BROWNSBURG, Ind. – The 64th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals kicked into high gear on Friday with elimination rounds in Super Gas, Super Comp, and the HEMI Challenge along with Super Stock class eliminations. It was a full day of racing and DragChamp.com has plenty of updates from all the sportsman racing action.
While Stock Eliminator had the day off on Friday after completing class eliminations yesterday, Super Stock competitors took their shot at class eliminations today. Racers battled throughout the day for a chance to win the coveted U.S. Nationals class Wally. With final qualifying complete, Ernie Neal retained his spot at the top of the 128-car field in his GT/N ’05 Cavalier.
Neal’s -1.497 under 9.553 pass led all qualifiers. Dan Jacobs also retained his two spot with a -1.464 under 9.286 pass from his GT/K ’05 Cavalier. Chevrolet’s dominated the top 10 taking 8 of the top 10 qualifying spots at Indy. After sitting on the bump spot yesterday, Bucky Hess knocked out of the field eventually ending up No. 135 of 172 competitors.
Sneaking into the field at the last-minute was Jim Pancake, Cardington, Ohio, in his SS/AH ’68 Hemi Dart. Pancake’s -.685 under 8.615 just made the cut taking the final qualifying position.
With qualifying and class eliminations complete, Super Stock gets the day off on Saturday as they gear up for final eliminations on Sunday.
The HEMI Challenge competitors raced through four rounds of eliminations on Friday to crown a champion. At the end of the day it was 2-time defending event champion James Daniels taking his third straight HEMI Challenge win after defeating No. 1 qualifier Gary Wolkwitz in the final round. Daniels, Yardly, Penn., reeled off four straight 8.5-second runs to reach the final round with wins over Mark Howes, Dan Zrust, and Russ Campbell. Wolkwitz, Whitehouse Station, N.J., make his way to the final with triumphs over Wendell Howes, Bucky Hess, and Gus Mantas to reach his very first HEMI Challenge final round.
In the final, Daniels captured a .06-second holeshot over a tire-spinning Wolkwitz and continued to stretch his lead down track. Daniels posted a 8.662 to take the win over Wolkwitz’s slowing 10.110.
Super Comp Results
After completing round 1 eliminations on Thursday evening, the Super Comp competitors were back in action on Friday with two more rounds of eliminations. The starting field of 120 competitors was down to just 15 competitors by the end of the third round today.
Racers still remaining in competition include Steve Eckerd, Troy Stone, Troy Coughlin Jr., Frank Argona, Rick Hughes, Nichole Stevenson, Ray Miller III, Joe Hessling, Rock Haas, Alison Prose, Michelle Furr, Tim Marsh, Scott Vandewalker, Devin Isenhower, and former World Champ and past Indy Champ Gary Stinnett.
After going 4 for 5 in round 1, more of my Super Comp picks fell on Friday. Devin Isenhower is my only horse left in the race so to speak as Chris Dodd, “The King”, and Val Torres Jr. came up on the losing end of eliminations today. That’s ok, I have a 1 in 15 chance so I’m still in this thing.
Super Comp cars will be back in action on Saturday morning for round 4 action.
Round 4 key matchups –
Gary Stinnett and Troy Coughlin Jr. will square off tomorrow in a race between two of the top names in the class. Both have won the #USnats so this is one to watch. In addition, two young super-class hitters will tangle tomorrow when Ray Miller III and Devin Isenhower meet in round 4. And last but not least, Joe Hessling and Michelle Furr should be another great pair to watch.
Notables that fell out of competition today –
Former Indy Champ Tommy Phillips fell in round 2 when Alison Prose laid down a 10-pack in the other lane. Phillips dropped to a dead on 8.904 but his .024 lamp left him mathematically ineligible.
Luke Bogacki, another former Indy Champ, also fell in round 2 when he hogged up the stripe against Adam Gerber. Bogacki took .027 to go -.008 under the index in the loss.
Val Torres Jr. dropped an 8.90 to 8.90 race against Alan Kenny when his .042 reaction was well behind the .022 lamp of Kenny.
“Racin” Jason Lynch took out Mike Robilotto in a double-breakout race in round 2.
“The King” Edmond Richardson also fell in round 2 when Rick Hughes caught Edmond’s drop at the finish to go dead on 8.906.
Steve Collier was bounced in round 3 when he gave the stripe up by -.003, to run .028 above handing the win to Argona’s dead-on 8.908.
“Racin” Jason was another round 3 casualty when he gave up the stripe to Troy Stone who posted an 8.914.
Steve Eckerd took out former World Champ Alan Kenney with a 25-pack, posting a near-perfect 8.901 in round 3.
Final eliminations kicked off for the Super Gas competitors on Friday morning. The 116-car field was quickly narrowed down to just 15 after three rounds of competition.
Racers still in contention include: Tim Tiry, Jackson Collier, Jeff Lopez, Jeff Reed, Devin Isenhower, Bob Prose, Terry Nolan, Iggie Boicesco, Larry Roedel, Charlie Kenopic, John Sikish, Kevin Moore, Joey Shipp, Leo Zynda, and Steve Hoyt.
After three rounds, my picks took a hit but I’m still in this thing. After Luke Bogacki and Tommy Phillips lost in round 2 and Michelle Furr lost in round 3, I am left with two of my original five picks as Devin Isenhower and Kevin Moore are heading to round 4 tomorrow. I’m feeling pretty good as Devin is still in competition in Super Comp as well, can you say double?
Like Super Comp, Super Gas competitors will be back in action tomorrow morning with round number 4.
Notables that fell out of competition today –
Mia Tedesco posted a 9.907 in round 2 but came up a hundredth short against Bobby Dearry.
Ray Connolly got the jump on Luke Bogacki in round 2 with a .006 lamp but lost on the big end when he dumped to a 9.939 while Bogacki dropped to a perfect 9.900 for a 17-pack in the win.
Jacob Elrod lost in almost an identical race to Connolly’s when his .006 lamp and on-the-brakes 9.922 was no good as John Sikish threw a 9.903 on the board for a 17-pack and the win.
Tommy Phillips lost a battle with fellow Division 4 hitter Jackson Collier in round 3 after taking a car length at the stripe to break out -.014-second.
Cool Hand Luke Bogacki uncharacteristically hogged up the stripe in a breakout loss to Division 1 heavy hitter Iggie Boicesco in round 3. It was the second time on Friday that Luke lost in this manner as he did the same thing in his second round Super Comp loss. Definitely not Luke’s best day today as he’s one of the best Super racer’s in the country.
Steve Williams of K&N fame bowed out in round 3 after Joey Shipp laid down a 9.909.
Michelle Furr lost in much the same manner as several other top names did today by leaving first, dropping to go .02 above, and having their opponent throw down a 9.90. Michelle’s .030-pack came up .005 short against Steve Hoyt’s .025-pack.
That’s a wrap on Friday, Day 3 of the U.S. Nationals. Check back tomorrow as we’ll recap all the sportsman action from Day number 4.