Paul Comeau; Hot Rod I Champion
Hot Rod I (vehicles 1959 and older, 11.99 and quicker) had Paul Comeau in the final round facing Marc Pruett for the first win of the season. Comeau downed heavyweights Casey DePeel, a single, and Norman Lemley, while Pruett eanred a single in the first round of competition leading to a win over Tim McDaniel and Jarod Anderson. In the final round, the driver’s reaction times were separated by merely five thousandths of a second, before Pruett broke, resulting in the victory for Paul Comeau.
Eliminations for the final round on May 4th faced drivers Norman Lemly and Steve Canton. Lemly’s route to the final went through racers Jarod Anderson, a single pass, and Jim Estes, who the round before took down last year’s champion Paul Comeau, before advancing to the finals. For Canton: Tim McDaniel and Marc Pruett were the victims before taking the single in the semis. In the final round, Canton (dialed in at an 11.85 to Lemly’s 11.55) had the starting line advantage by .06 hundredths of a second. Lucky for Lemly, Canton slowed to a 12.083, allowing Norman to slip around and secure the win.
June 23rd. Paul Comeau and Marc Pruett again lined up next to each other in the finals. For Comeau to get into the final round he had to defeat David Shank, Al Matheson, and Roy Panschow. Meanwhile, Pruett defeated Larry Gemma, and David Acheson before getting a single in the semis. In the final round, Comeau had the advantage by .06 on the tree and was able to maintain the lead for the holeshot victory. After his second win, Comeau now had the points lead with 210 points, 40 more than Pruett (170), and 70 more than third place Jim Estes (140).
July 6th brought Roy Panschow and Jim Estes into the final round. Panschow’s ’46 Chevrolet Pickup had a single before defeating Tim McDaniel, while Estes’ gnarly ’52 Henry J defeated Jim Pray and defending Champion Paul Comeau. In the finals, Panschow uncorked a supersonic .007 reaction time to defeat Estes, earning the win from the number 4 qualifier position. Comeau was the number one qualifier.
Hot Rod I competition brought a final round battle between Washington and Oregon. The Washington representative, Vancouver resident Paul Comeau, took down opponents Richard Beyea, Roy Panschow, and Tim McDaniel before earning the single in the semis. Pendleton, Oregon racer Tom Wurtz made it into the final round by taking out Shelby Brown, Norman Lemly, Pinky Garver and Marc Pruett. In the final round, Comeau’s stellar .017 reaction time was all that was needed to secure the win, and make him the third double-up winner of the Hot Rod Nationals weekend. Garver was the number one qualifier with a .009. With Comeau’s third win of the racing season, combined with the final event being rained out, an 80-point lead over second place mean he truly dominated this season, earning his third straight Hot Rod I Series Championship.
Following are the top three point’s earners, in order of position, name, points, and round wins.
1. Paul Comeau, 340 Points, 16 Round Wins
2. Marc Pruett, 260 Points, 11 Round Wins
3. Jim Estes, 220 Points, 7 Round Wins