KENT, Wash. – The Top Dragster final at the CatSpot NHRA Northwest Nationals came down to a pair of experienced competitors. Steve Casner of Sheridan, Calif. picked up his sixth national event win while runner-up Andy Spiegel, of Acton, Calif., came up short for the second week in a row. Spiegel was also the runner-up at the previous weeks’ Toyota Sonoma Nationals.
Casner was stellar during the event as he averaged a .018 reaction time and ran dead-on his dial-in three times. Casner’s biggest scare came in the first round of eliminations when his car slowed down track leaving him helpless against opponent Bernie Plourd. Lucky for Casner, Plourd’s car was on a hot pass (about .05 fast) and he didn’t see that Casner had troubles as he took a train length at the stripe (.368) resulting in an -.011 break-out run.
Casner made a much better run in his second round battle with Thomas Bayer. Casner trailed off the line, .024 to .014, but snuck around Bayer at the finish when Bayer lifted. Casner’s dead-on 6.684 on his 6.68 dial was good enough to capture a close .008 win. Bayer, who looked like he would have run dead-on had he not lifted, ran a .022 over 6.882 in the loss.
In round three Casner used a .029 reaction time advantage to defeat Taylor Vetter. Casner eased to a .034 over 6.684 to take the .012 win.
Casner defeated a red lighting Dan Provost in the semifinal round. Casner would have been tough to beat either way as he laid down .014 total (.014 R.T., dead on zero) for the win.
As mentioned earlier, Andy Spiegel was competing in his second final round in the last seven days, quite impressive for sure. Spiegel put up a good fight against Casner but once again came up just short of the win. Casner had his second .014 reaction in a row and once again ran dead-on his dial-in for a .023 package and the victory. Spiegel’s .034 package fell short of turning on the win light by .011. Although it was an extremely close race, and both drivers were running close to 200 mph, they both looked to have scrubbed a hundredth at the finish. Wheel racing at 200 mph, these guys are really good.
After two straight final round appearances, Spiegel would go on to make it three in a row after he was runner-up at the Pacific Raceways LODRS event the weekend after the national event. An impressive run over a three-week period for Spiegel.
As for Casner, he increased his final round record to six wins in ten finals. Congratulations on the win Steve!