Surprise winners, early finish add flavor to season opener by ProQuest


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									                     Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series • Race 1 • Texas Motorplex, Dallas

                     Surprise winners, early finish add flavor to season opener

   Malcolm Wahle (inset) scored his first win in Top
   Alcohol Dragster when he drove his entry, far lane, to a
   final-round 5.35 to defeat Daniel Kracht’s 5.56.

by Phil Burgess                              weeks earlier at the Jegs NHRA Cajun            championship runner-up, followed his              Gray needed to spend .04-second in
photos by Robert Grice                       SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La.              win at the O’Reilly NHRA Spring                Competition Index Control penalties to
                                                                                             Nationals presented by Pennzoil in             reach the final, running a (-.54) 7.01 in
                                             Top Alcohol Dragster: Second-year
N     HRA’s Division 4 kicked off its
      2009 season as usual at Texas
Motorplex, but there weren’t many “as
                                             Top Alcohol Dragster racer Wahle,
                                             whose first season concluded with three
                                                                                             Houston by driving his I40 Inc.-
                                                                                             sponsored Monte Carlo to his third
                                                                                             consecutive final of the season. Harker
                                                                                                                                            the quarterfinals to beat Pete Carbery
                                                                                                                                            in a heads-up B/A match, then
                                                                                                                                            defeated Adam Hickey in the semi’s
usual” things about the event’s outcome.     straight DNQs in Division 4                     qualified No. 1 at 5.62 and never looked       and Chase Williams in the final, where
    For starters, the race was finished      competition, obviously has made a major         back, blasting out back-to-back 5.63s in       a .002 light and a (-.46) 7.05 held off
a day ahead of schedule, in the early        turnaround for 2009; the Claremore,             the first two rounds before lowering the       Williams’ quicker-but-later (-.47) 7.52
hours of Sunday morning after                Okla., racer scored his first win in            boom in the final.                             for the win. Gray trails points leader
weather forecasts began to call for          impressive style from the No. 2 spot.              Kebin Kinsley did all he could in the       Chris McGaha, who has run two
heavy winds in the area Sunday                  After qualifying with a 5.37, he             final by leaving first, but his 5.76, 250.64   Division 7 meets already, by just 18
afternoon. Division 4 Director Craig         reeled off passes of 5.39, 5.33, and a          couldn’t hold back Harker’s impressive         points.
Hutchinson and Motorplex officials           final-round 5.35 to defeat Daniel Kracht,       low e.t./top speed charge of 5.58, 256.75
huddled and decided it was wiser to          who slowed to a 5.56 in the title bout.                                                        Super Stock: Bryant’s opponents
complete the race when they could.           His 5.33 was just a tick away from the          Comp: Gray, the son of NHRA Full               did some of the heavy lifting for him
    Steve Harker defended his event title,   low e.t. set by No. 1 qualifier Kimmelyn        Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock          in his six rounds of work prior to
but the winner’s list was                                  Buff-Pesz, who fell on a          regular Johnny Gray, proved that the           hoisting the Wally, mostly with
dotted with others earning                                 red-light in round one.           apple doesn’t fall far from the                starting-line miscues, but the New
their first victories,                                                                       Christmas Tree as he powered his B/A           Orleans racer proved more than up to
including Malcolm Wahle in                                    Top Alcohol Funny Car:         Dodge Stratus though five rounds to            the task when called to battle, posting
Top Alcohol Dragster and                                      Harker, last year’s national   earn his first win.                                                            to page 72
Shane Gray in Comp. That
trio was joined in the
winner’s circle by Michael
Bryant (Super Stock), Sam
Lusco (Stock), David
Warren (Super Comp), Rick
Prudhomme (Super Gas),
Alfred Johnson (Super
Street), Chris Gulitti (Top
Sportsman), Jerry Holt (Top Dragster),
and Benji Gibson (Sportsman
    Although this was the division’s
first official Lucas Oil Drag Racing
Series event, racers in Super Street,
Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, and
Sportsman Motorcycle were actually
competing in their second points-
earning event as their classes are           Shane Gray (inset), the son of NHRA Pro Stock racer Johnny Gray, scored his first win when he powered his B/A Dodge Stratus, far
allowed to count points earned three         lane, past Chase Williams in the final, (-.46) 7.05 to (-.47) 7.52 for the win.

