MATT WARD WINS TWICE AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY, SUTTON AND WARREN CONTINUE THEIR POINTS LEAD
(Commerce, GA – July 28) Although rain did threaten the event during the first round, it moved about a mile north of Atlanta Dragway, allowing racers to once again enjoy competing in the Summit ET series. Because the Atlanta Dragway Jr Dragster racers were at Bristol Dragway competing in the Eastern Conference Finals (at race time, they had already won the Team Spirit award for the second year in a row), a Run for the Money event for both eighth mile racers and quarter mile racers was added. Harold Wilson ('74 Nova) won the quarter mile event with a dead-on 13.434 second pass on his 13.43 dial in time, and Matt Ward, who went on to win in Pro class with his '69 Camaro, hit a perfect 6.430 second time on his 6.43 eighth mile target.
For the final rounds, the announcer noted even pairings in each class. Two big block chevy powered vehicles met in the Super Pro finals, two Camaros went for the win in Pro class, two Fords met in Sportsman, and two Suzukis were paired for the Motorcycle final. Jerry Wilson, who came to license today with his Top Dragster entry, definitely had the fastest car on the grounds. Two of his runs were 7.14 second passes at 187 plus mph.
Don Brown Jr enjoyed taking the Super Pro win, but the Wilhelm family was equally, if not more thrilled by the pleasure of being Brown's final round opponent. Commerce, GA racer Marty Wilhelm pleased fans throughout the competition with his wild and wooly 23T Altered's long smoky burnouts. Wilhelm couldn't have asked for any more from his car in the final, as it ran dead-on with a zero (5.200 elapsed time at 130.47mph), but Brown's slight reaction time advantage put his '03 Spitzer dragster into the winner's circle. The semi-finalist positions were filled today by former Jr Dragster standouts and multiple time Super Pro winners Jeremy Hancock ('77 Vega – Commerce, GA) and Jesse Young ('00 Undercover – Danielsville, GA). "We had a good day. Thanks to Big Don for all his help. A lot of his parts are on my dragster now," said Don Brown Jr. Wilhelm thanked the Atlanta Dragway track preparation crew for a great track surface.
The closest final of the event happened in the Pro class. Both finalists, Matt Ward and Chad Brewer are no stranger to the winner's circle. Tonight, either one's final round times would have taken the win in Super Pro class where electronics are allowed. For the Pro final, Matt Ward took the win stripe 0.012 seconds (works out to around one foot) ahead of Brewer's car with an eight thousandths package (0.006 second react and 0.002 over the dial). Ward's Fair Play, SC based '69 Camaro posted a dead-on 6.422 at 105.25mph (6.42 dial). Not to be outdone, "Tweety the Nuclear Banana", the '68 Camaro piloted by Chad Brewer, put a dead-on 6.907 at 98.88mph (6.90 dial) on the scoreboard. Travis Bryant, who won the 6.50 Index class on July 21 with his Bowman, GA based '68 Camaro was the lone semi-finalist. "This is drag racing at its finest. I want to thank God first, and then Wayne Allen (father in law), my wife Crystal, daughter Ava and the track crew for doing a great job," added Ward.
Howard Warren from Douglasville, GA has been dominating the 2012 Sportsman class (and also competes in Pro class). Warren continued his points lead with a final round Sportsman victory against Josh Richardson of Stockbridge, GA. Because Richardson's '89 Mustang did not go into high gear properly, Warren's '72 Maverick caught up with him shortly after the halfway point. Knowing victory was at hand, Warren then slowed his car and began pacing him to the finish line, taking the win light with a 12.400 at 90.70mph (12.14 dial). Richardson's car put up a 14.84 at 70.56mph (13.85 dial) on the scoreboard. Another long time racer, John Snapp ('12 Mustang – Conyers, GA) made it to the semi-final round. "Both guys I loaned stuff to earlier in the day beat me in Pro class today," added a smiling Warren. He loaned Pro winner Matt Ward duct tape to secure wheel weights that had fallen off and Ward beat him in the Pro first round. After buying back in to round two, Peter Mansolillo, who had borrowed a timing light from Warren, defeated him in round two. Josh Richardson thanked his dad Doug for all of his support, and also thanked Access Solutions.
Tim Sutton of Clermont, GA took the win again in Motorcycle class, this time against "Wilson Gang" member Brian Wilson. Wilson did take the big end stripe first, by 0.029 seconds, but went just slightly too quick with a 9.135 at 135.78mph on a 9.14 target. Sutton turned in the winning time of 8.942 at 144.19mph (8.91 target). "I knew I was ahead, and rolled out of the throttle, but just not enough," added Wilson, who advanced to fourth place in points with his final round appearance. Sutton dedicated his win to friend and neighbor Herman Willoughby, who passed away recently. Sutton is leading the Motorcycle class with 420 points, followed by good friend and competitor Jay Rhyne (in second place with 330 points), who finished in the semi-final round with his Athens, GA based '82 Suzuki. The other Motorcycle semi-finalist was Jeff Shropshire ('00 Kawasaki – Dallas, GA).