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Buckeye S/S-Stock Series to Launch This Weekend With Ross As Defending Champ

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    Brad Ross drove his 1968 Barracuda to the 2019 championship in the Buckeye Stock/Super Stock Drag Racing Series, and he will be competing for a second title this season. / Photo by Johnboy Ulman
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    Brad Ross

SUPER STOCK and STOCK - Competitors in the Buckeye Stock/Super Stock Drag Racing Series are fired up to start their 12th season, and they will fire up their engines Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21 to race at Dragway 42 near West Salem, Ohio.

Racers in the series were supposed to begin their season May 2-3 with a doubleheader at National Trail Raceway (NTR). However, engines remained silent due to the effects of the CoViD-19 pandemic outbreak in mid-March that resulted in government-imposed restrictions. They also put a kibosh on a plan for the series to rent the track for a race May 16.

The two races this weekend are fully open to racers and spectators. Special track rules and regulations will be in effect to provide for everyone’s well-being and to prevent spreading the virus. The guidelines are posted at www.dragway42.com.

Each day gates open at 8 a.m., and the daily entry fee is $125. Both days will pay $2,000 to win and $500 for the runner-up. Round money will be paid starting with the second-round winners.

Money also is paid to racers through special programs. The Mid-Ohio Paving Dial for Dollars rewards $100 to the racer who runs closest to his or her dial during qualifying on Saturday and Sunday.

Each day the racer with the best first-round losing package receives $100 courtesy of Parsons & Myers Racing Engines. The Buckeye Bounty Hunter Award provided by KB Trailer Sales pays $100 to the racer who defeats a fellow racer with the bounty placed on him or her.

Top 16 Racers Compete for the Title at Season-Ending Run-off

During the season racers vie for positions in the top 16 who will be involved in a run-off Oct. 3 at NTR. The winner is the series champion for 2020 and earns $1,500 and a large Ironman trophy. The runner-up receives $500 and a plaque.

This season the series has a new feature. The driver with the highest points total will receive a trophy and $500. The second-place driver will be presented $250.

Jeff Ross and “Nitro” Joe Jackson founded the series in 2010 and staged events at NTR, Quaker City Motorsports Park, and Pacemakers Dragway Park. The series accommodates vehicles in NHRA and IHRA Stock and Super Stock and NMCA Nostalgia S/S. IHRA indexes are used because they are softest and allow more racers to compete.

In the first two years (2009-10) Zac Ross was the champ. He was followed by Matt Antrobius, 2011; Tom Losket, 2012; Jeff Ross, 2013; John Buhler, 2014; Jim Nichols, 2015; Bryan Merkle, 2016; Terry McGee, 2017; Brent Darroch, 2018; and Brad Ross, 2019.

As his cousin Zac did when the series started, Brad Ross would like to repeat as champ, but he knows that will be difficult because of “the caliber of racers you go up against. They are all well-seasoned veterans,” he said. “They are really tough. It’s quite an accomplishment when you can beat them.”

Barracuda Carries Brad Ross to First Championship

Ross, 37, of St. Clairsville, Ohio, earned the championship by winning the four-round run-off at NTR on Sept. 21 in conjunction with the Jeg's Sportsnationals. He was behind the wheel of his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda that was running in IHRA H/CM.

In the final, Ross, who was qualified No. 10, had to run Jeff Jones, the No. 2 qualifier in his 1965 Plymouth Nostalgia Super Stocker. Both racers broke out, with Ross taking the win by going under by .016 compared to Jones’ .017-under pass.

“I beat a heck of a racer in Jeff Jones because he probably has more seat time than anybody,” Ross said. “The winner’s circle was a lot of fun because my entire family was there that weekend and I could share that with all of them. I was so excited I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.”

Speaking of family, Ross defeated his uncle Jeff, the No. 1 qualifier, in the first round with a dead-on run and then put away father Al in the semifinals. “It’s always fun racing Dad,” Ross said. “We’re not real competitive with each other. It’s whoever wins is whoever wins. We’ve split the times we’ve raced each other.”

In the second round Ross benefited from Aaron Russell’s generosity. He waited for Ross’ car to be jump-started due to a low battery. He had a better light but broke out. “He was a true sportsman because he waited for me,” Ross said. “I only had a few seconds to get in the water box.”

How Ross' Season Evolved Against the Best in the Series

Besides the Rosses, Jones, and Russell, the top 16 in the run-off were Bob Marshall, Mike Schaefer, Tim Titchenell, Danny Smith, Rob Holmes, Tom Reese, Brianna Kelly, Ed McCormick, Kristina Frech-Bennett, A.H. Adkins, and Paul Boster. A total of 92 racers competed in one or more series events during the season.

