Peterson, Harrison, and Hall Score Big Wins at the Nostalgia Reunion
With their win at the Nostalgia Reunion, Kaplan-Davenport now trail Kin Batesby less than two rounds of racing, putting some life back into the title chase.
There are now five new point leaders in the Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series after the conclusion of the Nostalgia Reunion Drags contested at Sacramento Raceway Park. Though the weekend was blessed with relatively balmy temperatures caressed by a cooling westerly breeze, the racing on the track was intense and as hot as ever, evidenced by frequent breakout and double breakout duels. Of the eleven Wallys awarded for a class win, seven of the final rounds were decided by a red light, a breakout, or both. For example, in B/G, Brian Rogers survived an 8.579 clocking only because an impatient Richard Dietrich left early (-.031), also breaking out at 8.568.
The most dramatic shakeout in points occurred in A/G where Dean Hall propelled his beautiful Korbel Champagne-sponsored ’62 Chevy all the way from seventh to a tie with Ray Padgett for first place. Hall’s charmed weekend got off with a bang by qualifying number one with a perfect 7.600. Following a bye in E1, Dean then eliminated 2010 event winner Terry Newton. In E3, staying with the double breakout script, both Hall and opponent Frank Marenda erred. Fortunately for Hall, Marenda’s 7.582 was quicker than Dean’s 7.597. Like Rogers in B/G, Hall, too, broke out in the final round with a 7.578, but got a pardon when Eric Bush went red.
Another dramatic change in fortune occurred in 7.0 Pro. With leader Bobby Cottrell having a less than splendid race, Paul “Pete” Peterson’s win allowed him to leapfrog past Cottrell into first place. It would be Peterson’s third consecutive 7.0 Pro final at the Nostalgia Reunion and second consecutive victory. At the end of qualifying, Peterson found himself saddled with the unenviable task of having to race the always-tough Mike Cross in E1. Paul was up to the task, and beat him in style with a stout 7.018. But, that would be only a precursor of things to come as Peterson continued to play a 7.0s melody with a 7.008 and 7.052 against Bob Murphy (#1 qualifier) and Don Dicero in E2 and E3, respectively. On the other side of the ladder, Rick High was designing a crafty little plan of his own. It was High who sent Cottrell packing in E1. Then Rick stuck it to #2 Bill Windham in E2 and #3 Scott Christlieb in E3. Although High would lose to Peterson in the final with a double whammy red light and breakout e.t., his effort at the Nostalgia Reunion would also vault him past Bobby Cottrell, into second place in the standings.
In NE3, Rich Harrison went from third to first and has now opened up a 33-point lead over Lindsey Lister. The Lakewood, Ca. driver qualified number one, took a bye in E1, beat Craig Wallace in E2, then survived another double breakout final round over John Cassie (9.566 to 9.559). The other new leaders are Bob Johnson, now dead even with Cecil Molina Jr. in NE2, and Mike Williams in C/G. For Williams, his win broke a three-way deadlock with Justin Shears and Wayne Hoover. Moreover, he did it in dominating fashion. In addition to qualifying number one, Mike’s reaction times averaged .0117 in eliminations, including a .004 against Greg Bagwell in the final round.
It was just business as usual in some of the other classes. In NE1, Tony Wimer, returning to the track where he won his first Wally in 2009, extended his lead over Jimmy Morosan to 77 points with his victory at the Nostalgia Reunion. Tony put himself comfortably in the program with a fourth best time of 7.615, and cruised through the first three rounds of eliminations. The final turned out to be a rousing clash between two rivals who know each other well. In a class where any flinch by a driver is usually fatal, both Wimer and his opponent, Dan Schrokosch, tempted fate by playing “Dueling Breakout” with their Tuttle-built dragsters. Tony finally exhaled only after he had survived the 7.553 to 7.551 clash. In D/G, it was La Jolla’s Ed Carey coming out on top again. The points leader extended his lead over second place Chris Kurtis when Kurtis went down to Robert Kolding in E3. Then, Carey took a huge lead off the line against Kolding in the last round that all but guaranteed him a trip to the winner’s circle. In Hot Rod, Wesley Eisenga drove up from Ripon all by himself, and despite being bereft of a crew, beat the top three qualifiers to grab the Wally with his “Valiant Effort” ’69 Plymouth.
