This past weekend the crowds piled into Cecil County Dragway to watch some of the fastest heads up drag racing on the east coast. With a stout field of Outlaw 10.5 cars the buzz in the crowd was the upcoming YellowBullet Nationals which will easily surpass the crowds from this past weekend. The weather was near perfect for a day of racing and with five great heads up classes the fans definitely got their moneys worth in action.
During the first qualifier most racers were trying to get a feel for the track and seeing where their setup had them. Sixteen cars went down the track with Mike Pyott going straight to number one with a 8.51 @ 159mph. Six of the sixteen were under the index which pushes them to the bottom of the ladder. The second qualifier would prove trying as the racers worked to get closer to the 8.50 index and it would be John Bova who would run dead on to go number one with his 8.50 @ 161mph. Al Fonse Jr. and Harry Gerb also improved on their qualifying efforts moving into the top five after qualifying was complete.
First out of the gate was Robb Puller and Harry Gerb. Gerb in his first generation Firebird would take a slight starting line advantage and never look back taking the win with a 8.55 @ 155mph. Brent Beachley was up next in his beautiful Nova versus Luis Martinez in his deadly RX-7. It was a close race but Martinez would advance to round number two. In one of the closest races we have seen in a long time it was number two qualifer Mike Pyott versus Angelo Valla in his Corvette. The starting line was .050 to .054 with the advantage going to Pyott. On the top end Valla was dead on the dial 8.500 but so was Pyott with a 8.505. The margin of victory was .0013 with the win light going to Valla. Craig Cusamano, Michael O Sullivan, Al Fonse Jr, John Bova and Darrell Varner would all advance into round two as well.
Right off the start John Bova would run another dead on pass versus Darrell Varner. Bovas 8.50 @ 161mph took the win as Varner red lit. Current points leader Valla would fall in a upset as Michael O’ Sullivan would run a 8.54 to take the win over the slowing Corvette. Harry Gerb faced off against Craig Cusamano and Gerb coasted to the win as Craig blew the tires off at the starting line. In a double break out race that was close it was Al Fonse Jr. and Luis Martinez. On the top end it was 8.46 to 8.464 with Fonse taking the stripe first so that gave the win to Martinez.
Taking the easy win would be Luis Martinez as O’ Sullivan was off the pace which advanced Luis to the final round. Harry Gerb faced off against number one qualifier John Bova for the other spot in the final round. Gerb had the starting line advantage and would run 8.57 @ 150mph to take the win.
Right from the burnouts you could tell this was going to be a good race with two veteran racers in the 8.50 Index. At the starting line only 3 thousandths separated the two with the advantage to Gerb. Martinez pulled away though and Gerb just did not have enough to run him down on the top end. Martinez ran a 8.51 @ 146mph against Gerb’s 8.56 to take the win. Congratulations to both racers on a great showing.
The other quarter mile class was up next with 7.50 Index. John Schroeder is always a threat to win and he was working out the bugs on a new engine. His first pass was a 7.7 @ 153mph but he apparently had problems and would not be back the rest of the day. Charlie Micallaf made a statement with his qualifying effort taking the number one spot with a 7.54 @ 185mph. Jimmy Reutter brought out his beautiful red Nova to take the number three spot followed by Michael Ingrossio in his Cutlass. Rounding out the field was Rick Righter, John Fisher and Dough Hinkle who all struggled in qualifying.
John Fisher in the PSI Motorsports backed Camaro would have to take on “Charlie Boy” in the Chevelle. Fisher finally made a strong pass but it was not enough to hold off Micallaf’s 7.58. Jimmy Reutter took on Rick Righter in his Mercury Comet in the second pairing. Righter struggled to get down track as peddled the car and moved all around but it was enough to hold off the Nova. Michael Ingrossio would make his best pass of the day against Christopher Malec who had a nitrous backfire at the hit of the throttle. Igrossio’s 7.61 @ 188mph would advance him into the next round. Doug Hinkle received a bye run as he was to run John Schroeder who was unable to make the call.
