The 2013 Southern California Sand Drag Association (SCSDA) season wrapped up in mid-November with the Season Finals at the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, CA. Cool temperatures made for some great times and side-by-side racing with point’s championships in two different race series on the line. Read on for the full story from this event.

Top Fuel

At the Season Finale, the Team Under The Influence Dragster was the only Top Fueler entered. At the October race, Billy Morris earned his Top Fuel license in the Team UTI ride and made some great passes. This time around, Morris would be back in the cockpit as the team put some more laps on their hot rod and gained experience. On Friday night, Team UTI lit up So Cal with the Header Flames high en route to a 2.35/149MPH blast. There would be some excitement in the shut down area as the brake handle broke off, but Billy stayed cool and guided the car to a safe stop. The Jake Sanders-led crew would make a total of four laps on the weekend with the final pass being a 2.38/142MPH. They also carded two sub-1.00 60’s on the weekend, this team will definitely be a force in the 2014 Top Fuel wars.

Billy Morris - Top Fuel Winner

Top Alcohol

The Top Alcohol class had a strong eight car field on hand to finish off the 2013 race season. Oklahoma’s Rod Trower led Day 1 Qualifying with a stellar 2.501/140MPH hit off the trailer. Trower backed that up with another 2.50 in Q2, but from there it would be Fresno’s Gary Mink taking charge. Gary ran a Top Alcohol track record 2.46/143MPH in Q3, then went on to lower it with a 2.44/147MPH blast. Those were two stout laps for Mink, who wrapped up his fifth consecutive west coast class championship before this event. Right behind Mink & Trower were Jim Hammond (2.51) and David Morton (2.53).

In Round One, Mink received a single when the Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep driven by Geoff Gill was unable to make the call. Gary did not take it easy as he went 2.45/142MPH to advance on. It was a tough break for Trower Racing’s Rod Trower as his engine suffered damage in qualifying that put him out for the weekend. This would be a lucky break for #7 qualifier Jimmy DePasse as he carded a sizzling 2.80/116MPH on his single pass for the quickest Jeep pass ever in the Otis/DePasse/Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep. Central California’s David Morton continued running impressive numbers as he turned a 2.53/131MPH to defeat Pedro Villa. Finishing up the round would be Jim Hammond in the April’s Dream Dragster running a 2.56 to defeat Oregon’s Craig Sines in his brand new Thunder Struck Dragster that recorded a 2.65.

This set up a big time semi-final round in the Top Alcohol class. Starting off the round would be a rematch of the October race final round between Mink and Morton, which was finished up during Saturday’s qualifying with Mink recording the win. These two screw-blown Methanol burning Dragsters were locked side-by-side down the track with class champion Mink turning on the win light in a close 2.47 to 2.54 decision. The other side of the ladder shaped up with DePasse vs. Hammond facing off in a unique Jeep vs. Dragster Top Alcohol battle. Jimmy would be on his game holding a tenth of a second as they passed the tree, but it would be the Hemi-powered Dragster of Hammond reaching the 300’ stripe first in a 2.66 to 2.79 decision. The DePasse team was still stoked despite the loss as they recorded the first ever 2.7-second Jeep pass, which backed up by the earlier 2.80 run will stand as the new A/Pro Jeep World Record.

Gary Mink would be shooting for an incredible undefeated season in the Top Alcohol class as the final round approached. Gary was shooting for a sweep of all five NSRA series events he entered as well as the October Avenal event for a perfect six-win season. On the other side of the track, Jim Hammond was shooting for his second Soboba event win on the season in his third final round. When the tree dropped, it was all Mink as he left first .498 to .526 and stretched out the lead to the finish line as he recorded a 2.50/134MPH to defeat Hammond’s 2.67/131MPH. Congratulations to Gary Mink and his entire crew on an amazing 2013 race season.

Gary Mink - Top Alcohol Winner

Top Eliminator

The Top Eliminator (2.95 Index) category lived up to its hype all season long with incredibly close racing. This race was no exception with ten entries vying for the class victory. Paul Graham’s Blown BBC-powered Buggy “The Excavator” led the field after Day 1 Qualifying with a solid 2.976-second ET. Paul would hang on to the top spot through the second qualifying round, but in round three it would change hands several times. After Oklahoma’s Dee Trower recorded an identical 2.976 to take the second spot as Paul had the higher MPH, 2013 NSRA TE champion Billy Morris threw down a solid 2.960 to take the top spot away in the Two Dolla’ Bill / MFR Dragster. But the Morris crew would only hang on to the top spot for one pass as Bakersfield’s Paul Taylor carded the run of the year in TE action with a dead-on 2.950/110MPH. Taylor, Morris, Graham, and Trower would hold the top four spots as eliminations commenced on Sunday.

