2 spot with a solid 2.52/128MPH in Q1; however the Morton Racing team would suffer engine damage that would put them out for the weekend after a strong 2.55 lap in Q2. Craig Sines piloted the Thunder Struck TA Dragster to the #3 qualifying spot recording a string of solid runs including a best of 2.533/128MPH in Q3, which was also Low ET for that session. But the big story of qualifying was the California-based “April’s Dream” team of Jim Hammond. During Friday’s first qualifying session, Jim had a left rear wheel failure causing the tire and wheel to come off of the car right off the starting line. This sent Jim’s Dragster into the wall down track. Thankfully Jim walked away uninjured. At that point, the team assessed the damage and the thrash was on. After a lot of work and some help from other teams, Jim was back on track on Saturday. After an easy check out pass in Q2, Jim recorded a 2.75/121MPH to sit in the fourth position heading into race day.

Round one kicked off as Top Qualifier Craig Mark squared off with Jim Hammond. Jim was on his game at the tree taking a .077 to .141 advantage, but it would be Mark tracking him down with an impressive 2.497/142MPH as the Eruption team moved on to round two. Craig Sines would be up next on a single run as the #2 Qualifier Morton Racing team was unable to make the call. The Sines Thunder Struck team had Spike Gorr of Gorr Fuel Systems helping on the tune up throughout the weekend, and they made the right calls on this pass recording a weekend best 2.518/126MPH to set up a great all-Northwest final round.

A great crowd in the stands at Albany Sand Drags was full of anticipation as the Top Alcohol final round rolled up to the line. Two solid teams that had run within a few hundredths of a second all weekend were lining up to see who takes home the hardware. This battle would be won at the starting line as Sines recorded a nearly perfect .005 RT, which gave him enough of an edge to hold on for a hole shot 2.58/131MPH win over Mark’s quicker 2.53/136MPH. Congrats to Craig, Gail, Chris, Spike, and the whole Thunder Struck team on the huge win at Sandstorm 2014.

Top Alcohol Final Round (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Craig Sines - Top Alcohol Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Craig Mark - Top Alcohol Runner-Up (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator class featured two of California’s best as they battled for the hardware in Oregon. Jim Rossi and the Bad Toy team had the upper hand in Qualifying as he recorded a 2.980 to take the top spot into Eliminations. Jim’s opponent on this weekend would be the Red Warrior of Ron d’Artenay. Ron started off the weekend with an oil pump shaft weekend putting him behind the eight ball as he missed Friday’s Qualifying round. Ron would record a best of 3.00 in the final Qualifying session.

Both racers were ready for battle on Sunday afternoon to determine the weekend’s winner. They would both be dialed into that 2.95 Index. The advantage would go to d’Artenay on this day as Ron took a .154 to .219 hole shot, and hung on for the win in a 2.96 to 2.98 decision. Congrats to the Red Warrior team on scoring the win in Oregon.

Top Eliminator Final Round (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Ron d'Artenay - Top Eliminator Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Jim Rossi - Top Eliminator Runner-Up (Outlaw Photography Photo)

3.5 Index

The wildly popular 3.5 Index class has made its way to the Northwest, and it didn’t disappoint as the racers put on a great show at Albany Sand Drags. Don Boespflug showed everyone how it’s done in Qualifying as he took the top spot with a stellar 3.517 on the 3.500 Index. Chris Wells just missed a perfect run twice in Qualifying as he ran a 3.496 & 3.497; however he would take the #2 position with a 3.551. Seven tough entries made this an interesting class as it went into race day.