This was the semi-finals for the 7.50 Index and it was Rick Righter against Doug Hinkle in the first pair. Both cars were off the pace but it was Righter who drove around for the win to advance to the finals. Michael Ingrossio faced Charlie Micallaf in the other pairing. It was Charlie who put together another consistent run to take the win. Micallaf’s 7.61 @ 160 would give him lane choice over Righter.
In somewhat of an odd final both cars were extremely late off the line but it was Charile Micallaf who was able to put together the winning combination. Righter struggled to get down track and Micallaf went 7.60 @ 161mph for the win. Congratulations to both drivers on their performances.
The big boys rolled through the water for one of the best fields we have seen to date in this class. Right out of the gate it was a huge rivalry in the water. Mo Hall and Joe Newsham made the first passes of the day. Hall put together a 4.56 pass which was a great run but Newsham was off the pace a little with a 6.15. Dale Collins Jr. and Steve Gorman lined up. Neither cars performed to their potential but it was Collins with the better run at 4.95.
Michael Martin stepped in his nitrous powered Camaro with a 4.54 @ 165mph and would better that in the second qualifier. The Kasper team made a statement with Steve Petty on the grounds making the tuning calls. The duo went 4.44 and 4.45 to claim the one and two spots. Joe Newsham would come back in the second qualifier and move up to number three with a 4.47 @ 171mph. John Cheman would also move up in the ladder in his blown Camaro with a 4.57 @ 169 which placed him number seven.
As the call was made for Outlaw 10.5 to the lanes, it was announced that it would be a sixteen car field which was much to the excitement of the fans. The first pair out was John Cheman versus Dale Collins Jr. Cheman made an easy 5.40 @ 133mph pass to beat Collins. Michael Martin had to tak on a former NMRA champion Tim Essick. Essick struggled but Martin had enough power to drive around for the win with a 4.61 @ 162mph.
Joe Newsham and his J&E powered Camaro battled it out against Tom Ferrick and his nasty little S10 truck. Newsham took the win over Ferrick to advance to round two. Charlie Dolbin put together a great pass against Steve Chrissafulli to take the win with a 4.5 second pass. “Smokin” Joe Schroeder faced Brad Harris in his twin turbo Mustang. Schroeder turned the blown Camaro loose and went 4.69 which easily surpassed Harris’ 5.06. TJ Kasper had to face the team that traveled all the way from Kuwait to compete.
Saud Alzabin was first off the line but the ProLine power flew past with a 4.43 @ 177mph for the win. In the last pair it was Tom Kasper versus Steve Gorman. Gorman did his part at the tree but got loose past the sixty foot mark and had to lift as Kasper drove around for the win.
Round two was filled with upsets and it started with John Cheman taking out TJ Kapser. Kasper slowed right off the line and Cheman blasted to a 4.65 @ 153mph for the win. Joe Newsham was looking like the Joe of years past as he wheeled his Camaro to the win over Louis Sciortino. Another huge upset was Charlie Dolbin versus the elder Kasper. Tom red lit the win away against Dolbin who was on a great pass but lifted once he seen the win light was on. He still coasted to a 4.60 @ 148mph. In the last pair it was all Michael Martin as Joe Schroeder redlighted. Martin left the track have all it could handle with a 4.46 @ 166mph.
Joe Newsham would do a great job of driving in this round as he faced off against John Cheman. A holeshot aided Newsham in taking the win over the faster Cheman. Newsham was 4.78 to Cheman’s 4.73. Michael Martin proved hard to beat once again as he went even faster against Charlie Dolbin. Dolbin slowed but Martin’s 4.44 @ 166 was quite impressive with the candles lit the whole way down track.
It was a peddle fest in the final as Martin had the advantage at the starting line. Both drives peddled their cars but it was Martin getting to the stripe first with a 4.81 to Newsham’s 4.77. Congratulations to both drivers especially artin as he has had a history of mishaps at Cecil County in the past.