Round one saw a big upset as Dee Trower’s season would come to an early end as her Blown SBC-powered Fast Forward Dragster went a tad too fast with a 2.88/109MPH to hand the round win to Marc Whitmore. Las Vegas racer Mark Punos served notice as he recorded the best pass of the round with a 2.956 to defeat Larry Snow’s 3.09.

Top Qualifier Taylor earned the round two bye run and nearly was perfect again as he went 2.949/114MPH on a “no harm no foul” pass to advance to the semi’s. Graham’s “Excavator” Buggy lined up against the Blown SBC Altered of Whitmore in the next pair. Whitmore gave it all he had with a 3.07/107MPH, but it wouldn’t be enough to hold off Graham’s effort 2.99/102MPH. The final pair of the round was highly anticipated with Punos coming off of a great 2.956 lap against Billy Morris, who was looking to also lock up the SCSDA class title with a round win. Unfortunately for Punos, he was a little too ready as he went red by just .039 handing the win to Morris who was there for the taking with a .565 RT and 2.914.

The battle of the Paul’s kicked off the semi-final round with Graham’s Buggy against Taylor’s Dragster. This was an epic battle with Taylor leaving first .503 to .513, but at the stripe Graham’s Buggy turned on the win light in a 2.98 to 3.03 decision. Graham’s win would advance himself to the final round against Morris, who ran a great 2.99 with a .481RT on his bye run. Everyone was looking forward looking forward to an incredible TE final round to wrap up the season, but it was not meant to be as Graham suffered parts breakage in the semi’s that would take him out for the night. The Morris Family Racing team made a solo lap to conclude an incredible season that included two TE championships and four event wins. Billy would have been hard to beat with a .448 RT and 2.969/113MPH for the win. Congrats to the whole MFR team on their great Top Eliminator season.

Billy Morris - Top Eliminator Winner

Fast Fours

The fire breathing four-cylinder racers were out in full force at Soboba with eleven entries going for the Shootout win at the Season Finals. The big story in Qualifying was whether or not Robert Skidmore could repeat the amazing numbers he recorded at the October event. Skidmore lived in the 2.7-second zone with a best of 2.74, which was the quickest pass in class history. The Skidmore team wouldn’t make us wait long to see an incredible pass as he recorded a 2.701/118MPH in Q1. This would hold up for the Top Qualifier position throughout the rest of qualifying despite the rest of the field throwing all they had at recording a huge number. Aaron Mamer, piloting the Mamer Racing Sidewinder, went for a wild ride in Saturday Qualifying as things went wild after a great wheels up launch. The Sidewinder teetered side-to-side on the wheelie bar with an extremely hard landing, but thankfully Aaron did a masterful job keeping the car on four wheels. Unfortunately, the Sidewinder chassis sustained damage that took the Mamer team out for the weekend. The Cronin Racing team with Art behind the wheel of the Meltdown ride recorded a great 2.804/114MPH to slide into the second spot with the Animal Control of Daniel King rounding out the top three with a 2.91/105MPH.

Round one saw a couple of interesting match ups along with several singles due to breakage in Qualifying. The first side-by-side pair out saw a Buggy battle as California’s Don Minkel in the ex-Steve Speck ride battled with Michigan’s Frank Martuscelli Pauter-powered entry. This would be a thrilling pass for the crowd with both front ends high in the air, but at the finish line it would be Minkel with the hole shot victory 3.15/107MPH to a quicker but losing 3.13 for Frank. But the big story from round one would come from the pair with incoming class point leader Mario Tavares in the Pauter Dragster against Cronin Racing’s John Cronin. Mario, coming off a wild win in the October race final round contested on Friday night over Art Cronin, would have luck deal him a bad hand with problems at the hit allowing John to drive around for a 3.21 to 3.37 upset win. This would open the door wide open in both point series battles for this category. Art Cronin would run Low ET of the opening frame with a 2.82/115MPH on his single pass.

