SCSDA Soboba April '12 Race Recap

The Southern California Sand Drag Association kicked off their 2012 season with the “April Fuels” event on the first weekend of April at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA. This also served as Race 2 of the 2012 NSRA point series. Racing in front of a great Southern California crowd was a big motivator as racers strived to take home the hardware at the end of the weekend. An improved racing surface yielded some great numbers throughout the weekend. Let’s look at the weekend’s action.

Top Fuel

Three nitro burning Top Fuel Dragsters were in attendance for this race at Soboba. Points leader Scott Whipple with the CANIDAE team led the entry list with Shane Sanford’s Frederosa Team Extreme & Dennis Rieck debuting his new Hammer Down Hemi-powered Fueler rounding out the field. When the dust settled from qualifying, Whipple asserted himself as the favorite heading into race day by running a Track Record 2.27 at 172mph. Rieck and the Hammer Down crew battled new car blues early in qualifying, but came up with a strong 2.53/145 to slide into the second spot while Sanford ran a 2.87 best in qualifying.

The first round started off with Whipple taking his competition bye run. This would be one of the most bizarre passes in recent sand drag history as his right rear tire came apart around 40’ past the starting line. Fortunately, Whipple did a great job of keeping the car upright and brought it to a safe stop. Still, on 3 wheels, he ran a 3.14. The next pair would be intriguing as Rieck and Sanford faced off. They would leave together with nearly identical RT’s, then great 60’ times each. At half track, the Hammer Down Hemi would experience problems and shut off while Sanford blasted down the track for his best run with the Frederosa Team Extreme Fueler to date, carding a 2.45/142mph. The Frederosa team certainly found the gremlin that had been plaguing them since debuting in Top Fuel.

So, this set up a great final round as Sanford would hold lane choice on Whipple. Once again, Famous Amos would work his magic as the CANIDAE car would lead wire to wire with a 2.29/171mph run to defeat Shane’s 2.77 as he had problems early in the run and shut off. Congrats to the CANIDAE team for putting in the huge effort to get the car prepared for the final round, and then run another stellar number for their second win of 2012.

Scott Whipple

Shane Sanford

Dennis Rieck

Top Alcohol

A stout field of competitors headed to Southern California to battle in the Top Alcohol class at the April Fuels event. One of the big stories on the weekend was Jim Hammond debuting his new Hemi combination in the April’s Dream TA Dragster. Jim called in Nick Januik to help get the combination on the right track, and they were competitive right off the trailer. The rest of the usual suspects were also ready to stop Gary Mink’s domination in the category with Scott Carroll running a 2.60 to lead the pack after Day 1 qualifying followed closely by Hammond with a 2.61. Mink struggled in his first qualifying attempt on Saturday, but regained his typical form in the final session by running a solid 2.52 to take the top spot. Carroll was ultra consistent in qualifying, running a 2.57 best (all four passes between 2.57-2.61) to take the second spot heading into race day. Oregon’s Craig Sines also ran a 2.57 to sit third while Hammond’s 2.61, Pedro Villa’s 2.77, and Ashley Sanford’s 2.79 rounded out the field.

Mink & Carroll started off eliminations running their bye runs side by side. Mink ran a solid 2.55, while Carroll slowed to a 2.70. The first pair of the round saw Hammond match up against the Express TAD team of Pedro Villa. Pedro left first, but it was the new Hemi power for Hammond that was just too much as he ran his Personal Best ET of 2.57 to advance on. Sines and the Thunderstruck team faced off with the Frederosa’s Team Extreme entry driven by Ashley Sanford. Sines would take a big starting line advantage and run a 2.65 for the hole shot win over a great 2.63 for Ashley.

Jim Hammond was certainly thinking upset as the April’s Dream car kicked off the semi-final round against Gary Mink. Mink left first by .030, and would hang on for a close 2.56 to 2.58 victory. The other semi-final pair would see Carroll match up with Sines, who made the long haul from Oregon. The always tough on the tree Sines took a nice starting line advantage, but Carroll would put his horsepower to work as he drove around for a 2.64 to 2.73 victory. This set up another Mink versus Carroll final round as this would be a repeat of the final match up at the Dome Valley season opener. In the final, both teams put up a great effort, but at the stripe Mink would lay down Low ET of the weekend with a 2.522 to take back-to-back wins at the start of the 2012 season.

Gary Mink

Scott Carroll

Jim Hammond

Craig Sines

Top Eliminator

I can’t overstate enough in each report how great the racing is in the Top Eliminator class, and this race was no exception. You know it’s going to be a great weekend when the first qualifying pass is a perfect 2.950 on the 2.950 Index. Dome Valley race winner Billy Morris continued his hot streak with a perfect run in Q1 to not only earn #1 qualifying points, but also the two Perfect Run bonus points. The rest of the competition took aim at the Index, including Jim Rossi, who was just two-thousandths away, but on the quick side with a 2.948. Paul Taylor backed up his great qualifying performance at Dome Valley, where he ran a perfect 2.950, with the #2 spot at Soboba running a 2.968. Geoff Gill (3.006) and Paul Graham (3.008) completed the top half of the qualifying order.

