Casey Spradlin Races to Back to Back Final Rounds at The Rock, secures 2nd place in Southeast Division Points Championship
Rockingham, NC (Oct, 20, 2019) At this past weekend’s NHRA Southeast Division 2 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series (LODRS) season finale event at the historic Rockingham Dragway, AKA “The Rock,” Casey Spradlin driving the Southeastern Hose backed 2000 horse power supercharged Top Dragster made it to the final round for the second consecutive year.
The weekend was slated to be a very busy weekend for the Alabama based team. Spradlin secured enough points to be selected to race in the “race within a race” Moser Sportsman Shootout that pits the top 2 points earners from each sportsman category against each other for a $5000 to win eliminator taking place on Friday night after the LODRS qualifying. Saturday would be the LODRS race followed on Sunday with the 1/8-mile National Open Series race. So Spradlin went into the weekend looking for three trophies.
“Headed into Rockingham, I had three chances to win some hardware instead of the usual one, which made the weekend especially exciting. I have taken the PJ North song “All About That Wally” as my personal theme song so having the chance for multiple Wally’s in one weekend and a Moser chrome axle definitely had me excited,” said Spradlin.
At the end of qualifying on Friday, Spradlin slotted into the 8th spot with a 6.33 at 220 MPH. “Knowing the impending weather could probably effect track conditions over the weekend, we took a different approach to qualifying and took some power away, looking more for consistency rather than speed,” explained Spradlin.
The race for the chrome Moser axle followed qualifying. Spradlin got past former Moser shootout winner, Steve Furr, in the first round advancing to the quarterfinals. The format of this race is unique in that it pairs different categories together that would otherwise never race each other. This handicapped starting format is generally not advantageous to the faster car.
“The Moser format is definitely a disadvantage to the faster car as your slower opponent gets to leave first and their side of the starting line tree is flashing while you are trying to concentrate on your side.” said Spradlin. Driving the fastest car in the shootout race, he knew blocking out the amber flashes from the other side of the tree would make it especially tough to post a competitive starting line reaction time, which is generally the key to winning most drag races with a handicapped format.
Having uncharacteristically slow reaction times finally caught up to him in the quarterfinal round where Spradlin dropped the race to the eventual shootout winner.
Moving into Saturday’s LODRS race was also a race against Mother Nature. The NHRA division 2 staff moved up the schedule and Spradlin was able to win his first round match up before light drizzly rain moved in and canceled the rest of the day’s action. After heavy rains overnight, Sunday morning would also begin with the same drizzly and cold conditions.
Spradlin knew he would receive a second round bye run as his Louisiana based opponent decided to withdraw and start the long trip home, not willing to wait out the weather. Spradlin, made what would turn out to be a crucial tuning decision to drastically slow his racecar down to a power level that he felt would be better suited to win on what was now a marginal racing surface due to the cold and windy conditions.
“Sunday provided a drastic change in weather and track conditions, which at my power level would have made it extremely difficult for me to make consistent race winning runs. Thanks to the bye run I was able to reduce blower overdrive and pull some ignition timing out of the engine to reduce the power. I slowed the car down 20 MPH,” Spradlin continued.
The free pass second round confirmed that Spradlin’s tuning changes better suited the day’s conditions and set him up for a run toward that Wally trophy. In the quarterfinal round Spradlin used a 4 thousandths from perfect light and a 16 thousandths total package to advance to the semifinals. Spradlin again showed his starting line prowess by coming up with a perfect starting line reaction time and a 10 thousandths total package to move into the final round.
As the sun was setting, Spradlin would face New Hampshire’s Rick Bell in the final round. Both racers staged up anticipating a great battle for the Wally. Spradlin ended it early leaving the starting line 0.019 seconds too soon handing the win to Bell for his second race win.
Even though he was on a bit of a roll, the late night conditions and the long drive home to start work on Monday morning for the electrical engineer, Spradlin decided to withdraw from the National Open race in which he also made it to the final round of last season.
Using the string of strong race finishes over the last few events, Spradlin, a 3 time points champion, was able to finish 2nd in the LODRS championship points standings for the second time in his career.
“It turned out to be a pretty decent season after a slow start, I need to give thanks to God and all my supporters and sponsors that help make our team successful. For the 7th year Southeastern Hose has been a great partner, they are the key that allows us to continue to do this at a high level. Of course, Lucas Oil and all the support they give to the sportsman racing industry. NGK Sparks plugs and CP-Carrillo aluminum rods. Also Mrracefuel.com for Renegade Fuel products. Smith Brothers Performance and TCI Transmissions. Last but not least is Tim Gaines Performance and my family.”
Find full race results from the Division 2 Lucas Oil Series race at Rockingham Dragway here.