NSDN Rewind 2014 Race 9: AvenalThe NSDN Daily Race Coverage season concluded with our second 2014 trip to Avenal Sand Drags in Avenal, CA for the Fall Nationals in mid-October. A great turnout of racers made the drive to Central California for this event. After all of the track improvements over the offseason & a great April event, the Fall race was one everyone had marked on their calendars. The Fall Nationals marked the first Avenal event in quite some time that was a three-day event. The added Pro Gambler and qualifying sessions on Friday just added even more to an action packed race weekend. Once again it was a well organized event with the Avenal Sand Drags crew led by race director Chachy Zavala doing a top notch job. Enjoy the Rewind...
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NSDN Run of the Event: Being a bracket racer forever, I have great respect for racers that get the job done with the pressure on. There are few situations more pressure packed than the final round. The Run of the Event for me would have to be the performance put on in the Pro 1 class final round. Washington racer Christopher Wells shoed his Chevy-powered Buggy to its second final round of the weekend (he also won the Sportsman 1 class on Saturday) facing off with Craig Durning in “Eugene the Jeep” BBC-powered rear engine Jeep. This pair of racers is always a late round threat at every race they enter. On this day, both racers were ready for that pressure packed final round. Christopher would take a .035 to .049 advantage on the tree and take a .014 Margin of Victory as both racers ran Dead-On with a 4 (.004). These guys put forth a great final round battle with stellar lights and running right on the dial, which is all any bracket racer can ask for.
NSDN Racer of the Event: The 2014 race season was filled with incredible performances in the Top Eliminator (2.95 Index) category. Naturally this trend continued at the Avenal Fall Nationals. It was great to see veteran Washington racer Carey Mahoney back on track at this event. Carey has won races across the country with his trademark “Big Time” Blown Altered as well as his White Dragster. In the past few years, Carey had run the Altered in Pro Outlaw & TE competition but at this Avenal event he brought out the Dragster that hadn’t seen the track since 2010. This car didn’t miss a beat all weekend. Carey immediately was in the ball park with a 3.02 off the trailer followed by a 2.969 in Q2 which would hold up for the #2 qualifying position. The consistent race car would also be there on race day. After shutting off early for the win in round one, he went on to record 2.953 & 2.97 ET’s en route to the victory. Those numbers coupled with Reaction Times of .056, .031, and .037 in Eliminations will more often than not put you in the Winner’s Circle. And that’s exactly what happened on this weekend. Congrats to Carey and his crew on a great performance at Avenal.
Northwest Invasion: The Avenal events have become a favorite spot for racers from the Northwest states (Oregon and Washington) to go racing at. On this weekend at Avenal, these racers were on top of their games & got the job done. Washington’s Carey Mahoney took the Top Eliminator class victory in convincing style. Oregon’s Burris-Wells team did great in the Bracket classes with Christopher Wells winning both Pro 1 and Sportsman 1 while Scoty Burris shoed the team’s Dragster to the Pro 2 victory. The Oregon-based Palmer Racing team dominated the ATV classes with Budy Palmer winning Motorcycle Sportsman 1 on Saturday, and then Kevin Tennison piloted another of the team’s rides to the Motorcycle Pro 1 victory. Yet another Oregon racer Jim Smith recorded a runner-up finish in the Pro Gambler on Friday with his Jeep. These racers all traveled 10+ hours, nearly 1000 miles and certainly did a great job representing the Northwest.
Christopher Wells - Pro 1 & Sportsman 1 Winner
Kevin Tennison - Motorcycle Pro 1 Winner
Jim Smith - Pro Gambler Runner-Up
Budy Palmer - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner
Blazer Action: One particular ride caught my eye for the first time at this event. Michael Abatti brought out his beautiful bright red Chevy Blazer for Pro Bracket action on this weekend. The ground pounding Chevy put it down turning numbers in the 5.1-5.2 second range. He then proceeded to put the Blazer in the Winners Circle topping an incredibly tough field in the Pro Gambler class.
A/Fuel: It was great to see a couple of the A/Fuel teams make the trip to compete at Avenal for the first time in several years. The Phoenix-based Skidmore Racing team made the long haul along with the Cronin Racing two-car team out of the San Diego area. In qualifying, Robert Skidmore laid down a solid 2.76/114MPH blast with his record holding ride. But in eliminations it would be Art Cronin taking the class win, Art’s best pass on the weekend was a 2.89/112MPH in a round one victory over his brother John. It’s always a treat to see the Nitro-burning four cylinder rides in action.