One nano-second separates two racers at Rockingham

JessicaDeanThe biggest story at the 16th annual Memorial Weekend IHRA Ironman Classic at Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway involved two drivers who never even made it to a final round.

When fourth round opponents William Brewer of St. Pauls, NC, and Jessica Dean of Monroe got to the finish line Saturday, May 24, the electronic timing system printed WIN beside both competitors on the tower computer printout.

Brewer had a .009 reaction time and his 1988 Ford Mustang covered the eighth mile in 6.222 seconds against a 6.210 target. Dean had a perfect light at .000 and her dragster ran 4.841 on a 4.820 dial-in. The two “packages” were identical and just .021 shy of perfection.

But the race was even closer than that. The scoreboards only show times in thousandths of a second, but the computer that runs the Compulink system, the gold standard of timing equipment, carries times out to 10 digits. Even with that level of precision, it still could not determine a winner, resulting in a dead heat.

Compulink system creator Bob Brockmeyer confirmed that it is only the third such dead heat result in the 30-year history of Compulink. Nine digits out is a nano-second, that is one-billionth (1/1,000,000,000th) of a second!

Both drivers advanced to round five in Top ET, but, unfortunately, neither survived to the semifinals.

To see who won at the Ironman Classic go to etdragracing.com.

Is there a delay used in ‘No Delay Box’ classes? asks Nicholson

Just-N-Time-button-w-caseRacers are always looking for ways to circumnavigate the rules they have to race under so it should come as a surprise to no one that they have figured out a couple of ingenious ways to have delay devices in a no delay box class. Editor and champion bracket racer Jok Nicholson shines a light on an “open secret” some No Box bracket and index racers are using at etdragracing.com.

We think if the NHRA would adopt a “both hands on the steering wheel at all times” rule for the No Box classes that might solve the problem. Read the article and let us know what you think.

Western New York Super Rod Association season begins May 31

MP_MarkHerbold-WNYSRAThe Tread City Tire Western New York Super Rod Association season kicks off with its first of eight races on Saturday, May 31, at Empire Dragway just outside of Rochester, NY.

The WNYSRA showcases competition in the IHRA Super Rod category, which features a wide variety of full-bodied cars and street roadsters that run on a 9.90-second index in the quarter mile. (Mike Pappaceno photo)

Racer and photojournalist Dale Wilson suffers fatal heart attack

DaleWilson-headWe are sad to report that Dale Wilson suffered a fatal heart attack on, May 21 at his home in Alpharetta, Ga. Wilson was a veteran bracket racer, photojournalist, former editor of Bracket Racing USA magazine, and a former DragRacingOnline.com columnist.

Dale will be cremated but details of a memorial will be coming soon from his wife, Fran Gaudsmith.

So long, Mr. Wilson! (file photo)

Bellemeur tapped to drive Kon Rodz TAFC in addition to MasterCam Camaro

JD_SeanBellemeur-TAFC-helmetSean Bellemeur has been named as the driver of the SK Racing/Kon Rodz Top Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, it was announced by team owner and founder, Spiro Kontos.

Southern California native Bellemeur, 32, is a five-time NHRA national event finalist, most recently at the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals last February. A second-generation racer, he has extensive driving experience in everything from Jr. Dragsters to front-engine Nostalgia Top Fuel dragsters. Most recently, he has been the driver of the MasterCam Camaro Top Alcohol Funny Car. He will continue to drive that car at select events, splitting his schedule with the Kon Rodz Team.

Bellemeur will make his debut in the Kon Rodz entry at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., June 26-29. Both entries are tuned by two-time NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion Randy Anderson.

“The opportunity to drive and collect points on both ends of the country in two of the best Top Alcohol Funny Cars out there is almost overwhelming to think about,” said Bellemeur. “I’m excited to get started representing Spiro Kontos and the team’s loyal sponsors. I’m also very excited to continue to work with Randy Anderson. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity.”

Bellemeur replaces Cassie Simonton, who had been the team’s driver since 2009.

“We are committed to building a program that is capable of contending for both race wins and national championships,” said SK Racing founder Spiro Kontos. “In order to achieve those goals it is sometimes necessary to make difficult decisions and this was definitely one of those. Although this was a tough decision, it was one that I felt needed to be made. Cassie will always have a place in our organization.” (James Drew photo)

First 2014 Camaro Funny Car body makes debut in NHRA drag racing

RM_ToddVeney-new-Camaro-TAFC-rear

Memorial Day weekend at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Eastern Regional at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa., Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team unveiled the first 2014 Camaro Funny Car body in drag racing.

“It’s an honor just to be a part of this program with Chevrolet,” said driver Todd Veney. “I had one of the old Camaros a long time ago, but this is a whole new deal. It’s the lightest, strongest Alcohol Funny Car body ever made, and the best-looking thing I’ve ever seen. I think a lot of teams are going to be running these Chevy Camaros really soon.”

The team qualified in the number 7 spot with a run down the quarter mile in 5.952 seconds at 245.63 mph. Unfortunately, they lost their first-round match up to D.J. Cox.

“We struggled to find the right setup,” owner Jay Blake said. “A lot of people did. Low elapsed time was only in the 5.70s in the first qualifying session, and nobody ran in the 5.50s all weekend. The whole crew worked hard, nobody made any mistakes, but it just wasn’t our weekend. We’re excited about the future of this new Camaro body – bigger and better things ahead.”

