The Top Alcohol class saw two strong entries show up to Ionia for this event. Pat Goodale brought the Ted Lirones-tuned Crude Awakenings TA Dragster to compete against the Scheytt Family Bad Frog Beer entry driven by Rob Scheytt. These two have battled it out at Ionia in the past, and were ready for another classic battle. Qualifying kicked off with Pat Goodale laying down the gauntlet, running a sizzling 2.53/136mph blast. This run had a great 1.008 60’ time. Rob Scheytt was up next and he ran a 2.68/127mph shot. The Goodale team turned their attention to their TE team car during the second qualifier, so Scheytt was the lone car to run that session. He would run a pass nearly identical to his first with a 2.68/128mph.
This would set up the final round giving Goodale lane choice. When the tree dropped, it was Goodale out first and with his wheels up charge he never looked back taking a winning a 2.54/132mph to 2.68/127mph decision.
While the Top Alcohol class cars only ran Race 1, the Top Eliminator category competed in two full events at Ionia. Race 1 kicked off with Brian Ambs running a personal best 2.97 in qualifying to take the top spot in the Go Fast Energy Drink/Ambs Auto Clinic Blown Ford-powered Altered. Brian McWethy would slide “The Boss” Blown Funny Jeep into the second position with a 3.11 while Nick Vanderputte’s 3.13 would set him third in the qualifying order with the “Curtis Tree Service” Pro Charger-equipped Small Block Chevy Dragster. Rounding out the field was the return of Ted Lirones to the driver’s seat, filling in for an under the weather Lori Goodale in her “Drag Queen” TE Dragster. Lirones, tuner for the two-car Goodale team, turned an excellent 2.72 in his first pass behind the wheel; however this would put him at the bottom of the TE ladder.
First pair up in round one saw Ambs face off with Lirones. Ambs would leave first .078 to .168 and hang on for a close 3.01 to 2.99 decision. The next pair would see McWethy take a slight starting line advantage and stretch out the lead down track with a 3.13 to 3.28 victory to set up an all front-engine final round.
In the final, both drivers had killer RT’s, but it was Ambs with the advantage .035 to .065 and he would never look back for a 3.01 to 3.08 victory.
Race 2 came around, and only the McWethy crew passed on competing in this next race. Plus, there would be a new driver as Ambs’ son-in-law Brian Morgan hopped behind the wheel of the potent Altered for his first laps. Morgan’s first run in the car would be good enough to take the top qualifying spot with a 3.16 and earn the first round bye. Vanderputte would run a 3.33 while Lirones passed on the qualifying round.
Round one kicked off with a great match up between the dragsters of Lirones and Vanderputte. Vanderputte would leave first .060 to .087 and hang on for a close win 3.10 to 3.15 as Lirones hit the wheelie bar hard & got out of shape causing him to pedal. Morgan, taking only his second pass in the Altered, ran a 3.19 on his bye run. This set up a great final round, and Morgan showed the driving skills that he always had in his Buggy and Dragster, throwing down a .016 RT and driving away with a 3.12 to 3.18 victory.
Brian Ambs (Near Lane) vs. Nick Vanderputte (Far Lane)
Ted Lirones driving "Drag Queen".
The Quick 8 class put on a great show at ISD, with the field ranging from Frank Martuscelli’s 3.08 to Bob Ramlow’s 3.70. Martuscelli would thrill the crowd with a great 3.12 second to back up the A/Buggy World Record in a round one victory over Dave DeLoof. This would put Frank into the semi-finals against Dale Flaugher and his potent Jeep. On this run, Frank had to lift early, allowing Flaugher to advance with a 3.62 (3.55). The other match up would see Ramlow pair up against “Mr. Sandman” Andy Villemure. Villemure would have problems right at the hit, and Ramlow would cruise on to a 3.82 (3.69) win. This would set up a great final round between Ramlow’s Altered and Flaugher’s Jeep. Ramlow would leave first .072 to .146 and force Flaugher into a 3.53 (3.55) break out to a winning 3.72 (3.69).
Race 1 came down to a Pro 1 battle between Jim Bailey’s Blue Thunder rear-engine S-10 Truck versus Dave Kramer’s Super Toy Jeep. At the stripe, it would be Bailey turning on the win light by just .001 in a great drag race. Race 2 rolled around and came down to a final round between Charlie Willis and Jim Brantley. They left just about even on the tree, but at the finish line it would be Willis coming out on top of a double breakout decision.
Matt “Shocker” Ewing continued his dominating season by sweeping all three ATV classes in Race 1. Matt would defeat Brian McWethy in the final round of both Quick 8 ATV & Pro ATV while taking down Chad Louth in the Sportsman ATV final. In Race 2, it would be Shawn Roth taking the victory over Hopper McKernan.
Jon Sorg (Race 1) and Randi Vsetula (Race 2) were the Sportsman class winners on the night. Junior class winners included Angie Lirones (Junior Dragster) and Lauren Villemure (Mighty Midgets).
Sportsman Race 2 Final Round.
Sportsman Race 1 Final Round.