NSDN Rewind 2014 Race 3: Avenal

The 2014 NSDN Daily Race Coverage season moved on to Avenal, California in late April for the Avenal Sand Drags Spring Nationals. Over the Off-season, a huge undertaking took place to provide an improved racing surface at the Avenal track. This was a hugely successful project as the combination of new track prep equipment along with the change in Dirt/Sand mix made for one of the best race programs in recent memory. Across the board one of the biggest issues in sand drag racing is the length of time it takes to groom the track. With the new grooming equipment & process, I even got caught off guard on several occasions not being able to finish updates during the grooming downtime. The Avenal Sand Drags crew was on their game all weekend and got done in a timely manner despite a great turnout. This NSDN Daily Race Coverage was presented by the fine folks at Red Warrior/D’Artenay Motorsports & Avenal Sand Drags.

NSDN Coverage Links
NSDN Daily Race Coverage Page
NSDN Race Recap Page

NSDN Run of the Event: The Top Alcohol final round alone was worth the price of admission on this weekend. Five time defending class champion Gary Mink rolled to the line against #1 qualifier David Morton to see who would take home the hardware on this weekend. Morton led qualifying in the Morton Racing converter-equipped Top Alcohol Dragster with a stellar 2.48 coupled a stout .973 60’ time. Mink recorded a best in qualifying with a 2.51 for the second position. Mink would earn lane choice in the final with a round one 2.48 matching Morton’s top qualifying effort while Morton ran a 2.55 to defeat Washington’s Craig Mark in a great battle. All eyes were on the starting line for Morton and Mink to square off. Morton was up for this one with a .047 RT edge to Mink’s .082, but it was the Hemi power of Mink inching ahead at the stripe in a 2.50 to 2.59 decision with a margin of victory being .050. These two teams were locked together all weekend long and this final round put an exclamation point on a great event.

Top Alcohol Final Round

Gary Mink - Top Alcohol Winner

David Morton - Top Alcohol Runner-Up

NSDN Racer of the Event: This was a tough choice from this event with several racers having huge weekends at Avenal. But only one racer managed to earn his way to three and nearly four class final rounds on the weekend, Justin Adamson. Adamson piloting his Raped Ape Jeep started off the weekend by earning the win in a huge 30+ entry Pro Gambler class field while also making it to the Sportsman 1 final and losing a close race to his dad, Chris. Chris would again edge his son in Sunday’s Pro 2 semi-finals, but Justin would go on to score the Pro 3 class win defeating Al McKinney in the final round. Congrats to Justin on a great weekend of racing at Avenal.

Justin Adamson - NSDN Racer of the Event

NSDN Storylines

Claytie’s Rides: The sand drag racing world took a huge hit in late 2013 as longtime west coast racer Clayton Record passed away suddenly. Widely regarded as one of the most likeable racers at the track, Clayton is greatly missed at the races. However, his spirit is still with us at the races living on through his rides as fellow racers Kenny Hayes and Chris Adamson acquired Clayton’s Larry Minor Motorsports Jeeps in early 2014. This Avenal event marked the first time these guys were able to take the hot rods out. Chris was the first to hit the Winner’s Circle as he took the Sportsman 1 class victory on Saturday. But Sunday was truly inspirational for all as Kenny first wheeled the White/Blue Jeep to the Pro 1 title followed by Chris in the next pair down the track taking a close final round win over Brian Chapman in the Pro 2 class. Claytie was definitely looking down on the races with a smile on this day seeing his Jeeps continuing to turn win lights on.

Kenny Hayes - Pro 1 Winner

Chris Adamson - Pro 2 & Sportsman 1 Winner

Claytie's Rides facing off on a time trial pass.

The Excavator: It was great to see Paul Graham bring “The Excavator” Blown Alcohol Buggy to Avenal for the first time in a few years for battle in the TE class. In late 2013, Paul worked hard and got his ride dialed in paying off with a great race day at the SCSDA Season Finale where he ran 2.97, 2.99, and 2.98 in Eliminations before parts breakage took him out for the final round. This race Paul picked right up where he left off recording a 2.96 to secure the #3 qualifying spot in the extremely tough 2.95 Index class. Paul started off eliminations with another 2.96 on a single pass before cutting a psychic .010 light coupled with a 3.05 to defeat Paul Taylor in the semi-final round. This would set up a final round against the super competitive “Bad Toy” Dragster of Jim Rossi. Graham would hit the tree solid with a .040 RT and leg it out to a 3.03 for the Top Eliminator title at Avenal. Paul’s son Levi also was a winner taking the Junior class victory on Sunday making it an incredible weekend for the Graham’s!

Paul Graham - TE Winner

Photo Extra

Brian Chapman turned on win lights all weekend long in his front endy carrying Jeep, including a win in Sunday's Sport Gambler class.

A nice launch shot of Jack Vandigriff on his way to the Motorcycle Pro 2 victory.

Jeff Wolfgang made it to his first final round with a runner-up in the Sportsman 2 class with his clean looking Jeep. Jeff's sons Kolton and Kyler are always tough competitors in the Junior classes with their Mini Pro Trucks.

Austin Thomas continued to show why he's a top competitor in the M2 classes on the west coast with a win in the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 class at Avenal.

Mike Williams struggled to keep the front end down at Avenal, but created some great photo opportunities.

Bonus Rewind Video: Sunday Pro Bracket Car Final Rounds.

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