Home-state racer Eaton scores very special win by ProQuest

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									                              COMP — 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, March 12-15, Gainesville

                              Home-state racer Eaton scores very special win




by Phil Burgess                                                                                                           David Eaton, near lane, defeated David Rampy in a close
                                                                                                                          final round, earning his second career win by a little more

F    or David Eaton, who grew up in Florida and
     attended the Gatornationals as a kid, there prob-
ably is no finer moment than winning the 40th
                                                                                                                          than .007-second, (-.52) 6.71 to (-.49) 7.31. (Left) Eaton,
                                                                                                                          right, credited crew chief Frank Virginis for guiding him
                                                                                                                          to victory.
annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals. Well, that, of
course, and the fact that he beat the class’ all-time-                                                                    “Rampy-tized” and was late and was determined not
winningest driver, David Rampy, in the final round.                                                                       to commit the same mistake.
    Eaton, who posted two runner-ups — including one                                                                         Rampy got the better leave in the final, .017 to
to Rampy in Bristol in 2007 — before winning his first                                                                    .036, and Eaton hunted him down on the top end to
national event at the 2007 Norwalk race, powered his           never even took off on [full runs] for them. Glen, of      win, (-.52) 6.71 to (-.49) 7.31. Eaton’s speed was 202
winged A/AP roadster to what was a very meaningful             course, we were very worried about. He’s given me a lot    to Rampy’s 175-mph charge.
victory beyond what the much-needed infusion of the            of advice over the years, and he’s a three-time Indy
purse means to his efforts this season.                        winner; you’re always concerned whenever you run him.”
    “As a kid going to this race, I probably said, ‘Boy, I’d       Treadwell had lost 13-hundredths to the
                                                                                                                           About the winning car
like to win this race someday,’ about a thousand times,”       Competition Index Control the rounds before, giving         D avid Eaton builds his race cars, including his current
he said. “This is extremely special to me; it’s my Indy.”      Eaton a chance, an opportunity he bettered with a           ride, a ’32 Bantam that runs in the A/AP class. Since
    Heading into eliminations, not many people would           solid .015 to .058 advantage at the Tree. Eaton took        scoring his first win almost two years ago in Norwalk,
have thought Eaton had much of a chance. After all,            the win light with a (-.52) 6.74 to Treadwell’s (-.49)      he has continued to tinker with its design, relocating
he had qualified just 26th, more than a tenth and a            8.00. Eaton then advanced to his fourth career final        the engine and rear end multiple times.
half off the No. 1 spot.                                       round on Frank Aragona Jr.’s -.003 red-light.                   Power comes from a Pro Stock-style 500-cid DRCE-2
    “We struggled with the conditions in qualifying;               “Frankie’s always a tough draw, and I was really        engine built by Steve Schmidt and filled with a Comp
we couldn’t have done a worse job,” he admitted.               surprised when he went red,” admitted Eaton. “I             Cams valvetrain and GRP rods. A pair of four-barrel
“The track just didn’t agree with us. We never got a           think he knew that whoever had the better light was         carbs prepared by Bob Book handle the induction, and
handle of the first 30 feet of the track. We got better        going to win, and he really went for it.”                   power is transferred through a Lencodrive driveline
as the rounds went, which is what happens                          Eaton entered the final down just .02-second, and       featuring a Coan converter.
sometimes when we get to run after the Pro cars.”              Rampy was down .06-second.                                      Eaton thanked his wife, Jill; daughter, Sarah; and
    Fortunately for Eaton and crew chief Frank                     “I think him losing that index made him vulnerable      his crew chief, Frank Virginis, and wife Karen. “Frank
Virginis, they got two free chances to sort out their          because he knew he had a decision to make at the            is the key to this whole thing; he’s the driving force,”
combination when Tony Terry and No. 2 qualifier                other end [about possibly taking a permanent index          said Eaton. “He’s going on 70 years old, and there’s
David Allen fouled against Eaton in the opening                hit],” said Eaton. “We actually took a little timing out    not a harder worker in the pits. He’s incredible.”
frames, setting him up for a third-round race with             of our car and set it up to run .55 under and let him       Eaton also acknowledged the help and advice of Pro
his good friend and fishing buddy, Glen Treadwell.             make the call. David had the car to beat all race.”         Stock racers Larry Morgan and V. Gaines and the
    “Those first two red-lights were a big advantage to            Eaton also had the advantage of having run              support of Bob Steele Chevrolet in Cocoa, Fla.
us,” said Eaton. “Frank called the red-lights for me, so I     Rampy in a final before. In Bristol, Eaton was
54 ✦ National DRAGSTER
                                                                                                                                              Comp Qualifying
                                                                                                                                                         (Top 16 of 32 first-round winners)
                                                                                                                            1. Arnie Martel, Tewksbury, Mass. (F/AA ’07 GTO). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                   7.934 (-0.666)
                                                                                                                            2. David Allen, Sewickley, Pa. (BB/AM ’09 GXP). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                 6.849 (-0.661)
                                                                                                                            3. David Rampy, Piedmont, Ala. (A/EA ’32 Bantam). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                     7.242 (-0.628)
                                                                                                                            4. Anthony Bertozzi, Ashland, Va. (D/ED) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            7.369 (-0.621)
                                                                                                                            5. Lee Sharp, Maryville, Tenn. (D/SMA ’08 G5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                8.352 (-0.618)
                                                                                                                            6. Glen Treadwell, Sorrento, Fla. (G/ED) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          8.014 (-0.616)
                                                                                                                            7. Bo Butner, Georgetown, Ind. (D/A ’09 Cobalt) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                 7.650 (-0.610)
                                                                                                                            8. Pat Ross, Avon Lake, Ohio (F/A ’05 Grand Am) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                   8.011 (-0.609)
                                                                                                                            9. Ray Vierheller III, Barberton, Ohio (D/ED). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            7.383 (-0.607)
                                                                                                                           10. Tony Terry, Forest, Va. (F/AA ’04 Cavalier) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                            7.997 (-0.603)
                                                                                                                           11. Allen Stanfield, Fredericksburg, Va. (H/SM ’98 Grand Am) . . . . . . .                                         8.962 (-0.598)
                                                                                                                           12. Robert Bailey, Wabash, Ind. (A/ED). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                          6.627 (-0.593)
                                                                                                                           13. Stephen Szupka, Willow Grove, Pa. (F/ED). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                                8.238 (-0.592)
                                                                                                                           14. Sal Biondo, Maspeth, N.Y. (I/AA ’93 Beretta) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                             
								
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