Sunday, July 25, 2010

National Dragster Challenge at Atlanta Dragway


(Commerce, GA – July 24) Atlanta Dragway picked up where it left off when last weekend's National Dragster Challenge was rained out. Competitors swarmed the track in hopes of winning a Wally, the drag racer's ultimate mantelpiece. For many, it was a chance at gaining their first Wally, while for a lucky few, it meant adding to their collection.

Joe Haddon (Oxford, GA) battled his way to the Super Pro finals in his '05 Miller Dragster, lining up against opponent Jeremy Hancock (Commerce, GA), who took a bye run to the finals in his '05 Undercover Swingarm Dragster. Haddon was dialed only slightly slower with a 4.86 prediction, next to Hancock's 4.81 dial-in. The tension built as the amber lights flashed; Hancock launched a tad early for a -.004 red light, instantly handing victory to Haddon, who left the line with a .023 green light. Haddon took a 4.85 second joy ride at 142.18 mph, while Hancock let off for a 9.43 second run at 43.55 mph. Haddon recalled last weekend's washed-out National Dragster Challenge, having broken his transmission. "I'd like to thank Paul Dooley, for offering his race car, and Brad Howard for coming the next day to fix mine." For Haddon, it's all about timing; on top of winning his first Wally, he's excited to celebrate his 18th anniversary with wife Vicky next Monday. "Thanks to all my friends who helped," Haddon added, and on a more solemn note, "this one's for our little dog Zippity," put to sleep last week. Jeremy Hancock ('05 Undercover Swingarm—Commerce, GA) placed third in the Super Pro category.

Chad Brewer ('67 Camaro—Canton, GA) made up for his losses this season when he rolled into the Pro finals next to Ken Grant ('90 Chevy 1500—Moultrie, GA). Grant was feeling lucky in the truck (driven by Jacob Rutledge) that won last weekend's World Footbrake Challenge in Bristol, and dialed in for an 8.09 second run. Brewer predicted a 7.30 run. It was anybody's race when Brewer left the line with a .055 reaction time, followed closely by Grant with a .058 green light. However, Grant held too fast to the floorboard, breaking out with an 8.07 elapsed time at 84.94 mph. Brewer set off the win lights running dead-on at 93.73 mph. "All I can say is, lucky was on my side!" Brewer humbly noted. He thanked the Mayor of Hickory Flat, Alan and Tracy Schaffer, George Mitchell, Rod Chumbley, and Jim McKelvey. J.D. Burford ('07 Corvette—Greenville, SC) placed in the Pro semi-finals.

The Sportsman finals featured Rickey Morris ('91 Mustang—Ellenwood, GA) against Mel Abney ('67 Camaro—Cumming, GA). Abney dialed in for a 13.28 run, giving Morris the tree handicap with a 15.10 dial-in. Morris left the starting line with a .046 green light, and Abney chased after with a similar .050 reaction time. For the closest race of the night, Morris crossed the win stripe in 15.12 seconds at 90.24 mph, winning with a .006 margin-of-victory over Abney's 13.30 elapsed time at 103.04 mph. Morris secured his first Wally with a lot of effort: "It was hot, and the car wasn't that well, so I had to really drive it today. I was lucky." Morris thanked his son Mickey Morris for his loyal support, David Simmons for rooting him on, Jacob Rutledge and his son for the good luck, and Racers For Christ for their special National Dragster Challenge trophy. Allen Schaffer ('87 Ram—Austell, GA) and Mark Hancock ('00 SUV—Commerce, GA) went out in the semi-final round.

"Steve Jackson ('08 Kawasaki—Bogart, GA) and Paul Lee ('00 GSXR—Mt. Airy, GA) lined up for the Motorcycle finals, Jackson with a 9.40 dial-in, a bit quicker than Lee's 10.00 second prediction. Lee left the line first, but at a snail's pace with a .271 green light; Jackson jumped the line with a .093 reaction. Jackson crossed the finish line for the win in 9.61 seconds at 128.29 mph, Lee following in 10.29 seconds at 117.29 mph. Jackson, having come to compete in order to sort out some problems with his bike, hadn't expected the honor of winning his first Wally. Jackson thanked Paul Lee "for the right lane," Paul Cavanaugh and Jay Rhyne for their support, Missy Thomas and the Atlanta Dragway crew. "I've got my first Wally, hopefully it's not my last!" Jackson also made a special thank you to his wife Joan Jackson, for all her support. Jay Rhyne ('82 Suzuki—AthensGA) and Michael Tlapa ('00 Motorcycle—LoganvilleGA) finished their evening in the semi-finals."

