TOP DRAGSTER – Just when Pat Forster may have thought his already outstanding season in Top Dragster could not get any better, the final-round win light popped on in his lane at the Midwest Nationals at St. Louis on Monday, Oct. 5.
Forster’s victory at the race, which was sponsored by Mopar Express Lane and Pennzoil, was the first in his career at a national event. The win also was his first in T/D, which he started running last season.
Forster, of Pittsburgh, Pa., long has been part of a team with brothers Jacob and Tony Elrod who run in Super Comp and Super Gas. In 2019, Forster finished ninth in Division 3 points and No. 55 nationally. At this point in 2020, he is fifth in D3 points and sixth in the national standings.
The St. Louis win was over J.B. Strassweg, who is having another top-10 season. Forster’s best run was in the final, when he hit a .009 light and ran .013 over his 6.24 dial at 227.23, his best speed of eliminations. Strassweg left with a .031 light and turned a 6.125 at 211.36 on his 6.10 dial.
The semifinals found Forster facing national champ Danny Nelson. However, his dragster slowed to a 6.791 at 153.42 on a 6.21 dial after a .011 leave. Forster won with a 6.493 at 174.14 on a 6.24 dial. He had a .025 light.
Oakley Crashes in Other Lane on the Top End
Forster never will forget his quarterfinal match-up with Phillip Oakley because it ended with Oakley’s dragster, which was in the right lane, crashing on the top end into the guard wall in his lane after first drifting toward the centerline. He exited the car on his own and did not suffer any serious injuries after being examined at a local hospital.
Oakley’s accident prompted NHRA officials to cancel any more runs Sunday, and the event was concluded Monday. Forster continued due to his victory over Oakley with a 6.348 at 195.62 on a 6.27 dial. His light was .037, which was bettered by Oakley at .010. His ET was 6.451 at 149.58 on a 6.12 dial.
Forster’s closest win was over Brad Plourd of D2. Forster, who dialed 6.25, turned a 6.283 at 222.91 after a .018 leave. Plourd was .016 at the hit and had a 6.557 at 200.05 on his 6.52 dial. The winning margin was .002 second.
A .024 package opened eliminations for Forster, whose light was .015 and whose ET was 6.279 at 219.33 on a 6.27 dial. Dane Ward of D4 broke out by .031 on his 6.10 dial at 217.04.
Strassweg had wins over Jim Prevo, Al Peavler, and Jeff Libla in the first three rounds before facing Jimmy Sackuvich in the semis. He lost with a .049 under 6.131 at 231.95 after a .005 light. Strassweg scored the W with a 6.116 at 211.56 after a .009 leave.
Oakley was the No. 1 qualifier with a 6.117 at 235.15. He was followed by Afton Swanson of D5, J.R. Baxter of D4, Mike Coughlin, and Ward. Strassweg was slotted No. 7 and Libla No. 10.