St. Patrick’s Classic at Petersburg, VA
Record Number of Entries Brave the Weather
A long, snowy winter gave way only to a cold and rainy opening to March, forcing the postponement of the 6th Annual St. Patrick’s Classic at Virginia Motorsports Park by one week. A forecast for cold and rain even on Friday’s (March 27) rescheduled date called for further schedule changes, compacting the $5K-$10K-$5K weekend into a two-day $10K-$10K. Despite all of the challenges, racers defied Mother Nature, filling the VMP pits with an event record 408 entries for Saturday’s ATI Performance Products $10K Main Event, presented by Summit Racing Equipment.
ATI Performance Products $10K Main Event, presented by Summit Racing Equipment
A light misting rain shortened Thursday’s Test n’ Tune – the only action that the racetrack had been able to see thus far in 2015. Rain continued overnight and well into Friday, accompanied by plummeting temperatures, but the VMP staff under Allen Carpenter proactively covered the track to reduce the amount of water that was able to make it to the track surface, and started working it on Friday as soon as the rain abated. The cold temperatures held on through Saturday morning, delaying the start of time trials until 9:45, but soon the sun finally revealed itself, the track worked into its normal stellar conditions, and all of the gloom gave way to a beautiful day for racing.
After claiming many 1.0 sixty-foot times in 2014, those expectations were shattered by numerous sub 1-sec short times by notables including eventual Sunday winner Kevin Brannon, and Redline Speed Shop Best Engineered winner Randy Perkinson’s brand new 2015 Camaro, which reeled off 4.2’s on its maiden voyage!
The late start, maintenance, breakage, and the record car count slowed the pace for opening day, ultimately leading to a split among entries remaining in the 5th round of eliminations. The event pushed past curfew, but was finally halted when the EMS crew and ambulance had to leave the facility due to a non-racing related medical emergency.
Loose Rocker Promotions added $2,500 to the purse to round up the split in both classes by roughly $70 per entry to yield a $1,000 payout for each of the 20 remaining Top E.T. entries, and $1,200 for each of the 16 remaining Footbrake entries. The Iron Tree Trophies and Big Checks were awarded by random drawing among those remaining drivers, with Stacker Steve getting the goods in Top E.T., and former IHRA Summit No-Box World Champion Chad Dotson taking home the Footbrake awards.
CCRA S/SS Combo
The Carolina Class Racers Association H&F Performance Stock/Super Stock Combo was completed on Saturday, with Michelle Martel of Reedville, Va., wheeling her ’10 DragPak Challenger over Godwin, NC’s AJ Currie in the finals, driving Mark Beaver’s ’00 Camaro.
Martel used a .009 light in the quarterfinals to top #1 qualifier by RT, Myron Piatek of Holly Hill, Fla., to earn the semifinal bye run. Currie defeated Ryan Hardison’s ’69 Mustang in the semis to earn the right to meet Martel in the finals.