The weather has started to cool down, as the specter of Autumn comes closer and closer. It's the end of Summer, as the kids have to start getting ready to go back to school. And with the end of that season comes the finale of the 2016 Division 7 Junior Dragster season, but not before two last go around for these kids, leading to the crowning of the season champions.
We'll start with everything on Saturday, starting with the Jr. Comp bracket, which came down to Justin Ball, who brings this straight up 6.90 dial duel to Peyton Januik. Justin gets off the line first, his .048 reaction time beating Peyton's .152. Peyton would push past it, racing past Justin to be the first one to taste the stripe, but with a 6.879 E/T, Peyton would break out, giving Justin Ball the Jr. Comp bracket for Saturday.
The Jr. Consolation bracket final was between Dylan Oliveira and Andrew Olson. Dylan would get off the line first, his 13 Halfscale dialing up an 8.11 dial, giving him two tenths of a second over Andrew's 7.90. Dylan would get off the line well, but Andrew could not wait, launching 12 thousandths of a second earlier, getting the red light and giving Dylan the win.
And with that, the Junior Dragsters could start racing for points. Group 1 wrapped up with a race between Caden Ball, who was looking to take the season points championship, and Kayslee Price, from Las Vegas, Nevada. It was close off the line, with Caden taking the lead off the line, but he would push that lead, getting a 11.970 E/T on a 12 second dial, breaking out and letting Kayslee take the group 1 win.
Group 2 has a set of Halfscales lined up, as Braiden Chesleigh, trying to make a late season point push for the championship, went up against Tabitha Boardman. This late push by Braiden would need him to take some bracket wins, as he lined up for this nearly heads-up race, but as the yellow lights counted down, Braiden launched nearly a quarter second early, giving Tabitha the Group 2 win.
Also making a late season push was Tyler Smith in Group 3, trying to push his 11 Motivational to the top of the point brackets, but to get the big boost for a win, he'd have to get past Sydney Koppin's 07 Motivational. They'd make it tough, with their 7.991 on a 7.90 dial giving Tyler a mere tenth of a second of wiggle room. Tyler would only need half of that, running a 8.050 E/T on a 8.00 dial, giving him the Group 3 win, and putting him on top of the Group 3 points, with one race tomorrow left to go.
Rounding out Saturday was the oldest of the Juniors with Group 4, as Mark Henry went up against Kaitlyn Savolt's 02 Halfscale. The two would be nearly even off the line, with Kaitlyn having a slim lead. She'd have a hard time to beat, her 7.915 E/T on a 7.90 dial only giving Mark around 15 thousandths to use. But, his 8.224 on a 8.18 would be too much, as Kaitlyn takes the Group 4 win.
With Saturday finished off, there was only one last race to decide the season champs. But the winners on Sunday would also be bringing home their own Wallys, so you know there was going to be no lollygagging when there is a Wally on the line.
Starting off with the Jr. Comp bracket, Madison Leal's 06 Halfscale would meet against Brandon Savolt's 09 Halfscale. Brandon would take the lead off the line, leaving Madison chasing, but Madison ran nearly perfectly. She had a 6.90 dial, but her E/T was 6.899, as Madison broke out by a single thousandth of a second, giving Brandon the win. Brandon was on his way to a pretty busy day.
Group 1 was having one last dramatic showdown, as top points getter Caden Ball lined up against his #2, Gauge Hicks, in a 12.00 dial heads up race. Caden would launch sooner, making a run that Gauge would not beat as he gets a 12.007 on that 12.00 dial, taking the bracket win as the perfect cherry on top of his Group 1 points championship.
Caden Ball with his Wally after winning the Group 1 final on Sunday. He'd also be the overall season points champion.
The Group 2 final would be between two challengers out of the championship, but still questing for that Wally. Madison Gordon and Ryan Mason would dance with their dual 8.90 dials. Madison would take the green light first, with a 28 thousandths of a second head start over Ryan, but Ryan would catch up, running the faster E/T of a 8.911 on that 8.90 dial. However, Madison's 8.922 was just close enough that her better reaction time could cover her, giving her the Group 2 win off the lights.
Madison Gorgon with her Wally, after winning Group 2 on Sunday.
After Tyler Smith's push in Group 3, there was only one chance for Nolan Oliveirza to take the points championship. And that was with an earlier exit by Tyler, combined with him winning it all on Sunday. Part 1 of the plan was done, as Tyler was eliminated before the semis, all that was left was Nolan beating Maverick Molloy. Both racers were nearly even, and as Nolan got a 8.113 dial on a 8.09 dial, and Maverick a 8.123 dial on an 8.10 dial, it was all even in the E/Ts, and the race would be won on the tree. Maverick launched with a .049. And Nolan launched with a .046. By a scant 3 thousandths of a second, Nolan took the Group 3 win, the Wally, and the 2016 Barona Junior Dragster Group 3 championship.
Nolan Oliveira, staring down the track with the championship on the line.
Finishing off the season would be one last final in Group 4, as Jr. Comp winner Brandon Savolt was up against Colton Rainey. Colton would get off the line sooner, but his 8.329 E/T on a 7.90 dial left way too much room, as Brandon races in with a 8.010 E/T on a 7.97 dial, taking the Group 4 win and Wally to go with his Jr. Comp win.
Brandon Savolt (Far) lining up against Colton Rainey (Near) on his way to his second win of the day. He won the Jr. Comp bracket earlier.
With the season finally wrapped up, and the points were all added up, all that's left is the crown the season champs in the Barona Awards ceremony in January.
Your 2016 Jr. Dragster Season Champs Are:
Group 1: Caden Ball
Group 2: Cy Mitchell
Group 3: Nolan Oliveirza
Group 4: Derrick Hegwood.
With the kids all done, it's time for the big boys to come back to the track in a week, with the grand finale of the Summit Series this weekend, with races 7 & 8 this Saturday and Sunday, with race 8 giving out Wallys to all the winners.
Keep an eye out for the leaders going into the weekend: For the Summit Sportsman, David Peutz has the lead, with Larry Brewer right behind him. In the Super Pro, Chandler Meziere is in the lead, with sibling Zach behind him. The Pro series has George Chatterton III up front, with RJ Simrock right behind him. And in the Bikes, watch for Joe Silva, who has Russ Collins Jr. chasing him for the top.
Racing starts Saturday at 4PM, and Sunday at 10AM. It's going to be an exciting weekend, so we hope we'll see you there!