NHRA Route 66 Nationals Sportsman Winners
Randi Lyn Shipp wins seventh national event to lead sportsman winners at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
CHICAGO – Stock Eliminator racer Randi Lyn Shipp drove her D/SA ’67 Firebird to the win at Route 66 Raceway on Sunday. The win was her seventh in national event competition and her second of the year. Shipp also reached the winners circle at the 50th Gatornationals in March.
Joining Shipp in the winners circle was Vic Penrod (Super Stock), Dave Dahlem (Super Comp), Nathan Vrooman (Super Gas), Rodger Sauder (Super Street), Lester Johnson (Top Sportsman), Jim Prevo (Top Dragster), and Greg Kamplain (Comp).
Team DragChamp picks came up empty for the second race in a row. While we didn’t successfully pick a winner, two of our pre-race picks did make the final round. Jeff Lopez made the final round in Stock a day after winning the JEGS Allstars and Jeff Strickland made the final in Top Dragster. You can find our pre-race picks for Chicago here.
Sportsman Winners from the NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Competition Eliminator – Kamplain Wins #8
Greg Kamplain reached the winners circle for the eighth time in his career. Driving his C/DA dragster, Kamplain defeated Van Puckett in the final round. Kamplain was solid at the tree throughout eliminations with reaction times ranging from a .014 to a .031.
Greg avoided CIC penalties except for his third round encounter with world champion Frank Aragona. There Greg used a .027 light and a -.537 under 7.023 to take down the champ.
In the final, the drivers left together with Puckett taking the slight edge .029 to .031. Down track, Kamplain’s horsepower took over as he drove around Puckett for the win. Kamplain’s -.554 under 6.976 was too much for Puckett’s -.493 under 7.937.
Super Stock – Penrod Grabs Second Wally
Vic Penrod stopped world champ Justin Lamb in the Super Stock final round to capture his second national event victory. In route to the final Penrod dismissed a talented lineup including Aaron Stanfield, Jason DeForrest, and JEGS Allstars champ Jeff Dona.
Penrod escaped the first round after his opponent ran well off the dial. He then benefited from Aaron Stanfield’s -.002 foul start in round two. After taking down Clarence Harding in round three, Penrod benefited from another red-light from DeForrest in round four.
Vic’s best race of the weekend came in his semifinal match up with Dona. His clutch .004 light and .039 over 9.909 took down Dona’s .018 and .040 above 9.780.
As usual, Lamb was solid at both ends of the track throughout eliminations. After taking down hitters Dan Fletcher and Brett Speer in rounds four and five, Lamb turned it red by -.018 in the final round.
Stock Eliminator – Randi Lyn Wins Second of the Year
To win her second national event of the year, Randi Lyn had to outlast an all star field. Just to reach the final round, Shipp defeated accomplished racers such as Ryan Mangus, Brett Speer, and Chris Chaney.
Shipp was .04 or better on the tree in every round and never ran under her dial-in during eliminations. She capitalized on her opponents mistakes throughout the race. This was evidenced when Ryan Mangus was -.002 red in round two, Bill Feist took too much stripe to go -.015 under his dial in round three.
She continued to let her opponents make the first mistake as racing moved to Sunday. Brett Speer missed the tree and ran off his dial in round four while Chris Chaney missed his dial in the semifinals.
Shipp defeated JEGS Allstars winner Jeff Lopez in the final round. Lopez was deadly at the tree posting four .00 reactions and two teen lights. Lopez once again nailed the tree in the final with a .007 to Shipp’s .029. But once again, Shipp took advantage of her opponent’s mistake as Lopez grabbed too much real estate at the stripe. Lopez was -.007 under while Shipp stayed safe with a .017 over 10.707.
Super Comp – Dahlem Gets It Done
Dave Dahlem earned his second national event Wally in his fourth final round appearance. At the Route 66 Nationals, Dahlem was double “0” at the tree on three occasions while posting three dead on 8.90’s.
