SONOMA, Calif. – Matt Blodgett of Signal Hill, Calif. drove his ’72 Vega to the Super Gas crown at the NHRA Toyota Sonoma Nationals hosted by Sonoma Raceway. Blodgett’s win, the 2nd of his career, came over Ron MacKenzie of Ferndale, Wash. Through six rounds of competition, Blodgett averaged a .013 reaction time including a perfect .000 in round four.
Although Blodgett’s Vega is one of the slower cars in the class (141 mph), it was extremely consistent on race day. In six rounds of eliminations, Blodgett posted five dead-on the index 9.90 E.T. In the first three rounds, Matt ran three straight 9.90s lifting only slightly at the finish line as the car was on 9.89 passes in each case. The final three rounds included three straight all-out passes where he posted an 9.890, 9.902, and a final round 9.908. A very impressive box score for sure.
Blodgett opened eliminations with a holeshot assisted breakout decision over Mike Boehner. Matt’s .016 initiated dead-on four pass forced Boehner into a break-out.
Round two looked similar to round one as Blodgett took a .02 holeshot and drove to a dead-on with a one (that’s 9.901 folks) win over Linzi Meserve. Although this win looked impressive, Blodgett did take .031 at the stripe to go 9.901 slowing slightly from his 9.89 setup.
Blodgett’s .014 reaction in round three actually was second best to Val Torres’s .009 R.T. Torres, who looked to be on a 9.890 pass, gave the stripe to Blodgett at the finish allowing Matt to kill .01 to go dead-on for the third straight round. Blodgett took .013 at the stripe and posted a winning 9.907 to Torres’s off-the-gas 9.925 E.T. This win gave Blodgett a bye round to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Blodgett laid down .012 total to box out former world champ Rick Beckstrom. Beckstrom’s .027 initiated 9.882 was no match for Blodgett’s .010 light and 9.902 E.T.
The Runner Up
Ron MacKenzie worked through a field of tough competitors to reach the final round. In round one, MacKenzie tangled with Ryan “High Gear” Herem in his super fast Corvette roadster. Both driver’s left with “teen” lights and both killed about .03 at the finish line. It was MacKenzie picking up the win when he dropped to a dead-on 9.905 while Herem didn’t grab enough brake pedal resulting in a 9.885 break-out pass.
In the second round, MacKenzie faced super hot Ryan Mangus who’s been winning in everything he drives recently. MacKenzie left Mangus no room as he threw down a 10 pack for the win. Mangus’s .028 initiated 9.894 came up well short.
Dennis Paz’s third round foul start proved to be well-timed for MacKenzie as he completely missed the tree leaving with a .086 R.T. The win moved MacKenzie into the fourth round where he defeated Janice Hogan after she missed the dial with a 9.970 E.T. MacKenzie did make the win a little more exciting than it should have been as he killed a ton to take .007 at the stripe, almost giving it back to Hogan.
In the semifinals, MacKenzie faced former world champion Ed Destatue and his Corvette roadster. After an even start, DeStatue took .036 at the stripe to break-out with a 9.863 to MacKenzie’s -.005, 9.895 E.T. Neither driver looked to have killed more than a hundredth or so at the stripe.
The Final Round
Competing in his second national event final, MacKenzie turned it “red” by -.012 giving the win to Blodgett and his Vega. Blodgett laid down a 9.908 in his parade lap. If MacKenzie hadn’t fouled, he could have made some noise as he looked to be on a 9.90 pass himself.
In the end, both competitors drove great, beat some tough opponents, and earned their way to the final round.
Blodgett and his Vega were the star of the event as they put on a show for the crowd. Both car and driver were deadly allowing them to walk away champions. Congratulations to the Blodgett family on the win!