Durant Jr Does Doubly Duty, Wins Sportsman and Pickup
Great races are something that, at Woodburn Dragstrip, almost becomes ignored due to the sheer consistency of how often they appear. The racers that cut their teeth here at the winningest track in Division Six history often have superior racing abilities to those around. That is on display every weekend that racers make their way to these hollowed grounds in preparation for ‘The Grind’ of the bracket categories. After Sunday’s races, it was without a doubt that the desire to win every round possible to make the team of 56 racers was on everyone’s mind as .00* lights go from a rarity to the norm, red lights become more problematic to racers, and finish line margins drop ever so tight—some even to the ten thousandth of a second. This year’s ET Finals, held here at Woodburn Dragstrip August 29-31, will be one of the best in the history of the event.
In the Super Pro category, vehicles that run 7.00-11.99 seconds, using the assistance of delay boxes and throttle stops, compete. In the final round, it was a battle between Mike Nicholson and Bill McNeal. Nicholson defeated Gary Wargnier, Gary Palmateer, Traci DePeel, and Jeremy McGhee before earning a single in the semi-final round. Meanwhile, ‘Wild Bill’ McNeal rode through Cliff Mansfield, Earl Griffith, Devon Hilton, and Vicki Shepherd to earn the semi-final round bye. In the finals, McNeal had the starting line advantage before slowing at the 1/8th mile mark, leaving Nicholson to coast to the win. Gary Palmateer was the winner of the A-1 Performance Trans and Converters Package for the Points with his .011 run, gaining 10 points and a certificate for a family sized pizza at Abby’s Legendary Pizza, while Loretta McCool earned number one qualifier honors with a perfect reaction time, earning her a t-shirt and two decals courtesy of Northwest Wholesale/Hilton Racing, the Suppliers of Goodyear/Hoosier/Mickey Thompson Race Tires.
Pro bracket eliminations consist of vehicles running 9.00-13.99 with the assistance of a transbrake and automatic shifting. The final round matchup was between Steve Kelly and Roger McWilliams. Kelly fought hard to make it into the final, defeating Paul Miller, Kurt Gross, Dan Stokes, Nicholas Shepherd, Steve Stuart and Ron Parks, while McWilliams eliminated Charlie Carnahan, Chris Williams, Ryan Schaefer and number one qualifier Matt Kielman before earning a single in the semis. Of special note, in that semi-final single, McWilliams put together a spectacular .002 package. In the final round though, McWilliams was too eager to put together another package against the former World Champion, fouling out by .009, and meaning that Steve Kelly would add another winning plaque to his total. Dave Wilson’s .008 package in the third time trial secured 10 points and the bonus prize from Pico Wiring, while Kielman’s .015 earned him number one qualifier efforts.
The Sportsman category had a final round battle between the number one and number six qualifier. The number one, Jerry Durant Jr, eliminated Rick Ropar, a single, Kacee Pitts, Tracy Herinckx, and Jim Lamkin to reach the final. Opposite him was number six qualifier Garry Heinrich, who downed Glenn Burbage, Ted Hill, Robert Glafka and Elvon Kauffman before earning a single in the semi’s. In the final round, Durant Jr left with the starting line advantage, and won in a closely debated double-breakout, decided by just .011. His son Jerry Durant III’s .025 earned him the Package for the Point’s win and Lucas Oil product package, while Durant Jr’s Durant Jrs .008 earned him the number one qualifier efforts.
In the World of Speed Jr Lightning category, tensions rise as drivers reach the midway point of the season. Jerold Mix and Kacee Pitts lined up in the final round to see who would take home the ever important points. Mix made it into the final by defeating Chad Tallan, Carson Wheeler, and incoming point’s leader Austin Varner, while Pitts beat Jacob Meithof and number one qualifier Dustin Day, before having a single in the semi-final round. In the finals, Mix had a reaction time advantage of about .04, and used that to get the win after Pitts broke out. Day’s .007 earned number one qualifier efforts.
The World of Speed Jr Thunder category brought a final round showdown between number two and number three qualifier Dylan Hough and Alisha Miller. Hough came from the number two qualifier position to down Conner Rice and Tommy Tallon, while Miller defeated Nathan Greene and Kyler Pitts. In the finals, Hough had the starting line advantage and ran closer to his number at the finish line to secure the win. Pitts’ .012 earned number one qualifier rights.
