The MalloryPrint.com Southwest Heritage Racing Association held the fifth event of its inaugural season at Ardmore Dragway on Saturday, August 31st, as a feature of the 8th Annual Hot Rod Reunion at the longest continually run drag strip in the country. After almost two months off, the SHRA nostalgia eliminator class racers were eager to return to the strip on Labor Day weekend despite temperatures in the triple digits. The SHRA series welcomed several new racers at this event including the first female to compete in the nostalgia eliminator ranks in Tera Wendland, who made a big splash in the 4.65 index Nostalgia Eliminator 1 class.
Nostalgia Eliminator 1
Wendland, a hot topic in the pits after landing on the cover of the recently published Nitro Madness Magazine, found herself signing plenty of autographs for fans and fellow racers but when the call went out for the first qualifying sessions it was all business. After two sessions of qualifying, Wendland held the number two qualifying spot with a 4.674 right behind her fiancé Chris Graves who took his first top qualifying effort of the season with a 4.673 at 152 mph. Wes Breiten’s “Bad O’Man” blown altered qualified third with a 4.76 at 146 mph with Steve Matthews, Steve Dunkin and Dustin Johnson rounding out the field.
Final Qualifying Order:
1) Chris Graves (Carrollton, Texas) – 4.673 @ 152
2) Tera Wendland (Commerce, Texas) – 4.674 @ 150
3) Wes Breiten (Wolfe City, Texas) – 4.76 @ 146
4) Steve Matthews (Marietta, Oklahoma) – 4.78 @ 146
5) Steve Dunkin (Aledo, Texas) – 4.81 @ 149
6) Dustin Johnson (Davis, Oklahoma) – 4.95 @ 141
Graves and Matthews were the first pair out to kick off eliminations in a class match-up between two blown front engine dragsters. Matthews, the current points leader, was looking to defend his turf at his home track and took the advantage off the starting line and at half-track the cars were side by side. Graves was able to drive around at the top end and take the win light, posting a 4.67 at 151 mph to Matthews’ 4.82 at 145 mph. Dustin Johnson made his SHRA debut in the “Fair Warning” blown altered and earned his first round win of the season over Wes Breiten with a 4.92 at 142 mph. In the final pair of the round, Tera Wendland squared off with her friendly rival Steve Dunkin in the “Foolish Pleasure” blown front engine dragster. Dunkin took over a tenth of a second advantage off the line and posted a 4.78 at 145 mph, but Wendland had the ponies to drive around him with a strong 4.66 at 152 mph. Wendland took the nod in the closest pairing of the round, .009 margin of victory at the finish line, to advance to the semi-finals.
First Round Results:
(W) Chris Graves (.147 rt) 4.67 @ 151 mph vs. (L) Steve Matthews (.098 rt) 4.82 @ 145 mph
(W) Dustin Johnson (.080 rt) 4.92 @ 142 mph vs. (L) Wes Breiten (No Time – Foul)
(W) Tera Wendland (.154 rt) 4.66 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Steve Dunkin (.037 rt) 4.78 @ 145 mph
In semi-final round action, Wendland lined up with Johnson and this one was over early as Johnson went -.016 red and had the best seat in the house to watch Wendland blast to a 4.66 at 152 mph to advance to the final round in her debut event with the SHRA. Graves soloed into his first final round on a competition single to meet his fiancé in the final round.
(W) Tera Wendland (.420 rt) 4.66 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Dustin Johnson (-.016 rt) 4.89 @ 142 mph
(W) Chris Graves (.113 rt) 8.29 @ 50 mph vs. (L) Competition Bye Run
In the highly anticipated final round featuring the future husband and wife combo of Wendland and Graves, all eyes were on the starting line as both cars were running in the high 4.60 zone and both drivers were eager for their first SHRA event win. Graves took a slight starting line advantage and at half-track the cars were dead even. As they neared the stripe Tera Wendland lit the win light with a stellar 4.651 at 152 mph to Graves’ loosing 4.661 at 150 mph in one of the closest side by side finals in series history. Wendland with crew chief and car owner Darrell Walden as well as her family, all celebrated a well-deserved win after putting down great passes in the heat at Ardmore.
