NHRA JR. CHAMPIONS CELEBRATE IN BRISTOL AT CONFERENCE FINALS
BRISTOL DRAGWAY, Bristol, Tenn. (July 26-28) — Eight individual racers — Thomas Oates (age 8-9), Alec Harper (10), Carson Brown (11), Nicholas Altenbach (12), Jackson Core (13), Schuyler Turner (14), Morgen Wood (15), and Cody Barnhart (16-17) — and the team from Huntsville Dragway in Huntsville, Ala., added their names to the list of NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League National Championships/Conference Finals champions when they scored top honors at the 2012 NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals presented by ViperizerRacing.com at Bristol Dragway. All were first-time winners.
Huntsville Dragway Team 1 won a heated team championship race that had 21 teams finish within 10 points of one another. Huntsville got its biggest boost from 16-17-year-old champion Cody Barnhart, who helped his team tally 31 points for the No. 1 spot. When Altenbach turned on the win light in the 12-year-old final, he lifted National Trail Raceway Team 3 into the second spot with 29 markers, edging out Bristol Dragway Team 1, No Problem Raceway Park Team 2, and Bristol Dragway Team 3, all of whom earned 28 points to tie for third overall.
Oates, a member of the Mason-Dixon Dragway team who hails from Clearbrook, Va., took home the 8-9 age group Wally when he bested Flemington, N.J., runner Anthony Romaniello in the final. Romaniello made Oates’ job a little easier when he red-lighted. Oates cut a .120 light and ran a 13.053 (12.94 dial) en route to victory.
A red-light start also determined the outcome of the 10-year-old final. This time, Clinton, Ind., racer David Giovanini fouled out by .004-second, giving the win to Meansville, Ga., competitor Harper. Harper, who was racing for Silver Dollar Raceway, ran a .108-initiated 8.925 (8.90) on his victory pass.
Blountville, Tenn.’s Brown notched one for host track Bristol Dragway when he stopped Autumn Greene, of Bradenton, Fla., in the 11-year-old class title round. Greene had the better reaction time, .021 to .067, but Brown was able to drive around her and win on an 8.928 (8.91) to 8.965 (8.90) count.
Altenbach, who traveled from Westerville, Ohio, led the 12-year-old age group final from start to finish. He left the starting line first, .100 to .145, then posted a closer 8.952 (8.91) to get the nod over Princeton, W.Va., racer Jackson Bailey, who crossed second with a 10.765 (10.71).
Kirsten Smith had the advantage on the starting line in the 13-year-old final, cutting a .036 light to the .053 of Crowley, La., racer Core, but the Huntington, Tenn., runner broke out by .005-second. That opened the door for No Problem Raceway Park’s Core, who ran right on his 7.90 dial to turn on the win light.
Fostoria, Ohio’s Turner, who was part of National Trail Team 1, put together a strong .001-initiated 7.948 (7.93) run in the 14-year-old category final to earn top honors over 2008 Eastern Conference Finals champion and Ponchatoula, La., resident Alyssa Hickey, who red-lighted away an on-the-dial 7.908.
Wood, a Wabash, Ind., racer who borrowed a car for the event, went the distance in the 15-year-old age group, defeating Amherst, Ohio’s Annie Kordeleski in the final. Wood, a member of the Muncie Dragway team, ran an on-the-dial 8.197 to turn on the win light against Kordeleski, who was slightly better on the Tree but ran further off her dial with a 7.943 (7.90).
Barnhart had to battle through a very large field of more than 120 cars to win the 16-17 age group, and he was impressive in doing so, posting several .00 lights and consistent runs on or near his dial. Barnhart, who hails from Cullman, Ala., saved his best run for last, cutting a near-perfect .007 light and posting a dead-on 8.100 (8.10) to stop Bristol, Va., racer Ben Denton, who crossed second with a .022-initiated 7.931 (7.92).
The competition for the Team Spirit award was hotly contested again with several teams making a strong run for the coveted title. With a strong presence in the grandstands throughout eliminations and its storm-themed decorations, Atlanta Dragway scored the trophy, beating out National Trail Raceway, Tri-State Dragway, Route 66 Raceway, and others.
Additional event coverage can be found at http://jrdragster.nhra.com/
|Results from the 2012 NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals:|
|Quarterfinalists: Gracie Freeman (Roan Mountain, Tenn.); Trinity Marshall (Fisherville, Ky.); Jacob Hickey (Ponchatoula, La.); Matt Schell (Reiffton, Pa.); Thomas Oates (Clearbrook, Va.); Ashley Cook (West Chester, Ohio); Anthony Romaniello (Flemington, N.J.); Paige Teel (Quincy, Ill.).|
|Quarterfinalists: Alec Harper (Meansville, Ga.); Nathan Altenbach (Westerville, Ohio); Johnny Brannen (Dunedin, Fla.); Blake Lee (Kansas, Ill.); Blake Adams (Greensburg, Ind.); Jonathan Northrop (Perkaskie, Pa.); David Giovanini (Clinton, Ind.).|
|Quarterfinalists: Carson Brown (Blountville, Tenn.); Isaac Evans (Athens, Ala.); Autumn Greene (Bradenton, Fla.); Maddie-Kate Halsey (Clermont, Ga.); Courtney Grisez (Vermilion, Ohio).|
|Quarterfinalists: Jackson Bailey (Princeton, W.Va.); Brandon Lange (Milan, Mich.); Harry Ackinson (Churchville, Md.); Corey Thompson (New Chaney, Texas); Shelly Goodwin (McDonough, Ga.); T.J. Harris (Guthrie, Ky.); Nicholas Altenbach (Westerville, Ohio).|
|Quarterfinalists: Kirsten Smith (Huntington, Tenn.); Robert Estevez (Waldorf, Md.); Jackson Core (Crowley, La.); Brad Keyton (Severn, Md.); Hunter Knight (Thibodaux, La.); Kaitlyn Krause (Orefield, Pa.).|
|Quarterfinalists: Alyssa Hickey (Ponchatoula, La.); Taylor Young (South Amherst, Ohio); Schuyler Turner (Fostorio, Ohio); Tyler Allison (Columbia, Mo.); Devin Isenhower (Lebanon, Ind.); Ryan Armer (Kevil, Ky.).|
|Quarterfinalists: Annie Kordeleski (Amherst, Ohio); Dylan Kiser (Corryton, Tenn.); Morgen Wood (Wabash, Ind.); Jonathan Berkel (Elyria, Ohio); Mason Gross (Fairmont, W.Va.).|
|Quarterfinalists: Emily Zartman (Pottstown, Pa.); Harley Patrick (Amelia, Ohio); Cody Barnhart (Cullman, Ala.); Kieffer Simpson (Seymour, Ind.); Ben Denton (Bristol, Va.); Nick Hooten (Oak Forest, Ill.); Juan Valadez (San Antonio, Texas); Zachary Hebert (Evans, Ga.).|