Sun Shines On 40th Annual Season Opener
The Sunday edition of the 40th Annual Baxter Auto Parts & Bi-Mart Season Opener brought to us spectacular weather as well as neck-and-neck racing action. With Saturday’s actions succumbing to rain, the skies were blue on Sunday. Through the smoke came wins by Todd Swinford (BB/Funny Car), Troy Owens (AA/Supercharged), Sadie Floyd (Super Pro), Thomas Jackson III (Pro), Derrick Jackson (Sportsman), Paul Nero (Top Comp), Tom Gresham (Super Comp), Jim Glenn (Super Gas), Todd Hale (Stock/Super Stock), Devon Hilton (Dragster/Roadster), Phillip Lang (ET Motorcycle), Larry Cook (NWDB Pro Mod), Kerry Drost (NWDB Pro Street), and Jim Were (NWDB Quick 8). While all drivers fought hard through a long day of drag racing, these were the ones who emerged victorious at the end, and earned the coveted Woodburn Dragstrip Wally.
Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Car (BB/Funny Car) featured a final round of Todd Swinford and Don Harter. Earlier in the sessions, there were such passes as Kim Parker’s 6.596 at 208.91, Justin Taylor’s 6.947 at a blazing 213.52mph, Matt Driscoll’s 6.496 at 219.45mph, and Todd Miller laying down the law by running a 6.158 at 218.92 mph. Also worth mentioning, in the second session’s fifth pair Parker and Miller lined up together. The reaction times were tight, and the scoreboards had everyone’s jaw dropping as both drivers ran identical 6.646’s at the big end. For the final, Swinford earned over a tenth of a second advantage to Don Harter (.036 to a.170) and powered through for the win, running a 6.746 at 206.70 mph to Harter’s 6.864 at 204.35.
In the AA/Supercharged category, Troy Owens showed that he is not going to give up the 2012 championship too easily, as he blasted away into the victory. Although his final round opponent, Joel Matton, wasn’t able to make the call, Owens still put on a show in the final by backing up his earlier track record ET of 6.450 by running a 6.473 at 212.96 mph. Other runs of mention should go to Howard Anderson, who ran a pair of dynamite runs in the form of a 6.623 and 6.657, as well as Mitch Chamberlin who ran at over 209 miles per hour. Of special note runner-up Joel Matton recorded a personal best of 6.710 at 202.93 mph.
Top Comp features the fastest bracket racers of all, with drivers needing to dial at least a 7.99 to qualify. Jim Pappas of Roseburg, OR was your number one qualifier with a 6.701 at 202.65mph. After four tough rounds of competition, Paul Nero emerged victorious over Danny Wargnier, whose red light by .005 ended the race. Mike Hilsendager was the lone semi-finalist.
In the Power Punch Pacific Northwest Super Comp category, where drivers leave off of a .4 tenths Pro tree and must dial in at an 8.90 index, the final round was again decided on a red light. In this category, it was done when Lynnwood, WA resident Ed Hauter left .003 seconds too early, giving the win to Tom Gresham. Randy Beck and Tom Bachand were the semi-finalists.
The Super Gas final round, featuring drivers who must dial-in at 9.90 seconds and leave off of a .4 Pro tree, had Jim Glenn getting the victory over Ed Hauter, after Glenn left almost .05 quicker. Rod Souza was the only semi-finalist.
In Stock/Super Stock combo, Todd Hale earned the victory over Craig Bloom after Bloom turned on the red light by .004. Hale went on to run a stunning 11.662 on his 11.66 dial in.
In the Dragster/Roadster category, the final round was a repeat from the last race, with Devon Hilton and Gary Hogansen squaring off. For Hilton, the trip to the final round meant going through a competition breakage, Christina Presser, and a laddered single. For Hogansen: Kelly Gordon, number one qualifier Keifer Eickmann, and number three qualifier Tommy Stanford were the victims. In the final round, it was a quick affair as after nearly identical reaction times both Hilton and Hogansen broke out at the top end. For Hogansen, the breakout was by .065. For Hilton, the breakout was .034, crowning him as the Dragster/Roadster winner for the day.
