The 2016 Avenal Sand Drags Fall Nationals took place in Mid October at the Central California area track. Another solid turnout of racers made the trip to compete for top honors at this race. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas and cut the race short on Sunday afternoon by sending in a freak massive wind storm that created unsafe racing conditions. The storm created blowing sand conditions that made it uncomfortable just standing outside, let alone trying to race. Sunday’s Heads-Up & Pro Bracket eliminations will be completed on Friday of the 2017 Avenal Sand Drags Spring Nationals (April 28). Let’s take a look at the great racing action that was able to take place earlier in the weekend.
The Top Alcohol class was filled with excellent action in Qualifying on Saturday. Gary Mink took the top spot in Q3 with an excellent 2.47/139MPH blast. Gary’s pass jumped above Jake Morton’s strong Q1 pass of 2.49/133MPH. Not to be left out of the action, Jim Hammond was right with those guys recording a 2.51/136MPH blast. That is certainly a competitive and fast Top Alcohol class with the field separated by just. 04. When eliminations continue, Mink will have the bye while Morton and Hammond will face off.
Gary Mink - Top Alcohol #1 Qualifier 2.47
Top Eliminator Qualifying was once again led by Paul Taylor in the “Outta Control” dragster. Paul certainly has the tune up dialed in for Avenal as he recorded a dead-on 2.954 on the 2.95 class index to earn the #1 qualifying position. Jim Rossi’s “Bad Toy” Dragster earned the #2 spot with a 3.010 followed by Marc Whitmore’s 3.018 and Ron D’Artenay’s 3.13. Taylor and D’Artenay will face off in round one while Rossi and Whitmore will do battle.
Paul Taylor - Top Eliminator #1 Qualifier 2.954
Pro Bracket Classes
Round one eliminations were completed on Sunday morning in all Pro Bracket classes before the wind storm rolled in to Avenal. A full rundown of racers still in competition is listed on the event’s NSDN Daily Race Coverage page. The biggest class still left is Pro 3 with 13 racers remaining heading into Round Two.
Gambler, Sportsman & Junior Classes
Readers of NSDN may think I copy and paste the Pro Gambler class recaps with Charlie Johnson typically in the final round, and this race was no exception as he faced off with Chris Adamson’s “Bounty Hunter” to see who would take home the cash. The “Ultimate Gambler” Johnson let go .001 and ran 4.608 (4.58) to take the money home with him to Southern California. This was the second Gambler win of the weekend for Johnson as he also took the Friday class win defeating Steve Foster with a .019 RT and 4.593 (4.55) for a margin of victory totaling just .029.
Charlie Johnson - Friday & Saturday Pro Gambler Winner
Kevin Williams was up on the wheel in Saturday’s Sportsman 1 class, and it showed in the final as he was .004 on the tree running a 4.037 (3.99) for the win over Kenny Hayes. Stacy Bolton swept the Sportsman 2 class at 2016 Avenal Sand Drags events taking this race’s victory over John Chapman with a 4.662 (4.54). Fan favorite Bob Glass got the job done in Sportsman 1 defeating Eric Ramsey in the final round. Motorcycle Sportsman 1 saw Tim Wilson put his four-stroke powered entry in the Winner’s Circle running a 4.347 (4.30) to defeat Jared Azevedo. Wilson nearly doubled up in Motorcycle Sportsman 2 as he broke out with a 4.457 (4.49) giving Blake Maness the win with a .089 RT & 4.795 (4.78).
Kevin Williams - Sportsman 1 Winner
Stacy Bolton - Sportsman 2 Winner
Bob Glass - Sportsman 3 Winner
Tim Wilson - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner
Blake Maness - Motorcycle Sportsman 2 Winner
Drake Montgomery once again took the Junior class win in his Rhino defeating the always tough Levi Suggs in the final round. Connor Stumbaugh go the job done in the Intermediate class getting around Adieson Glass in the final. Benrly McReynolds ended up victorious in the Peewees class over Sky Chaffin.
Drake Montgomery - Juniors Winner
Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy NSDN