Ernie Humes and Kelly Stevens attempt to become the first three-time champion of the Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series Sept 7-8.
ROCKINGHAM – Will Troutman’s Ernie Humes, the current point leader in the Footbrake division, become the first three-time champion in the modern era of the Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series? Or will that honor fall instead to defending champion Kelly Stevens of Bostic? Or will this year’s title go to someone else altogether?
Those are questions that will be answered September 7 and 8 when Rockingham Dragway plays host to the seventh, eighth and final races in the 2019 series.
Humes, who drove his 1972 Dodge Demon to Hoosier Coalition titles in 2012 and 2016, leads Stevens, the champion in 2015 and 2018, by a single point entering the final two races of the campaign. It’s a scenario eerily similar to last year when Humes led coming into Rockingham only to see Stevens make up the deficit and win his second championship.
Stevens’ current bid is buoyed by the fact that he not only is second in points, but also third with a second, separate entry. That gives him two chances to get around Humes on the final weekend.
Elsewhere, Shelby’s Isaac Bridges tries to join Humes and Stevens as a two-time series champion. Bridges won the Hoosier Coalition Jr. Dragster title as an 11-year-old. Now, at 14, he is in position to add another title, the third in four years for the Bridges family.
In Top Eliminator, Rockingham regular and multiple winner Michael Paschal of Pleasant Garden is chasing Steven Whisnant for the championship. Whisnant takes a three-point lead into a weekend in which he is trying to match the hardware earned by son Cam, last year’s Jr. Dragster champ and a contender again this year.
Points earned both days also will apply toward Rockingham Dragway track championships determining team members for the NHRA ET Finals.
Current Points Standings
ROCKINGHAM – Point standings entering September’s 7 and 8 Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series finale at Rockingham Dragway. Hometowns are North Carolina unless otherwise indicated. Car makes listed when made available:
TOP ELIMINATOR – 1. Steven Whisnant, Dallas, 38; 2. Michael Paschal, Pleasant Garden, 35; 3. Mark “Pork” Jones, Walnut Cove, 35; 4. Tie, Joe Julsrud, Stony Point, and John Bridges, Shelby, 34 each; 6. Tie, Billy Varner Jr., Stanley, Robert Vogler III, Lewisville, and Steven Morrison, Statesville, 31 each; 9. Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem, 30; 10. Tie, Brandon Hutchens, Yadkinville, and Mitchell Harkey, China Grove, 29 each.
FOOTBRAKE – 1. Ernie Humes, Troutman, 1972 Dodge Demon, 40; 2. Kelly Stevens, Bostic, 39; 3. Kelly Stevens #2, Bostic, 36; 4. K. Ray Alexander, 35; 5. Tie, Gray Kimble, Mt. Pleasant, and Levi Boozer, Kannapolis, 32 each; 7. Allen Furr, Richfield, 1962 Chevy II, 30; 8. Jimmy Alexander, 29; 9. Rickey Greer, Advance, Chevy LUV truck, 28; 10. Joe Foley, Statesville, 26.
JR. DRAGSTER – 1. Isaac Bridges, Shelby, 35; 2. Tie, Calla Varner, Stanley, and Gavin Whisnant, Dallas, 31 each; 4. Tie, Cam Whisnant, Dallas, and Cade Varner, Stanley, 28 each; 6. Tie, Lauren Hudson, Davidson, and Emma Freeman, Mt. Airy, 25 each; 8. Branson Hutchens, Yadkinville, 23; 10. Skylar Bustle, Sherrills Ford, 18.
Past Series Champions
ROCKINGHAM – Recent Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series champions:
2012 – Top Eliminator, Howie Adams, Pfafftown; Footbrake, Ernie Humes, Troutman; Jr. Dragster, Hannah Blevins, Jefferson.
2013 – Top Eliminator, Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem; Footbrake, Rickey Greer, Advance; Jr. Dragster, Lula Egger, Farmington.
2014 – Top Eliminator, Richard Alford, Raleigh; Footbrake, Terry Rucker, Benson; Jr. Dragster, Mary Kay Bowie, Statesville.
2015 – Top Eliminator, Randall Blinson, Clayton; Footbrake, Kelly Stevens, Bostic/Justin West, Dunn (co-champs); Jr. Dragster, Ryan Howard, Pelzer, S.C.
2016 – Top Eliminator, Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem; Footbrake, Ernie Humes, Troutman; Jr. Dragster, Isaac Bridges, Shelby.
2017 – Top Eliminator, John Bridges, Shelby/Robert Vogler III, Lewisville (co-champs); Footbrake, Richard Alford, Raleigh; Jr. Dragster, Kaden Haynes, Mount Carmel, Tenn.
2018 – Top Eliminator, T.G. Paschal, McLeansville; Footbrake, Kelly Stevens, Bostic; Jr. Dragster, Cam Whisnant, Dallas