Dahlem had an epic first round duel with sportsman great Dan Fletcher. Both drivers posted dead-on 8.90 ET’s on the run. While Fletcher was good at the tree with his .017 reaction, Dahlem took the win with his .008 reaction.
He followed that performance up with a .020-pack against former world champion Jacob Elrod in round three. After a fourth round bye, Dahlem laid down .009 total against Arizona Nationals winner Craig Anderson.
While Dahlem made his worst lap of the race in the final, it didn’t matter as Megan Strassweg turned it red by -.004. Strassweg was appearing in her first national event final at Chicago.
She was superb at the starting line throughout eliminations posting back-to-back .003 lights in rounds one and two. To insult to injury, Strassweg posted a perfect 8.900 lap after her foul start in the final round.
Super Gas – Nathan Vrooman Outlasts the Champ
Nathan Vrooman outlasted the reigning Super Gas world champion to capture his second national event win at Chicago. Vrooman came out on top of a number of close runs during the weekend.
This was evidenced by his third round battle with Larry Bernhausen. Bernshausen grabbed a .007 to .013 advantage at the tree but came up .005 short when his 9.914 was eclipsed by Vrooman’s 9.903.
Vrooman then defeated Rodney Benson in a double breakout race determined by .002-second. After leaving second by .025, Vrooman got behind just enough at the stripe to post a 9.898 to 9.896 victory.
After Randy Nygaard fouled by -.002 in the seminfinals, Vrooman moved into the final to face Devin Isenhower. For the fourth time of race, Vrooman won on a double breakout, 9.898 to Isenhower’s 9.887.
Isenhower, the 2018 U.S. Nationals winner and world champion, came up just short in his bid for a second national event win.
Super Street – Rodger Sauder Wins First
Rodger Sauder, the Division 5 Super Street champion, won his first NHRA national event on Sunday in his first final round. Sauder left Chicago as the proud owner of a national event Wally.
Sauder’s run to the final included some close calls. His first two opponents threw dead-on 10.90’s at him. He was able to turn both opponents back after posting great reactions and near the index runs.
In the third round, Sauder defeated JEGS Allstars winner Cy Hill after Hill had problems and slowed. The win advanced him to the fourth round where a bye to final awaited the winner.
After Jay Wilson broke out, Sauder earned a bye to his first national event final round. Wayne Christopher defeated a red-lighting Barney Barnhart in the semifinals to join Sauder in the final.
Both drivers left together with .02 lights but it would be Sauder’s 10.917 taking down Christopher’s slower 10.934.
Top Sportsman – Redemption for Johnson
After making the Route 66 Nationals final round for the second year in a row, Lester Johnson finally held the coveted Wally on Sunday. In the 2018 final, Johnson’s opponent red-lighted but as Lester moved down track, his right front tire went down.
This drove him to the center line causing his header to touch the 1,000 foot cone. The NHRA staff ruled it a disqualification so Johnson settled for runner up honors.
A year later, Johnson was once again in the final round but this time he stood tall after defeating Brandon Baxter in a great race. Baxter was .016 take .009 in the final and it was no good. Johnson was .019 and ran dead three to his dial-in for the win after Baxter broke out -.003.
Johnson’s Procharged ’55 Chevy laid down 6.2-second laps like clockwork throughout the weekend. He even drove it to a runner up finish in the JEGS Allstars race on Saturday.
Top Dragster – Prevo Downs World Champs to Claim First Win
Jim Prevo demolished the Top Dragster field in Chicago to claim his first national event victory at Route 66 Raceway. Prevo was wired to the tree with a .010 reaction time average over five rounds. His worst reaction time was a .019 in the third round.
Running in the low 6.30 range, Prevo laid down three packages that were .013 or better. Saving his best for last, Prevo posted back-to-back dead-on 6.337 ET’s in the last two rounds. He combined a dead-on lap with a .006 light against two-time 2019 national event winner Anthony Bertozzi in the semifinals.
To seal the deal, Prevo took out former world champion Jeff Strickland with a .012-pack. Strickland was .017 at the hit and mathematically ineligible.
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