Eight sportsman winners at Phoenix Nationals

Competitors in eight classes raced to Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series wins at the 32nd annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals held Feb. 26-28 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix.
Eighteen-year-old Chandler Meziere battled to his first national event Wally trophy by defeating veteran racer Steve Williams in the Super Comp final. The two-time NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Western Conference Finals champion used a nice reaction time to jump out in front of Williams as he clocked in with an 8.956 second, 155.85 mph pass to take the win. Williams opened the season with a big win two weeks before at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
Local racer Clint Fishel came into eliminations as the Super Gas No.1 qualifier and took it all the way into the final against Brad Pierce. Pierce had a slight advantage off the tree and held on for the win with a pass of 10.100 seconds at 121.68 mph. Frank Kohutek picked up his 11th career win as he powered his Chevy Vega to a 10.917 second, 137.93 mph pass by knocking out Joe Greco, the event’s No. 1 qualifier in the Super Street final round.
Gary McGlasson and Bernie Cunningham got off the line with identical reaction times in the Super Stock final, but Cunningham broke out on the other end which handed McGlasson his third national event win of his career. Randi Lyn Shipp picked up her second win at this event, the fourth of her career, as she laid down a 10.349 second, 120.09 mph lap to defeat Jerry Hatch and his 10.717 second, 110.31 mph pass in the Stock Eliminator final.
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Chris Newman became a first time national event champion as he raced his Chevy Cobalt to the Winner’s Circle with a pass of 6.878 seconds at 194.94 mph. Jeff Gillette fell behind at the starting line and his 6.986 second, 200.32 mph pass wasn’t enough to take the win light. (Michael Fischbeck photo)

Bobby Ray McMahan chased down Phil Unruh to take the title in Top Dragster, the third of his career. McMahan pieced together a 6.551-second, 206.95-mph run to defeat Unruh’s 6.362, 215.41 runner up finish.

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A closeup look at Turner’s engine. (Michael Fischbeck photo)

It was a battle of Jay Turner Racing two-wheeled machines as Tii Tharpe and Jay Turner squared off in the final of Top Fuel Harley. Tharpe got off the line first and crossed the finish line at 6.496 seconds at 219.83 mph, but it wasn’t enough to overthrow Turner as he flipped on the win light with a 6.295 second, 228.96 mph lap.
SUPER STOCK: Gary McGlasson, Chevy Camaro, 9.825, 129.53 def. Bernie Cunningham, Pontiac Firebird, 10.867, 120.77.
STOCK ELIMINATOR: Randi Lyn Shipp, Pontiac Firebird, 10.349, 120.09 def. Jerry Hatch, Plymouth Duster, 10.717, 110.31.
SUPER COMP: Chandler Meziere, Dragster, 8.956, 155.85 def. Steve Williams, Dragster, 9.424, 165.15.
SUPER GAS: Brad Pierce, Chevy Corvette, 10.100, 121.68 def. Clint Fishel, Chevy Beretta, 10.282, 145.00.
SUPER STREET: Frank Kohutek, Chevy Vega, 10.917, 137.93 def. Joe Greco, AMX, 10.929, 146.54.
TOP DRAGSTER: Bobby Ray McMahan, Dragster, 6.551, 206.95 def. Phil Unruh, Dragster, 6.362, 215.41.
TOP SPORTSMAN: Chris Newman, Chevy Cobalt, 6.878, 194.94 def. Jeff Gillette, Pontiac GTO, 6.986, 200.32.
TOP FUEL HARLEY: Jay Turner, Dixie, 6.295, 228.96 def. Tii Tharpe, Dixie, 6.496, 219.83.

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (www.racewildhorse.com) will host the season opening NHRA Pacific Division Points Race on March 4-6.