The 2012 NPD F.A.S.T. racing season closer was held at super-fast MIR Dragway in Mechanicsville, MD the first weekend of November. With the cool Fall air and super sticky racing surface, there was no better way to finish the year off. There was plenty of excitement going into this venue and the smack talk on the F.A.S.T. website was ramping up as the event grew closer which amounted to adding fuel to the fire.
Normally, the small block entries rest quietly behind their big block peers, never really receiving the attention they’re due. There are a select few who consider the small block entries the “final frontier” in the F.A.S.T. class, and are ramping up their efforts to leave a mark on this series. In 2009, Chris K ripped off an incredible 11.44 at VMP Dragway in New York that stood until this weekend.
Brian Wilsey, with his dad, Gene, came with their ’71 340 Duster. When the smoke cleared, they stood on top of the small block mountain with a 11.34@120. (Wilsey ran a 11.27 in testing the day before the event.)
Among the big block entries were all the heavy hitters including Carey’s ’71 Mustang, Mahoney’s Firebird, Dicicco’s HEMI ‘Bee, Dale’s ZL1, and more. With one of the fastest Quick 8 ladders set, the eliminations began with Dicicco’s ’70 HEMI Super Bee up against Ed Cook’s ’63 Max Wedge.
When the green light lit, Dicicco got the jump with a .091 reaction time and was on his way to his all-time best E.T. at email@example.com, but it was not enough to fend of Big Ed’s Maxie.
At about the 1/8th mile, Eddie’s Max Wedge was just to much for the HEMI and took Dicicco’s ‘Bee by a car length. First round went to Mr. Cook.
Next in line to race was James Cook up against Lane Carey’s super-fast Ford Mustang. With what seemed like the weight of the world on his shoulders young Cook rolled to the burnout box and found himself sitting there solo.
Back in the staging lanes, Carey’s Mustang was in the process of ripping all the ring gear teeth off of is flywheel. With a few desperate turns of the key, the Ford was sidelined – forfeiting this round. Win goes to James Cook!
The next pairing to roll up to the staging beams was number 5 qualifying Don Giannone’s ’66 396 Chevelle up against number 4 qualifying Dale Wallgora and his ’69 ZL1 Camaro. Don was fighting traction issues all day and couldn’t seem to pull a good run together.
On the other side, Dale just kept getting faster and faster setting personal bests along the way. When the lights dropped, Don spun hard and Dale was home free advancing to the Semi Finals.
The last pair of Quick 8 cars to reach the staging beams were the number 1 qualifier Rick Mahoney’s Pontiac Firebird driven by Scott Tiemann and the number 8 qualifier Jay Delaigle’s ’74 Pontiac Trans Am, Jay gave it everything he had but Mahoney’s Firebird proved to be to much for the T/A to handle, it was the ’68 Bird advancing to the finals.
Showdown In The Semi Finals
First to the lanes was Mahoney and Wallgora in their ’68 400 Firebird and ’69 ZL1 427 Camaro respectively.
When the lights dropped, the Pontiac spun for a brief second giving the ZL1 a slight lead but by the 1000-foot mark, the Pontiac caught the Camaro and passed him. This puts Mahoney’s ‘Bird in the final round.
Next up was Eddie Cook running James Cook – yes, father versus son. Ed’s Maxie clearly had James’ 440-6 Road Runner covered, so James pulled out all the stops.
In a desperate attempt to pull off the holeshot, James red-lighted by .004 when the lights dropped. They both ran them out the back door anyways, with a 10.51 for the Maxie and a 10.89 for young James six-barrel Plymouth.
Face Off In The Final Round
Make no mistake, this was not just another final round. Three years in the making, the rivalry between Cook and Mahoney started when Cook took the win in this same match up. The next year, Mahoney’s ‘Bird took the win; neither win was for an official F.A.S.T. racing series win either, just flat out rivalry. Now here we are in the final race of the year and it’s for a FAST racing series win and it’s Mahoney versus Cook again.
It was a mad rush before the round. Mahoney had spun the prior round but still pulled out a win. If Mahooney spins racing Eddie, it’s over (the exact mistake made three years ago). Eddie came over just to razz them joking, “Add weight! Add weight! Have you learned nothing?”
Sure enough, they added 100lbs to the trunk. Meanwhile, Eddie is setting his Maxie for “kill,” pulling out any weight he had.
Both cars headed to the lanes and the tension was high. Both cars staged and the amber lights popped. Eddie dropped the hammer with a near perfect reaction time and a near perfect 60-foot – 1.57 on stock tires – and never looked back setting a personal best of a 10.39@133. The Pontiac was close but this one went to the Mopar. Really, one of the most exciting FAST final rounds in years.