Cordova Dragway Park
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Gingles Wins First Ever, Foster His Second this Year at Cordova
by Todd Veney
CORDOVA, Ill. -- At the Midwest Regional event at Cordova Dragway Park, Canadian Gord Gingles picked up the first win of his Top Alcohol Dragster career and Chris Foster his second of the year in Top Alcohol Funny Car.
Gingles was the picture of consistency throughout eliminations, running nothing but 5.30s in the summer heat to outduel a top-flight field that included some of the best cars in the country. The Winnipeg, Man., driver strapped a holeshot on returning veteran Dennis Drath in the final round with an outstanding .016 reaction time and sped to a consistent 5.37 at 267 mph for the victory. Drath, down a couple of car lengths by the half-track mark, shut off to a 6.05 after running between 5.40 and 5.42 all weekend.
Drath qualified in the top half with a 5.42 and took out many-time national event champions Marty Thacker and Chase Copeland in the preliminary rounds of eliminations. With a 5.34, his best run of the weekend, Gingles qualified No. 2 behind Randy Meyer, who set low e.t. with the only run in the 5.20s. Gingles was six-hundredths of a second behind Meyer but seven-hundredths ahead of the rest of the field in qualifying and never ran less than a 5.39 or slower than 266 mph all night.
Gingles established top speed of the meet in a 5.39, 269.51 win over Matthew Cummings in the first round. In the semifinals, his 5.35 was too much for Norwalk regional winner Ken Perry, who led at half-track before slowing to a 5.57 at just 208 mph.
In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Foster qualified No. 2 in a field that featured five drivers in the 5.60s, including No. 1 qualifier and defending event champ Dale Brand, who ran low e.t. of all three qualifying sessions – 5.69, 5.63, and 5.61 – in his first appearance anywhere all season. "I saw Dale's trailer at the other end of the pits on Friday and thought, 'Oh boy. He's going to be trouble.' That car always runs good," Foster said.
Foster was solidly in the 5.60s all weekend and eventually qualified No. 2 with a 5.64. "The car would get loose in high gear and fishtail, but it ran good every time," he said. "Everybody was. A lot of other cars were right there."
Especially Brand. The Iowa driver established low e.t. of the first two rounds of eliminations, with a 5.61 in the first round, matching his low qualifying time, to eliminate Wayne Butler, and a 5.62 in the semifinals against two-time Cordova winner Kirk Williams, who had an .011 light.
Foster was just a tick behind Brand, with a 5.66 in round one against Scott McVey and a 5.65 against rival Ray Drew's close 5.68 in the semifinals. What would have been a great final ended anticlimactically when Brand had to shut off after the burnout because of a fuel leak. Foster coasted to an 8.07 at 114 mph for his second regional victory of the year, including the Norwalk event in May.
"I heard over the radio that he had some kind of a problem, but the starter wasn't saying anything for a while," Foster said. "I sat back there waiting, and finally he walked over and held up one finger for a single."
With the victory, Foster passed Mickey Ferro, who won the Chicago and Columbus regionals, for the Midwest Region lead. "Cordova's not too far from home, and I had aunts and uncles and people who've never seen us race before with us in the winner's circle," he said. "I try not to pay too much attention to the points because whenever you look too far ahead it messes you up, but it looks like it's all going to come down to the last race of the year, in Bowling Green."