Outlaw Drag Radial:
Qualifying was pretty uneventful as most of the racers struggled to get down the tricky track. John Carter put together a good pass with aid of Steve Petty tuning. His 5.11 @ 154mph placed him number one. Richie Stine made his long awaited return to Cecil County behind the wheel of Ricky Fox’s Mustang. Stine went to number two with a 5.39 @ 125 with the smoke rolling off the Mickey Thompsons down track. Francis Johnson was in the third spot with a 5.39 as well in his nitrous powered Firebird.
First up was John Carter versus Randy Lambert in his Chevelle. Lambert struggles to get down track as he spins at the hit, which allowed Carter to go a to b with another 5.11 second pass. Bill Dutka in his Malibu got the tune right and went down track with a 5.33 to take the win over John Ashnault.
Richie Stine received a bye run and made a nice pass with a quick peddle job down track. His 5.07 @ 143mph advances him to the next round. Quentin Methaney was working hard to hold onto his points lead amd had abye in round one due to his opponent not making the call. Metheney went 5.40 @ 131mph moving onto round two.
The wild ride of the weekend happened right here as Bill Dutka took on John Carter. Carter was out first then the power if the Malibu came on. Dutka went well past the sixty foot clocks with the wheels up then peddled the car and went completely vertical for a second time in a most violent matter. Dutka wheeled the car and brought it back to earth taking out the timing blocks. Carter stayed out in front during all of this and drifted left to try and avoid any contact with Dutka. The other pair in the semi-finals was Richie Stine versus Quentin Methaney. Methaney made another consistent 5.38 second pass to beat Stine who was late off the line.
John Carter and Quentin Methaney did their burnouts and pulled to the line. Methaney was out first with a .024 reaction time but it was the big power of Carter’s Corvette pulling around on the top end for the win. Carter ran a 5.23 @ 145mph over Matheny’s 5.44 @ 131mph. Congratulations to John Carter for his secnd win in as many weeks.
275 Drag Radial:
How else could a 275 Drag Radial class start out without Chris Evans and his Procharged Mustang going directly to the number one position with a 5.04 @ 142mph. Ken Ewer was testing out some new parts in preparation for his next race as he pulled up against Ron Rhodes. Rhodes had a small nitrous backfire and Ewer spun badly off the line. Eric Hendrickson made his first trip to Cecil County and ran a 5.98 @ 128 on his first pass. Larry Palmer made a nice pass in the second round of qualifying to stay in the field. With the wheels up he ran a 5.63 @ 127mph. Marc Schankweiler put a nice pass together in his flamed blue Nova. His 5.46 @ 131mph would keep him around eliminations.
Chris Evans came out to take on Jeff Moyer in his Camaro. Moyer slowed almost instantly as Evans cruised to the win with a 5.07 @ 142mph. The next pair was Shankweiler versus Palmer. Palmer left with the wheels up but was late off the line. Schankweiler went 5.44 @ 131mph for the win. Newcomer Rich Brucker picked up his first round win over Nick Mancuso as Mancuso had problems from the start. Ron Rhodes came back from his nitrous backfire to take on Tony Parsons. Parsons in his late model Mustang won the peddle fest with a 5.89 over Rhodes’ 6.84.
Chris Evans took on Rich Brucker in round two. Both cars had traction issues but it was Evans who gathered it up and won with a 5.30 @ 142mph. Parsons battled engine troubles all day but still prevailed for the win over Marc Schankweiler in round two. Parsons left the line with the wheels way up and ran a 5.48 @ 131mph out the back for the win.
What a great finalround it was as Tony Parsons took on Chris Evans. Parsons had to change out two pushrods in between rounds but he came back with a vengeance. Parsons had the advantage from the starting line .179 to .211. A 5.35 for Tony was enough to hold off Evans’ 5.33 second run. Congratulations to Tony for taking out Chris Evans in finals.