Round one was exciting from start to finish. Top Qualifier Don Boespflug received the bye run with his “Little Tiger” Jeep recording a steady 3.57 to move on to round two. The next pair would see Jonny Schwab in his body less Full Throttle Jeep against Brady Menzenberg’s Hired Gun Dragster. Unfortunately Brady would have problems at the hit, which gave Jonny a freebie where he recorded a solid 3.61/89MPH. Rick Heintzman would be up next in his turbocharged Four Cylinder-powered Buggy against Kam Mccallister’s wild Killin’ Time naturally aspirated SBC-powered Jeep. Rick would turn on the win light with a steady 3.60, however all eyes were in the other lane as Kam got crossed up around half track and did a masterful job of driving to keep the short wheelbased Jeep right side up. After that excitement, the next pair would see #2 qualifier Chris Wells in his Nitrous assisted SBC-powered Buggy go up against Dave Stidham’s Blown Alcohol SBC-powered Jeep. The win light would go to Wells with the Best Run of the round 3.557. In the other lane, Stidham used this pass to back up his earlier 3.25 with a 3.275 at 100.20 MPH to set the B/Pro Jeep records.

Things got real serious in the semi-final round. #1 Qualifier Boespflug squared off with Jonny Schwab in the first pair. Schwab would turn in his Best ET of the weekend with a 3.60, but it would not be enough to hold off the Little Tiger as Don turned on the win light with a 3.523/88MPH. Next up it would be the Turbo power of Heintzman against #2 Qualifier Chris Wells. Chris would take a slight advantage at the tree and force Rick into a 3.453 break out. Wells ran a 3.56 on that pass to advance on.

This setup a titanic final round duel between two of the Northwest hitters in Boespflug and Wells. These two pulled to the line to put on a show for the Oregon crowd. Wells was ready for action with a nice .043 RT taking a .03 advantage on Boesplfug. Chris would fall off to a 3.63, but it would be enough to force Don into a 3.489 break out handing the all conquering Buggy the 3.5 Index victory.

Chris Wells - 3.5 Index Winner (NSDN Photo)

Open ATV Heads-Up

Three tough competitors jumped in the ring for the Open ATV Heads-Up category at Sandstorm 2014. Angel Estevez piloted Arlo Cully’s potent Triple to the top spot with a 3.56/88MPH blast. Local racer Brad Christophersen threw down a solid 3.71/78MPH for the #2 position while Phoenix racer Chris Spitali ran a 3.84/84MPH best to qualify #3.

Angel would take it easy on the bye run to advance to the final round. Things got pretty exciting as Christophersen and Spitali took to the line. Chris would take the starting line advantage, but Brad would take control down track getting near the center down track and eventually knocking down a cone at the finish line negating a 3.80/75MPH pass. This would set up a final round between Phoenix neighbors Estevez and Spitali. Angel would ride the Oregon-based Triple to Low ET of the weekend with a 3.541/86MPH en route to the victory in the Open ATV Heads-Up category.

Angel Estevez - Open ATV Heads-Up Winner (NSDN Photo)

Stock Frame ATV Heads-Up

The Stock Frame ATV Heads-Up category hosted some solid racing all weekend long. Top Qualifier in this category would be Josh Lowry on Brett Sanderson’s “Sand Hustler”. Josh jockeyed the former PSDA record holding ride to a 3.94/74MPH shot leading the field into race day. The final round would come down to Lowry on the Sand Hustler versus Josh’s normal Cuervo Racing ride with Daniel Loveridge riding it. Lowry and the Sand Hustler could not be stopped on this weekend as Josh recorded a 3.98/69MPH to defeat Daniel’s game effort 4.08/75MPH. Congrats to the Sand Hustler / / Cuervo Racing crew on the win in Oregon.

Josh Lowry - Stock Frame ATV Heads-Up Winner (NSDN Photo)

Bracket Classes

Albany Sand Drags hosted their normal bracket program on both Saturday and Sunday during Sandstorm 2014. Both Pro & Sportsman categories were contested both days with full fields of local racers.

Saturday’s Pro 1 Cars class started out 28 strong. The final round came down to a rear engine dragster versus Jeep battle. This was a classic drag race with Adam Hill in the Dragster taking a .014 Margin of Victory over Casey Jensen. Hill would come back on Sunday and make a hard charge at a weekend double up. He would advance to the final round against the always tough Scoty Burris. This was another excellent battle with Burris taking a .083 to .094 RT advantage, and hanging on for a .004 Margin of Victory with a 3.754 (3.73).

