POMONA – As the final event on the 24 race NHRA national event tour came to a close on Sunday afternoon in Southern California, David Rampy stood tall as he claimed his historic 100th NHRA National event victory in winning Competition Eliminator. Rampy, Piedmont, Ala., led a host of national event champions including Steve Wann (Super Stock), Jeff Taylor (Stock Eliminator), Chad Webber (Super Comp), Roger Kato (Super Gas), Pat Osmundson (Super Pro E.T.), Nelson Belot Jr. (Pro E.T.), Brian Hendrickson (Sportsman E.T.), and John Markham (Motorcycle E.T.).
In addition to the event winners, Steve Williams was crowned the 2018 NHRA Super Comp world champion after Mark Grame fell in the fifth round of competition.
Full Sportsman results are listed below.
After winning number 98 at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day, Rampy had a good chance to get to 100 before the end of the year. Rampy collected his 99th Wally at the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals in late September to leave him just one victory shy of the 100 win mark. After a huge miss in Dallas at the AAA Texas NHRA Nationals where he made the final round in Competition Eliminator and Super Stock only to walk away empty-handed, Rampy was left with only a few more chances to reach the historic milestone in 2018.
After receiving a bye to the final round, Rampy paired against Division 7 hitter Doug Lambeck in the final round. Prior to the final round, neither driver had received CIC penalties so the final looked to be a wide open affair. The high stakes drama was quickly spoiled as Lambeck turned it red leaving Rampy to celebrate with an easy parade lap. Congrats to David and his team on a remarkable accomplishment.
After defeating two former world champions (Jimmy DeFrank and Brad Burton) in the first three rounds, Steve Wann, Modesto, Calif., continued his win streak on Sunday with a red-light victory over Wayne Taylor in the fourth round. Wann collected another easy win on Sunday after Len Schneider also turned it red in the semifinals. Facing Friendswood, Texas racer Gary Emmons in the final round, Wann put up his best effort of the weekend as he used a .002 reaction and a .012 over 9.782 to dispose of Emmons’ .064 reaction and .01 over 8.780.
Wann was deadly throughout eliminations with an average reaction time of .017 and running near his dial in every round. The win is Wann’s sixth in national event competition and his second in Super Stock.
Emmons started eliminations with a victory over his brother Terry in the first round and made his way to the final round with victories over Marion Stephenson, Larry Scarth, Cody Lane, and Brett Brown.
Four-time world champion Jeff Taylor, Sellersburg, Ind., avenged his final round loss at the recent Toyota NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas by winning the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona. Taylor defeated a red lighting Ryan Mangus, Rialto, Calif., in the final round to claim the Stock Eliminator Wally.
With only two rounds of eliminations remaining on Sunday, Taylor was spectacular at the tree posting .019 and .012 respectively while both of his competitors turned it red. Semifinal opponent Jon Irving left -.049 too soon and Mangus left just -.003 too soon in the final.
Taylor wrapped up another successful season his second national event victory of 2018 and a strong 3rd place finish in the national standings.
Mangus, driving for the Lamb family this weekend, came up just short for Team DragChamp after his final round red-light. On his way to the final round, Mangus took out Craig Scheer, Kyle Rizzoli, Jody Lang, Dwayne Scheitlin, and Dan Fletcher. Ryan went through a tough field for sure.
Dan Fletcher had a somewhat successful weekend for the second national in a row only to come up just short of the final round. In Vegas Fletcher lost to 2018 world champion Justin Lamb in the fifth round after getting behind at the stripe by .001 after posting a perfect .000 reaction time. To add insult to injury, the winner of the round had a bye to the final round. At Pomona, Fletcher once again had a shot at the final round but turned it red by -.001 to advance Mangus to the final round. Two weeks and two extremely close calls for the professional drag racer. And who said racing for a living is fun?
Chad Webber, Kingman, Ariz., collect his first NHRA national event Wally in his first final round appearance. After starting the day of Sunday with a scheduled bye run, Webber disposed of Division 4 hitter Steve Collier in the semifinals after posting a perfect 8.900. After trailing Collier’s near-perfect .001 reaction at the starting line, Webber found just enough room at the finish to post a dead-on 8.900 to take the win after Collier gave up the stripe. The 8.900 was Webber’s fourth dead-on lap during eliminations.
In the final round Webber used a .013 light and a 8.916 to easily defeat Tony Helms, Ringgold, Ga., who missed the tree with a .064 light. Webber posted four 8.90 laps and three 8.91 laps during the seven round race. Webber’s path to his first victory included wins over Nick Cobb, Tom Joseph, Val Torres, Michael Miller, and Steve Collier.
Helms started eliminations with a win over 2018 Super Comp world champion Steve Williams followed by wins over Bradley Johnson, Dave Alves, and Mark Grame. The win over Grame decided the Super Comp world championship as Grame needed to make the final round to pass incoming points leader Williams. With a bye to the final on the line, Helms took the lead at the start .006 to .012 and held on for the win after Grame gave up the stripe allowing Helms to move on with a safe 8.918 to Grame’s losing 8.925.
