yumalead.jpgNSDA kicked off its 2009 season with the Winter Nationals at the Cocopah Casino & Resort  in Yuma, AZ February 13-15. All of the excitement of a new season came to a head with huge numbers being laid down on the fast track surface and close racing in all categories. Let’s recap the racing action from this event.

Top Fuel

The Top Fuel class started with six entries for the first race of the season. Early round qualifying was led by Scott Whipple with a 2.338 in his new car on Friday, but would be knocked off the top spot with a new TF World Record run by Geoff Gill with a 2.284 in the Gill Bettencourt Motorsports dragster. Geoff would hang on to the top qualifying spot, followed by Whipple’s 2.33 and Shane Switzer’s 2.386.

With some parts breakage in Saturday’s final qualifying session, round one of eliminations saw two bye runs and two single runs. Geoff Gill ran Low ET of the round with a 2.348/151.83 pass. The first pair of round two saw Gill continue on with a 2.394 to defeat Jeff Janoe. The other side of the ladder saw a great match up as Scott Whipple took the win on a hole shot over Shane Switzer’s “Spooky II” entry 2.458 to 2.453. The RT difference was in favor of Whipple, .039 to .177. This set up a final round between the current record holder and the previous record holder. Gill had a small starting line advantage, but a couple dead cylinders forced him to pedal allowing Whipple to get away for the victory with a 2.352/157.78 pass. The two time defending Top Fuel champ is off to a fast start again in 2009.

Scott Whipple

Geoff Gill

Shane Switzer

Jeff Janoe

Top Alcohol

Seven Top Alcohol teams made the trip to Yuma for the NSDA Season Opener. Gary Mink was the story of the weekend in Top Alcohol. In almost a repeat of Dan Allen’s dominant Yuma Season Opener performance, Mink would pull the clean sweep of the weekend. Mink, in the first race with his new Hemi power plant, Gary would qualify #1 with a TA World Record run of 2.404. Nick Januik would also run his best ever pass in qualifying with a 2.420, while Dan Allen 2.471 and Jim Hammond 2.604 rounded out the top half of the field.

Round one started out with Gary Mink on a bye run, laying down Low ET of the round with a 2.425. The next pair saw Jim Hammond in the “April’s Dream” car versus Mike DeNunzio in his new Canidae Top Alcohol Dragster. In one of the closest TA races of the weekend, Hammond would win a 2.65 to 2.68 decision. Nick Januik would advance over Pedro Villa with a 2.51 while Dan Allen defeated Scott Carroll 2.63 to 2.67.

The semi-final round started with Mink continuing on over Hammond with another great number, this time a 2.411. Continuing on, Nick Januik and Dan Allen put on a great race as Nick took a .069 to .107 starting line advantage and held on for a 2.51 to 2.52 victory. The final round race would be decided at the starting line as Januik went .011 red, handing the win to Mink. Mink would lower the Top Alcohol World Record in the final round with a 2.403. It looks like “Bad to the Bone” will be a powerful force in the TA class in ’09.

Gary Mink

Nick Januik

Dan Allen

Jim Hammond

Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator class kicked off the 2009 season with 13 entries vying for the race win. In qualifying, Leon Januik laid down a perfect 2.950 to lead the field into race day. To show how tight the qualifying order was, a 3.050 (.100 off the Index) was only good for 12th qualifying position. In round one, Tiffany Januik had the best numbers of the round with a 2.972 and .042 RT.

A huge match up in Round 2 was a rematch of the May Soboba final round of last year with Tiffany Januik facing off with Billy Morris. In what was a great race, Billy took a slim starting line advantage but Tiffany drove around him for the win 2.97 to 3.11. Another close race in the round was when Larry Snow defeated Mark Punos 3.05 to 3.08. Also advancing to the semi-final round were Lori Ketron and Leon Januik.

In the semi-final round, Tiffany defeated her Father-in-law Leon with a 2.96 to Leon’s breaking out 2.86. Tiffany would face Larry Snow in the final, who defeated a red lighting Lori Ketron. A great final round race panned out with Tiffany taking a minute starting line advantage .050 to .053, and then outrunning Snow 2.99 to 3.04. The Plan B Motorsports Team looks to be a big factor in the 2009 season.

