July started off hot at Barona 1/8th Mile Dragstrip, as races #5 and #6 of the NHRA Summit Series burned down the hot summer track. It was a warm California night on Saturday, July 8th as the quartet of Summit Series brackets ran their course over at Barona.
Saturday started off with the Gambler bracket, with no points on the line; just the winner's pot. And Greg Cercely and David Stoddard both wanted that grand prize pot. Greg's 63 Ford Falcon was by far the faster car, as David's 67 El Camino needed more than 2 seconds of a head start. The two cars were quite different, but the two racing styles were quite similar, as both cars pushed each other under their dial, both breaking out. David was close to a perfect E/T, with a 8.999 E/T on a 9.01 dial, only breaking out by 11 thousandths of a second. But, Greg got a 6.356 E/T on a 6.36 dial, as his 4 thousandths was 7 thousandths better than David's, as Greg takes the Gambler win.
David Stoddard (Near) lining up against Greg Crecely (Far) in Saturday's Gambler Final.
In the Summit Motorcycles, final regular Joe Silva's 80 Suzuki was up against David Collin's 83 Kawasaki. David would launch second, but after seeing Joe jump off the line with a .031 reaction time, David just could not wait, launching 5 hundredths of a second early, fouling and wrapping up the Saturday Summt Motorcycle win for Joe.
In the Summit Sportsman, Gary Harfield's Corvette was up against Peter Stoddard's 73 Nova. Both launched with identical .101 reaction times, but Gary beat Peter on the track, his 8.116 E/T on a 8.05 dial beating Peter's 9.468 E/T on a 9.39 dial, giving Gary the Saturday Summit Sportsman win.
In the Summit Pro bracket, Rick Reynolds and Paul Wagner met to duel in the final. Paul's 71 Duster got a better start off the line, with a .117 reaction compared to Rick's .151, but neither racer was willing to give either an inch on the track, as both of them break out. Paul's 4 hundredths of a second advantage at the start meant nothing due to the double break out, just their dials and their E/Ts. Paul got a 6.762 on a 6.78 dial, crossing over 18 thousandths of a second early, but Rick, with a 5.923 on a 5.94, was one thousandth closer to his dial than Paul was, getting Rick the Summit Pro win.
Paul's 71 Duster (Near) up against Rick Reynolds' 66 Fairlane (Far) in the Summit Pro final.
But Rick was not done that night, as he'd show up again in the Summit Super Pro final, his 66 Fairlane up against RJ Simrock's 70 Nova. This time, both racers would make clean runs. No red lights, no breakouts, just their wheels on the track. And based purely on wheels on the ground, RJ made the better run, getting a 6.562 on a 6.55 dial, 12 thousandths off a perfect run, better than Rick's 5.976 on a 5.94 dial and it's 36 thousandths of error. But, at the starting line, when the green bulbs finally lit up, Rick launched in 31 thousandths, and RJ launched in 84. Those 53 thousandths Rick gained mattered far more than the 24 thousandths Rick lost by on the track, giving Rick a better total package, and the Saturday Summit Super Pro win to go with his Summit Pro win.
RJ Simrock's 70 Nova (Near) up against Rick Reynolds' 66 Fairlane (Far) in the Summit Super Pro final.
Also, a special thanks to Shelly Seagal, from Las Vegas, for bringing her J-85 Firestarter Jet Dragster back to the track, as the rev of her engine and the feet upon feet of flame spat out behind her thundering beast was a good way to stay wide awake even during the later hours of the night.
With the midnight oil burning, and one race of the weekend finished up, everyone went to bed and got up early, ready to go again on Sunday in the hot California sun. There was some minor rainfall, but not enough to stop another day of speed addicted racers from going at it again.
Sunday, July 9th started with a familiar sight: The Summit Motorcycles final, with Joe Silva's 80 Suzuki lining up. This time, he'd be up against Russ Collins Jr's 08 Suzuki. But as the lights dropped down, once again Joe Silva's rival left too early, Russ's -.037 reaction giving him a red light foul, as two final red lights gives Joe Silva the weekend Summit Motorcycles sweep.
Russ Collins Jr (Near) up against Joe Silva (Far). Joe would win, sweeping the Summit Motorcycles bracket for the weekend, extending his points lead.
Gary Harfield also wanted a sweep this weekend, and he was nearly there. Gary was back in the finals of the Summit Sportsman, looking to go back to back for the weekend in that category. Paul Wagner was the only one left who could stop him. Paul tried his best, running a 7.685 E/T on a 7.61 dial, but Gary's 8.074 was far closer to his 8.04 dial, as Gary found himself with a sweep of his own, taking both Summit Sportsman wins.
Paul Wagner (Near) lined up against Gary Harfield (Far) in the Summit Sportsman final.
But Paul was not satisfied with a runner up in Sportsman and a runner up in Saturday's Pro bracket, as he climbed his was back up to the Summit Pro final. He'd be going up against Todd Ferguson's 64 Falcon. When the engines roared, and both racers made their way down the track, Paul's 71 Duster outdid it's paltry Sportsman final performance, getting a 7.657 E/T on a 7.65 dial, as those seven thousandths of a second would beat Todd's 6.578 on a 6.50 dial by a wide margin, giving Paul a well earned Summit Pro win.
However, Todd also was not done that night, as he found himself in the Summit Super Pro bracket. However, he had a tall order of vengeance: he'd have to beat current points leader and Saturday's Super Pro winner Rick Reynolds and his 66 Fairlane. Todd had no interest in going out quietly into the night, as he pushed his 64 Falcon to new speeds. Alas, they would be speeds that would be too fast for his dial, as his 6.527 E/T was decently well under his 6.54 dial, disqualifying him via breakout, as Rick Reynolds takes the weekend Summit Super Pro sweep, and extends his points lead over the pack.
Rick Reynolds (Near) lined up against Todd Ferguson (Far) in the Summit Super Pro final.
With one hot weekend of the NHRA Summit Series behind us, there was only one more Summit race weekend left, where this series will come to it's final conclusion. Not to mention, that is the weekend that the coveted Wally trophies will be handed out to each of the bracket winners. But before that, in two weeks, the summer flu makes it's way to Barona 1/8th Mile Dragstrip, as Match Race Madness infects the track, as friends, family, and bitter enemies do battle at Match Race Madness. See you there!