Final Round Results:
(W) Tera Wendland (.046 rt) 4.651 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Chris Graves (.038 rt) 4.661 @ 150 mph
“Our SHRA debut couldn’t have gone any better, especially to end up in the final against the “Blown Inheritance” team. All of the glory goes to God for keeping us safe out there. I cannot thank Darrell Walden enough, not only for the opportunity to drive his car, but for calling the tuning shots and getting us to the final after back to back 4.66 passes during eliminations and a dead-on the index 4.65 in the final. I’m having an absolute blast behind the wheel with this new supercharger! I’d also like to thank my family for their help, Frank and Scott Parks, Mallory Print, Robinson Restoration, Meyer Enterprises, Good Vibrations, Harry’s Hot Rod, Triple C Agency, North Texas Diesel, Competition Sales of Dallas, and Alkydiggers for supporting the SHRA and nostalgia drag racing. This win means so much to our team, we’re looking forward to the next one, October 5th in Denton, and a full season of racing with the SHRA next year!” said Wendland.
Steve Matthews continues to hold a commanding lead in the NE 1 points standings and will lock it up by qualifying for the final event of the season on October 5th at North Star Dragway. Chris Graves moved into second place with his runner-up finish and Steve Dunkin rounds out the Top 3 looking ahead to the final event.
Nostalgia Eliminator 2
In the 5.00 index Nostalgia Eliminator 2 class, eight cars came to battle for the Ardmore Dragway Hot Rod Reunion title including two new members. Neal Rogers made the tow from Luling, Texas in his “Blown Cents” blown front engine dragster and Randall Morris debuted his “Aggravater” blown altered out of Denton, Texas. Bee Godwin entered this event with a very slim eight point lead over Ross Laird with Tommy Drozd holding strong in third still in contention for the class Championship with two events remaining in the season.
After two qualifying sessions, Thomas Hixson and the “One Wild Ride” injected front engine dragster claimed their first top qualifying effort of the season with a 5.02 at 135 mph followed closely by Rob Ragland’s 5.06 and Tommy Drozd’s 5.09 as the teams returned to the pits to prepare for the first round of eliminations.
1) Thomas Hixson (Keller, Texas) – 5.02 @ 135
2) Rob Ragland (Ardmore, Oklahoma) – 5.06 @ 134
3) Tommy Drozd (Lake Dallas, Texas) – 5.09 @ 135
4) Bee Godwin (Iowa Park, Texas) – 5.11 @ 133
5) Mike Mauldin (Wylie, Texas) – 5.24 @ 131
6) Neal Rogers (Luling, Texas) – 8.11 @ 97
7) Randall Morrison (Denton, Texas) – 4.99 @ 133
8) Ross Laird (Ardmore, Oklahoma) – 4.97 @ 138
Ross Laird and Tommy Drozd kicked off the first round of eliminations in a match-up with huge points implications. The winner would stand a much stronger chance at a Championship run. Laird blasted off the line with over a tenth of a second advantage and posted a winning 5.09 at 116 mph to Drozd’s 5.14 at 135 mph, Laird moving on while Drozd had to swallow the tough first round loss. Thomas Hixson and Mike Mauldin lined up their front engine dragsters and Hixson used a 5.10 at 126 mph to advance over Mauldin’s 5.29 at 131 mph. Class points leader Bee Godwin took a huge holeshot win with a .007 reaction time and a 5.33 at 117 mph to take out Randall Morris’ much quicker but loosing 5.08 at 126 mph. This was a huge win for Godwin who had to keep up with Laird in the rounds to hold onto his points lead. Rob Ragland advanced to the semi-final with a 5.06 at 134 mph on a competition bye run after Neal Rogers was sidelined with mechanical issues.
First Round Results:
(W) Ross Laird (.033 rt) 5.09 @ 116 mph vs. (L) Tommy Drozd (.148 rt) 5.14 @ 135 mph
(W) Thomas Hixson (.104 rt) 5.10 @ 126 mph vs. (L) Mike Mauldin (.207 rt) 5.29 @ 131 mph
(W) Bee Godwin (.007 rt) 5.33 @ 117 mph vs. (L) Randall Morris (.394 rt) 5.08 @ 126 mph
(W) Rob Ragland (.003 rt) 5.06 @ 134 mph vs. (L) Neal Rogers (No Time – Broke)
In the semi-final round, Thomas Hixson and Ross Laird brought their front engine dragsters to the line in a great drag race. Laird was off the line first but broke out with a 4.98 at 136 mph while Hixson posted a “perfect” 5.00 at 136 mph to move into his first SHRA final round of the season. Bee Godwin squared off with Rob Ragland in the final pair of the round as this one ended on the starting line as Ragland went -.015 red. Godwin used a 5.08 at 134 mph to advance to his third final round of the season in Nostalgia Eliminator 2 action.
