lead.jpgThe NSDA Walt’s RV Summer Nationals at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex was another typical NSDA event with close racing and high action. Despite hot weather, racers came close to rewriting the record books. Those on hand saw a quality event start to finish. Here’s a look at the action.

Top Fuel

The Top Fuel class has been hard hit in 2010 by the economy and other factors. For this event, only two TF teams were able to attend, but both were definitely quality teams. Scott Whipple and the CANIDAE Team came back to Lake Elsinore after setting a new World Record the previous month with a 2.221. The team led by “Famous Amos” Satterlee definitely picked up where they left off in qualifying by running a pair of 2.23’s. Scott’s best pass being a 2.232/166.05 shot on Saturday night. Dennis Rieck and the Hammer Down team had some struggles in qualifying, but did manage to lay down a nice 2.395/140mph pass.

Both cars were loaded for bear in the final round. The drivers left with identical reaction times; however Rieck’s car broke soon after allowing Whipple to cruise down the track to another victory. Unfortunately, Whipple did not get an ET on a pass that looked very good, probably a low 2.3 or high 2.2. This made it three straight victories to start out the 2010 season and solidifies a strangle hold on the top spot in the NSDA Top Fuel point standings.

Scott Whipple (Action XT Photo)

Dennis Rieck (NSDN Photo)

Top Alcohol

Much like the Top Fuel class, the Top Alcohol class has been ravaged by parts breakage and economic issues hampering participation, but four quality TA teams made the haul to Lake Elsinore for the Walt’s RV Summer Nationals. Dan Allen had his sights set on the World Record and came up just short in qualifying leading the pack with a 2.417/144mph shot in Friday night’s qualifying round. Defending champ Gary Mink fell in right behind Dan with a great 2.426 in the qualifying order with Jim Hammond running a 2.601 for the #3 spot and Scott Carroll fourth with a 2.658.

Round one kicked off with a match up between the #1 qualifier Allen and Carroll. Both cars run similar combinations and are effectively team cars. On this pass, Carroll took a .054 to .187 lead off the line, and hung in there for a close 2.693 to 2.575 victory by just .015 at the finish line. Up next would be the Champ Mink versus Hammond. Hammond would leave first, but fell off of his qualifying pace to a 2.79 while Gary Mink made a statement with a shocking 2.459/136mph pass in the heat of the day. This set up a final match up between Mink and Carroll.

This final round would be a rematch of the Dome Valley final round earlier in the season, where Mink broke at the link and Carroll went on for his first NSDA TA class win. Unfortunately for Carroll, some parts breakage would keep him from this win as the crew could not get the car started, giving Mink a single. On this run, Mink once again ran a huge number in even warmer conditions, carding a 2.461/134mph for the win. This is Mink’s second win of the season & puts him 27 points ahead of second place, Carroll.

Gary Mink (Action XT Photo)

Scott Carroll (NSDN Photo)

Super Eliminator

Billy Morris and the 2 Dolla' Bill Team has had a fast start to the 2010 race season in the new Super Eliminator class. The question heading into this event at Lake Elsinore is would someone else finally win in this new NSDA category. If qualifying was any indication, it wouldn’t be an easy road to three in a row for Morris. Jim Rossi went 2.807 on the 2.800 Index to take the top qualifying spot from Morris in the final qualifying session. Previously, Morris had run a 2.808, which would hold for the #2 spot. Paul Taylor would run a 2.811 for the third position with Art Cronin laying down a monster run of 2.814 with his Meltdown Turbo 4-cylinder entry. It definitely was an entertaining qualifying show in the SE category.

Round one saw Jim Rossi start off the round with his bye run, followed by a single for Billy Morris when Sidney Payne was unable to make the call. Ashley Sanford made her first start in the SE class in the Red Bull/Frederosa Racing Dragster and also won her first round as she defeated Art Cronin in a close 2.90 to 2.93 decision. Rounding out the round would be a big match up between second in points Paul Taylor and Pedro Villa. Villa would take a big starting line advantage and hang on for a huge upset win 2.86 to 2.87. Pedro’s 2.86 would also be Low ET for the round.

