The 2015 Avenal Sand Drags Spring Nationals once again brought big time sand drags back to Central California in late April. The weather started out gloomy and overcast on Saturday morning, but as the weekend progressed sunny skies and comfortable temperatures prevailed which provided for great racing conditions. The Avenal sand Drags crew once again did a stellar job keeping the show moving and the track smooth for all. All ingredients led to a spectacular weekend of sand drag racing action, let’s take a look at all fit to print from the Avenal Spring Nationals.

Top Fuel / Top Alcohol

A great addition to this year’s Avenal Spring Nationals was Dennis Rieck bringing the Hammer Down Hemi Top Fuel Dragster out to play. Dennis has been so close to capturing the Top Fuel World Record over the past several years and used this event to give it another shot. The Hammer Down Team would string together three nice passes on Saturday, including a weekend best of 2.32/162MPH. This would come up just short of the current Top Fuel World Record of 2.221. You can bet Dennis and the Hammer Down team will keep pushing the limits of Top Fuel on sand and never give up until they put their mark on the record books.

Dennis Rieck

The Top Alcohol field featured just two entries on this weekend, but a quality pair they were. Fresno’s Gary Mink made the short haul south to Avenal with his newly re-badged “Bad to the Bone” World Record holding Top Alcohol Dragster and proceeded to click off a 2.483 ET in Q3 for the top qualifying spot. Gary couldn’t have asked for a tougher opponent on this weekend, as it would be Oregon’s Craig Sines in the “Thunderstruck” TA Dragster. Sines, with the assistance of tuner Spike Gorr from Gorr Fuel Systems, clicked off a best of 2.60/140MPH in Qualifying. These two would battle it out at high Noon on Sunday for the bragging rights in Avenal. Sines once again showed his skill on the tree as he threw down a .007 RT on the Champ, but it would be Mink’s horsepower doing the job at the stripe taking the win in a 2.48/140MPH to 2.63/139MPH decision. Congrats to both teams on putting on a great show at the Avenal Spring Nationals.

Gary Mink - Top Alcohol Winner

Top Alcohol Final Round

Top Eliminator

In the always competitive Top Eliminator class, it’s a rarity to see a start to finish clean sweep winner. From the first pair of Q1, it was game on for veteran Washington racer Carey Mahoney. Carey, fresh off the win at Avenal last Fall, was in the first pair of TE Qualifying on Saturday. The White Dragster with Blown Alcohol Chevy power went ‘A to B’ off the trailer with a 2.976 on the 2.95 class index that would hold up for #1 Qualifier. Bakersfield’s Christian Payne in the Nitrous-assisted BBC Last Minute Racing Dragster slotted in second with a great 2.99. The “Bad Toy” of Jim Rossi (3.00) and Marc Whitmore (3.02) in Sid Payne’s Blown Altered rounded out the top half of the Qualified field.

Nothing changed on race day as Mahoney fired the first shot throwing down a 2.965 on his round one competition bye for Best Run of E1. Paul Taylor recorded a 2.99 on his round one win showing his muscle while Ron d’Artenay (3.03) and Christian Payne (3.11) also advanced to round two.

The first pair of the semi-finals would be a primetime match up as Top Qualifier Mahoney squared off with Bakersfield’s Paul Taylor in a battle of Blown Alcohol Chevy-powered Dragsters. These are two of the very best TE racers at dialing their cars right onto the number so Reaction Time would be key. Carey took the edge on the tree .073 to .090 and would couple that with a 2.984 to force Taylor into a 2.938 breakout. Paul got their first, but being .012 under the Index would hand the win to the Washington runner. Next up would be the battle of youth versus experience as veteran campaigner Ron d’Artenay in the Hemi-powered Red Warrior Dragster lined up with youthful Payne’s Last Minute Racing entry. These racers also faced off at last Fall’s event in the semi-final round with Christian advancing on. On this day, however, the tables would be turned as Ron recorded a 2.96 to get around Payne’s game effort 3.07.

So that sets up a killer final round with d’Artenay earning lane choice running closer to the Index with a 2.96 to Mahoney’s 2.98 in the previous round. Ron had been in the right lane all day so he chose to stay in the right while Carey stayed in the left lane he had been in throughout eliminations. Both drivers suited up and it was time for battle. This one would be a battle for the ages. Jaws dropped when the scoreboards lit up at the other end as Mahoney got to the stripe first recording a 2.953 to Ron’s 2.954. A pair of 2.95’s in a TE final is unheard of and it happened at the Avenal Spring Nationals. The difference in this race was on the starting line as Carey left first .088 to .129 and never looked back for a .042 Margin of Victory at the stripe. Congrats to the Washington-based Mahoney team for another Big Time performance at Avenal Sand Drags.