The Super Comp points chase seemed fairly dull most of the season but heated up over the last six weeks as multiple drivers took a shot at the national title. A handful of racers posted amazing performances in recent weeks including eventual champion Steve Williams, Mark Grame, Don Nichols, Koy Collier, Mike Robilotto, and Chris Garretson. These guys sure made it fun to watch over the last few weeks while creating tons to stress on all involved.
Roger Kato, North Las Vegas, Nev., earned his first NHRA national event victory in his third final round appearance after defeating Greg Ventura, Corona, Calif., in the final round. After defeating Robert Coleman and Paul Wiechmann in earlier rounds, Kato defeated Dean Hall in the fourth round on Sunday to move into the semifinals. Paired against Marko Perivolaris, Kato used a perfect 9.900 in the semifinals to move into his third national event final round. The run was Kato’s third 9.90 pass in eliminations.
The final round fell Kato’s way after Ventura failed to convert his starting line advantage into a win. After taking a .004 to .018 advantage at the tree, Ventura took a ton at the stripe to go -.003 under the index. Kato trailed at the finish line with a safe 9.945 at 174.95 mph. To Ventura’s credit, Kato had a 30 mph advantage as he routinely runs in the mid 170 mph range while Ventura was looking over his shoulder at 144 mph.
Ventura earned his way to the final round with wins over Larry Scarth, Karen Comstock, Matt Treadway, and two-time 2018 national event winner and Team DragChamp member Matt Blodgett. Ventura posted three .00 lights during eliminations and his E.T.’s varied between 9.897 and 9.916.
Summit Racing Series National Champions
Each year the winners from each of the seven regional bracket finals come together to race for a national championship. Winners of this year’s Summit Racing Series NHRA E.T. National Championships are as follows:
Super Pro E.T.
Pat Osmundson, Pasco, Wash., Division 6
Osmundson collected the national championship after defeating Jeremy Hancock in the final round. Osmundson’s day began with a lucky win in the first round after posting a 1.199 reaction time. Thankfully, his competitor was -.005 red allowing Osmundson to regroup and move into the second round. After a nearly disastrous first round, Osmundson redeemed himself in the second round posting a .010 light and a .022 over 8.812 to defeat Shayne Beck and move into the championship round.
The final round was classic championship bracket racing action as Osmundson was .016 at the tree and dead six to his dial while Hancock was .019 at the hit and dead seven to his dial. Osmundson captured the Super Pro national championship by .0048-second.
Hancock, the Division 2 representative from Commerce, Ga., defeated two extremely tough competitors in Michael Sturgill and Randell Reid to make the final round.
Nelson Belot Jr., Dalton, Mass., Division 1 Wild Card Entry
Belot kicked off eliminations with a near-perfect run against bracket finals master Jake Howard. Belot was .000 at the hit and -.002 under at the finish to take the double-breakout victory. Belot didn’t find his second round opponent any easier than the first as he paired against Sasha Hoefer for a shot at the final round. Both Hoefer and first round opponent Jake Howard were making return trips to Pomona as both had previously qualified for the national championship run-off. Belot had the better reaction again to take the win with a .024 light and a .020 over 9.040 to Hoefer’s .036 light and .047 over 11.707.
In the final round Belot found himself trailing off the line for the first time all day when final round opponent Dustin Loynes drilled a perfect .000 reaction time. Loynes .03 advantage at the tree didn’t help him at the finish line as he took a train length at the stripe to go -.014 under his dial handing the win to Belot’s .017 over 9.037.
Loynes, the Division 3 representative from Walled Lake, Mich., will be kicking himself for misjudging the finish line but he should be proud to not only qualify for the run-off but to make the final round. Loynes defeated Matt Ward and Joe Marx on his way to a runner-up finish.
Brian Hendrickson, Hamilton, Ohio, Division 3
Hendrickson started eliminations with a red-light win over Garret Hoefer in the first round. Hendrickson posted a dead-on 12.566 lap in the win. In round two Hendrickson took a narrow .008 win over Earl Talley after both racers had .03 reactions and both ran .03 over their respective dial-ins. Hendrickson used a huge .005 to .058 reaction time advantage in the final round to claim the double-breakout win over Brent Erickson. After trailing off the line, Erickson posted a -.044 under 12.096 to Hendrickson’s closer -.014 under 12.556.
Erickson, the Division 5 representative from Omaha, Neb., defeated Tanner Asti and Jake Howard on his way to a runner-up finish.
John Markham, Bowling Green, Ky., Division 2
Markham posted a .016 package in the final round to claim the national championship over Jeremy Hicks. Markham used a .023 package to defeat Beau Drexler in round one and posted an .018 light to defeat Rick Newport in round two.
Hicks, the Division 3 representative from Willard, Ohio, made his way to the final round after posting .011 and .015 lights to defeat Tony Davis and Don Hockway in the first two rounds.
And that is a wrap on the 2018 NHRA sportsman drag racing season. For the 2019 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series schedule, click here.
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