Exciting Finishes for Day One of Night of Fire/ET Bracket Triple Crown
Day one of the 3rd Annual Baxter Auto Parts/Sunbelt Rentals/Bi-Mart sponsored Night of Fire extravaganza came to a conclusion under the lights Friday evening. The last passes down the track were made by Richard Smith and Scott Arriaga in Darin Bay’s Jet Dragsters, running a pair of 297mph passes to illuminate the night. Ed ‘The Outlaw’ Jones also wowed spectators and racers alike with his 1/4 wheelstands and flame-shooting firetruck, as well as by handing out plenty of Jelly Belly’s to the loudest of onlookers. In bracket racing action, winners crowned were Kevin Heffington (Electronics 1), Derrick Jackson (Non-Electronics 1), Cory Wayne (Motorcycle), Arron Spitzer (Yukon Dragster Vs Door Car), and Tim Miller (Pro/Sm Gambler). Great times were had by all, with anticipation for an even greater spectacle on Saturday.
The K&N Filters ET Bracket Triple Crown Day 1 race was one for the ages with eight rounds of eliminations being run, with racers given the option to buy back first or second round. In the final round, a pair of seven-second dragsters faced off for the $3000 check. Kevin Heffington was one of the finalists, taking down Rick Lamoureux, Charlie Dietrich, Bobby Rice, Ron Pappel, Julie Adams, Martin Dykstra, and Katie Nelson-Harkema. On the other side of the ladder was Dustin Hentges, who had a competition breakage single first round, Martin Dykstra, Kurt Gross, Dave Sattem, Loretta McCool, Earl Griffith, and a laddered single on his way to the final pairing. The final round was set up to be a battle of the ages with both racers running within thousandths of their respective dial-ins in the semi-final round, but was over before it even began when Hentges turned on the red light by just .005, handing the last round win to Heffington. Dykstra was the number one qualifier with the perfect reaction time.
In the K&N Filters Non-Electronics Gambler, racing action was also eight rounds deep, with an overall payout of $1500 to the winner, and what a showdown it was! Derrick Jackson, like he has at so many races already this season, was in the final round by defeating Rochelle Robnett, Jesse Debartolo, Rochelle Robnett again, Jesse Debartolo again, older brother Thomas Jackson III, and David Chun Jr before earning a single. For Ward, the buyback was a wise decision because after losing to Rob Kennard, he went on to defeat Dave Nassimbene, Todd McMillan, Gregg Heriford, Paul Comeau, Zach Craig and Brad Craig. In the final round, Jackson’s .037 reaction time earned him a .02 advantage over Ward, which was enough to seal the deal after both drivers ran right on their dial-ins. Brad Craig was the number one qualifier with a stellar .004 reaction time start. Through eight rounds of eliminations, Jackson averaged a .024 reaction time.
Day one of two for the Motorcycle competitors was run on Friday, with a final round battle between the number eight and nine qualifier. The number eight, Cory Wayne, defeated Randy Whiteman, Maycee Blehm and Jim Werre to get into the final. For the number nine qualifier, Gary Tokos: Van Smith, a single and William Nitta were the riders who were defeated. In the final round, Wayne had a significant starting line advantage and used that to secure the victory over the Olympic Iron Works Harley rider of Tokos. Van Smith raced to the number one qualifying position with a .003.
The Yukon Gear and Axle Dragster Vs Door Cars Showdown was a sight to see. The Dragsters opened with a commanding 8-2 points lead (with each round win earning the respective wheelbase a point) before the Door Cars slowly fought back. In the semi-final round, it was ‘as it should be’ with two Dragsters (Dan Lafferty and Kurt Gross) and two Door Cars (Arron Spitzer and Danny Wargnier). Spitzer eliminated Mike Hilsendager, Devon Hilton, Tom Malicki, and Chad Walberg before winning over Lafferty after the latter’s red light start. On the other side of business, Wargnier faced off with Gross after defeating Meghan Molinari, Richard Smith, and Mark Kidd to earn the single, before defeating Gross by virtue of a breakout. The final round showcased Wargnier turning on the red light start by .005, giving the win to Spitzer in his own sponsored race. When the points were factored is when things got interesting, as with the quick start, the Dragsters maintained the lead throughout eliminations, leading the Door Cars 28 round wins to 27. But, according to the Woodburn Dragstrip Handbook, a driver who earns the victory of an event is given an extra round wins worth of points. Because of this, the Door Cars were awarded with a total of 28 points, and with the tie-breaker going in favor of the category that won the event, it was the Door Cars who wound up slaying the Dragsters on the very last pair of cars. Both classes were close to filling up the 32 car fields, and we anticipate more participation for next year.
In addition to the Non-Electronics Gamblers race that was run Friday throughout the day, a bonus race was run the night of to give everyone one more chance to race. Through the flames came two racers: Jerry Weber and Tim Miller. For Weber, getting into the final round meant defeating John Floyd Jr, Scott Lang, Pat Figini, Ryan Anderson, and Rob Kennard. On the other side of the ladder, Miller defeated Chris Stone, Robert Glafka, Jerry Durant Jr, and Ron Parks before earning the single. Using a starting line advantage of almost .07, Miller was able to get to the starting line before Weber and not break out to get the win and the grand prize of $1,170.
Listed are final round results in order of Driver name, city/state, (vehicle year and make), [reaction time], elapsed time, miles per hour, and (dial-in).
Electronics Day 1
W: Kevin Heffington, Moxee WA (’09 Mullis) [.042] 7.418, 179.49 (7.43 dial).
R/U: Dustin Henges, Olympia WA (’10 Mullis) [-.005] foul.
Semi’s: Katie Nelson-Harkema, Hayden ID.
Non-Electronics Day 1
W: Derrick Jackson, McMinnville OR (’67 A100) [.037] 12.681, 101.92 (12.68 dial).
R/U: Dustin Ward, Renton WA (’70 Challenger) [.058] 10.503, 118.62 (10.50 dial).
Semi’s: Brad Craig, Olympia WA.
W: Cory Wayne, Vancouver WA (’04 Kawasaki ZX-10) [.080] 9.399, 126.70 (9.29 dial).
R/U: Gary Tokos, Olympia WA (’06 HD Destroyer) [.242] 9.748, 138.10 (9.60 dial).
Semi’s: Jim Were, Renton WA; William Nitta, Seattle WA.
Yukon Dragster Vs Door Cars
W: Arron Spitzer, Arlington WA (’66 Chevy) [.012] 8.608, 137.13 (8.53 dial).
R/U: Danny Wargnier, Keizer OR (’08 GTO) [-.005] 7.832, 175.06 (7.82 dial).
Semi’s: Dan Lafferty, Wendell ID; Kurt Gross, Oregon City OR.
W: Tim Miller, Sweet Home OR (’67 Fairlane) [.058] 9.922, 132.35 (9.85 dial).
R/U: Jerry Weber, Albany OR (’82 S-10) [.123] 14.681, 91.63 (14.67 dial).
Semi’s: Rob Kennard, Redmond OR.