CJ Stoakes; Inline/Flathead Champion
Jim Johnson and CJ Stoakes were the final round competitors in the first Inline/Flathead final of the season, a class designed specifically for Inline and Flathead equipped competitors in our wildly popular Nostalgia Hot Rod Series. Johnson went through Doug Powers and Jerry Stauffer before earning the single pass in the semi-final round. Meanwhile, Stokes took down last year’s champion Michael Bjerklund in the first round, as well as having a single in the second round and Dave Mueller in the semis. In the final round, Stoakes looked to have a considerable advantage when comparing the .031 to .120 starting line difference, but it was not meant to be at the finish! Stoakes’ quarter mile times showed a 15.335 on his 15.40 (under his posted dial-in by .065) and Johnson’s 15.167 on a 15.20 (under by .033). As in the case of a breakout in bracket racing, the driver with the SMALLEST infraction is the winner, in this case going to Jim Johnson.
Event number two showcased number three and four qualifiers Doug Powers and CJ Stoakes. Powers went through Richard Bjerklund and Jim Johnson. Meanwhile Stoakes, who was clearly doing everything he could to secure the season championship, took out Dave Mueller and Walt Skoczylas to punch his ticket into the final round. In the finals, Stoakes had the starting line advantage by .032, but his Plymouth was unable to run the number at the top end as he slowed to a 15.307 on the 15.07, meaning that Powers clinched his first win of the season. Stoakes, who now has two consecutive final round appearances, currently sits second in the point’s with 110 points, with Powers right behind with 100, and Jim Johnson sitting first with 120 points.
At the third point’s event, held at the NAPA Auto Parts Oldies But Goodies, rain delays forced the events conclusion to be held at the sister event, the Bi-Mart sponsored Hot Rod Nationals.
CJ Stoakes and Walt Skoczylas found themselves into the final round at this event. Stoakes, driving like he stole it after two straight final round appearances without a win, had to defeat Jim Johnson, Doug Powers and Walt Pearce to be in the final round. For anyone paying attention to the total points, that’s numbers ONE and THREE that he defeated! For Skoczylas: Richard Bjerklund and Michael Bjerklund were the defeated racers, allowing him to run a single in the semis. In the final round, Skoczylas had the reaction time advantage, but broke out at the finish line trying to get the win, meaning that after two attempts CJ Stoakes was into the Quality Concrete/Salem Paving Winner’s Circle. Pearce was the number one qualifier at this race.
Saturday of the Hot Rod Nationals meant Sunday of the Oldies But Goodies, as points were on the line for Inline/Flathead racers. Final round racers: Jim Johnson and Walt Skoczylas. Johnson defeated Bruce Murray, Dave Mueller, and Walt Pearce to advance into the finals. On the other side, Skoczylas downed Andrew Howard, Doug Powers, and CJ Stoakes. In the final, Jim ‘The Machine’ Johnson ran a 15.225 on his 15.20 to get the win despite not having the reaction time advantage. Heading into Sunday’s competition, Stoakes now held only a 10 point lead (240 total points) over Johnson, and a 5 round lead over third place Skoczylas.
With 15 racers present at the second to last points race, the maximum points ‘spread’ was 50 points (80 points to the winner, 30 points for losing first round). Because of this, the only racers eligible for the championship were the top three. As first round eliminations progressed, Stoakes defeated his first opponent (Bruce Murray), eliminating former Dragster/Roadster champion Skoczylas from a possibility of the season title. Two pairs later, Jim Johnson downed Richard Bjerklund to stay within one round of the title. Round two: both racers won. Round three; one was defeated. After a red light start by just two thousandths of a second, Johnson threw away his chance of a winner-take-all final round, meaning that CJ Stoakes was in the clear for the number one spot. So what did he do? He went out and earned his second straight win, in his fourth final round of the 5-race old series. With the final race succumbing to Mother Nature, CJ Stoakes finished the season with 2 event wins, 4 total final round appearances, and a semi-final round for his lowest appearance. A congratulations to all racers who ran an event in this hard fought series, and to the 2013 Nostalgia Hot Rod Series Inline/Flathead Champion, CJ Stoakes.
Following are the top three points finishers, listed with driver name, total points, and round wins.
1. CJ Stoakes, 320 Points, 15 Round Wins
2. Jim Johnson, 280 Points, 11 Round Wins
3. Walt Skoczylas, 240 Points, 9 Round Wins