In round two, Rossi started off with a 2.90 to 3.14 victory over Sanford. Up next would be Morris vs. Villa. Unfortunately, Villa was unable to get his car turned around in a reasonable amount of time, and Morris ran a nice 2.851 on his single pass. This set up a big final round between Morris and Rossi. In the final, Morris left first .070 to .156, and then ran a 2.84 to take the win over Rossi’s 2.87. This would be Morris’ third straight SE victory to start the 2010 NSDA season. He sits 49 points ahead of Rossi heading into race 4.

Billy Morris (Action XT Photo)

Jim Rossi (NSDN Photo)

Top Eliminator

The TE class has been quite a crap shoot in 2010 with two completely different fields competing at the season’s first two events, no racer ran both events. A strong 12 car field pulled in to Lake Elsinore for the Walt’s RV NSDA Summer Nationals. Aaron Mamer scored his first #1 qualifying spot in TE with a nice 2.989. He led the previous race’s winner Paul Graham, Steve Hoffman, and Daniel King; whom, filled out the top 4.

There were some extremely close match ups in round one of eliminations with Brian Chapman defeating Larry Snow by just .003 and Don Diffenbaugh taking a .008 victory over Steve Hoffman. The semi-final round kicked off with Mamer receiving a bye run into the final and running a great 3.01. The other match up saw Brian Chapman’s Short Fuse Dragster face off with Daniel King in the Animal Control Dragster. In this all four-cylinder race, it would be Chapman leaving first and hanging on for a 3.04 to 3.00 win.

This set up a final round between the cagey veteran Chapman and the young gun Mamer. Chapman kept his cool off the line, taking a slim starting line advantage, and ended up outrunning Mamer 2.976 to 3.051 for his first NSDA TE class victory. Brian’s victory moves him into an eight point lead over Mamer.

Brian Chapman (Action XT Photo)

Aaron Mamer (NSDN Photo)

Pro 1

The Pro 1 class has seen some great racing thus far in 2010, with Mike Gazzeny leading the class point series. Gazzeny was once again on his game at Lake Elsinore as he ended up as the #1 qualifier with a great .027 RT in a first round defeat of Todd Randolph. Round two came around and saw a tough match up for Gazzeny as he came up against Mike Kelly. In this round, Gazzeny would stage foul, opening up the door for a new winner.

Kelly would get the bye run to the final and run a 3.78 (3.71) with the Kelly Racing Dragster. The other match up would see Keith Ahart’s Second Urge Dragster up against Trevor Scherrer’s 401K Blown Coupe. At the other end, it would be Ahart turning on the win light with a 3.715 (3.65), setting up an all-Dragster final round. In the final, Ahart would get the advantage off the line .056 to .100 and run a 3.657 (3.65) to force Kelly into a 3.718 (3.74) break out. This would be Ahart’s first NSDA win of 2010. Gazzeny still holds a commanding lead in the NSDA point standings, 72 ahead of second place Larry Brown.

Keith Ahart (Action XT Photo)

Pro 2

Charlie Johnson had a rough outing at the April Lake Elsinore race, and he came back to this event focused on a better performance. However, the road wouldn’t be easy for Charlie to take to the victory. In round one, Tony DeNunzio took the #1 qualifying spot with a .018 RT, and earned himself a round two bye run. Eliminations came down to four of the toughest Pro 2 races. The first semi-final pair would be Tony DeNunzio in the DeNunzio Racing Engines/CANIDAE Jeep up against Jim Williams in the Wilder American Jeep. Both drivers would leave together, but at the other end it was DeNunzio edging out Williams for the win with a Margin of Victory of just .014. The other pair would see Johnson face off with David Cox in his trademark Yellow Dragster. Cox would bump it in a little too deep, disrupting his rhythm and giving Johnson a big hole shot lead to which he never looked back with a 4.290 (4.25) win. The final round was much anticipated as both Johnson and DeNunzio’s Jeeps had looked great all day long and were dialed identically at 4.25. Johnson would leave first .049 to .078 and hold on for a 4.36 to 4.41 victory. This would be Charlie’s first Pro 2 victory of the season. Charlie’s brother, Wes, currently leads the Pro 2 points by 34.  The only question at this point was could the champ double up on Sunday afternoon.

