BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Day 4 is in the books at the 64th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. DragChamp.com has all the sportsman updates from Saturday.
Super Stock racers had the day off after completing class eliminations on Friday but there was tons of other sportsman racing action on Saturday with three rounds of Factory Stock Showdown qualifying, three rounds of Stock Eliminator final eliminations, and one round of competition each for Super Comp and Super Gas.
Factory Stock Showdown
Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates Leah Prichett and Mark Pawuk topped the field after three rounds of qualifying on Saturday as they snagged the top two spots with their ’15 Challengers. Prichett’s 8.002 at 172 mph was two-hundredths better than Pawuk’s 8.027 and almost a tenth quicker than #3 qualifier Kevin Skinner’s 8.101 in his ’16 Mustang. The DSR Challengers are definitely the class of the field so far.
Last year’s FSS champion David Barton was fourth with a 8.107 in his ’18 Camaro and former Pro Stock World Champ Allen Johnson rounded out the top 5 with his 8.122-second blast in his ’15 Challenger.
Carl Tasca is sitting on the bump in his ’16 Mustang with a 8.227-second effort.
The story of the day was two-time 2018 national event winner Joseph Welch as he posted the first sub 8-second pass in FSS history only to have it thrown out by the NHRA tech department. The tech officials did not approve of some suspension modifications on Welch’s ’15 Challenger leaving him outside of the 16-car field through three of four rounds of qualifying.
Going into Sunday the Factory Stock competitors will receive one more attempt at qualifying and will then move into first round of eliminations Sunday afternoon.
With three rounds of eliminations on Saturday, the 128-car field was narrowed down to just 16 competitors by the end of the day. Racers still in contention for the INDY title include: defending champion Larry Gilley, Lee Zane, T.C. Morris, Mike Loge, Brad Plourd, Eric Campolito, Jeff Lopez, Joey Shipp, Kenneth Miele, Andrew Hill, Bryan Merkle, Brett Candies, Larry Hill, Brent Calvert, Katie Sepanek, and Jerry Emmons.
In my INDY Sportsman Preview, I picked five racers to win it all. After three rounds, I’m still looking pretty good as Brad Plourd, Lee Zane, and Jeff Lopez are still in contention heading into Sunday. As for my other two picks, Jeff Taylor lost in round 3 and Randi Lyn Shipp didn’t qualify.
Stock Eliminator is scheduled for two more rounds on Sunday which will leave only four competitors remaining for Monday’s final two rounds of competition.
The Super Comp competitors made one lap on Saturday as they ran round 4 of eliminations and then took the rest of the day off. In my Day 3 update, I showcased a few interesting matchups scheduled for round 4. Here are the results of those races.
Devin Isenhower defeated Ray Miller III when his .002 to .046 holeshot allowed him to control the race with an 8.934 to Miller’s breakout 8.887.
Joe Hessing of APD Carburetor fame took a close .009 win over Michelle Furr. Joe’s .005, 8.913 bettered Furr’s .022, 8.905.
Gary Stinnett took a red-light win over Troy Coughlin Jr. when TJ missed the tree by -.001. Stinnett was solid on the run as he laid down .014 total.
With the field down to just eight competitors, everyone still in competition has to think they’ve got a great shot to win INDY. The final eight racers in Super Comp include: Isenhower, Scott Vandewalker, Tim Marsh, Steve Eckard, Rick Hughes, Hessling, Stinnett, and Nichole Stephenson.
In a sight rarely seen in Super Comp, both Vandewalker and Eckard are driving door cars instead of the typical dragster. Vandewalker is driving a Dodge Viper and Eckard a ’91 Oldsmobile. It would be cool to see a door car in the Super Comp winners circle for sure.
I’m down to only one competitor remaining from my Top 5 picks in Super Comp. Devin Isenhower is my last horse in the race, we’ll see if he can win it all.
Super Comp is scheduled for one round of eliminations on Sunday morning which will leave them with just four competitors remaining for Monday’s final two rounds.
Like Super Comp, Super Gas was one and done on Saturday after completing round 4 on Saturday morning. After round four, only either Super Gasser’s remain including: Steve Hoyt, Jeff Reed, Jackson Collier, Charlie Kenopic, Kevin Moore, Joey Shipp, Devin Isenhower, and John Sikish.
Both Moore and Isenhower are giving me high hopes of picking the winner as they were in my Top 5 picks in my event preview article last Wednesday.
Super Gas is scheduled for one round of eliminations on Sunday morning which will leave them with just four competitors remaining for Monday’s final two rounds.
We’ll post more updates as the weekend progresses.