Last weekend's Junior Drag Racing League Challenge winner for the 8-12 Junior Dragster category, Daulton Rogers (12—Hiawassee, GA), met Austin Carden (11—McDonough, GA) in the 8-12 Junior finals for the second time consecutively. Rogers dialed in at 9.05, as Carden reared up for revenge with an 8.90 dial-in. Rogers killed the tree with an excellent .014 reaction time, Carden following with a .056 reaction. At the top end, Carden couldn't catch up to Rogers, who claimed the win in 9.08 seconds at 71.39 mph, while Carden finished in 8.92 seconds at 73.47 mph. Rogers is now catching up to Carden in points, placing third in the ranking, just under Carden's placement at number two.

The 13-17 Junior Dragster category was a final for girl power, with Kelsey Lynn (16—Marietta, GA) lined up against points leader Jennifer Jarrett (17—Cartersville, GA). The two both dialed in for 7.90 second runs, making for a heads-up race. The girls were sleepy at the tree: Lynn launched with a .106 green light, followed by Jarrett who cut a .165 reaction. Lynn held fast to the track, crossing first for the victory in 7.91 seconds at 82.59 mph. Jarrett finished in 7.98 seconds at 81.76 mph. Cole Sheriff (14—Lula, GA) placed third in the 13-17 Junior Dragster class.

Following the finals, the winners from the Motorcycle, Sportsman, Pro, and Super Pro categories competed for the "best overall package," for a $150 gift certificate for Red Horse Performance products. Steve Jackson and Joe Haddon fouled at the starting line, leaving the bonus to Chad Brewer and Ricky Morris. Brewer came out on top with a .056 package (7.31 elapsed time on a 7.29 dial-in at 93.58 mph, with a .039 reaction time), winning not only the gift certificate but free Red Horse Performance t-shirts for his crew.

RACE DATE: July 24, 2010
FROM: Amy Glover
EVENT: Summit ET event at Atlanta Dragway in 2010


Win: Joe Haddon '05 Miller Oxford, GA 4.85 142.18 (4.86)

R/U: Jeremy Hancock '05 Swingarm Commerce, GA 9.43 43.55 (4.81)(foul)

Semi: Don Brown Jr. '03 Spitzer Buford, GA


Win: Chad Brewer '67 Camaro Canton, GA 7.30 93.73 (7.30)

R/U: Ken Grant '90 Chevy 1500 Moultrie, GA 8.07 84.94 (8.09)

Semi: J.D. Burford '07 Corvette Greenville, SC


Win: Rickey Morris '91 Mustang Ellenwood, GA 15.12 90.24 (15.10)

R/U: Mel Abney '67 Camaro Cumming, GA 13.30 103.04 (13.28)

Semi: Allen Schaffer '87 Ram Austell, GA

Semi: Mark Hancock '00 SUV Commerce, GA


Win: Steve Jackson '08 Kawasaki Bogart, GA 9.61 128.29 (9.40)

R/U: Paul Lee '00 GSXR Mt. Airy, GA 10.29 117.29 (10.00)

Semi: Jay Rhyne '82 Suzuki Athens, GA

Semi: Michael Tlapa '00 Motorcycle Loganville, GA


Win: Daulton Rogers 12 Hiawassee, GA 9.08 71.39 (9.05)

R/U: Austin Carden 11 McDonough, GA 8.92 73.47 (8.90)

Semi: Alex Krause 12 Peachtree City, GA

Semi: Jared Noel 10 Walhalla, SC


Win: Kelsey Lynn 16 Marietta, GA 7.91 82.59 (7.90)

R/U: Jennifer Jarrett 17 Cartersville, GA 7.98 81.76 (7.90)

Semi: Cole Sheriff 14 Lula, GA