ENNIS, Tex. – After a couple of rounds of qualifying and time trials and round one of eliminations for Super Gas on Thursday, eliminations kicked into high gear on Friday morning as Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, and Super Street competitors squared off in the first round of eliminations. Friday’s action also included two rounds of qualifying for the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown entries and the third and final round of qualifying for Top Sportsman and Top Dragster.
DragChamp makes pre-event picks to win the race in each of the sportsman classes. You can see our event preview article here.
Team DragChamp went 2 for 3 in round one as Jeff Hefler and Cooter Hidalgo made the cut while defending event champion Slate Cummings fell in a close heads up GT/EA clash with Pete Peery. Hefler took out number one qualifier Chris Dodd while Cooter took down Bobby Brannon in a double-breakout race.
Chris Chaney kept his championship hopes alive when he defeated Amy Faulk. Other interesting first round races included a battle between two Pro Stock competitors, well one is a former Pro Stock driver, as Bo Butner took out AAA Midwest Nationals winner Greg Stanfield in round one.
After a long haul from California, Ryan McClanahan’s stay in Texas may be over as he lost by a .001-second to Ashton Hudson in round one. McClanahan took .002 stripe to break out by just .001.
U.S. Nationals finalist Dale Hulquist was trailered early Tony Cowell ran dead-on with a two to take the win.
Brandon Bakies and Brett Candies squared off in a heads-up FSS/F battle with Bakies taking the easy win 9.300 to Candies’ slowing 9.769.
Key matchups for round two include Hefler going against Butner and David Rampy, who’s gunning for national event win number 100, against Korey Mawhee.
Team DragChamp went 2 for 3 after Jeff Lopez and Jacob Pitt found some electricity in round one. Jerry Emmons, my third pick, was not in attendance. Lopez got away with a late light in round one when Justin Hutto misjudged the stripe allowing Lopez to get there by .007-second. On a side note, click here to check out a video of Justin preparing for a race earlier this year. Pitt also got by with late reaction time when Amy Faulk slowed down track.
Defending event champion Thomas Marlow bowed out early when he missed the tree and ran well off the dial against Division 4 veteran Ed Ridenhour.
In a rare occurence, Slate Cummings went 0 for 2 as he lost in the first round in both Super Stock and Stock. Randi Lyn Shipp and Bruno Massel also bowed out in round one.
After winning first round, Brian McClanahan needs one more win light in order to add to his championship points total. Brian needs to improve upon a second round finish to keep his championship hopes alive. He’ll meet Ed Ridenhour in the second round.
Other racers moving on to second round include Austin Williams, Chris Chaney, Todd Patterson, Cooter Hidalgo, Brandon Bakies, and Britt Cummings among others.
SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown
The Factory Stock entries made two qualifying attempts on Friday with Kevin Skinner taking the top spot with an 8.096 at 167 mph blast. Aaron Stanfield, Arthur Kohn, and Steven Bell filled the second through fourth spots with 8.128, 8.163, and 8.179 runs respectively. Randy Eakins rounded out the top five with an 8.224 E.T.
Notably absent from the top five were the DSR cars of Leah Prichett and Mark Pawuk. Pawuk is currently qualified ninth with an 8.269 and Leah is tenth with an 8.397-second best.
It will be interesting to see if the DSR cars can make better runs on Saturday and if so, just how fast will they run.
Team DragChamp went 3 for 3 as Tommy Phillips, Taryn Greene, and Steve Collier all lit the lamp in the first round of eliminations on Friday morning. Collier won on a breakout over Jim Jones, Greene took a .005-second victory over Dan Foley, and Phillips moved into the second round when Steve Evans turned it red.
Championship title hopefuls Mark Grame and Don Nichols both survived the first round with red-light wins and will look to collect more points throughout the weekend. Both drivers are replacing a first round loss so their first round wins have already started adding to their season points totals.
Notable racers making an early exit included Ross Laris, Jeff Hefler, JR Lobner, Britt Cummings, Alan Savage, Edmond Richardson, Koy Collier, Chris Dodd, and Cole Cummings.
With such a loaded field, there are a number of key matchups scheduled for the second round. Notable matchups include Grame against Mike Green, Taryn Greene against Don Nichols, Gary Stinnett against Jack Collier, and Greg Stanfield against defending event champion Craig Anderson.
Team DragChamp went 3 for 3 in Super Gas as Tommy Phillips, Val Harmon, and Tim Nicholson all made it through the first round. Harmon defeated Charlie Waggoner by less than .001-second taking a 9.886 to 9.886 victory. Phillips took a .020-second win over Lanny Maples and Nicholson drove his 100 mph Camaro to the win over Bryon Turner, 9.914 to 9.940.
I’m not sure what was going on in round one but there were a large number of .060-.080 reaction times in Super Gas. The reaction times in general were significantly worst than the class average.
Casey Plaizier took an easy breakout victory over Cody Melton in round one. Plaizier needs a late round finish this weekend in order to have a shot at contending for the national championship.
Key matchups in round two include Tommy Phillips against Roger Warren, Tim Nicholson against Jeff Lopez, Steve Collier against Val Harmon, and Holden Laris against Super Comp contender Don Nichols.
Team DragChamp took a beating in round one as Gary Stinnett fell to Tony Brown after taking a train length to break out -.023 and Cole Cummings came up short at both ends of the track losing to Jarrod Ross. Ray Dew pulled out a double-breakout win over Greg Simbeck to keep me from going 0 for 3.
Northwest Nationals Super Street winner Francesca Giroux fell to David Owens near-perfect 10.901 pass in the first round. It will be a long haul back to Canada for Giroux after missing on both ends of the track.
Top Division 4 racers still in contention include Dew, David Owens, Trevor Land, Val Harmon, Rick Huffman, Greg Parson, Tony Brown, and Tom Phillips.
With only a 28 car field at the Texas Motorplex this weekend, qualifying turned into three time trials for the Top Sportsman field. Chip Ruma, Ramona, Calif., drove his ’12 Camaro to the top spot with a 6.237, 228 mph blast. Mario Boesch was second with a 6.445 E.T. and the defending event champion Greg Lair is third with a 6.583 pass in his Lenco-equiped ’15 Camaro.
We’ll watch closely tomorrow to see if JR Lobner can light the lamp twice to take over the national points lead.
While I thought the Top Dragster bump would be in the low 6.30 range, the bump spot ended up at a still stout 6.408. Steve Will of Fortuna, Calif., drove to an impressive 5.98 pass that was low E.T. of the class but NHRA did not count the run towards qualifying as it was quicker than the 6.00 class minimum. Austin Philpot, Boerne, Tex., took the top spot with a 6.037, 236.96 pass. Derek Purvis, Steve McDermott, and Jeff Koron followed closely behind each posting 6.05 passes.
Mark Jones will be one to watch during eliminations as he chases the national championship.
Click here, to read our AAA Texas Fall Nationals Sportsman event preview.
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