Morris kicked off round one running a 3.01 to defeat Ron D’Artenay in the Red Warrior Dragster. Paul Graham and Jim Rossi paired up to put on a great race with Graham taking the win in a 2.99 to 3.01 battle. At Dome Valley, #1 qualifier Paul Taylor was defeated by Todd Kinney in his Blown Alcohol Jeep in round one. They would face off with the same result at Soboba as Paul ran a 2.944 to break out against Todd’s 3.10. The final pair of the round saw Geoff Gill in the Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep pair up with Larry Snow’s Lap Dance Buggy. Geoff would leave first, but not long after the motor would let go while Snow cruised on to the win with a 3.09.

The first match in the semi-final round would see #1 qualifier Morris in the 2 Dolla’ Bill/Morris Family Racing Dragster pull up the line against Paul Graham in the Excavator Blown Alcohol Buggy. Paul would take a slim starting line advantage, and force Morris into a 2.938 break out with a 3.02. Next up would be the Blown Alcohol short wheelbase battle between the Jeep (Front Engine) of Todd Kinney and the Buggy (Rear Engine) of Larry Snow. This would be a great battle as Kinney would leave first .505 to .539 and hang on for a hole shot win 3.09 to 3.07.

The final round was set as the Buggy of Graham would take the tree against Jeep of Kinney for all the marbles. When the tree dropped, they left with virtually equal RT’s, and at the stripe it would be the Jeep of Kinney taking the win by just .010 in a 3.04 to 3.05 decision. Congrats go out to the Rialto Trophy/Team Under the Influence team on their first ever Top Eliminator class win in only their second class start. Morris takes a 7 point lead over Kinney to Race 3 of the 2012 point series.

Todd Kinney

Paul Graham

Billy Morris

Larry Snow

Fast Fours

The Southern California races always bring out the best in the Fast Fours category. Brian Chapman and the Short Fuse team laid down the gauntlet in qualifying running a Fast Fours Track Record 2.806, which would hold up for the top spot. Art Cronin would get the Meltdown car dialed in to a 2.85 for the second spot while Daniel King put Animal Control in third with a 2.86.

Round one saw several bye runs and one pairing. Art Cronin ran Low ET of the round with a solid 2.88. Daniel King ran a strong 2.91 to defeat the game effort of Mario Tavares and team with a 2.97. Round two was supposed to see a match up between #1 qualifier Chapman and Aaron Mamer in the Sidewinder. Unfortunately, Chapman broke on his first round bye and was unable to return. Mamer ran a 2.94 to advance to the final. In the pairing of the round, Cronin and King faced off. The Animal Control Dragster of King got off to a great hole shot start, .587 to .648, but at the stripe Cronin would drive around for a 3.04 to 3.16 victory.

Aaron would be in his third straight final round at Soboba in the Fast Fours class. In this final, Mamer would repeat as the “April Fuels” champion with a 3.00 to 2.99 hole shot victory over the Meltdown car of Cronin. After two races, King leads the Fast Fours points with Mamer and Cronin right behind him.

Aaron Mamer

Art Cronin

Daniel King

Brian Chapman

Pro Mod Unlimited

The heads-up Front Engine class is always entertaining at Soboba with several quality entries guaranteed to show up. This time around Washington’s Carey Mahoney was the class of the field, starting out with a pair of 2.87’s to pace the pack in qualifying. Geoff Gill in Larry Minor’s Blown Jeep was the only other entry to crack the 2 second barrier in qualifying with a 2.97 while Bob Gill (3.00), Jim DePasse (3.05), and Mike Erwin (3.30) rounded out the field.

Round one saw Geoff Gill throw down a great 2.92 for Low ET of the round on a bye run. Bob Gill & Mahoney both had handling problems, which forced them to shut off. Jim DePasse ran a solid 3.02 with his Otis Simpson-owned Jeep to dispatch Erwin’s 3.30.

A great side by side battle kicked off the semi-final round with Mahoney running a 2.95 to edge DePasse’s 3.02. The anticipated father-son Gill battle did not materialize as the motor in Geoff’s Larry Minor Jeep expired in TE competition handing Bob a bye into the final round. Bob would run a 3.06 to advance on.

The Big Time Altered of Mahoney rolled up to the line against the beautiful Funny Jeep of Gill for the Pro Mod Unlimited final round. When the tree dropped, Mahoney left first and ran a solid 2.94 to take the win over Gill’s 3.26. Congrats to the Big Time team of Mahoney for making the long haul pay off in the victory.

