August 16, 2014 marked the inaugural Nostalgia Drag Racing League – Briggs & Stratton Hot August Nights race, held at magnificent Route 66 Raceway, in Joliet IL. This was the fourth event in the five race NDRL- IAM Championship Series. Despite the forecast predicting inclement weather for the entire weekend, the racers came out in droves and were blessed with almost no down time and nonstop racing throughout the entire day.
The staff at Route 66 planned for a fun filled day and they delivered with a hot rod show and race cars covering the entire complex. The drag racing program was highlighted with a fiery display of 300 mph jets, nitro funny cars and a nice aerial display of fireworks. On the track, The NDRL- IAM Championship points series racers came to race, and the competition was fierce. With several dead on the index and side by side passes, the fans got everything they have come to expect from NDRL drivers.
Ross Racing Engines PRO 7.00 was up to bat first and it Michigan native Sue Christophersen found herself parked on top of the stack with a 7.02 pass after the first qualifying session. The drivers returned to the lanes for the second session and that’s all it took for Hoosier driver Michael Sexton to take the family dragster out for a 7.003 lap stomping its way to the top spot leaving Christophersen, Justin Malott, Robbie Freels, and Larry Harlen (2013 Pro 7.0 Champ), rounding out the top five.
Semifinal eliminations found teammates Harlen and Gordon Horn working to get into the final. Harlen left with the advantage and carried it to the win running 7.01 to Horns’ slowing 7.28. New comer Ken O`Reilly rode the bye by taking the green and idling down to set up the final round. The final had Harlen taking the hole shot advantage but his Anglia slowed up running .11 over with O`Reilly’s FED running it’s best pass in eliminations with a 7.01 to take his first NDRL victory.
PRO 7.50 was up next and, as always, this class shows the diversity of the race cars that the NDRL offers. Cars without doors, cars with big doors, altereds, and dragsters with two engines top the list of the things you will see with the 7.50 crew. Ric Burdine headed up the door car contingent taking the number one spot with a 7.54. NDRL point leader (3 time 7.50 Champ) Wayne Sears was second with Pat Malloy, Jarrod Bradshaw, and Randall Boles taking fifth in his ’57 Chevy.
The semifinals turned into the final round due to attrition. Burdine found mechanical issues and could not make the call advancing Malloy. Bo Boles held the bye into the final but also suffered mechanical issues sending Malloy on a single and the victory.
PRO Comp rolled under the tower next and the action was as close as any. Drivers Bill Fuesting and Dale Fidler both rolled out and dropped identical .017 over the index passes. Per NDRL rules, the reaction time decides this and Feusting’s .003 bulb left him on top with Fidler, Davin Reckon, Troy Wilson, and Brett Edwards rounding out the top five.
Semifinal pairings found Fidler and Reckon staging up with “Uncle Dale” taking the hit and carrying the momentum to the stripe to take the win. Don Nave was unopposed in his round advancing him to the finals. The final was all Nave as he took the tree and carried the lead to the stripe taking his third win of this season and sealing up his second NDRL-IAM Championship.
Quick Fuel Technology PRO Gas was last on the list to finish up the night. Hoosier driver Buddy Wray took his ’66 Nova to the point in the first session running .003 over his 9.50 index to take and hold the number one spot and the bye going into first round. 2013 NDRL-IAM champ Sam Patrick slid into second place in the second session almost bumping Wray off with a 10.006 lap. Mike Shahan, Kenny Robinson, and David Conover rounded out the top five. Dave Mullin drove his “American Pie” `37 Chevy to the Semis with back to back 8.500 runs while throwing in a couple of .008 lights. Semifinal pairings found Patrick advancing over Wray and Mullin taking the tree and the holeshot victory over Ohio native Rob Davis. Following the jet cars, Patrick and Mullin staged up for the all ’37 Chevy final with Patrick leaving first (on his 10.0 index), and Mullin pulling the wheels 60 feet toward the centerline, handing the win to Patrick.
Our next and final event of 2014, the NDRL-ET Genie Fall Finals, will be held September 26-27th at Milan Dragway in Milan, Michigan. The points championships are still up for grabs in three of the four classes and this will be the race to decide it all. More info can be found at www.milandragway.com or www.nostalgiadragleague.com
Thanks to all the racers and fans that came out to Route 66 Raceway. Also a huge thank you to our sponsors: IAMAW, Quick Fuel Technology, Briggs & Stratton, Ross Racing Engines, ET Genie, Hot Heads Research, Sexton-Wilbert Vault, DJ Safety, Renegade Race and Performance Fuels, Saldana Racing Products, Moser Engineering, Howards Cams, Deist Safety, Competition Products, Freedom Racing Engines, Wood River Auto Parts, Scott Rods, Vintage Racing Supply, and Shorty Rader Racing.
Photos by Leslie Bradshaw
Ross Racing Engines Pro 7.0
W- Ken O`Reilly 7.012/190.19 MPH
RU- Larry Harlen 7.118/162.63
W- Pat Malloy 7.547/173.70
RU- Bo Boles *Foul
W- Don Nave 8.646 (8.50)/140.72
RU- Dale Fidler 9.547 (9.50)/139.39
Quick Fuel Technology PRO Gas
W- Sam Patrick 10.019 (10.00)/123.43
RU- Dave Mullin 8.869 (8.50)/127.47