In Las Vegas, Kenny pulled out a close one and went on to victory. In Dallas, the two provided the fireworks again. This time Crawford turned the tables on Tran by a scant .117 seconds, taking a .057 advantage off the line and running an 8.736 to Kenny's 8.796. This was a surprise as the Neon locked up the wheels violently in qualifying and had to be manuevered off the track on a jack. Crew chief Darrell Cox knows his stuff, having revived the Mopar all season long.
In round two, Ladwig's Sunfire launched and died. With Tran out, Crawford was the only title pursuer left in the field. Could he take advantage? He won his heat and had a Bye into the final.
In the other semi, Lance Ho Lung and the HP Racing Civic fired a warning shot with a wicked 8.58 at 174 mph. On qualifying day, long after our last lemonade, Lance was seen scurrying about the HP pit swapping a blown motor. He was short on crewmembers and as we got to the track on Saturday sipping our first Starbucks coffee of the day, he was still wrenching away.
In the final, both drivers cut outstanding lights; Ho Lung had a .086 and Crawford had a .057, but Ho Lung's 8.56 was too much for Crawford's 8.73. The long overdue victory was Lance's first ever and his wife and kids were in victory lane with him.
This turned out to be a bittersweet win for him. Days after putting his Wally on the mantle, Lance stepped down from his position with the HP Civic, citing family and business issues. He didn't rule out a return to the track as a driver exclusively and we hope to see him on the trail again in the future.
A weird aura permeated the "Honda Tuning" All-Motor Class; it was the purple haze surrounding newcomer Leslie Durst and her CRX. Leslie rolled off the trailer and grabbed the number one spot with a 10.52.
The Honda camp had a little to cheer about in a class sponsored by "Honda Tuning" magazine, as Texan Ken Scheepers (class points leader) and his '85 RX-7, Jesus Padilla in his '85 RX-7 and Scott Mohler have kept the "H" out of the limelight. For some reason, the Mazdas didn't feel as fast in Dallas.
After a slow Bye in the first stanza, Durst dropped a 10.51 in the second round to prove her .52 was no fluke. Scheepers posted a 10.77 single to set up the final pairing.
Durst hasn't been around all season and gave no indication in the final, improving yet again with a 10.35 to Scheepers' 10.87. Durst won her first event and sits a tenth off the class record.
The Texas Motorplex surface had soaked up a lot of heat and there were no Pro RWD qualifiers in the 6s. Abel Ibarra showed more signs of improvement atop the ladder with a 7.08. Craig Paisley came on the radar in his Toyota Tacoma sporting Supra power. He qualified sixth with a 7.79, beat Stephan Papadakis with a 7.54 and fell to Ara Arslanian with a 7.51; but, hey, it took a 6.91 to send him to the trailer.
Abel ran into the buzz saw that is George Ioannou, who made the pass of the weekend a straight-up sick 6.87 at 205 mph. The Pro RWD final was an all Street Glow affair as the matching Bullish/Street Glow Solara squared off. Team orders were in effect as points leader Ioannou (7.22) left first and Arslanian (7.02) waited and then took off.
Modified was a "don't blink or you'll miss it" affair, where Cesar Febus was untouchable. He blasted a 7.90 in qualifying and was nearly 3.5 seconds ahead of the other two cars in the field heading into eliminations. After a Bye, his final-round competitor broke off the line and Febus saved the equipment en route to an easy Wally.
The NHRA Auto Trader Magazines Texas Nationals put two new faces in the winner's circle, saw Hot Rod tighten and Pro FWD slip further away. The NHRA heads into the home stretch with the next stop in the Woodburn, Ore.