I don’t think this weekend could have turned out any better than it did. Sure the odd racer or two would have been happier with a win and the temperature could have been just a little warmer, but other than that the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Norwalk OH was the destination for the NDRA World finals, and boy was it worth the wait! Norwalk has been synonymous with record-setting runs and it would live up to its reputation.
In the Pro Stock Class Norris Prayoonto was the top qualifier for the weekend by running a 9.51 @ 142mph. Second and third spots went to Leslie Armendariz and Saul Salceda. The weekend was all ClutchMasters though. Saul and Norris dominated the field and when it all came down to the end it came down to the championship. Norris in his K-powered Insight pulled beside Saul in his Integra. Both took off like lightening and shared the same shift points all the way down the track. However it would be the younger Saul that would take the win on this day and the championship by running a 9.51 with Norris right on his heels with a 9.60.
In Pro 4 Cylinder Chuck Seitsinger was the leader in that class with multiple runs in the low 8.20’s area. Nothing was fazing this man! He was the top qualifier for the weekend running an 8.21 @ 177mph. The two and three qualifiers were Darryl Hudson and Bill Lowe, both running in the nines. A mentionable moment this weekend for all you Honda guys, was when Canada’s own Sean Devine ran a 9.99 @ 149 mph. This was exceptional because Sean is running a D16 SOHC rather then the majority of the racers out there with B motors. In the finals for the Pro 4 class, it was Chuck vs. the number 2 qualifier Darryl. Both were a little bit off the pace, however Chuck managed to pull out the win and take home the XBOX cup. He ran a 9.11@ 147mph.
On to the Pro Outlaw FWD class which had a full eight qualifying spots to fill. Gary Gardella was the top man on Saturday with a blistering 7.62 @ 184mph. The number 2 qualifier was Ron Townsend in his Cavalier. He hit a 7.91 @ 191mph, and right on his toes was Christian Rado in his new Scion TC running a 7.92 @ 171mph. In the first round of eliminations Christian lined up alongside the first Honda to hit the seven-second mark, the Civic of Stephanie Eggum. This was a great race. Rado took Stephanie off the line and she did all she could to chase him down but ran out of track. Rado took the win with a 7.92 @ 174mph to Stephanie’s 7.97 @ 182mph. In the Finals it was teammate Ron Lummus vs Ron Townsend. Townsend fell asleep at the light and almost ran Lummus down at the end of the track but it wasn’t enough to make it matter. Lummus took the win with an 8.53 @ 139mph.
Top dog in the Pro Outlaw RWD was Manny Buginga on Saturday. He was on top with a qualifying run of 7.17 @ 205mph. That’s fast! Right behind him was Brent Rau in the Eclipse running a 7.28 @ 192mph. Third was Carl Stevens Jr in his ’05 350z. He threw down a 7.40 @ 184mph. With a lot of fast Mustangs, the imports had to make sure they were on their game! In the final it was a classic showdown, Manny Buginga vs. Brent Rau. Rau had a good shot at beating Manny as Brent is one of the few racers in this class that has dipped into the six-second mark. It was all Manny this weekend however. He beat Brent by running a 7.20 @ 202mph.
One of the highlights was when Dan Nase Jr and Brian Fitzpatrick pulled out their Pro Extreme Compact machines. By now I would hope most of you are familiar with this class but if not, these cars are just like Top Fuel drag cars. Full rail chassis with import power plants – Don with the Ecotec four cylinder motor vs. Brian with the six cylinder 2JZ. Out of the two, Don has had the greater amount of seat time and it showed. Don ran a blinding 6.44 @ 211mph. This is going to be a great class to watch out for in the future and we hope more people get involved with the dragsters.
Despite all the cold fingers tips and wind chill it was a perfect weekend for racing and we hope everyone makes it out to the season opener next year.