Bruce Poppino; Stick Shift Champion
The Nostalgia Hot Rod Series Stick Shift category saw Shawn Choruby and Jim Wise doing battle at the first event of the season. Choruby took down Bob Johnson and Bruce Poppino on his way to the finals, while Wise was the winner over last year’s champion Paul Carbaugh before having a single in the semis. In the final, Choruby didn’t get the starting line advantage, but was able to manually navigate his car down the quarter mile in a more efficient way by virtue of a 12.00 on the 11.79 dial, receiving the victory plaque.
At the second point’s event, Bruce Poppino and Shawn Choruby showed off their best reasons why they want to be the ones to win the championship. To get there, Poppino took out Randy Ashley before earning a single. For Shawn Choruby, the winner at the first event: last year’s champion Paul Carbaugh and Dick Arnold were the defeated racers. In the final round, Choruby had a mechanical malfunction, allowing Poppino to take the win. After these two races, Choruby had the points lead with 120 points, followed by Poppino in second with 110, and Lebanon’s Jim Wise in third with 90 points.
Race number three was run at the Oldies But Goodies, but persistent rain forced the conclusion of the event to be held at the Hot Rod Nationals.
At the fourth points event of the season, while Jr Dragsters were fighting for Wally’s, Nostalgia Hot Rod Series competitors were fighting for positioning as the points standings were beginning to become clearer and clearer. It was appropriate that in the final round, the number one and two qualifiers lined up to do battle. The number one, Bruce Poppino, defeated Paul Carbaugh first round to earn the single into the final round. The number two qualifier, Bob Johnson, eliminated Dick Arnold and Jim Wise. In the finals, Poppino had a substantial starting line advantage, and was able to use that at the finish to secure the victory, and take the points lead back from Shawn Choruby.
Saturday of the Hot Rod Nationals brought an end to Sunday of the Oldies But Goodies, with a final round showdown between racers Bob Johnson and John Selman, to determine the one who would be standing in the Quality Concrete/Salem Concrete Paving Winner’s Circle. Johnson made it into the final by defeating Bill Brown and Mark Allan Dolan to earn a single, while Selman downed Denny Hays, Curt Garnick, and number one qualifier Dick Arnold. In the final, the race was decided on a red light when Selman left .023 too early, meaning Bob Johnson would get the win and the ever-so-important points. Unbeknownst to the racers at the time, but the Hot Rod Nationals would be the final race of the series due to impending rain, making it all the more dramatic! Points heading into the final race were 210 for Poppino, 160 for Wise, and 160 for Johnson.
Stick Shift eliminations cumulated with the number two and four qualifiers battling it out. Important to the season championships though were the rounds leading up to the finals. With Poppino holding a 5 round lead, he would have to lose first round and Jim Wise or Bob Johnson would have to win the race. To the surprise of many racers, Poppino was quickly dismissed first round! Directly followed by Bob Johnson biting the dust! It was then down to Jim Wise: win the event, win the championship…but it wasn’t meant to be as a second round lost meant the championship belonged to the Mustang of Bruce Poppino. In final round action, number two qualifier Bill Brown earned a single first round, had a competition breakage second round, and then defeated John Selman in the third round. Dick Arnold, the number four qualifier, eliminated racers Bob Johnson and Jim Wise to earn a semi-final round single. In the final round, Brown unleashed a near-perfect .001 reaction time and Arnold broke out trying to catch him, meaning that Bill Brown can lay claim to the event champions title until next year.
Following are the top three points finishers, listed with driver name, total points, and round wins.
1. Bruce Poppino, 240 Points, 7 Round Wins.
2. Dick Arnold, 210 Points, 6 Round Wins
3. Jim Wise, 200 Points, 5 Round Wins