Tiffany Januik

Larry Snow

Leon Januik

Lori Ketron

Pro 1

Sunday’s eliminations saw 12 entries take the first round call in the Pro 1 class. Bill “Wild Willie” Swim went .002 on the tree, which sent him into round two as the #1 qualifier. Swim faced off with a tough competitor in round two in 2008 Pro 1 points runner-up Tommy Zavala. Zavala was off the line first .013 to .030 and forced Swim into a 3.592 (3.61) break out. Another great round two match up saw Craig Durning take a .010 Margin of Victory over Joe Janoe. The semi-final round saw a fantastic match up with Craig Durning’s Jeep leaving first .030 to .065 over Todd Randolph’s Altered and holding on for a .001 MOV. Durning’s win would set up a final round race with Zavala, who had the semi-final round bye run. Unfortunately, Zavala’s double up attempt would fall short in the Pro 2 final, and also take him out of the Pro 1 final with engine problems. This would set up a final round single for Durning, where he would run his best pass of the day with a 3.64 for the race win. Swim had the best RT of eliminations with the .002 in round one while Swim and Zavala shared closest to the dial honors as both went .021 off the dial, also in the opening round.

Craig Durning

Pro 2

Eleven entries came to battle it out in Pro 2 eliminations on Sunday. In round one, Todd Kinney ended up as the low qualifier with a .030 RT in his defeat of Angel Switzer. There were a pair of great round two match ups. The first one saw Kinney face off with Steve Anthony. Anthony went .013 to lead Kinney’s .018 off the line, but Kinney would run closer to the dial for a .030 MOV. In the final pair of the round, two of the toughest Pro 2 competitors faced off with Tommy Zavala racing Phil Soper. Soper would get off the line first .030 to .070, but could only run 4.15 (4.01) allowing Zavala to drive around with a 3.78 (3.75) for the win. The semi-final round saw a great run as Tommy Zavala cut the best light of eliminations with a .001 to Charlie Johnson’s .033, Zavala would hang on for a .006 MOV in that match up. Zavala would face off with Kinney in the final round. Zavala took a .049 to .106 advantage, but would experience major problems with the engine slowing him and allowing Kinney to take the win with a 4.12 (4.05). Kinney also was the closest to his dial in eliminations, running just .009 off his dial in round one.

Todd Kinney

Pro 3

The Pro 3 class had a strong group of competitors show up to compete in Yuma. Jose Beas would end up as low qualifier with a great .020 RT in a round one defeat of Brendan Root. A notable round one match up saw 2008 Pro 3 Champ Charlie Johnson face off with 2008 Sportsman 2 Champ Justin Taylor. In a great race, Johnson left first .040 to .052 and would hang on for a .049 MOV. Moving on to the semi-final round, Beas faced off with Lara Wright. Wright would stage foul moving Beas on to the final round with a 4.489 (4.42). Beas would face off in the final with Charlie Johnson, who had the semi-final round bye. In the final, Johnson would go .011 red at the tree, giving Beas the Pro 3 class win with a 4.462 (4.42) and .070 RT. Beas also had the best RT of elims with his #1 qualifying .020 and Wright was the closest to the dial running .006 off of her dial in round two.

Jose Beas

Motorcycle Pro 1

The Motorcycle Pro 1 class kicked off the season in Yuma with an always tough group of competitors. Rob Winkle went .034 in his round one win, which would leave him the #1 qualifier and also give him the bye run into the final round. The semi-final race to see who would face Rob saw Heather Taylor face off with Rob’s brother, Ryan Winkle. In a double breakout decision, Ryan would be closer to his dial with a 4.090 (4.15) for the win. In the final round, 2008 champ Ryan would force Rob into a breakout and take home the win with a 4.192 (4.09). Rob Winkle had the best RT of eliminations with a .034 in round one while Heather Taylor was closest to the dial with a .051 in her round one victory.