Top Qualifier Skidmore faced off with the Buggy of Minkel as the second round commenced. After that 2.70 lap in Qualifying, the Skidmore team found some parts breakage and took it easy up until eliminations. Unfortunately, they would have gremlins bite them on this pass as the car shut off at the hit handing the win to Minkel’s 3.25/97MPH. The Cronin Racing battle would be up next as Art and John lined up in their Nitro-burning Dragsters. John would take nearly a tenth of a second on the starting line, but that would not be enough as Meltdown drove around for a 2.80/120MPH blast to John’s game 3.06/103MPH. Finishing off the round would be two iconic cars in the category as the Animal Control of the King Family faced off against Brian Chapman’s Short Fuse Dragster. Both teams would encounter issues on this pass, with the lesser of the problems on King’s side of the track as Daniel turned on the win light with a 3.39-second ET.

Minkel earned the bye run into the final round with his Autocraft-powered Buggy and took it easy saving up for his last pass of the season. All the drama would be on the starting line as Cronin and King pulled to the starting line. The winner of this pass would win the class championship in both the NSRA and SCSDA series’. When the tree dropped, it was all Animal Control as the King team laid down their best pass of the weekend at just the right time recording a 2.86/111MPH to defeat Cronin’s 2.99/115MPH to advance on.

With championships in hand, the Animal Control team was looking for the hardware as they lined up against Don Minkel on the last pass of the SCSDA season Sunday night at Soboba. The King team could not be stopped on this weekend as Daniel stopped the clocks with a 2.88/110MPH to stop the incredible 3.01/96MPH effort from the Buggy of Minkel, which would be a personal best ET for Don. Congratulations to the Animal Control team of Daniel, DL, and Dwight King on an incredible weekend & season in the Fast Fours category.

Daniel King - Fast Fours Winner

Cool photo of all the Fast Fours racers before going to battle

Pro Mod Unlimited

The Pro Mod Unlimited class featured two tough racers battling it out for the hardware at Soboba. Jimmy DePasse in the Otis/DePasse Jeep led the way in Qualifying with a 2.86/110MPH blast while the Larry Minor Motorsports Jeep tuned by Bob DeVour & driven by Geoff Gill recorded a 2.91/116MPH for the second spot. Unfortunately this battle would never surface on race day as the Minor Jeep suffered breakage and could not answer the call in the final round battle. DePasse would take the win and SCSDA class championship. Congrats to Jimmy, Jim, Otis, Bob, and the whole team on a great weekend as they also recorded an A/Pro Jeep record of 2.79 while competing in the Top Alcohol category.

Jimmy DePasse - Pro Mod Unlimited Winner

Pro Bracket Classes

The Pro 1 final round came down to a pair of tough racers in an all-Dragster face off. Bob Cambridge took to the right lane in his SBC-powered Nitrous assisted ride against Mike Kelly’s BBC-powered entry. This would be a battle of champions as Bob clinched the NSRA Pro 1 title, while Kelly locked up the SCSDA class championship with his semi-final win over Bill Meaney. Bob left first .451 to .478, and ran a second consecutive +.011 pass, 3.391 (3.38) for the win as Kelly went under as he took the stripe with a 3.514 (3.55).

Bob Cambridge - Pro 1 Winner

Chris Adamson’s Bounty Hunter Jeep emerged as the season long NSRA Pro 2 class champion. Adamson won the season opener at Dome Valley and never looked back despite tough competition. The SCSDA class championship was more up in the air with three main competitors locked in a tough battle. Two of them faced off in round one as leader Wes Gilmore in the Rattitude Jeep faced off with Charlie Johnson’s Mopar Jeep. This race would be decided by inches as Charlie parlayed a starting line advantage into a .002 Margin of Victory. Johnson, currently in third place in the SCSDA standings, would face off with 2012 Pro 2 Champion George Amos in his BBC-powered Dragster. Amos going into this round was looking to lock up the SCSDA class title as well as the second position in the NSRA series standings. But this battle would be over at the tree as Amos pushed a little too hard with a .024 red light handing the win to Charlie, whose .011 RT would have been hard to beat. This set up a must win scenario in the SCSDA standings for Johnson as he would clinch the title with a semi-final round win over Tara DeNunzio. The red bulb would bite Charlie as he went .019 red, handing the win to Tara. This would set up an all-Jeep final between DeNunzio and Bill Gonzalez in the Bill’s Bantam Jeep. Unfortunately for Bill, breakage would keep him from making the final round handing the win to Tara making her undefeated in two races with her new ride. She won the Powder Puff category at the October event. The NSRA standings ended up with Adamson as the champion and Johnson second place in a tiebreaker scenario over Amos as he entered one more event than George with Wes Gilmore only one point behind them in fourth place.

