The First Annual Frankie Burgess Memorial Race took place in early August at Green’s Dragstrip in Henderson, MI. This was NSDN’s first trip to the Green’s track & we were certainly impressed with a great racing surface as well as excellent competition. A strong field of racers showed up for this Memorial event to remember Frankie Burgess, a fellow Michigan racer, who passed away earlier this year. Burgess lived just a few miles from this track, and there was amazing local support with spectators lining the track several rows deep to enjoy the action. The Burgess Family and their friends as well as the Mid-Michigan Trail Riders club did a great job of putting together a well managed, racer-friendly event. Let’s take a look at the racing action.

Frankie Burgess in action - Remembering Frankie & having fun like he would have wanted us to is what this event was all about.

Bracket 1 (Fast Class)

At Green’s, their typical class structure consists of a “Fast” & “Slow” class with a split somewhere near the center ET wise. For this event, the split had the slowest dial in at 5.70 in the Fast class, which was run on a Full Tree. As the 25 vehicle field eliminated off, the semi-final came down to a pair of V-8 versus VW battles. In the first pair, Don Laitala in the “Thumper” SBC-powered Jeep paired up against Carl Healy in the “Blurred Vision” VW-powered Buggy. Both drivers left together RT-wise, but at the stripe the Chevy power of Laitala took a slim margin of victory with a 5.017 (4.90). Up next would be 2011 PTN Pro Truck champion Lee Reynders in his SBC-powered Jeep against the “Excalibur” VW-powered Buggy of Brian Mayer. Mayer would put up a great fight leaving first .074 to .098, but when the dust settled it would be Reynders turning on the win light with a 4.442 (4.43) to Mayer’s too fast 4.549 (4.60). This would set up an all-Jeep final round for first place at Green’s. Reynders would show his starting line prowess with a stellar .045 RT, which would be enough to track down Laitala to take the win with a 4.530 (4.43) to Don’s 5.053 (4.90). Congrats to Lee on another win as he’s having a stellar season in 2012 with several wins at WMSD already this year.

Lee Reynders - Bracket 1 Winner

Don Laitala - Bracket 1 Runner-Up

Brian Mayer - Bracket 1 Third Place

Lee Reynders with his Winner's Trophy & Plaque

Diesel Class

The Diesel class put on a great show at Green’s. Frankie Burgess was an avid Diesel enthusiast, and his friends showed up to compete in this heads-up Run What Ya Brung battle. Ian Coleman would run Low ET of eliminations with his Dodge in round one with a 5.756 & ran top MPH with a 60.88 blast in round two, however he would get defeated on a hole shot in that second round of eliminations. A great battle in the semi-final round saw Jim Kondell in his Cummins-powered Chevy truck line up against longtime sand drag racer Jake Phaff, who was representing with a Merchant Automotive Duramax-powered ride. Jake would take over a half-second RT advantage with a great .009, but he couldn’t run the number was Jim drove around with a 5.914/58MPH to take the win. This set up a final round between Kondell and one of the event organizers, Frankie Jungnitsch of No Limit Customs. Both trucks were set on kill for the final, and Kondell took a .08 starting line advantage. With the black smoke heavy in the air, Kondell would have enough power to take the win with a 5.76/55MPH to Frankie’s 5.97/56MPH. Congrats to all of the Diesel racers on a stellar show at this event.

Jim Kondell - Diesel Class Winner

Frankie Jungnitsch - Diesel Class Runner-Up

Jake Phaff - Diesel Class Third Place

Diesel Class Winners: (Left to Right) Jake Phaff, Jim Kondell, Frankie Jungnitsch

Bracket 2 (Slow Class)

The second group of regular bracket racers at Green’s ranged from 6.05 second to just over 8 second to form a 20 vehicle field. This class boiled down to a final round between Brian Jones’ Jeep Wrangler versus William Russell in his Chevy Truck. Jones would leave first .254 to .303, and take the stripe for the win with a 6.624 (6.36). Congrats to Brian on his big win at this event.

Brian Jones - Bracket 2 Winner

William Russell - Bracket 2 Runner-Up (Near Lane)

Bracket 2 Winners: (Left to Right) Brian Jones, William Russell

Photos Courtesy: NSDN

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