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Will Smith Wins His First Wally in TA/D and Downing Outruns All Stockers at Earlville

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    Dave Hirata made all the right tuning adjustments to his Hirata Motorsports A/FD to put driver Will Smith in the winner's circle. Hirata is shown at the Indy points meet in August. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Charley Downing scored his second career LODRS win in his 2014 Mustang FS/E over a field of 76 drivers at Earlville. He is shown at the Indy LODRS event in August. / Photo by Fred Noer
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Chad LaMont scored four round wins in Super Comp before breaking out in the semifinals by .003 second. He is shown at the Midwest Super Comp Series race at Byron Dragway on Aug. 1. / Photo by Fred Noer
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    Brad Zaskowski raced into the quarterfinals of Super Stock in his 1987 Camaro GT/K but went no further due to a breakout. His Chevy is shown at the Columbus LODRS event in July. / Photo by Fred Noer

D3 and NCR RACERS at EARLVILLE - Final-round win lights glowed in the lanes of Will Smith in Top Alcohol Dragster and Charley Downing in Stock at the weekend race for Division 5 and the Central Region at Tri-State Raceway near Earlville, Iowa.

North Central Region competitor Smith won his first career Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event behind the wheel of the Hirata Motorsports injected nitro dragster. Downing collected his second LODRS Wally driving his 2014 Mustang FS/E out of Division 3.

Other notable D3 performances were turned in by Chad LaMont and Jim Glosson in Super Comp, as they went five and four rounds, respectively. In Super Stock, Brad Zaskowski and Bill Dyer lasted to the fourth round.

Everything went Smith’s way in TA/D. He qualified No. 1 with a 5.368 at 268.92 on his only qualifying run. Inclement weather permitted just one session for the alcohol racers.

In the first round, Smith faced Megan Meyer, who had a troubled run and ended up eighth in the eight-car field with a mid-6-second run. Her car had more problems against Smith, and it slowed to a 13-second run.

Smith Sharp on the Starting-Line Lights

Smith was primed for the challenge against the defending national and Central Region champion who the week before won the U.S. Nationals and set a 5.090 national record. He cut a .017 light (to her .075), and the Hirata machine ran 5.440 at 271.79.

Smith’s best run of the event occurred in round two against Aaron Cooper of the Central Region. After a .038 light, Smith charged to a 5.357 at 272.12. Cooper had a .062 light and a 5.372 at 269.51.

In the final against Dean Dubbin, another Central racer, Smith left with a .077, putting him far ahead of Dubbin, who had a .179 leave. The Hirata dragster ran a 5.418 at 270.05, and Dubbin’s blown machine had troubles with a 6.404 at 159.68.

Dubbin advanced to the final round by defeated NCR points leader Julie Nataas, whose Randy Meyer Racing dragster cut the beams with a 5.376 at 270.10. Those numbers were better than Dubbin’s 5.419 at 264.39, but he had a .058 leave to Nataas’ .232.

Nataas qualified third, and she was followed by fellow region racers Robin Samsel in fourth, Jared Dreher in sixth, and Christine Chambless in seventh. All of three of them exited in round one.

Major Gap Between Lights Puts Race in Downing's Favor

Downing’s .016 light in the Stock final gave him a big advantage against Ryan Hutar of D5, who was .099 on the tree in his 1969 Camaro A/SA. It recorded a 10.144 at 129.65 that was .034 over his dial. Downing’s Mustang went 10.126 at 121.42 on a 10.05 dial, his .076 over enough of a cushion for the win.

In the semifinals, Downing had a .028 to .058 reaction-time edge over Randy Mans of D5 in his 2000 Firebird B/S and won with a .015 over 10.065 at 129.70. Mans was .022 over at 10.412 at 122.21.

D5 racer Johnny Diekema in his 1965 Corvette AA/S fouled against Downing in round five, and Richard Myers, also of D5 in his 1965 Plymouth U/SA, broke out by .015 against Downing in the fourth round. Another D5 racer, Ben Line in his 1969 Mustang B/SA, ran under by .005 trying to compensate for Downing’s .007 light and .016-over run of 10.056 at 131.79.

Jared Hutar in his D5 1969 Camaro G/SA lost in round two to Downing when they both ran under by .011, so the clocks to the fourth digit favored Downing. He had a .033 light and turned a 10.049 at 127.75.

The opening round also was close for Downing, who left with a .021 and ran a 10.159 at 118.91, which was .119 over. Alan Wick of D3 in his 1968 Barracuda F/SA had a .094 light, but his Plymouth was .052 over at 11.182 at 117.07. The difference in Downing’s favor was .006 second.

Joe Schaechter Advances to Third Round in Stock

Next best of the Division 3 racers to Downing was Joe Schaechter in his 1968 Nova H/SA. He lost in the third round on a breakout against Myers after beating D5 racers Steve Couch and Kevin Leinart in the first two rounds.

The other D3 racers in the 76-vehicle field were Rob Turkal, Erik Shepard, Randy Shepard, Danny Nugent, Patrick Downing, and Wick. They all lost in round one.