Ryan Winkle

Motorcycle Pro 2

Motorcycle Pro 2 kicked off the season with Rob Winkle ending up as the #1 qualifier with a .033 RT in his round one victory. The semi-final round kicked off with a great race between Weaver and Brad Deforest. Weaver took a .119 to .133 lead, but Deforest ran closer to his dial for a.014 MOV. Facing off with Deforest in the final would be Mark Ratliff, who forced Rob Winkle into a 5.042 (5.09) break out. In the final, Deforest would take the win over Ratliff running a 5.636 (5.50). Winkle’s round one .033 was the Best RT in eliminations while DeForest’s round two .033 was closest to the dial in the class.

Brad Deforest

Pro Mod

The Pro Mod class saw two of the toughest cars in the class show up to battle it out. Bob Gill in his new Jeep-bodied entry faced off with Francisco Anaya’s roadster. Bob would qualify #1 with the quickest Pro Mod run to date with a 3.23 ahead of Anaya’s 3.44. In the final round, Anaya stage fouled while Gill ran the quickest Pro Mod class run ever with a 3.176/115.46. What an amazing pass on S.T.U. 20.00’s, congrats to the Gill team.

Bob Gill

Pro Index

Pro Index action at the Season Opener kicked off with Todd Kinney leading the qualifying rounds with a 4.011, which sent him to eliminations with the first round bye run. Eliminations wore on to the semi-final round where Todd Kinney would slip by Charlie Johnson for a .013 MOV. Kinney would face off with 2007 and 2008 Pro Index class champion Justin Adamson in the final round. Adamson took a .030 to .120 lead and never looked back for a 4.05 to 4.05 win. The champ looks to be a good bet for a three peat in ’09. Kenny Thomas had the best RT of eliminations with a .020 in round one while Todd Kinney made the closest to the Index run with a 3.964.

Justin Adamson

Sportsman 1

Eleven entries came to Yuma looking for the Sportsman 1 class victory. Tommy Zavala ended up as the low qualifier with a great .022 RT in a close first round victory over Frank Griffin. Round two kicked off with a great race between Zavala and 2008 Sportsman 1 champion Phil Soper. Zavala had another great light in round two with a .026, but the champ would force his opponent into a 3.738 (3.74) break out. Soper would then take the bye run into the final round where he would face off with Steve Anthony. In the semi-final round, Anthony went .019 on the tree and 3.934 (3.87) for the win. This set up a great final round match up between two of the best bracket racers in the west. In the final round, Anthony cut a killer .013 RT to Soper’s .041 and never looked back with a 4.131 (4.00). Anthony posted two .013 RT’s, which were best in eliminations Soper was closest to his dial running just .020 off in round one.

Steve Anthony

Sportsman 2

In the Sportsman 2 class, Jim Clark had the best RT in round one with a .034. Jim would advance on to a final round match up against 2008 Sportsman 2 champion Justin Taylor. The champ would go .039 red in the final to give the class win to Clark. Closest to the dial was Clark’s .016 in round one.

Jim Clark

Motorcycle Sportsman 1

The Motorcycle Sportsman 1 class was led into Yuma by the class’ 2008 champ Ryan Winkle. Winkle would qualifying #1 in a rough round with a .260 RT. Ryan would then take a bye run into the final round. On the other side of the ladder, Ryan’s brother Rob would cut a great (best of eliminations) RT of .002 to advance to the finals over Brooks Ryan. In the final, the champ Ryan would go .026 on the tree and run 4.418 (4.19) for the win over his brother. Greg Ratliff was closest to the dial, .122 off in a round one red light loss.

Ryan Winkle

Motorcycle Sportsman 2

Ten entries showed up for the NSDA Season Opener in Yuma. Rob Winkle once again was on the tree with a great .023 in round one to put him in the number one qualifying spot and earn him the round two bye run. Winkle would eventually move on to face off with Brad Deforest in the final round. Winkle took a great .033 to .130 advantage, but could not run the dial giving the win to Deforest with a 5.721 (5.53). Winkle’s .023 was the best RT of eliminations and Deforest was closest to the dial with a .100 in round two.

Brad Deforest

Junior Dragster

2008 NSDA Junior Dragster champ Brandon Wright emerged victorious at the 2009 Season Opener with a final round win over Alex Wright. Brandon ran a nice 5.500 (5.44) in the final round race to force Alex into a break out.

Brandon Wright

Photos Courtesy C3 Productions -- www.c3productions.net or www.myspace.com/c3productionsphotos.

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