NSDN Rewind 2014 Race 7: Albany

NSDN’s Daily Race Coverage season continued on in Mid August with our first trip to the Northwest attending the Sandstorm 2014 event at Albany Sand Drags in Albany, Oregon. It was great to see a huge turnout of racers from Washington and Oregon along with a few long haul travelers from California and Arizona. Kam Mccallister along with Gee Armstrong and the Albany Sand Drags crew did a great job promoting the event drawing in a solid spectator crowd to go along with the great racer turnout. We met a great local photographer in Outlaw Photography that captured some amazing photos from this race. This NSDN Daily Race Coverage was presented by the fine folks that presented Sandstorm 2014.

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NSDN Run of the Event: With the pressure on, Craig Sines got the job done in the Top Alcohol final round with a nearly perfect .005 RT. To me, this was the most impressive performance of the weekend. Craig made nice passes all weekend long, but had been a couple hundredths of a second slower than his final round opponent Craig Mark in the opening round. So Sines knew he had to put together a perfect run with a great RT to go along with a solid pass. When the tree dropped, Sines used that nearly perfect RT with a 2.58/131MPH pass to get the win on a hole shot over Mark’s 2.53/136MPH. It’s rare to see a Top Alcohol racer cut a .00x light and to do it with the pressure on in the final round warrants NSDN’s Run of the Event for Craig Sines.

Craig Sines (Outlaw Photo)

NSDN Racer of the Event: There were a lot of candidates that could fit this category, but the stand out effort in my eyes on this weekend was from Christopher Wells in his Chevy-powered Buggy competing in the 3.5 Index class as well as Pro & Sportsman bracket categories. On Saturday, Chris made his way through a huge Sportsman 1 class and ended up taking the win over Sam Loshbaugh in the final round. He would bow out early in Saturday’s Pro 1 action, but he recorded a 3.551 to secure the #2 qualifying spot in the 3.5 Index class. When Sunday rolled around Chris was a favorite to go rounds in the bracket classes again, which he did making it to the Quarterfinals in Sport 1 and Round two of Pro 1. But the big prize was the 3.5 Index eliminations, where Chris would run 3.55 and 3.56 to advance to the final round in the ultra competitive field against Don Boespflug. Two of the very best Northwest racers squared off for the win. Chris threw down a .043 RT and forced Don into a breakout with a 3.489 securing a double up weekend win for the Wells-Burris team.

Christopher Wells (NSDN Photo)

NSDN Storylines

Jim Hammond: The scariest moment of the weekend by far was Jim Hammond’s wild ride in Round One Top Alcohol Qualifying. Jim and the “April’s Dream” crew made the long haul from California to Oregon to compete at the ultra fast Albany Sand Drags track. The first qualifying session on Friday saw Jim as the first Top Alcohol car to make a pass on the weekend. When he launched the left rear wheel failed sending the wheel & tire off of the car and sending the car out of control into the concrete wall. Thankfully with top notch safety equipment on board, Jim walked away unharmed. But the story was just beginning. Jim and the crew immediately started surveying the damage and checking the car over. In a great show of camaraderie, the other Top Alcohol teams all chipped in whatever parts and pieces Jim needed to put his car back together. After a late night and early morning for the Hammond crew, when the next qualifying session was called to the lanes the “April’s Dream” team was ready for action. Although Jim didn’t make it past the first round on Sunday this team was a huge winner in showing great perseverance to get back on track and finish the weekend at this great Oregon event.

Jim Hammond (NSDN Photo)

Jim Hammond & Crew (NSDN Photo)

3.5 Index: This class put on an incredible show at Sandstorm 2014 with a wide variety of vehicles chasing the class victory. There were so many great moments throughout the weekend from Don Boespflug recording a 3.51 on his first Qualifying pass to take the #1 spot to Dave Stidham’s breathtaking 3.250 to set the B/Pro Jeep record (see below for more info) to Kam Mccallister’s wild ride in the Killin’ Time Jeep in round one where he did an incredible job to save his ride after getting out of shape down track to a fantastic final round with Chris Wells forcing Don Boespflug into a 3.489 breakout. 3.5 Index started out in the Midwest and has definitely grown into a standout class wherever it is contested as evidenced by the great show put on in Oregon.

Dave Stidham: Longtime Las Vegas racer Dave Stidham brought his “Grinch” Jeep out to compete at Albany Sand Drags Sandstorm 2014. Stidham recently completed a move from Vegas to Washington earlier in the summer, and this was his first time to Albany with his Blown Alcohol SBC-powered Jeep. The great hook and air propelled Dave to his quickest times ever, which would be good enough to set the B/Pro Jeep World Record with a 3.25 at a tick over 100MPH. Congrats to Dave on this great accomplishment!

Dave Stidham (NSDN Photo)

Heads-Up ATV: There were two Heads-Up ATV classes at this event. Even though the participation wasn’t what was expected, the on track action was entertaining. In the Open ATV Heads-Up class, veteran ATV jockey and tuner Angel Estevez piloted Arlo Cully’s potent Triple to the class win recording Low ET of the weekend with a 3.54/86MPH.

Angel Estevez (NSDN Photo)

Northwest Cars: It was neat to see the variety of race cars in the Northwest. Many of these rides were built during days when Heads-Up “Class Racing” was dominant in this region leading to a lot of High RPM engines and unique vehicles hitting the track looking for that extra edge. With this being the first Northwest race NSDN has covered it was a pleasure seeing such a neat group of cars show up to battle in the bracket wars. Here is a sampling of some of the different rides we encountered at this event.

Chris Chandler (NSDN Photo)

Jonny Schwab (NSDN Photo)

Kam Mccallister (NSDN Photo)

Top Eliminator: Sadly one of the most competitive classes in sand drags, the Top Eliminator 2.95 Index class had just two entries for Sandstorm 2014. Many racers had last minute issues leaving them unable to attend, but two of California’s best made the long haul to Oregon to face off for the win. Jim Rossi’s Bad Toy was the top Qualifier with a 2.98 with Ron d’Artenay in his Red Warrior Dragster right behind him with a 3.00. Both of these cars are always dialed in this class and it was no exception in their first trip to Albany. The Red Warrior crew scrambled to make the final round call as they found a transmission problem shortly before it was time to run. Luckily the crew was able to get the Lenco fixed and race ready in time. This would be a great side by side race with Ron taking a slight starting line advantage and holding that lead through the end in an excellent 2.96 to 2.98 decision. A big congrats goes out to the Red Warrior and Bad Toy crews for putting on a great show in Oregon.

Ron d'Artenay (Outlaw Photo)

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