(W) Bee Godwin (.022 rt) 5.08 @ 134 mph vs. (L) Rob Ragland (-.015 rt) 5.04 @ 133 mph
Hixson and Godwin fired their engines for the final time and crept into the beams with the pressure on. Hixson was looking to make up ground on the points leader Godwin and claim his first SHRA event win, while Godwin was hoping to clinch his second win of the season. Hixson was off the line first by a small margin and held a slight lead as the cars blasted past the half-track marker. At the stripe, Hixson’s 5.09 at 116 mph was just enough to hold off Godwin’s 5.10 at 134 mph as the “One Wild Ride” team celebrated their victory at Ardmore.
Final Round Results:
(W) Thomas Hixson (.010 rt) 5.09 @ 116 mph vs. (L) Bee Godwin (.038 rt) 5.10 @ 134 mph
“I really enjoyed the close racing and competition at the Ardmore hot rod reunion. Although the weather was hot, drag racing on Labor Day weekend is what it’s all about! I want to thank my crew chief Scott LaFleur and crew Ken Drake for making this happen. Their hard work and commitment keeping me focused and the car consistent. I would like to thank the Southwest Heritage Racing Association for putting on a great show and all the series supporters for their involvement. It was great racing against Bee Godwin in the final round and we’re happy to make up some ground on the points leader,” said Hixson.
With his win, Hixson moved into third in the points standings and became the fifth different winner in five events this season in NE 2. Bee Godwin holds a twenty two point lead over Ross Laird in the standings with one event remaining this season as the battle for a spot in the Top 3 heats up.
Nostalgia Eliminator 3
The 5.50 index Nostalgia Eliminator 3 class brought the heaviest car count to Ardmore with nine entries ready to duke it out in the summer heat of Oklahoma. Doug Morrison entered this event with a forty two point lead over Ron Muncy with Dusty Rose and Ron Walden tied for the third spot in the standings.
After two qualifying sessions, owner and operator of Ardmore Dragway, Rick Carrell, claimed his first SHRA pole position with a “perfect” 5.50 at 123 mph in his slingshot dragster with Ron Walden qualified number two with a strong 5.51 at 122 mph. Points leader Doug Morrison claimed the number three spot with a 5.55 and Dusty Rose rounded out the top half of the field as the teams prepared for eliminations.
1) Rick Carrell (Ardmore, Oklahoma) 5.508 @ 123
2) Ron Walden (Kilgore, Texas) – 5.51 @ 122
3) Doug Morrison (Gainesville, Texas) – 5.55 @ 119
4) Dusty Rose (Moore, Oklahoma) – 5.56 @ 120
5) Charles Cathcart (Ardmore, Oklahoma) – 5.58 @ 121
6) James Armstrong (Crowley, Texas) – 5.59 @ 122
7) Rick Taylor (Choctaw, Oklahoma) – 5.77 @ 117
8) Gary Mitchell (Dallas, Texas) – 5.49 @ 124
9) Ron Muncy (Weatherford, Texas) – 5.48 @ 127
Gary Mitchell’s altered and Dusty Rose’s front engine dragster rolled to the line in the opening pair of the first round. Mitchell took a holeshot win with a 5.53 at 103 mph to Rose’s quicker but loosing 5.51 at 121 mph. Ron Walden clicked off a 5.49 break out but advanced when James Armstrong went red off the starting line. Doug Morrison posted a nice 5.52 at 112 mph to advance over Rick Taylor’s 5.80 at 118 mph and Ron Muncy lucked out winning with a break out 5.46 after Charlie Cathcart went red at the starting line. Rick Carrell advanced to the second round on a competition single, posting a 5.48 winning time.