Ross almost started his season the way he ended it. However, he lost to Danny Smith and his 1967 Dodge Coronet SS/DA in the final. The 340-inch engine in Ross’s car spun a bearing and broke a rod near the finish line at Quaker City Motorsports Park.

The damaged engine forced Ross to borrow a 360-inch crate motor from his uncle Jeff Ross and switch classes from NHRA GT/MA to IHRA H/CM and from transbraking to footbraking. Brad Ross lost in the early rounds at the remaining races he attended but found his groove again at the run-off for the title.

While Ross was struggling, other racers were winning. At the Dragway 42 doubleheader last August, Titchenell was victorious in his '91 Firebird SS/BS one day and Jeff Ross in his Challenger FGT/N the next day. Titchenell was in the final again at Kil-Kare Dragway, but Schaefer took the win in his 1968 Hemi Dart.

Ross is defending his championship with his ‘cuda back in its familiar Super Stock configuration of GT/MA. The 340 engine of 1972 vintage has a factory HP rating of 240 and an NHRA factor of 262.

Father Al Ross Builds the Horsepower in the 340

The engine, which puts out 570 HP, was built by Al Ross at his business, Ross Automotive & Collision Repair in Flushing, Ohio. He used a Mopar block, Scat crank, Scat rods, and CP pistons. The valvetrain consists of a Comp cam, Manley valves, Comp springs and lifters, Trend pushrods, and Harland Sharp rockers.

Cast-iron production heads are topped with an Edelbrock Super Victor intake and a ThermoQuad 800-cfm carburetor. It is fed VP fuel by a MagnaFuel pump. The gas is lit by an MSD ignition and evacuated by Performance Welding headers.

After leaving the starting line at 3,800 RPM, shifts are made at 7,000, and the engine speed is 7,800 at the stripe. Bob’s Transmission in Warnock, Ohio, built the Torqueflite 904 using an ATI converter with a 5,800 stall speed and a 2.45 first gear. The shifter is a B&M QuikSilver.

Ross acquired the car seven years ago, and he and his father did the chassis work using QA1 shocks in the front and rear. The ladder-bar rear suspension uses a Chrysler 8.75-inch housing with a Strange spool and 4.12 gear and Moser axles. The 30x10.5-15 Hoosier radials are on Weld wheels.

Ross Automotive designed and applied the paint on the 3,313-pound car that has hit a best of 10.21 seconds at 133 MPH. Lettering is by First Place Graphics in St. Clairsville.

Other equipment includes a Racepak data recorder, Computech weather station, and Jeg’s Perfect Start practice tree.

Ross' History in Drag Racing Follows His Father's Participation

The Barracuda is the fourth car Ross has raced. He began bracket racing a Plymouth Sundance and then had a four-cylinder, stick-shift Nissan 240SX. Next was a 1998 Chrysler Sebring that ran in BF/CM in IHRA with a 360-inch engine. The ‘cuda was run in E/SA until four years ago when Ross converted it to a Super Stocker.

Drag racing has been Al Ross’ lifelong pursuit, and he has passed it on to his son. In addition to winning class at NHRA events several times, Al Ross won the IHRA President’s Cup national event and was runner-up at another at Milan Dragway. His current car is a 1972 Challenger in FGT/L with a 2009 Drag Pak 360-inch engine.

Brad Ross needs little motivation to compete. “Once you do it, it gets in your blood and DNA,” he said. “When I’m away from it, I miss it so much. I love it. I would not know what I’d do if I didn’t do it.

“The best part about it is I enjoy spending time with Dad and other family members,” he said. “It’s a thing of relaxation for me to go to the races. It’s like a mini vacation, and I don’t think about the ins and outs of everyday life.”

Ross also has a comfort level when he is driving his car. He strives for consistency. “I relax and focus on what I have to do,” he said. “The car is so familiar to me. It’s fun and easy to drive. The wheelies are the best part, and it usually carries the front wheels past 60 feet.”

Sights Set on Second Buckeye Title and First Division 3 Win

This season Ross wants to repeat as the champ in the Buckeye series. He has won races over the years and finished high in the standings. He also would like to win a Division 3 race for the first time.

Away from racing Ross likes spending time with his wife and 10-year-old daughter as well as kayaking and cycling. He has been employed three years as a case manager at the Belmont County (Ohio) Department of Job and Family Services. Before that he worked 10 years with his father at Ross Automotive.

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