The NHRA made a comeback to Barona 1/8th Mile Dragstrip on June the 22ed and 23rd as the NHRA Summit Series got to stages 5 and 6, with 6 being the NHRA All-Access Challenge, where every winner would get their own coveted Wally trophy!
Saturday started off with the Gambler, where Jeff Martin's 74 Datsun went up against Lee Sweiter's 92 Ford Mustang for the cash prize. Lee's Mustang nailed it's 8.96 dial with a 8.964 E/T, but a snooze-worthy reaction time of .141 left plenty of room for Jeff to grab a win. And even with a far less impressive 6.768 E/T on a 6.68 dial, a .019 reaction time gave him more than a tenth of a second advantage over Lee, and that would be enough to give Jeff the Gambler pot.
In the Summit Motorcycles bracket, David Collins' 83 Kawasaki was matched up against Joe Silva's 80 Suzuki bike. David's 5.889 E/T on a 5.87 dial would give him the win over Joe's 6.667 E/T on a 6.45 dial, giving David Collins the Summit Motorcycle win.
Next, in the Summit Sportsman bracket, Paul Wagner met up with Gary Harfield in the final, where Paul's delay at the line would cost him. His .140 reaction time gave Gary, who had a .068 R/T, over 7 hundredths of a second of an advantage. And while Paul ran well with a 7.642 E/T on a 7.62 dial, said reaction time meant that all Gary would need is a 7.962 or better on his 7.89 dial. His 7.957 would be good enough to take the Summit Sportsman win.
In the Summit Pro bracket, Tracy Perez was up against Noel Ceuvas, jockeying for points in the year-long series. Noel seemed to want it more, being unable to wait for a green light as they launch 30 thousandths of a second early, fouling out and giving Tracy the Summit Pro win.
Summit Super Pro came down to Rick Reynolds and his 66 Fairlane up against RJ Simrock and his 70 Nova. Both racers were near-even off the line, but Rick's 5.903 E/T on a 5.89 was just a hair closer than RJ's 6.559 E/T on a 6.54 dial, giving Rick the Summit Super Pro win.
With Saturday night taken up, everyone got started up again for Sunday afternoon. But this time, there was a coveted NHRA Wally trophy on the line for all the Summit winners.
But before that, the cash of the Gambler needed to be handed out. Craig Wesser brought his 63 Nova to try and get the lion's share of it, but Jim “Woody” Wood's 63 Corvette had something to say about that. Jim had a slow launch, but Craig pushed his car too far, getting a 8.761 E/T on a 8.82 dial, unpressed by Woody's own run. With that breakout, Woody would take the Gambler win.
Jim "Woody" Wood, Near, against Craig Wesser in the Gambler final
In the Summit Motorcycle bracket, Joe Silva was looking to improve on his runner up performance on Saturday, while Corey Wilcox's 06 Suzuki was looking to take a Wally for itself. Of course, it's hard for Corey to get that Wally when he takes .260 seconds to get off the line. Such a gap gave Joe an easy ride to a 6.665 E/T on a 6.50 dial, and to the Summit Motorcycle win, complete with a new trophy to put on his rack.
In Summit Sportsman, Paul Wagner was looking for vengeance against Gary Harfield, but the memory of his bad .140 start haunted him dearly. Paul would be off by nearly .140 again, but this time it was too early. 132 thousandths of a second early, giving him the red light and gifting Gary Harfield the Wally and the Sportsman Sweep.
In the Summit Pro bracket, Noel Cuevas was taking a second shot at things, but Daniel Switzer wanted some NHRA gold of his own. And when Daniel starts off with a .002 reaction time, while Noel naps with a .114, it's not hard to guess who took the win. Daniel's 8.250 E/T on a 8.22 dial would take the win, and the Summit Pro Wally.
And finally, in Sunday's Summit Super Pro, Todd Ferguson and John Hildebrand dueled for the last Wally of the night. Todd Ferguson would also have a slow start off the line, with a .128 reaction time compared to John's .047, leaving Todd playing catch up for the entire eighth a mile. A 7.208 E/T on a 7.27 dial would mean he caught up too much, breaking out and giving John Hildebrand a Wally and the Summit Super Pro win
John Hildebrand (Far) against Todd Ferguson (Near) in the Summit Super Pro final
With the Summit done and gone, we look towards next week, when on Sunday, the 1st of July the Import Outlaws come to town, followed by the Crower Cup and AFX series continuing a week after on Saturday, July 8th. See you there!