Tara DeNunzio - Pro 2 Winner

Two of the combatants in the Pro 2 championship war were also solidly entrenched in the Pro 3 title race. Defending Pro 3 class champ Charlie Johnson held a slight lead in the NSRA series heading into the final race over this season’s Pro 2 victor Chris Adamson. These two matched rounds early in the eliminations at the Season Finale before meeting up in the semi-final round. Both racers were amped up with Johnson taking the starting line edge .430 to .457 and hanging on for the win with a 4.572 (4.50). Charlie’s round win locked up the NSRA championship, giving him both the NSRA & SCSDA Pro 3 titles on the season. Johnson would take no prisoners in the final round as he cut a .468 light on Greg Tounget and took a healthy margin of victory with a 4.597 (4.50) for his fourth class win of the NSRA season.

Charlie Johnson - Pro 3 Winner

The Motorcycle Pro 1 class looked like it would be a dramatic battle to the finish with four racers having a realistic shot at the NSRA title going into eliminations. However, incoming point’s leader Brad Olson had other thoughts. Olson did his job in the opening rounds with victories over Ron Garnas and Joey Weaver before earning the bye run into the final round. Brad’s final round berth locked up the series title, but he wouldn’t lay down in the final as he used a .453 RT and nearly dead-on 4.242 (4.24) to defeat the always tough Christian Payne for his second win of the season. Garrett Ratliff ended up second in the NSRA standings while Bo Crossland emerged victorious in the SCSDA class championship battle.

Brad Olson - Motorcycle Pro 1 Winner

George Amos made it back-to-back NSRA Motorcycle Pro 2 championships in 2013. George locked up the title before the Season Finale as well as the SCSDA class championship. Amos squared off with his closest competitor all season in Mark Ratliff as round one kicked off. This one would be all Ratliff as he left first and pedaled to a 4.658 (4.50) victory. Mark would race on to the final round where he would face off with Jeff Coale. They would leave together, but at the stripe it would be Coale turning on the win light in a double breakout decision 4.496 to 4.491 with both dialed 4.50. Congrats to Jeff on the big win. Amos and Mark Ratliff finished first and second respectively in both point’s series.

Jeff Coale - Motorcycle Pro 2 Winner

Sportsman Bracket Classes

Both championships in the Sportsman 1 category were decided before eliminations at Soboba with Bill Meaney taking the NSRA title and Wes Gilmore earning the SCSDA championship. Gilmore would keep up his winning ways as he reached the final round against Ty Larson in his ’63 Corvette. Larson would not be stopped on this day as he recorded a .425 RT & 3.622 (3.59) to take the victory.

Ty Larson - Sportsman 1 Winner

The Sportsman 2 class came down to a battle of Jeeps as local racers Rick Hendershott and Jeff Goorsky squared off with the hardware on the line. This one would go to Hendershott in a double breakout battle as his 4.515 (4.53) was closer to his dial than Jeff’s 4.384 (4.42). Kevin Cambridge would emerge victorious in the Sportsman 2 class for both point’s series.

Rick Hendershott (Far Lane) took the Sportsman 2 Final Round win over Jeff Goorsky.

Mark Ratliff continued his domination of the Motorcycle Sportsman 1 category as he took the win at the Soboba Season Finale. Mark locked up both championships for MS1 and got by a red lighting Brock Rushing in the final round to take his third class win on the 2013 NSRA season.

Mark Ratliff - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner

Ratliff also had a lock on the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 championships as the final round came up. Unfortunately, Mark’s ole trusty Red ATV had major engine damage in the semi-final round and was unable to make the final round. This gave Jeff Coale a single run for the victory, which would be Jeff’s first of two class wins on the weekend.

Gambler & Junior Classes

Charlie Johnson kept up his winning ways in the Pro Gambler category as he took the final round win over his brother, Wes Johnson. Jack Vandigriff pulled off a huge victory as he took the Motorcycle Gambler class over Wyatt Larson. Ryan Rodriguez capped off his dual championship season in the Junior Dragster class with a final round win over Kyla Belville. Kolton Wolfgang won the Juniors class with his very cool Junior Truck. Levi Suggs (Mini Junior Dragster) and Deegan Gutierrez (Peewees) also finished off the season with big class victories.

Charlie Johnson - Pro Gambler Winner

Jack Vandigriff (Near Lane) on his way to the Motorcycle Gambler win over Wyatt Larson

Ryan Rodriguez - Junior Dragster Winner

Kolton Wolfgang - Juniors Winner

Photos Courtesy

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy of NSDN

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