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Danny Nelson Misses Second Straight Top Dragster National Title at Vegas Race

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    Danny Nelson contended for the Top Dragster national championship at the Las Vegas national event on Sunday, Nov. 1, but his hopes were dashed by a round-three loss. He is shown at the St. Louis points meet last season when he won the race and eventually the national title. / Photo by Fred Noer

TOP DRAGSTER – Ever since 2015, the year of the first Top Dragster national championship, no driver has won it twice, let alone two years in a row. Danny Nelson was hoping to accomplish both goals when he competed at the Las Vegas national event on Oct. 30-Nov. 1.

Entering the event in second place, Nelson, of Batesville, Ark., had to advance to the final to win the title. Anthony Bertozzi of D2 held the points lead, and Art Hoover of D7 was in third in the class, which is sponsored nationally by Vortech Superchargers.

Driving one of his Racecraft dragsters, Nelson fell short of back-to-back titles in round three when he lost to Al Kenny of D1 in his Dan Page Race Cars machine. For the win he had a .015 light and turned a 6.197 at 210.37 on a 6.16 dial.

Nelson suffered the loss when he was .022 at the hit and put up a 6.214 at 217.67 on a 6.14 dial. Kenny went on to finish as the runner-up to Brad Johnson of Colorado in an M&M car.

Kenny was off the line first in the final, .018 to .027. But, his car had problems and slowed to a 15-second run while Johnson had a 6.318 at 181.03 on his 6.21 dial.

Two Consecutive Red Lights by Nelson's Opponents

The only D3 driver in the 32-car field, Nelson qualified No. 6 at 6.163 at 235.68. He moved out of round one when Paul Nero, No. 6 in 2019 after winning the national title the previous year, fouled by .001 second. Nelson was good with a .006 leave and a 6.196 at 220.19 on a 6.14 dial.

Steve Casner of D7, driving a dragster from Nelson’s shop, went red in round two against Nelson by .003 and then slowed on the run. Nelson’s .058 bulb was paired with a 6.194 at 233.64 on a 6.14 dial.

Hoover, also running a Racecraft chassis, won the first two rounds, too. John Richardson of D7 broke out against Hoover in round one. In the next frame D7 racer Dean Hall missed the tree with a .071 foul but ran .001 over his 6.72 dial. He was unlucky because Hoover’s dragster broke on the run and stopped on the track.

Just as Nelson did, Hoover lost in round three. He had a .034 light and a 6.745 at 190.30, but he broke out by .045 on his 6.79 dial. Johnson won with a 6.108 at 220.94 on a 6.13 dial, his breakout less at .022. His RT was .015.

Running a Race Tech car, Bertozzi also lost in the third round. He had a .015 package with a .011 RT and 6.104 on a 6.10 dial, but he was beaten by Jeff Koron of D5 in an Undercover machine. It produced a .002 over 6.172 after his .007 light for a .009 package.

Nelson 2nd in Points Standings, With Four Other D3 Racers in Top 10

The losses by Nelson and Hoover meant Bertozzi earned the national title. Behind him, Nelson, and Hoover in the top 10 are Kenny, J.B. Strassweg, Al Peavler, Johnson, Patrick Forster, Wayne Landry, and Mike Coughlin.

With one LODRS race remaining at Vegas on Nov. 6-8, if Darian Boesch from D4 participates he has an opportunity to crack the top 10. Besides Nelson, it includes four D3 racers – Strassweg, Peavler, Forster, and Coughlin. Peavler is the D3 champ this season.