First Round Results:
(W) Gary Mitchell (.051 rt) 5.53 @ 103 mph vs. (L) Dusty Rose (.075 rt) 5.51 @ 121 mph
(W) Ron Walden (.020 rt) 5.49 @ 123 mph vs. (L) James Armstrong (-.329 rt) 6.15 @ 121 mph
(W) Doug Morrison (.071 rt) 5.52 @ 112 mph vs. (L) Rick Taylor (.068 rt) 5.80 @ 118 mph
(W) Ron Muncy (.116 rt) 5.46 @ 128 mph vs. (L) Charles Cathcart (-.221 rt) 5.56 @ 121 mph
(W) Rick Carrell (.053 rt) 5.48 @ 124 mph vs. (L) Competition Bye Run
Rick Carrell and Gary Mitchell squared off in a double break out situation to start round two of eliminations. Carrell’s 5.46 at 122 mph advanced over Mitchell’s 5.43 at 109 mph. Doug Morrison and Ron Muncy rolled through the water box next in their altereds, this match-up probably the do or die round for Muncy to stay in the hunt for the class Championship. Morrison blasted to a solid 5.51 at 110 mph while Muncy had issues and idled down the track, a big win for Morrison. Ron Walden benefitted from the competition bye run and posted a 5.54 at 123 mph to advance to the semi-finals.
(W) Rick Carrell (.051 rt) 5.46 @ 122 mph vs. (L) Gary Mitchell (.075 rt) 5.43 @ 109 mph
(W) Doug Morrison (.037 rt) 5.51 @ 110 mph vs. (L) Ron Muncy (.057 rt) 17.32 @ 23 mph
(W) Ron Walden (.016 rt) 5.54 @ 123 mph vs. (L) Competition Bye Run
Rick Carrell and Ron Walden kicked off the semi-final round in their injected front engine dragsters. In the closest race of the class, Walden took the starting line advantage but his 5.55 at 121 mph wasn’t enough to hold off Carrell’s 5.52 at 122 mph as Carrell advanced to his second straight SHRA Nostalgia Eliminator 3 final round by just .002 of a second. Doug Morrison clicked off a 5.47 in the competition bye run advancing him to his class leading fourth final round of the season.
(W) Rick Carrell (.050 rt) 5.52 @ 122 mph vs. (L) Ron Walden (.014 rt) 5.55 @ 121 mph
(W) Doug Morrison (.065 rt) 5.47 @ 119 mph vs. (L) Competition Bye Run
Heading into the final round, Doug Morrison had all but mathematically clinched the Nostalgia Eliminator 3 SHRA Championship and hoped to keep his final round record undefeated with his fourth win of the season. Rick Carrell was looking to defend home turf and claim his first SHRA victory of the season as the cars fired up and crept into the stage beams. Carrell was off the line first and never trailed, posting a “perfect” 5.50 at 121 mph to take the win over Morrison’s 5.52 at 115 mph as the home town team celebrated their victory.
Final Round Results:
(W) Rick Carrell (.018 rt) 5.50 @ 121 mph vs. (L) Doug Morrison (.086 rt) 5.52 @ 115 mph
“It was great to win here and defend my home-track here at the Reunion. I’d like to thank the SHRA series for coming and putting on a great show and we look forward to having them back next year,” said Carrell.
Doug Morrison improved his ground in his effort to win the first SHRA NE 3 Championship now with a commanding lead over second place Ron Muncy. Ron Walden moved into the third position just a few points ahead of Dusty Rose as the series enters it’s final event of the year. With SHRA year-end monetary payouts to the Top 3 in each Nostalgia Eliminator class, the pressure will be on the top contenders to clinch a spot in the money.
The 8th Annual Hot Rod Reunion at Ardmore Dragway is in the books and the SHRA series crowned three first time event winners! Congratulations to Tera Wendland, Thomas Hixson and Rick Carrell on their victories and to all the SHRA racers and crew members who battled some intense heat to put on a great show for the fans with lots of side by side nostalgia drag racing.
The SHRA series would like to thank the following sponsors and bonus program partners for their support: Mallory Screen Print & Embroidery, Robinson Restoration & Service, Meyer Enterprises, Good Vibrations Motorsports, Harry’s Hot Rod Truck & Accessories, Triple C Agency, North Texas Diesel, Competition Sales of Dallas and AlkyDigger.com. The final event of the season is scheduled for October 5th at North Star Dragway where all five SHRA classes will be in action and class Champions will be crowned! We’ll see you at the drags!