The Super Pro category focused on an unforeseen number of close races and .00 reaction times, showing us how one of the toughest classes to be competitive in earned its name. In the final round were Sadie Floyd and Marty Stewart. For Floyd’s Moonstruck Chocolate dragster, the road to the final was earned through Al Lyda, Bill Heard, Dave Sattem, a single and Moe Trujillo, after Trujillo had a mechanical failure that rendered him unable to stage the car. For Stewart, a competition breakage single, Dennis Weddle, Bill McNeal, Tom Golden and a laddered single were the obstacles to his route. In the final round, the race was over .010 seconds before it even began, as the Allstate sales agent turned on the red light, handing the automatic victory to Sadie Floyd. With the victory came a much needed moral boost after her father, John Floyd Sr, suffered health problems with multiple trips to the hospital the week before. A special notice should go out to Devon Hilton, who on the third pair out of the Super Pro class produced a .008 package to earn the A-1 Performance Trans and Converter Package for the Points.
Pro bracket category was part one of a special story, as the final two cars of the 39 that made an appearance in the first round showed Thomas Jackson III and John LaRoche. Jackson’s El Camino battled through Barry Greathead, Reid Rund, Tony McCauley, and Rick Sales Sr before earning a bye into the final. For LaRoche, the number one qualifier, the victories were over Mike Saucy, a single, Dan Stokes, a laddered single, and George Burns Sr to reach the final round. In the final, the starting line was again an issue as LaRoche fouled out, ending his day one round short of the win. Jackson would have been tough to beat nonetheless, as he was .011 off the starting line and ran an 11.683 on his 11.67, posting a .024 thousandths package. Casey DePeel was the winner of the A-1 Performance Trans and Converters Package for the points, when he scored a .020 total package. A race that held special interest to everyone’s eyes was that of Steve Kelly and Steve Stuart in the second round of eliminations, as the battle between the former national champion (Kelly) and the multi-time track champion and former division champion (Stuart) proved to be worth watching. Kelly was .001 off the starting line to Stuart’s .019, with Kelly running a 10.545 on his 10.47 dial-in, a .076 package, compared to Stuart who ran a 9.127 on his 9.07, putting together a ….076 package?!? By virtue of three ten thousandths of a second (.0003 seconds away from a ‘tie’), the victory went to Steve Kelly.
Derrick Jackson continues to show time and time again why he is and more than less likely will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for much time to come, as he scored the victory in the Sportsman category over Robert Glafka, earning himself a trip to the Quality Concrete/Salem Paving Company Winner’s Circle. Jackson’s journey to the final was through tough competitors such as Alan Morrill, Garry Heinrich, April’s Kershaw Knives Racer of the Month Gordon Cady Jr, and Jerry Weber. Glafka’s to a final round appearance were James Burns, Marty Arrigotti, a single and Mark Verhalen. In the final round, Glafka had the starting line advantage over the multi-time champion, but was unable to seal the deal when his car broke out by .031 at the finish. Gordon Cady Jr continued to rack up the accomplishments after earning the A-1 Performance Trans and Converters Package for the points, when he earned a .024 total package.
In the ET Motorcycle category, the final round was a repeat from the last event. Phillip Lang made it to the final two by downing Randy Whiteman and Gary Tokos before earning the semi-final round bye. For Don DePeel, the final round came about by defeating 2012 Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series Motorcycle champion Mark Adams, Maycee Blehm, and Van Smith. In the final round, Lang had the advantage by over .02, and rode his way into the Winner’s Circle.
NW Drag Bike’s premier class, the Pro Mod motorcycles, featured a six-second pass in the first round by Larry Cook, who ran a 6.773 at 197.19 in the semi’s, was low for eliminations. The other side of the ladders showed Kenny Dreer getting the win over Jim Iverson in the semi’s. In the final round, Kenny Dreer launched off the starting line almost a tenth ahead of Cook, but the power of Cook’s Suzuki came roaring as he ran a 7.001 at 193.92 mph to secure the victory.
In the NWDB Quick 8 category, Jim Werre won the final round over Shawn Blehm in a contest decided by only .03 of a second. Doug Newberg was the lone semi-finalist.
