The NHRA returned to Virginia Motorsports Park after a five-year absence, and were greeted with an ominous Saturday thunderstorm. Thankfully the rains stopped and the clouds parted to give way to what became a perfect Sunday for drag racing. Qualifying started early Sunday morning, and with Saturday being a wash out there was only one round.
With little time between the first qualifying round and eliminations, drivers and their teams had to make sure their cars were in tiptop condition. The all motor guys had eight cars competing for first place, so as you know only one can hold that title. Saul Salceda was on-top of his game all day and would be the one taking home the Wally! In the first round he took out the new Scion tC of Leslie Durst-Armendariz running a 9.82 @ 134mph. He would also take out Vince Tiaga driving his Mazda 3 and in the final he surpassed west coast native Jeremy Lookofsky by running a smoking 9.78 @ 135mph. Saul is proving to be the man to beat this season as this is his second Wally in two races.
The Pro Front wheel drive class was won by Ed Bergenholtz who also took home his second win of this early season. Ed faced a tough class but came out on top with a little luck. He managed to get by Jason Hunt in the first round of eliminations. Lady luck gave him a bye into the second round, as Hunt had cam sensor problems, allowing Bergenholtz to only trip the lights advancing him onto the finals where he would face Marty Ladwig in his tried and true Sunfire which was reskinned as a Cobalt. Marty had the faster time in the final running a 7.88 @ 182. However, lady luck would again show her face. Marty’s time combined with his extremely slow reaction time wasn’t enough to beat Ed who ran a 8.04 @ 191mph. Ed is the first import FWD to hit the 190mph mark. Congrats to him and his crew for the win.
Another class that was just about full was that of the Modified Class. With seven drivers all competing you knew there would be some great moments. Paul Efantis came out on top this day. He had to go through only two racers however, due to him being the top qualifier and gaining a bye into the semi’s where he faced Mazda driver Ken Scheepers. Paul ran a record setting 7.64 @ 178mph. In the final he ran against Florida native Mike Lowe in his old school RX-7. Lowe had a great run of 7.81 @ 173mph but it would not be enough as Paul ran a 7.60 @ 180mph again raising the bar for the Modified Class.
Hot Rod is the only Pro class that closely mimics that of streetcars. Six cars showed up to race. Ron Lummus had to go through two racers, Mike Crawford and Stephane Beauregard. Against Crawford, Lummus ran a time of 8.13 @179.09mph. Beating Crawford gave him a bye into the final where we would face off against Beauregard. Too bad for Beauregard as he rolled through the beams red lighting and giving the automatic win to Lummus who still ran a 8.10 @ 178mph.
Last but not least, Pro RWD - the big dogs. There were five cars fighting for first. With the two Titan cars there you would surely think the top spots would go to them, but how wrong you would be! Matt Scranton and the Ride Revolution team would be the victors on this weekend. Matt went through Len Monserrat in round one and took out Brad Personett from Titan. In the final he faced off against Gary White in the Titan Celica. Matt ran a 6.93 @ 192mph and Gary with some traction gremlins ran a 9.12 @ 103mph.
So after some stormy weather, it turned out to be an amazing weekend with jam-packed racing for all. If you want to check out how everyone else did this weekend, make sure you pick up the next issue of Modified for all the results.
See you in Etown for some more great NHRA action!