Carey Mahoney & Crew - Top Eliminator Winner

Top Eliminator Final Round

Pro Bracket Classes

The Pro Bracket car classes featured an amazing feat as the Three Jeeps of Kenny Hayes, Chris Adamson, and Justin Adamson swept these categories for the second year in a row at Avenal and the third time total in the past year. Phoenix area racer Kenny Hayes got the Jeep sweep wheels in motion taking a close win in an all Larry Minor Motorsports-built Jeep final round over Bill Meaney. Kenny took a .043 to .067 starting line advantage and ran a .01 over (3.52 on 3.51) to put away Meaney’s dead-on with a zero 3.630 by just .011 at the stripe. That was a good ole fashion drag race determined by mere inches. Next up in the Sunday final round run order would be the Pro 2 category, where Justin Adamson would face off with Chris Pintor. In the previous round, Pintor broke up a potential all-Adamson final using a .008 RT and 4.03 (3.99) to advance over Justin’s dad Chris. In the final, Justin would avenge his father’s loss using a .055 RT and 4.29 (4.25) for the victory. The biggest of the Pro Bracket classes would be up next as the 30 vehicle strong Pro 3 field was cut down to two racers vying for the victory. Veteran campaigner Chris Adamson in his Larry Minor Motorsports built Jeep would face off with local racer Bob Glass, who scored some big round wins en route to his first final round. Glass put up a game effort in front of his huge cheering section, but it would be Adamson driving around him with a .043 RT and 4.28 (4.26) to take the win locking up the Jeep Sweep.

Kenny Hayes - Pro 1 Winner

Justin Adamson - Pro 2 Winner

Chris Adamson - Pro 3 Winner

The Three Jeeps - Jeep Sweep at Avenal

The Motorcycle Pro categories always put on a great show at the Avenal events with the strong group of ATV campaigners in the Central California always charging hard. One of the top riders in the area is Timothy Wilson on his four stroke-powered Pro ATV. Sunday was Wilson’s day as he raced through a tough field to take the MP1 final round victory over Sonny Fricia with a .085 RT and 4.54 (4.49) for the win. The MP2 class saw two tough veteran riders face off for the class title as Jack Vandigriff and Craig Wright squared off. Jack was on his game at the starting line taking nearly a tenth of a second advantage with a .052 RT, but at the stripe Wright would run a .03 over (4.74 on 4.71) for the win as Vandigriff could not run the number.

Timothy Wilson - Motorcycle Pro 1 Winner

MP2 Final: Craig Wright (Far Lane) chases down Jack Vandigriff for the win

Saturday’s Pro Gambler car class featured a stacked 32 entry field battling it out for the victory. A pair of Southern California-based Larry Minor Motorsports-built Jeeps faced off in the ‘A’ field final round. Kevin Williams would emerge victorious with a .046 RT and 4.13 (4.05) as Bill Meaney turned on the red bulb. If the ‘A’ field final wasn’t enough for you, the ‘B’ field final was prime time as many time series champion & class winner Charlie Johnson faced off with multiple time Avenal event winner Brian Chapman. After a nearly minute long burn down on the starting line, both racers staged up with Johnson getting the slight edge .058 to .069, but at the stripe it would be Chapman running closer to his dial with a 4.01 (3.98) to advance on. So it would be a pair of Orange Jeeps in the Pro Gambler final round at the Avenal Spring Nationals. This one would be decided on the starting line as Williams took a nearly .03 advantage on the tree and held that edge through the stripe with a 4.10 (4.05) to take the winner’s share.

Kevin Williams - Pro Gambler Winner

Sportsman / Junior Classes

It was hard to miss Tom Ince with his fluorescent Yellow Jeep in the winner’s circle as he took the Sportsman 1 class win over Kevin Williams, who nearly scored a Saturday double up with his Pro Gambler class victory. Tony Soares got the job done in the Sportsman 2 class winning a close final round over Mike Williams in Kenny Hayes’ Flirtin’ With Disaster Jeep. Mathew Wilson piloted his big white Suburban to the Sportsman 3 class win over Joe Shiffrar.

Tom Ince - Sportsman 1 Winner

Tony Soares - Sportsman 2 Winner

Sportsman 3 Final Round - Mathew Wilson (Far Lane) takes the win

Austin Rego had the hot hand in the Motorcycle Sportsman 1 class on Saturday and turned on the final round win light over Sonny Fricia with a 4.45 (4.35). In the Motorcycle Sportsman 2 final, Eduardo Solorio unfortunately broke on the starting line handing the win to Jack Vandigriff. Sunday morning’s Junior class winners were Chaylene Pintor (Juniors), Jayden Pena (Kids), and Cheyenne Hartman (Youth).

Austin Rego - Motorcycle Sportsman 1 Winner

Jack Vandigriff - Motorcycle Sportsman 2 Winner

Jayden Pena - Kids Winner

Photos Courtesy NSDN

Event Photo Gallery - Courtesy NSDN

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