The Top Alcohol field saw four quality entries make the haul to Atoka for this annual event.
In qualifying, it was Scott Carroll’s first attempt at the track that would set Low ET of the weekend with him and Dan Allen putting the car near the TA Track Record with a 2.736 hit. Pat Goodale would follow closely behind with a great 2.76 in the Friday night qualifying session. John “Johnny Speed” Moreland put on a show Friday night with a huge wheel stand on a pass that looked like it could go to the top spot before he had to lift. He would come back and slide into the #3 qualifying spot with a 2.94. Rod Trower’s crew worked their tails off to get his “Thunder” Dragster prepared to make Saturday’s qualifying rounds and ran a 2.94 to put him in the show.
Round one kicked off with Goodale and Moreland facing off. The AMSOil entry of Moreland got off to a hole shot start and looked to be running away with the round win until the burst panel kicked out, allowing Goodale to go by with a 2.87/119mph pass. Goodale would move on to the final, while Moreland’s team put together a good showing for the first time back at the track in some time and with a whole new crew. The next pair would see #1 qualifier Carroll face off with Trower. This race would be over at the starting line as Carroll would turn on the red bulb by just .006, advancing Trower to the final round. Carroll would run a 2.90 on that pass while Trower experienced massive tire shake before kicking the burst panel out.
Upon inspection of the car, Rod’s crew, led by Pro Mod racer Chris Russo at this event, found a problem with the blower that would take him out of competition for the day. This would give Pat Goodale a single to the TA class victory. Ted Lirones threw as much as he could at the track in the final round single. However, the surface just couldn’t handle it as Pat would blister the tires to a 2.88/131mph shot. The Goodale-Lirones team put up a solid effort throughout qualifying and put their car in victory lane on race day.
There was great anticipation for the Top Eliminator class heading into the Heartland Nationals. Rod & Dee Trower put up a great purse for this class, ensuring that the winner will have an excellent pay day. 16 high quality TE entries converged on Atoka for this event with 5 states represented;
Qualifying was definitely a battle. In round one,
At this event, a unique ladder structure was put together with the #1-8 qualifiers racing on one side of the ladder & #9-16 on the other side. This put together some interesting strategies that we would see play out on race day. Amazingly enough, this field was so tough that it took a 3.080 to crack into the top half of the field.
Competition would be rough on this day as evidenced by a myriad of first round upsets, including #1 qualifier Lori Goodale & last year’s event champion Terry Glasscock both with early exits. The second round would kick off with
This would set up a final four with
At this point, 16 tough entries are cut down to just two. The last two standing would represent a
A staple of the Heartland Nationals is the Quick 16 Shootouts on Friday night. The quickest 16 racers in the cars and quads classes from the day’s test and tune face off with a big money payout. This year’s edition would see the final round of the Q16 Cars class come down to Jessie Wyche in his front engine V8 Buggy facing off against Dustin Moore in the “Ground Loop” 4 cylinder-powered Buggy. At the finish line, it would be Wyche taking home the trophy & and the winner’s share of the prize money. In the Q16 Quads class, it came down to Randy Kimbley against who else, but the always tough Bobby Kincaid. Once again, Bobby would have the magic touch and pull out the big victory.
Pro 1 Cars is always a tough category at the Heartland Nationals. This year, the final round would come down to Kenny Kapple versus Marc Luce. Both drivers had problems, but it would be Kapple recovering quicker to take a huge win at the Heartland Nationals. In the Pro 1 Quads class, the final round came down to Rick Lovelace against Kevin Self. Lovelace would drive around Self at the other end to take home the Heartland Nationals title. Other big winners in the bracket classes on the weekend include Michael Tomlinson (Pro 2 Quads), Tony Pierce (Pro 3 Quads), Bevan Smith (Pro 4 Quads), and Marli Nagel (Peewees).
Photos Courtesy - Lone Star Graphics