Charlie Johnson (Action XT Photo)

Pro 3

April’s race winner in Pro 3, Arend Schouten, looked to be on his way towards back to back wins starting off with a great .010 RT in his first round defeat of Chad Kinney. Schouten would get a bye into the semi-finals, where he would face off against the day’s Pro 2 winner & defending class champion, Charlie Johnson. Johnson would take the RT advantage .059 to .122 and take just enough stripe for a 4.58 (4.52) victory to put him in his second final round of the day. He would face off with Luz Malan in her V8-powered Buggy, who drew the lucky semi-final round bye and ran 5.081 (4.95). In the final, it was all Charlie as he left first .036 to .175 and closed it up to a 4.652 (4.52) victory. This is Charlie’s second Pro 3 class win of the season, and first double-up in 2010. He currently holds a 12 point lead over Malan in the class standings with his Back ‘N Black Jeep.

Charlie Johnson (Action XT Photo)

Motorcycle Pro 1

A strong contingent of 18 MP1 entries rolled into Lake Elsinore for final eliminations on Sunday. The class had been dominated in 2010 by Mark Ratliff, as he took both victories to start off the season. However, at Lake Elsinore, the door would be opened as Ratliff went red by just .004 against Brooks Ryan to take himself out of contention. Tom Hanrahan would be the #1 qualifier at this event, cutting a .062 RT in his defeat of Heather Taylor.

Eliminations continued on to a tough semi-final round, where AJ Eid would face off with Bob Sechi. Sechi would cut a brilliant .008 RT, but have problems down track and struggle to a 4.826 (4.21), which would be good enough by .060 for the round win as Eid had problems of his own in the other lane. Brooks Ryan closed out the round with a bye run into the final. This set up a great final round between Sechi and Ryan. Off the line, Sechi took a .038 to .116 lead, but immediately ran into troubles while Ryan went down the track to a 4.404 (4.10) victory. This is Ryan’s first MC Pro 1 victory of the season and puts him 2 points ahead of Mark Ratliff in the points race.

Brooks Ryan

Motorcycle Pro 2

Mark Ratliff has been the dominant competitor in the MC Pro 2 class heading into the third race of the season. Ratliff swept the first two races and jumped out to a healthy point series lead. He would continue his hot streak by qualifying #1 with a .011 RT in his round one victory. Ratliff would move on to an eventual semi-final round match up with Trisha Kinney. Trisha would go .026 red sending Mark to his third straight final round appearance. On the other side of the ladder, defending champ Joey Weaver faced off against Mark’s son, Garrett. Joey would leave first, but could not run the number, allowing Garrett to make it an all-Ratliff final round with a 4.767 (4.55). At the Season Opener in Dome Valley, these two faced off with Mark taking the win. This time, however, the tables would be turned as Garrett left first .111 to .256 and held his dad off for a 4.749 (4.60) victory. Garrett’s first win of 2010 in MC Pro 2 puts him in second place, behind his dad, Mark.

Garrett Ratliff (Action XT Photo)

Pro Mod

The Pro Mod class saw three potent Larry Minor Motorsports built Jeeps facing off at Lake Elsinore. After qualifying, the #1 qualifier was Jim DePasse, driving Otis Stimpson’s potent Blown BBC Jeep to a 3.270/100mph blast. Following closely was Geoff Gill in the Larry Minor house Jeep with a 3.281 with Clayton Record sitting third with a 3.573.