Carey Mahoney

Bob Gill

Jim DePasse

Geoff Gill

Pro Bracket Classes

Twenty entries made the call for Round One of the Pro 1 class. A primetime match up occurred in the semi-finals as Defending Pro 1 class champion Keith Ahart faced off with Bob Cambridge in a battle of BBC-powered Dragsters. Both drivers cut the tree down as Ahart left first .406 to .414, but Cambridge would run closer to his dial with a 3.44 (3.38) to advance on. Cambridge would face off with Justin Adamson in the final round. Adamson, driving the Born to be Wild Jeep that Wes Gilmore drove to the Quick 8 win at Dome Valley, was making his first final round appearance in Pro 1. In an amazingly close race, Adamson took a .003 RT advantage, then ran .002 closer to his dial with a 3.730 (3.65) to take a .005 Margin of Victory over Cambridge. Ahart took over the point lead with his semi-final finish.

Justin Adamson

George Amos had an amazing day at Soboba starting off with the Pro 2 class. George, in his BBC-powered Dragster, battled the always tough Charlie Johnson in the final round. George took the starting line advantage and forced Charlie into a 4.200 (4.25) break out for his first win on the day. Read on for more about George’s big Sunday. Charlie’s runner-up finish propelled him into the Pro 2 point lead heading into Race 3.

George Amos

A stellar field of 22 entries turned out to compete in the Pro 3 category. When it came down to the money round, it was a pair of Jeeps rolling into the beams as Wes Johnson squared off against Jack Weddle. Unfortunately for Jack, he would roll through the beams too soon turning on the red light and handing the win to Wes, who had a tough road to the final as he took out his contenders Arend Schouten & his own brother Charlie. The victory puts Wes atop the Pro 3 point standings after two races in the 2012 season.

Wes Johnson

Christian Payne had a dominant weekend in the Motorcycle 1 categories at Soboba. Christian started off in Motorcycle Pro 1 with a nearly perfect .407RT in round one to earn the five Top Qualifier bonus points. He then diced through the field to end up in the final round against Donny Flora’s Motorcycle-powered ATV. Flora was no match for Payne on this day as the Central California racer had a much better RT and ran a 4.667 (4.30) to take the win. Despite Payne’s win, Dome Valley winner Mark Ratliff still stays atop the class standings.

Christian Payne

The Motorcycle Pro 2 class saw the second half of the George Amos story unfold. George, on his trademark 3-wheeled ATV, defeated Matthew Ortiz in round one before winning a close battle over the always capable Randy Mings in round two. Amos then received the bye into the final to face off against another tough customer in Grant Hutchinson. When the dust settled, the win light came on in George’s lane as he took the finish line by a mere one-thousandth (.001) of a second for his second class victory on the day. Hutchinson took the point series lead in the MP2 class with his runner-up finish.

George Amos

Sportsman Bracket Classes

The Sportsman 1 category boiled down to a final round between 2011 class runner-up Kermit Larby in the Leap Frog Buggy lined up against Todd Kolstad in his rear-engine Dragster. When the tree dropped, both had stellar RT’s, but at the finish line Larby got there first by running closer to his dial with a 3.614 (3.55). Larby’s win moved him to the top of the Sportsman 1 class point standings.

Kermit Larby

Michael Wright certainly proved that you don’t have to be the fastest car in any given bracket class to take the win. He was dialed into the mid-8 second range driving the DeNunzio family Rhino, but consistent ET’s and reaction times along with a little luck go a long way. Michael lined up in the final round against JR Speer, in his potent low 4 second Jeep. When it was all said and done, Wright took the winner’s trophy in fine fashion. Dome Valley race winner Alan Mamer still holds the point lead in this category after 2 of 8 events.

Motorcycle Sportsman 1 saw the second half of the Christian Payne domination on the weekend. Christian tore through the field and ended up in the final round against fellow Central California hitter Steve Lackey. This battle would be decided at the tree as Payne took a .436 to .617 RT advantage, then forced Lackey into a 4.009 (4.05) break out. Mark Ratliff leads the pack in MS1 as the series heads to Race 3 in Avenal.

Christian Payne

The Mings Family 3-wheeled ATV has won many races over the years, and now Caleb Mings is seeing great success on it. Caleb was the winner at the SCSDA Pumpkins and Paddles event in October in the MS2 category, and he was looking to repeat at the April Fuels race. Caleb certainly had luck on his side as he reached the final round against Steve Lackey, who was in his second final round of the day. At the finish line, Mings lit up the win light for the second SCSDA race in a row in a double break out decision. Lackey broke out by more with a 4.375 (4.50) to Mings’ 5.149 (5.23). Race 1 winner Grant Hutchinson leads the point series heading into the third race of 2012.

Caleb Mings

Junior Classes

The Junior Dragster class had a great turnout at Soboba with 12 making the first round call. Great racing ensued with the final round coming down to 2011 class champion Aimee Mamer squaring off against Ryan Rodriguez. Aimee was trying to make it two wins in a row after winning Race 1 at Dome Valley. Unfortunately for Aimee, Ryan was on his game cutting a great .443RT and running closer to his dial with a 6.178 (5.95). After this event, Aimee now holds a 1 point advantage over Ryan heading into Race 3.

Ryan Rodriguez

Other Junior class winners from this event include Neko Gianquinto (Juniors), Cody Mercer (Youth), and Laney DeNunzio (Mini Junior Dragster).

Photos Courtesy NSDN

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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