With 100 plus degree temperatures during the day the heat was on at MIR but that would not stop the X275 racers from putting on one hell of a show once again. The class has grown superbly over the first few months of the season with the popularity spreading across the nation. Maryland International Raceway is by far one of the nicest facilities in the country and would handle the extreme heat very well with a solid track prep which led to some awesome racing.
Twenty entrants converged on the staging lanes to try their best to come out on top for qualifying and with the track as hot as it was it would be a tuning game to see who would get a handle on things first. Justin Smith would grab the number one spot in the first qualifier in his 2001 Camaro that is powered by a LS based engine with nitrous. Another big name was right behind him in a brand new X275 car. Ricky Fox was wheeling his 1993 Cobra which was purchased from Brett Hull and then was transformed into a 275 car with new power under the hood. Local favorite Chris Evans was sitting in fifth with a 5.42 @ 140mph. Rounding out the top eight was Al Marlow in his nitrous assisted Camaro.
During the second qualifier the track temperature had went down and the racers would try and turn things up to better their qualifying efforts. Chris Evans would easily make the big jump into the number one spot as he has done so many times already this season. His 5.001 elapsed time would set him out from the pack but the rest of the field was hot on his tails. Justin Smith once again would gain some ground as he ran a 5.10 @ 141mph which was enough to hold off the hard charging Ricky Fox in the third position. The top eight was sealed off by Ryan Ellington who barely had enough to stay in the field.
At each X275 race they hold a “Shootout” for those competitors whom did not make the top eight field. Many times we have seen some outstanding racing and this night would be no different as a naturally aspirated Camaro was looking to derail the power adder competition. Chris Wilkinson was sitting at the top of the field for the Shootout but it was Mike Barry who was on a mission with stout 5.64 @ 124mph in qualifying which put in the next to last spot for the field but definitely not out of the show.
In round one it would be an upset as the favorite to win Chris Evans would get taken out on a huge hole shot victory by Ryan Ellington. Evans was off the pace but Ellington kept his composure and took out the number one qualifier. Bobby Flippin was back behind the wheel of his red S10 and he would face off against Daniel Whestine. Flippin was out first and never looked back. His 5.30 @ 134 was plenty to edge out Whestine’s 5.37 pass. Ricky Fox and Justin Smith would both advance into round two with nearly identical 5.18 second elapsed times. Only one thousandth of a second separated these two and they would meet up in the next round.
In the shootout it was Mike Barry and James Willett facing in the first pairing. Barry and his naturally aspirated Camaro took a huge hole shot advantage all the way to the finish line with a 5.58 @ 126mph for the victory. The ever dangerous Al Marlow was lurking in the bottom half of the field which placed him against Jerome Ward. Marlow just simply had too much for Ward and Al eased to the second round. Matt Sears gets the big “E” for effort in his first round pairing as he lined up with Steve Haun. Sears cut a .007 light to Haun’s .147 but it wasn’t enough to hold Haun off in the big end. Russell McManious also advanced to the next round over Chris Wilkinson.
Bobby Flippin faced off against Ryan Ellington in round two and he would easily outrun the Mustang. Flippin’s 5.59 second elapsed time would place him in the finals. It was Ricky Fox and Justin Smith in the other pairing and once again the pair were nearly identical but on the reaction time this time. Fox was .031 to Smith’s .032 but Justin made it to the stripe first with a 6.27 @ 114mph which was way off the pace from his earlier runs. It would be Flippin versus Smith in the final with Flippin having lane choice.
Russell McManious and Steve Haun were first through the water in round two of the shootout. Haun and his 1978 nova just wouldn’t have enough to get past McManious’ 1990 Mustang. In a battle of Camaros it was Al Marlow and Mike Barry battling for the other final round spot. Barry once again did his part on the starting line to gain the advantage he needed to take the win. His 5.582 was almost identical to his first round 5.584. Would it be the bracket racing Mike Barry or Russell McManious who took the win?
The final pairs of cars were set to head down the track at nearly midnight at MIR. First out it was Flippin versus Smith. It is kind of ironic that just one race ago Flippin was behind the wheel of the Camaro that he is facing in the other lane. Flippin cut a great light but fell off the pace early as Justin Smith flew around him on his way to his fastest pass of the night. 5.092 @ 140mph put him in the winners circle at MIR.
In the final of the X275 Shootout it was Mike Barry and Russell McManious in a classic Ford versus Chevrolet battle. Barry was on his game all night at the starting line and once again he gained a slight advantage off the start. McManious came around him on the top end by just a nose for the win. Barry’s 5.585 to Russell’s 5.493 led to a margin of victory of only .066 at the stripe. Congratulations to all the winners and runners up for another awesome night of racing. Stay tuned here to Dragzine for the next round of X275 racing from Milan, Michigan at this weekends Ultimate Outlaws Shootout.