The Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA was the site for NSDA’s 2007 Season Finale November 9-11. Cool temperatures and tight points races were the big stories of the weekend. These factors led to some of the closest and most exciting sand drag racing ever seen.
The qualifying rounds of Top Fuel were a bit of a surprise as many of the racers struggled with their tune-ups. One racer who did not struggle was Dennis Rieck in the Hammer Down entry as he qualified on top with a 2.424/153mph pass in the heat of the day Saturday. Dennis’ competition for the point series championship Scott Whipple uncharacteristically struggled in qualifying, only mustering the number five spot with a 2.564/154mph. Keith Longerot’s “Two Shy” Dragster qualified second with a 2.511 and was followed in the top half of the field by teammates Jeff Janoe and Shane Switzer.
First round of eliminations started off with a single as Rieck received a single when Terri and Butch Blair’s Fugowie entry could not make the call. Dennis proceeded to run low E.T. of the round with a 2.475 on the single pass. The second pairing had huge points implications as Scott Whipple was able to get down the track better than he did in qualifying and defeat Shane Switzer 2.541 to 2.788. This would set up a semi-final round match up between Whipple and Rieck with the winner of that round taking home the point series championship. Not to be forgotten, Keith Longerot went 2.588 to defeat Matt Ludlow, who left before the tree was activated while Mike Peasley upset #3 qualifier Jeff Janoe 2.644 to 2.829.
The first pair of the round was the race that would decide the championship. Whipple took a large starting line advantage and drove the Canidae dragster to the round win and championship with a 2.501 to a 2.498 for Dennis. Scott would have the upper hand going into the final round as Keith Longerot ran a 2.583 to defeat Peasley’s 2.648. In the final, it was Longerot turning the tables on Whipple by taking a hole shot advantage and not looking back. Keith ran a 2.496 to defeat Scott’s 2.482, the starting line advantage was .047 to .121. This was Keith’s second NSDA Top Fuel win of the season and a repeat of his win at Soboba in November ’06.
Dan Allen started off the weekend the same way as he did in Primm as the #1 qualifier in Top Alcohol with a 2.569. Dan was followed by Shane Sanford as he ran 2.574, Shane’s #2 qualifying effort locked up the 2007 NSDA Point Series championship for himself. Richard Montiel and David Morton rounded out the top half of the field while Craig Sines ended up on the bump with a 2.802.
Allen would start off eliminations with Low E.T. to that point of 2.529/145 to defeat Sines 2.873. The 4-5 match up in TA is always a battle and it certainly didn’t let us down as David Morton overcame a hole shot by Mike DeNunzio to take a 2.585 to 2.699 victory by .004. Next up was the newly crowned points champion Sanford and he would advance with a 2.706 over Jim Hammond. The round ended with another huge battle, this one between Gary Mink and Richard Montiel. Mink would take a large starting line advantage and win on a hole shot 2.685 to 2.595.
The semi-final round began with Dan Allen continuing his march to a second straight final round with a win over a redlighing David Morton with a 2.581. Shane Sanford set a rematch of the Primm final as he defeated Gary Mink 2.571 to 2.701. The huge battle between Allen and Sanford did not materialize as Sanford was unable to make the final round call giving Allen a single for the victory. Dan did not disappoint in the final, however as he ran a spectacular 2.515/142mph pass for his first NSDA Top Alcohol class race win.
The Top Eliminator class has already gained a reputation for its close racing, and it failed to disappoint in the race as well as its points championship. The points chase was down to two competitors as Jeff Mamer and DL King both had a chance at the title. Mamer came in with a better chance of the championship, a one point lead and the possibility to improve on a lower point total than could King. Qualifying was somewhat dramatic as both Mamer and King struggled to get a safe position in the show. When qualifying was all said and done, Mamer ended up #4 on his final shot and King slid into the #6 spot. Paul Taylor led the field with a 2.954. Chris Adamson was second with Paul Graham the #3 qualifier, and the field went down to Tiffany Januik, who ended up in the 16 position with a 3.129.
The first round started off with an upset as the #1 qualifier Taylor was upset by Tiffany Januik with a 3.057 to Taylor’s breaking out 2.879. The next pair saw another upset as the season’s third place points finisher Tim Martin went down on a hole shot to Darrell Cypert 3.049 to 2.986. These two races surprise outcomes set the stage for points lead Jeff Mamer to face off with Larry Snow. Mamer used a stellar .056 reaction time and 3.073 to defeat Snow on a hole shot. Don Diffenbaugh, Mike Rasmussen, Leon Januik, and Bob Gill would advance to round two before the final pairing featuring DL King came to the line. DL would face off with #11 qualifier Mark Punos. King would have a great .039 light and 2.964 to defeat Mark’s 3.076. This sent the championship battle to Sunday.