In round one, Record would go .008 red, handing the win to Gill, who ran a 3.382 to Record’s 3.616. Up next would be the bye run for DePasse, where the transmission would turn loose in the potent Jeep at the hit. This would put him out for the final round, giving Gill a bye run to the win. Gill, never one to take it easy, went for it and ran a great 3.222 for his first Pro Mod victory of the season, in the wild Larry Minor-owned Hammer Down Racing Small Block Chevy-powered Jeep. Gill gained ground on point leader Record heading into race four.

Geoff Gill (Action XT Photo)

Jim DePasse (Action XT Photo)

Pro Outlaw

Another strong field of entries showed up for the NSDA’s newest class, Pro Outlaw. Point leader Charlie Johnson looked on his way to the #1 qualifying spot with a .013 RT in his defeat of Greg Johnson, however in the final pair of the round Howard Sato would go .003 on the tree to take the spot away. In round two, the point leader would push the tree too hard and go .064 red, handing Tracy Malan the round win. In the semi-final round, Malan would face off with the #1 qualifier, Sato. Sato would take a big starting line advantage and hang on for a 4.035 (3.90) victory. On the other side of the ladder, Wes Johnson would face off with Trevor Scherrer. Trevor would light the red bulb by .038 and send Wes on to the final, with a great 4.131 (4.10) and .011 RT. The final round would also be decided on the starting line as Sato would go red by .016, handing the win to Johnson, who ran a 4.074 (4.10) with a .030 RT. The win moves Wes into a 21 point lead over his brother Charlie after three races.

Wes Johnson (NSDN Photo)

Sportsman Car

Rocky Hensley looked like the man to beat in the Sportsman car class after the first couple of rounds. In round one, Hensley had a great .017 RT to take the #1 qualifying spot in his victory over Cary Middleton. He kept up his killer instinct on the tree with a .013 RT in the round two all-Hensley match up with Scott and his Jeep. This would put him into the semi-final round against Steve Perkio. In this race, Hensley would get a little too antsy and light the red bulb by .106 advancing Perkio to his first final of the season. On the other side of the ladder, Jeff Goorsky faced off with Fred Russo. This race was also decided by a red light as Russo went red by .015, sending Goorsky to the final against Perkio. In the final, Goorsky took a big RT advantage and hung on for a 4.565 (4.54) victory with his Jeep. Chad Kinney leads the class point standings by 33 over Luz Malan.

Motorcycle Sportsman

A great Motorcycle Sportsman field showed up to compete at Lake Elsinore that was 26 strong. AJ Eid led the pack in round one with a brilliant .003 RT. He would advance on to the semi-final to face off with perennial class contender Rob Winkle. In this race, Eid would turn on the red bulb handing Winkle the win. The other match up would see defending champ Joey Weaver come up against Brooks Ryan. Weaver would leave way early, while Ryan ran a 4.177 (4.10) for the win. Both bikes were dialed nearly identical for the final round race. Winkle would take a slim starting line advantage and would hold on for a 4.300 (4.11) victory as Ryan had troubles off the line. After three races, Weaver holds an 81 point lead over Winkle.

Rob Winkle

Junior Dragster

The Junior Dragster was a tough group of racers as always. Aimee Mamer qualified #1 with a .074 RT in her round one win over Christian Myers. She would continue on to face off with Michael Wright. In that match up, Mamer would go .084 red handing the win to Wright. In the other match up, Austin Ratliff came up against Brandon Partida. Partida would leave first, but not run close enough to his dial as Ratliff ran a 6.351 (6.10) for the win. In the final round, both drivers would leave together, and when the dust cleared it was Ratliff taking a close victory with a 6.387 (6.10) for his first win of the season. Wright now has a 46 point advantage over Ratliff after 3 races in 2010.

Austin Ratliff

Photos Courtesy Action XT Photography – www.dunepix.com

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