In NWDB Pro Street, Kerry Drost powered to the winner’s circle by virtue of a .003 reaction time to stay ahead of a trouble-stricken Eric Robinson.
Final round results are listed in order of Driver name, hometown (year and model), [reaction time], elapsed time, miles per hour, and (dial-in).
W: Todd Swinford, Keizer OR (’80 Datsun) [.036] 6.746, 206.70.
R/U: Don Harter, Wenatchee WA (’78 Corvette) [.170] 6.864, 204.35.
W: Troy Owens, Albany OR (’41 Willys) [.079] 6.473, 212.96.
R/U: Joel Matton, Oregon City OR (’37 Chevy) – broke.
Semi’s: Mitch Chamberlin, Orting WA.
W: Sadie Floyd, Happy Valley OR (’01 Hadman) [.037] 7.194, 184.99 (7.23 dial).
R/U: Marty Stewart, Wilsonvillve OR (’57 Chevy) [-.010] foul.
Semi’s: Moe Trujillo, Happy Valley OR.
W: Thomas Jackson III, Carlton OR (’70 El Camino) [.011] 11.683, 112.35 (11.67 dial).
R/U: John LaRoche, Oregon City OR (’64 Nova) – foul.
Semi’s: George Burns Sr, Stayton OR.
W: Derrick Jackson, McMinnville OR (’67 A100) [.064] 12.632, 99.92 (12.62 dial).
R/U: Robert Glafka, Battle Ground WA (’70 Torino) [.055] 12.229, 101.32 (12.26 dial).
Semi’s: Jerry Weber, Albany OR; Mark Verhalen, Beaverton OR.
W: Paul Nero, Eugene OR (’06 Undercover) [.025] 7.468, 179.21 (7.48 dial).
R/U: Danny Wargnier, Keizer OR (’08 GTO) [-.005] foul.
Semi’s: Mike Hilsendager, Springfield Or.
W: Tom Gresham, Gresham OR (’98 Yancer) [.020] 8.907, 181.05 (8.90 dial).
R/U: Ed Hauter, Lynnwood WA (’02 Spitzer) [-.003] foul.
Semi’s: Randy Beck, Tacoma WA; Tom Bachand, Milton WA.
W: Jim Glenn, Vancouver WA (’02 Brogie) [.019] 9.999, 128.07 (9.90 dial).
R/U: Ed Hauter, Lynnwood WA (’02 Camaro) [.064] 10.070, 107.87 (9.90 dial).
Semi’s: Rod Souza, Eugene OR.
W: Todd Gale, Richland WA (’70 Camaro) [.107] 11.662, 112.45 (11.66 dial).
R/U: Craig Bloom, Gresham OR (’69 Camaro) [-.004] foul.
W: Devon Hilton, Vancouver WA (’64 Dragster) [.031] 8.436, 152.69 (8.47 dial).
R/U: Gary Hogansen, Eugene OR (’27 Roadster) [.041] 9.945, 127.73 (10.01 dial).
Semi’s: Tommy Stanford, Sherwood OR.
W: Phillip Lang, Portland OR (’08 GSXR) [.021] 9.414, 138.27 (9.36 dial).
R/U: Don DePeel, Gladstone OR (’74 Kawasaki) [.044] 8.843, 142.36 (8.67 dial).
Semi’s: Van Smith, Portland OR.
NWDB Pro Mod
W: Larry Cook, West Linn OR (’99 Suzuki) [.131] 7.001, 193.92.
R/U: Kenny Dreer, Oregon City OR (’09 Suzuki) [.036] 7.197, 184.38.
Semi’s: Jim Iverson, Salem OR.
NWDB Pro Street
W: Kerry Drost, Sherwood OR (’99 Hayabusa) [.003] 7.771, 172.87.
R/U: Eric Robinson, Eugene OR (’03 Hayabusa) – broke.
Semi’s: Robley Evans, Kent WA; Verl Smith, Portland OR.
NWDB Quick 8
W: Jim Werre, Renton WA (’08 Suzuki) [.062] 9.623, 139.47 (9.54 dial).
R/U: Shawn Blehm, Salem OR (’09 Suzuki) [.125] 7.865, 167.41 (7.81 dial).
Semi’s: Doug Newberg, Bend OR.