Adam Hill - Saturday Pro 1 Cars Winner (NSDN Photo)

Scoty Burris - Sunday Pro 1 Cars Winner (NSDN Photo)

The Pro Bike 1 (Motorcycle Pro 1) class features some of the fastest bracket Pro ATV’s in the Northwest. Saturday’s class saw Josh Lowry pilot his four-stroke entry to the win with a 3.982 (3.93) over Andy Seiver. The Sunday final round was wild with John Cleaveland having problems at the hit, but Doug Gunderson went .003 red handing the win to John.

Josh Lowry - Saturday Motorcycle Pro 1 Winner (NSDN Photo)

John Cleveland - Sunday Motorcycle Pro 1 Winner (NSDN Photo)

Tony Meline simply dominated the Pro 2 Cars class over the weekend. Tony defeated Mike Yates in Saturday’s final round. Then, he came back on Sunday and overcame a hole shot by Blake Wallen to take the weekend sweep with a 5.251 (5.12).

Tony Meline - Saturday & Sunday Pro 2 Cars Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Pro Bike 2 (Motorcycle Pro 2) saw a huge field of competitors take to the track on both Saturday and Sunday. Chris Arnett defeated Steve Miller in a great all-Oregon Saturday final round. Miller kept his strong weekend going with another final round on Sunday as he faced off with Donald Huff. Unfortunately for Miller, the result was the same as Huff turned on the win light with a 6.262 (6.17) and .060 RT for a .057 Margin of Victory.

Chris Arnett - Saturday Motorcycle Pro 2 Winner (NSDN Photo)

The Sportsman 1 Cars category is a highly contested category at Albany Sand Drags with many races decided by mere thousandths of a second. The always tough Chris Wells squared off with Sam Losbaugh in a Rear Engine versus Front Engine V-8 Buggy Saturday final round. When the dust settled, it would be Wells taking home the hardware. The Sunday final round saw Don Boespflug in the Little Tiger Jeep face off with the rear engine Dragster of Shawn Carlson. Don sealed the deal on the tree with a big starting line advantage and took the win with a 3.631 (3.54).

Don Boespflug - Sunday Pro 1 Cars Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Sportsman Bike 1 (Motorcycle Sportsman 1), like its Pro counterpart runs on a 4.19-Faster time break leading to some competitive fast bracket racing. On Saturday, John Whitehurst got the job done taking the final round win over Andy Seiver. Sunday’s final saw Arlo Cully on his potent Triple take the win with a string of mid 3-second passes over John Cleaveland.

John Whitehurst - Saturday Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Arlo Cully - Sunday Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner (NSDN Photo)

Tony Meline continued his weekend domination in the Sportsman 2 category as he took Saturday’s final round victory over Sheryl Hubert. The potent Toyota would be stopped on Sunday, though, as Mike Yates was able to defeat Tony in the final round to stop a complete sweep of the weekend.

Chris Arnett did a nice job doubling up on Saturday as he also took the Sportsman Bike 2 (Motorcycle Sportsman 2) category victory over Brady Kyllo. Chris just missed a class sweep as he went out in the semi’s on Sunday. Chris Hollenbeck would emerge victorious on Sunday as he defeated Gene Votaw in the final round.

Preston Boespflug dominated the Youth 1 category on this weekend. Preston got by Konner Cleaveland in Saturday’s final, then defeated the hard charging Chance Burris on Sunday. Jonny Maas got around Tucker Berg in the Youth 2 Saturday final round while David Gleason took the win light over Aiden Norvo in Sunday’s final.

Preston Boespflug - Saturday & Sunday Youth 1 Winner (Outlaw Photography Photo)

Photos Courtesy
Outlaw Photography

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy Outlaw Photography

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy NSDN

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