Saturday, June 30, 2012
Winners Crowned at Bandimere Speedway
DENVER, Colo. -- Individual victories by Hayley Cline (age 8-9), Ashleigh Joy (11), and Tristan Marti (12) lifted Thunder Valley Raceway Park Team 1 to the team championship at the 2012 Mopar NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Western Conference Finals presented by Lucas Slick Mist and JR Race Car. The group from Noble, Okla., tallied 32 points to edge out Auto Club Famosoís team, which finished with 30 points, thanks in large part to a victory by Cade Poe in the 10-year-old age group and Justin Ballís runner-up finish in the 15-year-old age bracket. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway finished third with 29, followed by Western Colorado Dragway Team 2 and Speedworld Dragstrip Team 1, which tied with 25 points.
Joining Cline, Joy, Marti, and Poe in the individual winnerís circle were Boyd Eickmann (13), Cody Webber (14), Nash Keen (15), Zac Bogner (16-17), and Lerae Jacobs (Jr. Comp).
Cline, who hails from Seminole, Okla., had the reaction-time advantage in the 8-9 class final, .122 to .373, and she turned that into a 13.270 (12.95 dial) to 13.326 (13.03) victory over Canyon Lake, Calif., runner Dutch Farr.
In the 10-year-old age group final, North Las Vegas, Nev., racer Keoki Desa, a former Western Conference Finals winner, made things easy for Poe when he went red by .008-second. Poe, who traveled from Los Alamitos, Calif., for the event, paired a .084 light with an 8.924 (8.93) on his victory pass.
Norman, Okla., competitor Joy won the 11-year-old class final on the starting line, leaving first, .155 to .259, and turning the advantage into a 9.375 (9.26) to 8.981 (8.92) holeshot win against Canyon Lake, Calif.ís Dash Farr.
The 12-year-old category final was determined on the starting line as well, this time on a red-light start by Brighton, Colo., competitor Andrew Thorpe. Marti, who is from Noble, Okla., paired a .111 light with an 8.950 (8.90) en route to the win.
Eickmann made his long haul from Turner, Ore., pay off when he outlasted Centennial, Colo., racer Mitchell Pennetta in the 13-year-old age bracket. Eickmann was better on the Tree, .062 to .166, and that was the difference. Pennetta ran right on his 8.01 dial, but it wasnít enough to move around Eickmann, who won with an 8.885 (8.85).
Kingman, Ariz., racer Webber was the king of the 14-year-old age group, and he got a little help getting to that point when Charlie Ruckman, of Grand Junction, Colo., red-lighted in the final. Webber cut a .087 light and posted an 8.258 (8.22).
Shawnee, Okla., competitor Keen took control of the 15-year-old class final on the starting line, jumping to a .033 to .094 lead, and that pushed Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., racer Ball into a 7.994 (8.01) breakout. Keen clocked a clean 8.326 (8.29) to turn on the win light.
After winning a special 330-foot race held in advance of the Western Conference Finals earlier in the week, Bogner again went the distance, in the 16-17 age bracket. Bogner, of Norco, Calif., left the starting line first with a .038 light and eased his car to a 7.977 (7.92) to defeat Henderson, Nev., racer Taylor Vetterís .113-initiated 7.983 (8.01).
In the Visions Race Cars/Motivational Tubing Jr. Comp National held in conjunction with the Western Conference Finals, Jacobs took home the Wally when she bested Overland Park, Kan.ís Drew Prosser, who fouled. Jacobs, of Peyton, Colo., paired a .097 light with a 6.918 (6.90).
Several special awards were also presented during the weekend Dash Farrís Terminator entry was judged Best Overall Appearing Car. Nicole Pennetta took home the Best Appearing Theme Car trophy for her dolphin-themed entry, and 13-year-old champ Eickmannís Black Pearl dragster was named Coolest Car. Team Colorado, which includes racers from Bandimere Speedway, Julesburg Dragstrip, Pueblo Motorsports Park, and Western Colorado Dragway earned Best Appearing Track honors for their Survivor-themed shirts.
Trophies were also presented to the racer in each age group who ran closest to his or her dial on a winning run in the opening round and to the racer in each group with the best reaction time on a winning run in round one. The Closest to Dial awards went to Michael Nowlin (8-9), Brayden Staab (10), Valerie Steffens (11), Raymond Longoria III (12), Willie Wilkerson (12), Hunter Worthley (14), Austin Mohr (15), and Josh Jones (16-17). The Best Reaction Time award winners were Hunter Eberwein (8-9), Malaya Cruickshank (10), Dylan Sipes (11), Bryson Denton (12), Bryson Parks (13), Griffin Rider (14), Mohr (15), and Brandon Helgeson (16-17). Mohrís double-award-winning run was a rare perfect package with a .000 light and a dead-on 8.900.
The group from Western Colorado Dragway won the coveted and hotly contested Team Spirit Award, beating out SRCA Dragstrip, which had another strong showing after winning the award the previous two years.
Additional event coverage can be found at http://jrdragster.nhra.com/