Two of the top competitors in the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) showed exactly why they reign atop their respective classes at Saturday’s Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags IV.
Extreme Pro Stock driver Cary Goforth and Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider Ashley Owens both won for the second time in two nights to stay No. 1 in their divisions, capping off a memorable double-race weekend at Summit Motorsports Park.
“To get two wins is just really, really awesome,” said Goforth, who won Dragstock VII on Friday. “Awesome won’t even cover it. This is just wonderful. You always dream about something like this, but you don’t always get it.”
Two other drivers got a chance to celebrate for the first time in the ADRL, as Mick Snyder (Pro Extreme) and Jim Laurita (Pro Nitrous) both picked up their first career ADRL wins on Saturday.
Chuck Ulsch picked up his third win of the 2010 season in Extreme 10.5 and Morgan Benfield got the win in Pro Junior Dragster.
Image credit: ADRL.us
Owens won for an unprecedented eighth time this season and also became the first ADRL competitor in its history to win five straight races.
“You never take any of these for granted,” Owens said. “There’s so much that can happen, you just have to enjoy it.” In getting his second double-win weekend this year, Owens handed more heartache to Terry Schweigert. Owens went 4.03 in the finals, going a PXM-best 178.28 miles per hour to beat Schweigert in the finals for the fourth time in 2010.
“I just can’t say enough about our team,” Owens said. “They scrambled to put that back-up motor in and just did an amazing job, every one of the them. I had total confidence in them that they were going to get everything done.”
Goforth was on point all weekend in Extreme Pro Stock, reclaiming the points lead after winning Dragstock on Friday. He followed it up by going 4.11 to beat John Montecalvo in Saturday’s final. Goforth went as quick as 4.05 and was consistently impressive for the second straight day in picking up his third win this season.
“I’ve got a good crew and that’s the truth,” Goforth said. “We had a consistent car, but it was also consistently faster and quicker than anybody out there this weekend.”
Image credit: ADRL.us
Snyder gave the capacity crowd at Summit Motorsports Park a thrilling show in the Pro Extreme final, as he nearly crossed the center line before blowing a header in an electrifying run against Alex Hossler. Snyder went 3.95, but couldn’t celebrate his first ADRL win until replays showed he didn’t move into the right lane.
“I wasn’t sure if I crossed or not. I knew I was close and I was waiting for someone to let me know,” Snyder said. “If you’re going to win, you might as well do it in spectacular fashion.”
Snyder went 3.66 in the first round and then had back-to-back 3.68s to reach the finals – including a victory against points leader Joshua Hernandez – ending his rookie season in Pro Extreme in thrilling fashion.
“How can you do it any better than this?” Snyder said. “It’s pretty amazing and just caps the year. We’ve been having a lot of fun, but we weren’t winning. This win saves the year, really.”
The win made Laurita’s year, which, like Snyder, is also his first in the ADRL. On a day filled with upsets and the unbelievable – points leader Rickie Smith was one of many top drivers who did not qualify for eliminations – Laurita hung around and went 3.94 to beat Terry Housley in the finals.
“This is overwhelming,” Laurita said. “The Lord just blessed me here today. There was a lot of luck, but I’m just ecstatic. I’ve had a lot of friends help me the last few years and they’ve really stuck with me.”
Laurita did his part as well, going 4.00 in the second round to beat close friend John Decerbo and adding another 4.00 in a semifinal win against Robert Mathis, who upset No. 1 qualifier Pat Stoken in the first round. That was simply par for the course on a wild day in Pro Nitrous, where the top eight in points changed multiple times throughout the day.
“It was just perseverance,” Laurita said. “We shook on every pass, but we were able to get through it.”
Ulsch got a red-light win against Dan Millen in the Extreme 10.5 final, but he wasn’t about to turn it down after his team worked vigorously to repair his car after the semifinals.
“Everybody was down there. There was probably about 20 people thrashing on the car,” Ulsch said. “But you gotta get up (to the starting line) to win it. I’m just pumped.”
He had every right to be after Millen couldn’t finish off his previously amazing day. Millen set a new world E.T. record with a 3.78 and consistently ran in the low 3.80s during eliminations. It was enough to get him into the top eight in the points standings in Extreme 10.5, but Ulsch was the one with the Minuteman trophy afterwards.
“We were off here and Dan is the cream of the crop,” Ulsch said. “You couldn’t mess with it. But we’ve got (3.80s) in us and now we have a month to find it.”