SUPER STOCK and STOCK – Unheralded Division 3 racers Kara Forbes in Super Stock and Wayne Stephenson in Stock were in the spotlight at the U.S. Nationals on Sunday, Sept. 6 when they advanced to the semifinals.
Both drivers, however, were stopped from final-round appearances. No other D3 S/S and Stock racers progressed as far in eliminations, which were run over seven rounds due the 128-vehicle fields.
A week before Indy, Forbes, of Horse Cave, Ky., raced her 1996 Pontiac Grand Am GT/HA for the first time at a D3 event this season at the Bowling Green divisional. She lost in the first round.
After two rounds of Indy qualifying, Forbes was No. 126 with a 10.167 on a 10.50 index, good for .333 under. She began eliminations with a .020 package by cutting a .006 light and running a 10.094 at 130.49 on her 10.08 dial to defeat a breaking-out Brett Speer from D5 in his 1987 Camaro GT/JA.
Against Kristi Shipp in her 1969 Camaro GT/OA in round two, Forbes missed the tree with a .062, giving up a .042 advantage to Shipp. Forbes’ win light shone when Shipp’s Camaro was .200 over her 10.70 dial while Forbes’ Pontiac was .095 over her 10.04 dial.
Forbes Controls Both Ends of the Track
In the next three rounds Forbes had lights of .008, .004, and .006 against Fred Allen, Fred Bartoli, and Josh Decker, respectively. Her superb lights were evidence of her experience with running a dragster in Super Comp.
Allen in his 2003 S-10 SS/TB went red against her, and Bartoli in his 1998 Firebird SS/IA had a .047 light that offset his .006-over run. Forbes was even better with a .002 pass for a .006 package.
Decker, in a 1995 Achieva GT/FA, left with a .003 light, which was better than Forbes’ .006, but he broke out by .011 on a 9.48 dial at 137.27. She was .002 over her 10.09 dial at 131.04 – a .008 package.
Forbes had a deeper shade of green to her light in the semis against Dan Fletcher in his 1969 Camaro FGT/G. She was .052, but he cut his worst light of eliminations (including the final) with a .044.
The race was decided at the finish line when Forbes broke out by .001, her car turning a 10.079 at 130.96. Fletcher was safe with a .007-over 9.777 at 134.39.
Two S/S Veterans Meet in the Final
Fletcher lost the final to Terry Emmons of D4 in his 2005 Cavalier SS/BS, who qualified No. 117. In a double breakout, he was .020 under his 9.10 dial at 9.080 at 142.66 to Fletcher’s .033 under his 9.77 dial at 9.737 at 136.70. Emmons, who won his seventh national event, was .012 green to Fletcher’s .028 light.
Joining Josh Decker in the quarterfinals were his father Ricky in his 1994 Camaro SS/IA and Allen Wade in his 1969 Camaro SS/CA. Ricky Decker lost to Kent Hanley of D1, who was better at both ends of the track, and Wade had a reaction time of .115 to sink his chances against Emmons, who was .028 on the tree.
Four of the top five qualifiers were D3 racers. Ernie Neal Jr. put the 1996 Caprice SS/PA of his father on top with a 10.953 on a 12.65 index, good for 1.697 under. Ernie Neal occupied the same position last year with a 10.830 that was 1.820 under.
Ron Terrell put his 1987 Camaro SS/KA second with a 9.855 on the 11.25 index, 1.395 under; Jeff Niceswanger, third, in his 1990 Camaro SS/JA with a 9.741 on an 11.00 index, 1.259 under; and Logan Belanger, fourth, in his 2005 Cavalier GT/JA with a 9.549 on a 10.80 index, 1.251 under.
Wayne Stephenson Wins Five Rounds in Stock
In round six of Stock, Stephenson’s run for the Wally ended on a red light of .027. It was against Jerry Emmons, the brother of Terry Emmons who won Super Stock. They shared the winner’s circle because Jerry beat fellow Division 4 racer Parker DeVore in the final.
Stephenson, of Westfield, Ind., qualified his 1979 Chrysler LeBaron K/SA No. 65 in the field of 128. The car turned an 11.795 on a 12.65 index that was .855 under.
In the first round Stephenson’s qualifying position pitted him against No. 1 qualifier Marty Buth of D3 in his 1984 Mustang O/SA, which went 1.517 under the 13.15 index at 11.633. He dialed an even quicker 11.49 against Stephenson but lost with a .144 light and an 11.949. Stephenson’s light was .055, and he backed off his Chrysler to a 12.095 on an 11.74 dial.
Jack McCarthy of D3 went red against Stephenson in round two in his 1978 Chevy El Camino T/SA. Even though Patrick Downing of D3 in his 2010 Mustang FS/K was closer to his dial in round three than Stephenson, Downing’s .198 light crushed his chances to win because Stephenson was .046 on the tree and was .029 over his dial.
Richard Boyle of D1 in his 1973 Nova I/SA had an even worse light – .537 – in round four, making Stephenson a winner again with a .064 light and an easy run of 11.997 that was .277 above his dial. Another D1 racer, Stephen Smyth in 2009 Challenger FS/E, went .014 red against Stephenson to put him in the semifinals against Emmons.
Four Wins Scored by Houston Raikes in His Chevelle A/SA
The only other D3 racer in the late rounds was Houston Raikes in his 1971 Chevelle A/SA, which had qualified No. 79 at 10.214 that was .786 under the 11.00 index. In the first four rounds he defeated Marion Stephenson, Curtis Rees, Joe Santangelo, and Steve Dziorny.
Raikes faced eventual winner Emmons in the quarterfinals. Raikes was .001 on the tree, and his Chevelle was 10.181 at 126.79 on a 10.19 dial, putting him .009 under. Emmons’ light was .018, and his 1969 Camaro B/SA went 10.458 at 117.66 on his 10.44 dial to win.
Behind Buth in qualifying was No. 2 Eddie Chin of D1 in his 1987 El Camino V/SA at 1.454 under the 15.50 index. Jeff Taylor of D3 slotted third in the Jeg’s 2015 Challenger FS/D with a 9.288 on a 10.60 dial for 1.312 under.
Ron Seibenick of D3 was fourth in his 1986 Tempo EF/S with a 16.147 pass that was 1.303 under the 17.45 index. D4 racer Dempsey Pendarvis in his 2010 Challenger H/SA was No. 5 with a 10.870 on a 12.15 index.