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Duell and Campolito Win Stock for the First Time at Columbus Doubleheader

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    Weighing more than 3,900 pounds, the 1996 Chevy Caprice J/SA driven by Eric Campolito to the Sportsnationals Stock win is powered by a 350-inch LT-1 engine that came in police cars. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Racing in Stock since 2009, Doug Duell finally captured a Wally at the Columbus LODRS event in his 1969 Barracuda C/SA that has a 440-inch engine. He is shown at the national open last August at Ohio Valley Dragway. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Bryan Merkle was the runner-up in Stock at the Sportsnationals in his 2000 Firebird B/SA. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Runner-upping at the Columbus Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event on Friday was Kevin Wells, who was driving his 1972 Chevy Nova G/SA. / Photo by Fred Noer

STOCK ELIMINATOR – First-time winners a pair put their names in NHRA Stock Eliminator history at the Columbus doubleheader, as Doug Duell won the Lucas Oil points race on Friday and Eric Campolito captured the Jeg’s Sportsnationals Wally on Sunday.

A total of 140 racers participated in the two events during what sponsor Jeg’s billed as Speed Week. The Sportsnationals also featured class eliminations. Duell defeated six other racers for the C/SA title, but Campolito did not win J/SA against two other competitors.

Running a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda, Duell, 58, of Newburgh, Ind., faced another first-time finalist and D3 racer, Kevin Wells, in his 1972 Nova G/SA. The race was decided at the start when he fouled by .034.

In the six previous rounds, Duell, who qualified No. 68, disposed of Dave Walther, Kevin Anderson, Howie Smith, Todd Hoven, Shane Oakes, and Ellis A. Buth. Wells, who qualified No. 65, made the final by defeating Gary Summers, Paul Wong, Timothy Fletcher, Mattie Volkman, Leonard Mattingly, and Ron Traupman.

Duell, who finished No. 6 in Division 3 last season, had his lucky round to start the event against Walther in his 1969 Camaro F/S, who left with a .007 light against Duell’s .155. But, Walther was 10.992 at 113.88 on his 10.84 dial to allow Duell to win when his ‘cuda ran dead on his 10.65 dial at 121.97.

Duell Takes the Measure of Several Racers From Division 1

After D1 racer Anderson went .070 red in the second round, Duell prevailed in a double breakout against Smith, another D1 racer, in his 1980 Malibu M/SA. He was .032 under his 12.09 dial, while Duell was OK at .029 under his 10.65 dial at 117.25.

Duell’s round-four win over Hoven from D1 in his 1965 Dodge AA/SA was decided at the start. Duell had a .014 reaction time to Hoven’s .038, and that was the difference because Hoven was only .007 over his 9.96 dial to Duell running a 10.616 on his 10.60 at 122.66.

Duell won in the same manner in the next round against yet another D1 racer, Oakes in his 1983 Camaro G/SA. A .003 light, Duell’s best of the seven rounds of eliminations, bested Oakes’ .036, and Duell eased to a 10.645 at 116.70 on his 10.61 dial. Oakes was .019 over his 11.25.

An RT swing to a .099 in the semifinals would have spelled disaster for Duell, but Buth was .071 and then ran .211 over his 15.81 dial in his 1976 Ford Pinto wagon W/S at 77.87 miles per hour. Duell’s car ran a 10.668 at 108.86 on a 10.60 dial.

Wells, of Midway, Ky., qualified No. 65 at 11.291, which was .709 under the G/SA index. In the opening round he trailered Gary Summers, the No. 1 qualifier in his 1977 Mustang U/SA at 1.104 under the 14.85 index.

To make the final, Wells was fortunate to get by Division 3 racer Ron Traupman in his 2015 Camaro B/SA in the semis. Wells was behind at the start, .068 to .051, but Traupman ran .110 over his 10.22 dial at 125.65 and Wells was only over his 11.29 dial by .024 at 114.84.

Campolito Overcomes First-Race Foul to Win the Second Event

Campolito, 22, of Salem, Ohio, went out in the second round of the LODRS event when he fouled by .038 against Oakes. Driving a 1996 Chevy Caprice in J/SA, Campolito avenged that loss two days later by winning the Sportsnationals, his first national-event victory in his first final round.

In the final, Campolito covered Bryan Merkle off the line and at the stripe. Campolito’s .038 light outdid the .074 of Merkle, of Johnstown, Ohio, in his 2000 Firebird B/SA. The win was sealed when Campolito was .009 over his 11.73 dial at 109.11, better than Merkle’s 10.768 at 112.21 on a 10.73 dial.

Campolito cruised through the semifinals and round five on the red lights of Wayne Stephenson (-.005) and Jim Boburka (-.022), respectively. Amanda Fouts also went red against Campolito in the third round.

In round four Campolito cut a .013 light and ran .030 over his 11.86 dial at 108.55 to defeat Matt Antrobius in his 1989 Camaro H/SA. His .052 light knocked him out even though his Chevy ran .018 over its 11.43 dial at 110.93.

Lights of .011 and .015 in the first and second rounds, respectively, gave Campolito easy wins over fellow D3 racers Dick Kincaid and Mike McDonald. Kincaid was .095 on the tree and ran .065 over his 11.31 E/SA dial, while McDonald lagged with a .102 light and .034 over his N/SA dial of 12.45.

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Thanks very much from Fred Noer, editor and publisher.