In Super Comp, Chad LaMont broke out in semifinal round five by .003 against eventual runner-up Jordan Pratt of D5. LaMont had a .004 light to the .042 of Pratt, who turned an 8.902 at 160.82.

In the previous four rounds, LaMont outran D5 racer Keith Johnson in the first round before having the round-two bye. Dillon Wagner of D5 was perfect off the line in the third round against LaMont, and both broke out. LaMont was under by .015 to Wagner’s .029. Their speeds were almost identical.

Jeff Cheney went .008 red against LaMont in round four. That same round Jim Glosson of D3 was .010 red against Ray Thompson of D5, who went on to win the event. Glosson advanced past a red-lighting Christopher Mullins of D3 in the first round, and then had better lights and packages to defeat Chris Bishop and Wayde Samuel of D5 in rounds two and three, respectively.

D3 racer Mark Meier lost in round two, while all the other division competitors went out in the first round: Don Higgins, Jim Gerakaris, Pat LaMont, Larry Bernshausen, and Ed Rudek. Thirty-eight S/C racers comprised the field.

Zaskowski and Dyer Set the Pace for D3 Super Stockers

The most competitive D3 Super Stock racers were Brad Zaskowski in his 1987 Camaro GT/K and Bill Dyer in his 1985 Mustang SS/M. Both won three rounds of the six-round race that had 38 competitors.

Zaskowski, who had a .019 light, lost by running a 9.908 at 132.15 that was .012 under his dial against eventual event winner Tyler Wudarczyk in his 1988 Camaro GT/LA. He was .038 on the tree and then ran .002 over his 10.29 at 116.52.

After having a free pass in round one due to Rick Johnson’s no-show, Zaskowski  took out Chris Chaney of D4 in round two with a .019 package. Chaney’s was .064. Matt Lund of D5 broke out by .012 against Zaskowski because he had a .020-.056 RT advantage and was .023 off his dial.

Dyer’s round-four loss was to Jim Gleason of D5 in his 2013 Camaro FSS/G. Dyer’s light of .017 was diluted by his Mustang running .050 over his 10.90 dial at 115.02. Gleason’s light of .053 was overcome by a run of 9.589 at 140.55 on a 9.58 dial.

Dyer had a .104 light in round three, but Bill Rink’s was twice as bad, and he broke out in his 1974 GTO SS/MA that qualified No. 1 with a 10.705 that 1.145 under. Dyer broke out less than D3 racer Parker Zimmerman in the second round and defeated Jon Jamison of D5 in the first round after both racers were close in RTs and then were more than five-tenths over their dials.

Fred Bartoli, Brina Splingaire, Don O’Malley, and Matt Lund of D3 appeared in the third round but lost. Zimmerman went out in the second round, as did Mike Lund, and Rylee Speer. Jason Shepard, Mike Wharram, and Dan Steed lost in the first round.

Vogelsang Goes A Couple Rounds

In Super Street, Nick Vogelsang won two rounds over Ronnie Luberda of D5 and Jonathan Erickson of D3 before facing Wayde Samuel of D5. Vogelsang had a .026 light and ran 10.944 at 91.34, but Samuel had better numbers – .024 light and 10.926 at 133.09.

Marc Erickson and Craig Meyer of D3 lost in the second round, and their fellow division racer Emma Ballard went out in round one.

Larry Bernshausen in his 1977 Vega and Tim Tiry in his 1977 Monza were the only two Super Gas racers from D3 to tow to Earlville. Both of them lost in the second round – Bernshausen on a late light and Tiry on the wrong side of a double breakout. They had the best first-round times of the 14 S/G racers who won.

Also going out in round two were Chad Pekrul and Jon Steldt in Top Sportsman. Benjamin Board did not show for the first round after qualifying No. 15 in the field with 18 drivers. Board and Pekrul did not make good runs in qualifying, while Steldt was No. 4 at 6.856 at 169.27.

Pekrul rebounded in his 1968 Camaro and beat Rod Moore of D5 in the first round but lost in round two as his car faltered to an 8.41 at 107.21 against eventual winner Matt Driskell. Steldt moved out of round one on Jeff Southerland’s foul and then went red himself in the second round to Mike Halverson of D5.

Chamness Affected by CIC With Comp Dragster

Eight Comp racers made up the field, and Scott Chamness of D3 in his B/D was No. 4 with a 6.751 on his 7.27 index, good for .519 under. He upped that to .580 under in a round-one win over Mark Kirkman of D5 in his A/DA even though he slowed to a run .645 over his index.

Even without that CIC hit, Chamness may have been hard-pressed to beat Joe Arrowsmith of D5 in his 2006 Pontiac G/AA in round two because he cut his car loose to .635 under at 8.185 on an 8.82 index. Chamness left with a .006 light to Arrowsmith’s .050 and turned a 6.726, which was .464 under.

Only three alcohol floppers were in attendance: Chris Foster of the North Central Region and Bob McCosh and Kris Hool of the Central Region. Foster, the No. 2 qualifier, lost in the first round to McCosh, who then won the final over Hool.