The Big-D played host to the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Series August 7-8 at Texas Motorplex. Upsets were the order of the day in an event sprinkled with wrecks, fireballs, impressive performances and wild door-to-door racing. The long shots cashing in the most chips included Pro RWD winner Matt Hartford, All-Motor winner Scott Kelly and Hot Rod victor Ron Lummus, but there were plenty more underdog winners along the way.
Hartford and his Summit-sponsored Cavalier, powered by a twin-turbocharged Cadillac V6, has made great strides in recent races. Taking the win in Dallas was a much needed shot in the arm for the hard-working Summit team.
In one of the best matchups of the weekend, Hartford beat top qualifier Stephan Papadakis in one wild ride. Both racers cut great lights (Steph .036; Hartford .033) but Hartford ran the best e.t. of eliminations, a swift 7.004, and he needed it all as Steph's 7.27 was the second quickest e.t. in eliminations. Hartford's foe in the finals, Abel Ibarra, has also been struggling to find his stride as of late. Abel upset Matt Scranton, who qualified with a 6.92 on his way to the finals but unfortunately an ill-timed red light (-.141) cost Ibarra the Wally.
There was a VW race run in conjunction with the NHRA event so the Volks folks were on the warpath. Half of the 10-car All-Motor field was in the 10s. The class' points leaders were in the top three; Scott Mohler (Mopar Neon) 10.215, Jesus Padilla ('85 Mazda RX-7) 10.223 and Leslie Durst (Honda CRX) 10.273. The VWs filed in right behind the threesome with Jack Sacchette at 10.369 and Scott Kelley at 10.903. In the first round, all the top qualifiers kept up the 10-second pace, except Padilla who chunked his tranny coming off the line. Mohler had the quickest lap of the first round at 10.19. In the next round, Sacchette upset Durst by pulling a .024 holeshot light compared to Durst's .265. This difference meant Sacchette's slower 10.391 was good enough to beat Durst's quicker, but losing, 10.347. Sacchette's Cinderella story was cut short in the semis by Mohler, who ran a 10.20 to the VW's 10.40. Scott Kelley and his Toyo Tires Bullet '69 Fastback survived the onslaught and made it into the money race. The battle of the Scotts was won by Kelley off the line with a .079 to .128. Once rolling, Kelley powered to a 10.608, which beat Mohler, who was smoking down the track and still managed a 10.681 to make it exciting.
The big upset special in Dallas also has ties to a VW. Garrett Turbos, Bothwell Motorsports and long-time VW racer Ron Lummus teamed up to field a car in the Turbo Magazine Hot Rod Class. The car was affectionately called "Ladwig's Old Car" in the pits. Crew chief Stephen Bothwell said that after all was done about six tubes of the original chassis survived the Sunfire's transition from a Hydramatic auto to an X-Trac five-speed. This was a no-testing debut and the car's initial foray was a 14-second make-sure-it-shifts run. The second run was an 8.70 and eyebrows were raised throughout pit row. The Sunfire continued its 8-second barrage throughout eliminations and in an ironic twist faced Marty Ladwig and the "new" Sunfire in the final. Ladwig was the top qualifier with an 8.30 and had run 8.27 in eliminations. Undaunted, Lummus let it rip, posting an 8.66 while Ladwig spun the tires out of the hole and could not close the gap, stopping the clock in 8.98.
Dallas was the seventh of 10 races on the table for the 2004 NHRA Summit Sport Compact drag season. Some of the season points races are tight and some are runaways. The next stop is St. Louis.
|RESULTS NHRA MAZDA SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS |
|WINNER ||CLASS ||RUNNER-UP |
|Matt Hartford ||Pro RWD ||Abel Ibarra |
|Lisa Kubo ||Pro FWD ||N/A |
|Paul Efantis ||Modified ||Carlos Gonzalez Jr. |
|Ron Lummus ||Turbo Mag Hot Rod ||Marty Ladwig |
|Scott Kelley ||Honda Tuning All-Motor ||Scott Mohler |
|Dan Hammons ||Sport RWD ||Anna C. |
|Jasen Penman ||Sport FWD ||Allen Sturgeon |