24 ✦ National DRAGSTER
● Division 4
    from page 24

a .018 light and a 10.20 on a 10.18 light
in the quarterfinals and a solid effort at
both ends in the final round.
    Division terror Gary Emmons
provided the formidable opposition in
the title bout, but Bryant was up to the
task, leaving off the multiple national
event winner and posting a 10.188 on a
10.18 dial in his M&B Trucking GT/FA
’91 Calais to fend off Emmons’ better-                                                                                    (Above) Steve Harker, far lane, drove around Kebin Kinsley’s
but-later 9.824 (9.82 dial) by .005-second.                                                                               final-round holeshot to repeat his 2008 win at this event.
                                                                                                                          Harker ran low e.t. and top speed at 5.58, 256.75 to beat
Stock: Foul starts bookended Lusco’s                                                                                      Kinsley’s 5.76, 250.6. (Left) The winners of the opening race
six-round run to the roses in Stock, and                                                                                  of Division 4’s 2009 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series were
the Houma, La., driver and his H/SA                                                                                       congratulated in the Texas Motorplex winner’s circle by
’96 Dodge truck filled in the blanks in                                                                                   Division 4 Director Craig Hutchinson, top row far right.
the middle with solid driving at both                                                                                     (Above left) Michael Bryant, far lane, posted a 10.188 in the
ends of the track.                                                                                                        Super Stock final with his GT/FA ’91 Calais to nip Lucas-
    The final was over before it began as                                                                                 backed hitter Gary Emmons’ 9.824 (9.82 dial) by
fellow Louisianan Jody Simoneaux left                                                                                     .005-second.
.009-second too soon in his
Napoleonville-based, Moser Engineering-
backed F/SA ’67 Chevy to hand the win          Corvette against the ’58 ’Vette of             three years. Guilitti and his low-seven-       advantage, allowed him to eke out a
to Lusco. The two finalists sit 1-2 in the     former champ Jimmy Lewis. Lewis                second, Spring, Texas-based ’98 Firebird       close win over Larry Eidson, who was
points standings.                              ran closer to the magic number with            capitalized on a series of opponent            right there with a solid 6.922 on a
                                               a 9.902, but Prudhomme put the bite            mistakes, including two red-lights, a late     6.92 target.
Super Comp: With his victory in                on him at the starting line, .018 to           light, and a deep-stage violation, to win
Dallas, Warren closed to within 15             .045, to seal the win.                         four of the five rounds.                       Sportsman Motorcycle: Gibson
points of the division lead behind two                                                            Vasil John was the last to commit a        made his 2009 debut in the Sportsman
other drivers who have run two out-of-          Super Street: Johnson’s victory was           mistake as he rolled his ’07 GTO too           Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson
division races already. Along the way to        truly one of those where he and his car       deep in the final, triggering a foul and       class a winning one as he rode his
the final, Warren knocked off reigning          worked together to get the trophy. On         allowing Gulitti to race to an easy win        Euless, Texas-based ’05 Hayabusa
division champ Travis Prudhomme with            the two occasions where he got beaten         with a nonetheless solid 7.17 (7.16) on        through the 31-bike field to claim the
a solid                                                                   off the line, his   the solo.                                      win. Gibson’s final-round clash with
.010/8.903 and                                                            Benbrook,                                                          regular class winner Jerry Pomilla was a
only ventured                                                             Texas-quartered     Top Dragster: Holt kicked off his 2009         nail-biter as Pomilla got off the line first,
below the 8.90                                                            Show Time           
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