Round two saw Darrell Cypert come up with an incredible .001 RT to start off the round in a defeat of Tiffany Januik. Mamer squared off in the next pair with Bob Gill. Jeff had another good reaction time of .071 and ran 2.964 to advance to the semi-final round. Don Diffenbaugh won the next run over Mike Rasmussen with a 2.998. DL King used a large starting line advantage to defeat Leon Januik with a 2.982. Things shaped up for the semi-final round with Mamer taking the championship if he could advance to the final round. Jeff would use a .034 reaction time to gain a huge advantage, however the car went too fast with a 2.909 and handed the round win to Cypert. This put the pressure on King as he could take the championship by winning the event. King took a starting line advantage with a .024, however he would run 2.933 and breakout the same way Mamer did. However, King was fortunate in that Diffenbaugh got out of shape and knocked down a couple cones disqualifying him. This set up a final round for all the marbles. DL was left on for the first time all weekend in the final by Cypert, however King ran dead-on with a 2.954 for the event win and season championship.
The Pro 1 points championship came down to four title contenders at the last race; Geoff Gill, Lori Ketron, George Amos, and Steve DeNunzio. George and Steve both had slim chances at passing leader Gill while Ketron had a decent shot at taking the lead as she could improve her total much earlier in eliminations than Gill. Geoff eliminated Amos and DeNunzio from title contention by winning with a perfect .000 reaction time to qualifying number one, which they needed to do to have a shot at the title. Both Gill and Ketron advanced to round two despite Ketron having to overcome transmission troubles just to make it to eliminations. In round two, Lori’s championship hopes dissipated with a loss to Pat Headington. This would make Geoff Gill the Pro 1 point series champions. Gill would go on to take the title in style by winning the Pro 1 class by defeating Don Boespflug in the final round.
In the Pro 2 class, the championship was narrowed down to two contenders heading to the race in David Cox and Steve Anthony. Steve would miss out on valuable qualifying points in round one when his opponent rolled through the beams relegating him to a poor reaction time. This meant that all Cox had to do was win his second round race to win the championship. Fortunately for Cox he was the number one qualifier with a .048 reaction time which handed him the second round bye run and the championship. In round three, both Cox and Anthony would fall to defeat setting up an eventual final round between Jim Smith and Rocky Randolph. Smith made his long haul from Oregon pay off with the final round victory.
Grant Fraysier had already locked up the Pro 3 points title before the final event of the season. Fraysier would go on in the final event making it all the way to the final round to face off with Willie Colwell. The champ made an uncharacteristic mistake by breaking out and handing Colwell his first win of the season.
MC Pro 1
Ian Brown locked up the point series title before the race. Brown would make it to round two before being defeated by his dad, Curt. Curt would then be defeated in the semi-final round by Brad Olson, who would take the final round win on a single when Frank Prock could not make the call.
MC Pro 2
Randy Mings headed into the final race with the championship all but locked up. George Amos still had an outside shot at the title with a win and top three qualifying position. Mings made a rare error and broke out in round one, however Amos was only able to qualify number six with his round one victory handing the championship to Mings. Brooks Ryan would go on to win his first MC Pro 2 class defeating Christy Partsafas in the final round.
Geoff Gill was all by his lonesome in the Pro Mod class on the weekend, taking the victory and his second class point series championship on the season.
Justin Adamson already clinched the Pro Index championship heading into the race, and he would keep up his winning ways making it to the final round against Charlie Johnson. Johnson would force the champ to break out and take the victory.
Sportsman 1 was the most wide open of all classes heading into the final race of the season with points leader Billy Morris as well as David Cox, Carl Jennings, David Cox, and Todd Kinney all with a mathematical chance at the title. Second place points man heading into the race Cox would defeat the points leader Morris in round one opening up the door for the rest of the contenders. Jennings also was defeated in round one while Kinney would defeat Cox in round two. Kinney then was defeated in round three leaving Larry Brown as the last contender still in. Larry would make it to the semi-final round before being defeated by Phil Soper. Soper would go on to defeat Pro 3 points champion Grant Fraysier in the final round.
Carl Jennings wrapped up the point series title heading into the final event. The champ would break out in round one leaving this wide open for the rest of the class. Nick Young would advance to the final round to face off with Primm Sport 2 winner Steve Perkio. Young would force the break out on Perkio to take his second Sport 2 class victory of the season.
MC Sportsman 1
The class championship was decided prior to the event with Ian Brown taking the championship. Ian would red light in round one against Greg Partsafas. Partsafas would then be defeated by Tom Hanrahan in the semi-final round. Tom would then go on to defeat Don Boespflug in the final round to take the MC Sport 1 vicotry.
MC Sportsman 2
Randy Mings locked up his second NSDA class championship of the season prior to the race. Eventual runner-up Craig Russell would defeat the champion in round three. Russell would face off with Steven Yates in the final round with Yates taking his first MC Sport 2 win of the season.
All photos courtesy C3 Productions, www.c3productions.net.