Jeremy Allen had his work cut out for him running against Jesus Padilla. It was FWD vs. RWD and Allen would have to muster up something better than his best run of the weekend if he would have a chance against Padilla. Both competitors staged, but when the tree dropped, Padilla's Mazda launched past Allen's Civic and he never looked back. It was Allen's best run an 11.436 at 116 mph, but definitely no match for Padilla's 10.557 at 129 mph.
Final round pitted the top two qualifiers against one another-Shagday vs. Padilla; old school vs. new. This time Shagday was the underdog. Both competitors staged and Padilla's RWD launched past Shagday by the 60-foot mark. Shagday gave chase and was trailing Padilla by a car length, but Shagday was unable to reel in Padilla. It was very close, but the Wally went to Jesus Padilla and his three-rotor RX-7 posting a 10.577 at 128 mph against Shagday's 10.690 at 126 mph.
Toyota Supras were the weapons of choice filling half the qualifying field, but the RX-7 of Ari Yallon and Rotary Performance as well as the Talon of John Shepherd (2001 IDRC Champion) would have to be knocked out of the way if a Supra was to win the Wally.
Having beaten the Supra of Vinny Ten in the first round, Ari Yallon was matched against the Titan Motorsports Supra of Mark Mazurowski in the semis. The first NHRA Street Tire final in Gainesville brought these two together with Yallon beating Mazurowski off the line. Mazurowski qualified with a 9-second pass and wanted to show Yallon just what that looked like in the semis. Both competitors lined up in the staging area with Yallon creeping slowly into the first beam. Yallon's transmission problems in qualifying would plague him once again. Just as the tree turned yellow, Yallon's RX-7 crept out of the last staging beam, causing him to red light and give the easy win to Mazurowski.
Next up was the '93 Supra of Marko Djuric and the '91 Talon of John Shepherd. Track favorite John Shepherd had pulled 9's out of his car beating Jeff Elliot in the first round, but Djuric was also up to the 9-second task. And when the tree went green, Shepherd was left holding the bag at the line as Djuric cut a good light and blasted past Shepherd. Shepherd was looking to catch him by the end, but Djuric had a new personal best run, crossing the finish with a 9.802 at 143 mph to Shepherd's 9.932 at 147 mph. This was the first all 9-second showdown in the Street Tire Class, a testament to the rapid evolution this division is experiencing.
The final round was Supra vs. Supra; Mazurowski vs. Djuric. With both Toyotas capable of single-digit passes, the crowd knew this was going to be close and they were right. One green light later and Djuric got the jump on Mazurowski by two car lengths. Both cars were on the march with Mazurowski hot on the heels of Djuric. Door to door both cars approached the traps, but at the 1000-foot marker, Djuric's turbo took a dump, billowing clouds of smoke like a mosquito fogger. Fortunately Djuric had enough momentum to hit the traps before Mazurowski. Who cares about blowing a turbo when you win, right?
Not right-Djuric who had finished in 9.725 at 135 mph was disqualified, as the car did not meet NHRA requirements. It seems the Supra's only form of chassis protection was a simple four-point roll bar, which is required of cars running 10.00 to 11.99 seconds. Cars faster than 10.0 seconds require a six-point roll cage. Djuric was warned after his 9.80 in the semis that another 9 would result in a DQ. His only way to win was to run a 10 and still beat Mazurowski. It wasn't to be and Team Titan got the win.
The quarterfinal round started by matching the Venom Civic of Bruce Mortensen against Sav Leone and his IMPO Performance-sponsored Civic. Leone qualified tenth and knew he would need a little luck if he was going to knock the number two qualifier out of the race. One green light later it was all over for Leone. By the time Leone dumped the clutch, Mortensen was past the 60-foot marker. To top that off, his IMPO Performance Civic was misfiring halfway down the track. Mortensen finished with an off-pace 10.146 at 153 mph to Leone's 11.479 at 128 mph. Jojo Callos and Andrew Bermea were the next competitors out of the gate, but this was an easy round for Callos. Bermea not only was late off the line, but also broke. Jojo was running his typical 8-second pass and moved into the semis.
Having beaten Kenny Tran in an earlier round, Mike Crawford and his PhatRidz Dodge Neon looked to slam the door on Jennifer Williams and her Inline Pro Honda. This is Jennifer's first year running the Hot Rod Class, having made her way through the ranks of bracket classes. Both cars left the line at the same time, but every time Jennifer shifted gears, the automatic transmission of Crawford's Neon kept him moving forward. At the trap, she was ahead by two car lengths. Crawford finished with a 9.453 at 151 mph to Williams' very respectable 9.594 at 147 mph. Be sure to watch for Jennifer Williams at future events.