The team’s next race is June 13-14 in Lebanon Valley, N.Y. (Richard Muir photo)

Bugs invade Maple Grove Raceway on June 8

Lovers of all things Volkswagen will converge on Maple Grove Raceway on Sunday, June 8, for the 27th annual June Bug Classic. The event will include all-Volkswagen drag racing, a car show and swap meet.

Gates will open at 8 a.m. and time trials will begin at 9 a.m. Car show judging will take place at noon. Race eliminations will be at 1 p.m. with car show trophy presentations at 4 p.m.

VW drag racing classes will include: I/Gas (1/8-mile, 7.99 sec. and faster); Pro (1/8-mile, 8.0 sec. and slower); Bracket (1/4-mile with dial-ins); Slug Bug (closest to 20 sec.); Test ‘n’ Tune (unlimited time runs).

Race entry fees are: $35 for I/Gas, Pro and Bracket; $25 for Test ‘n’ Tune (car and driver); $25 for Slug Bug ($10 entry fee plus $15 spectator ticket).

U.S. Postal Service salutes hot rods with special stamps

Hot Rods StampsTo honor automotive buffs and to celebrate the fast, powerful vehicles that have made the hot rod an American icon since the 1920s, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil the new limited-edition Hot Rods Forever® stamps on Friday, June 6, at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals East Plus in York, PA, at a first-day-of-issue ceremony.

Patrick Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO of the U.S. Postal Service, and Barry Meguiar, lifelong car enthusiast and host of the show “Car Crazy,” will help unveil the new stamps and are also available for phone interviews.
Each of the two stamps showcases an iconic 1932 Ford “Deuce” roadster. The release of the Hot Rods Forever stamps gives collectors and car lovers the opportunity to customize their mail correspondences, just like their cars.

The new, limited-edition stamps will be available on June 6 at major Post Office locations across the country, as well as online at usps.com/stamps and ebay.com/stamps.

Ironman Classic at Rockingham Dragway

Ironman Classic at Rockingham Dragway

SILANCE, RINER AND BAKER SHINE

Jessica Dean

Chaz Silance earned the most money and Kevin Riner and Jacob Baker both were double-up winners, but the biggest story at the 16th annual Memorial Weekend IHRA Ironman Classic at Steve Earwood’s Rockingham Dragway involved two drivers who never even made it to a final round.

When fourth round opponents William Brewer of St. Pauls, NC, and Jessica Dean of Monroe got to the finish line Saturday, May 24, the electronic timing system printed WIN beside both competitors on the tower computer printout.

Brewer had a .009 reaction time and his 1988 Ford Mustang covered the eighth mile in 6.222 seconds against a 6.210 target. Dean had a perfect light at .000 and her dragster ran 4.841 on a 4.820 dial-in. The two “packages” were identical and just .021 shy of perfection.

Chaz Silance

But the race was even closer than that. The scoreboards only show times in thousandths of a second, but the computer that runs the Compulink system, the gold standard of timing equipment, carries times out to 10 digits. Even with that level of precision, it still could not determine a winner, resulting in a dead heat.

Compulink system creator Bob Brockmeyer confirmed that it is only the third such dead heat result in the 30-year history of Compulink. Nine digits out is a nano-second, that is one-billionth (1/1,000,000,000th) of a second!

Both drivers advanced to round five in Top ET, but, unfortunately, neither survived to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, in a holiday classic that honors the memory of “Big John” Leviner, Rockingham Dragway’s former Competition Director, Silance picked up the $7,500 prize awarded to the Sunday Top ET winner and just missed getting another $5,000 on Saturday as runner-up to David Dean of Waxhaw. The third big money Top ET winner was Richard Alford Jr. of Raleigh, who claimed his $5,000 prize on Monday.

Although the biggest shares of the purse went to the Top ET winners, the most impressive performances were those turned in by Riner and Baker.

LODRS at Maple Grove Raceway

Rich McPhillips (far lane) defeats Brandon Greco in the TAD final.

LODRS at Maple Grove Raceway

McPhillips and Tigges Top Regional Results 

In the final results from Maple Grove Raceway and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series over the Memorial Day weekend, Rich McPhillips, Phoenixville, Pa., and Fred Tigges, Holbrook, Mass., took home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car respectively.

Pennsylvania native McPhillips worked his way through the field and ran 5.431 seconds at 271.02 mph in his final round victory over Brandon Greco, Roscoe, Pa., who clocked in at 5.476 seconds, 248.52 mph. To make it to the final Greco defeated Bill Reichert and Jackie Fricke in the first two rounds while McPhillips defeated Wayne Morris and Duane Shields.

McPhillips has raced at Maple Grove for a little over 45 years and he considers it his home track. McPhillips had the starting line advantage over Greco and was quicker on the track to take the win.

Fred Tigges (near lane) defeats Matt Gill in TAFC.

Tigges faced off against Matt Gill, West Bridgewater, Mass., and posted a winning run of 5.704 seconds, 252.57 mph in his ’01 Avenger to receive his first ever NHRA win. Gill drove to an 8.418, 113.12 lap for his runner up finish and defeated Dan Pomponio and D.J. Cox in the first two rounds.

Tigges previously had much success in IHRA competition but getting his first NHRA win with their in-house built TAFC was definitely a huge success for the team. Over the winter the team made a few changes to their car that included a new Brad Anderson motor. They previously were running a Veney motor, with which they had success, but knew they wanted to make a change. After only making one test run on Thursday at Maple Grove with the new motor combination, they continued to see success after each run and eventually made it to their first NHRA Regional Top Alcohol Funny Car Final round which resulted in them taking home the Wally.

Northeast Division racers head to Lebanon Valley Dragway for the next NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, June 13-15.