For the World of Speed Jr Storm category, Ramon Vincent and Ryan Bese lined up for some serious business in the final round. Vincent’s journey took him through Joshua Ohanlon before earning a single, while Bese took wins over Lorenzo Gonzalez and Rilynn Saucy. In the finals, Vincent left with a starting line advantage of over .2, and used that to earn the victory. Vincent’s earlier .036 had him number one on the qualifying sheet as well.
The Pickup Series always shows up with wheel-to-wheel racing, and today was no exception. Jerry Durant Jr’s second final round trip of the day was made possible by defeating racers Steve Sherman, George Churilla, and Jim Fields before earning a single. On the other side of the ladder was Jeff Poleski, who downed Jerry Durant III, Jerry Cogar, John Poublon, and Bob Pearson. In the final round, it was Durant Jr’s day as his .015 reaction time won in the double-breakout contest.
In the Tualatin Transmissions Run Tuff category, Mike Hansen and George Churilla lined up in the final round to see who would be the winner. After both drivers left with near identical reaction times, it was all about who could run closer at the finish line. While Churilla was off by .038, Hansen was only off by only .020, meaning the win would go in his favor by .013, or approximately 5 feet. Mark Pracht was the lone semi-finalist.
For the World of Speed Jr Tuff category, Emily Mix and Cooper Chun were the final two cars left in competition. With both drivers dialed in at the bottom of their index (Mix a 7.90 and Chun an 8.90), races were set to be very exciting. Unfortunately for Chun though, a red light of -.014 ended his day, and gave the win to Mix. Katie Day was the only semi-finalist.
Listed are final round results in order of driver name, hometown, (vehicle make/model), [reaction time], elapsed time, miles per hour, and (dial-in).
W: Mike Nicholson, Vancouver WA (’01 Undercover)  8.788, 127.64 (8.57 dial).
R/U: Bill/Tony McNeal, Milwaukie OR (’57 Bel Air) [.025] 11.852, 100.56 (10.55 dial).
W: Steve Kelly, Vancouver WA (’67 Camaro) [.035] 10.558, 125.83 (10.59 dial).
R/U: Roger McWilliams, Aurora OR (’72 Chevelle) [-.009] foul.
Semi’s: Ron Parks, Salem OR.
W: Jerry Durant Jr (’05 Dodge Ram) - 13.861, 93.73 (13.87 dial).
R/U: Garry Heinrich, Boring OR (’65 Cutlass) [.099] 12.280, 110.05 (12.3 dial).
Semi’s: Jim Lamkin, Clackamas OR.
W: Jerold Mix, Aumsville OR (’10 Motivational) [.029] 8.033, 78.87 (8.00 dial).
R/U: Kacee Pitts, Lebanon OR (’10 Half Scale) [.065] 7.894, 80.58 (7.90 dial).
Semi’s: Austin Varner, Astoria OR.
W: Dylan Hough, Junction City OR (’14 Mike Bos) [.067] 8.940, 72.57 (8.90 dial).
R/U: Alisha Miller, Warren OR (’06 Akron) [.149] 8.955, 74.55 (8.90 dial).
Semi’s: Kyler Pitts, Lebanon OR; Tommy Tallon, Molalla OR.
W: Ramon Vincent, Stayton OR (’06 Akron) [.082] 12.187, 40.64 (11.90 dial).
R/U: Ryan Bese, Keizer OR [.305] 14.439, 49.83 (12.30 dial).
Semi’s: Rilynn Saucy, Beavercreek OR.
W: Jerry Durant Jr, Oregon City OR (’05 Dodge Ram) [.015] 13.864, 97.26 (13.87 dial).
R/U: Jeff Poleski, Springfield OR (’73 Ford) [.085] 12.469, 101.76 (12.60 dial).
Semi’s: Bob Pearson, Portland OR.
Hole in the Hood
W: Jay Phillips, Aumsville OR(’74 Duster) [.046] 10.317, 128.9 (10.31 dial).
R/U: Steve Canton, Boring OR (’63 Corvair) [.062] 10.668, 125.26 (10.66 dial).
Semi’s: Rick Norrington, Oregon City OR.
W: Mike Hansen (’67 Camaro) [.059] 11.510, 116.71 (11.49 dial).
R/U: George Churilla, Oregon City OR (’69 Ranchero) [.053] 12.018, 112.06 (11.98 dial).
Semi’s: Mark Pracht, Beaverton OR.
W: Emily Mix, Aumsville OR (’04 Eickmann) [.063] 7.880, 83.92 (7.90 dial).
R/U: Cooper Chun, Vancouver WA [-.014] 9.073, 67.77 (8.90 dial).
Semi’s: Katie Day, Estacada OR.