Although there was no major movement in the standings for A/F and J/F dragsters after the Nostalgia Reunion, the results should rekindle some talk about how the classes might play out in the end. In A/F dragster, the race appeared to be just another episode of “The Kin Bates Show”. Bates qualified number one at 6.33-221.07, far clear of Les Davenport in the second slot at 6.425. Shawn Cobari, the 2011 event winner, slipped into the third spot with a creditable 6.521. Rounding out the field were Frank McBee Jr., Dennis Allen, Bill Wayne, and Jerry Kumre Jr. in that order, respectively. In eliminations, Kin was consistent making two runs in the low 6.40s while Les slogged around with a 6.891 and a 6.611. Yet, one can never count out the team from Alberta, Canada. In the final round, Davenport tattooed Bates off the line and then kept his ’10 Sarmento slingshot stuck to the track and defeated Bates in a thriller—6.327 to 6.332. In J/F, Don Enriquez, Fred Notzka, and Bud Hammer were all closely bunched at the top of the ladder with 7.10s. In E1, Enriquez put away a troubled J.D. Zink and Hammer edged out Notzka in a tight 7.117 to 7.182 contest. In the final, a resurgent Bud Hammer would win out, running low e.t. of the meet at 7.117 against Enriquez.
Bud Hammer just got better as the race went on. The legendary junior fuel racer qualified with a 7.154, and perked up to a 7.131 against Fred Notzka, before downing number one qualifier Don Enriquez in the final with a 7.117.
The Pro Slammer Door Car Association (PSDCA) was also competing at the Nostalgia Reunion with their Pro Mod Slammers and 6.90 Pro Slammers. Bret Williamson got “off the schnide” winning pro mod for the first time in 2012 in four attempts. Twice a runner up, Williamson simply outclassed the rest of the field and was never seriously threatened. In 6.90 Slammers, it was just the opposite situation with three teams tightly bunched at the top of the ladder. Jerry Jahnsen, winner of the last two races, led qualifying with a 6.917. Jerry returned in E1and ran a near identical 6.918 to out Ralph Willis. The final saw Jahnsen take his third consecutive 6.90 Slammers title over Tony Jurado by .003 on a holeshot.
Bret Williamson is the new points leader in the Pro Slammer Door Car Association’s (PSDCA) Pro Mod Slammers. With the absence of Marc Meadors and his Pure Hell 2 team, Williamson pretty much had things his way. Along with setting top speed and low e.t., Bret pocketed a cool 3k for his win.
It was a battle between number one in points, Jerry Jahnsen, and number two Tony Jurado for the Pro Slammers title at the Nostalgia Reunion. Jahnsen won his third race in a row on a holeshot: 7.019 to 7.005.
In winning 7.0 PRO, Paul Peterson averaged 7.026 through the first three rounds of eliminations. His 7.008 against Bob Murphy in E2 probably contributed in some part to Murphy’s 6.991 breakout run.
W: Les Davenport ('10 Sarmento) - 6.32, 210.17.
R/U: Kin Bates ('06 Tuttle) - 6.33, 220.14.
Semi's: Frank McBee Jr; Bill Wayne. 7.0 Pro
W: Paul Peterson ('48 Fiat) - 6.98, 193.29 (7.00 dial).
R/U: Rick High ('00 Dragster) - foul.
Semi's: Don Dicero; Scott Christleib. Junior Fuel
W: Bud Hammer ('97 Tuttle) - 7.11, 176.32.
R/U: Don Enriquez ('00 Dragster) - 7.18, 188.49.
Semi's: JD Zink; Fred Notzka. Nostalgia Eliminator I
W: Tony Wimer ('06 Tuttle) - 7.55, 170.72 (7.60 dial).
R/U: Dan Schrokosch ('89 Tuttle) - 7.55, 170.12 (7.60 dial).
Semi's: Dave Ward; Hans Jakob. Nostalgia Eliminator II
W: Miguel Lomas ('32 Bantam) - 8.61, 145.61 (8.60 dial).
R/U: Charlie See ('23 Ford) - 8.58, 143.51 (8.60 dial).
Semi's: Rod Horn; Rick Nordness. Nostalgia Eliminator III
W: Rich Harrison ('29 Roadster) - 9.56, 133.63 (9.60 dial).
R/U: John Cassie ('68 Shoemaker) - 9.55, 126.90 (9.60 dial).
Semi's: Craig Wallace; Larry Battenberg. A/Gas
W: Dean Hall ('62 Impala) - 7.57, 178.26 (7.60 dial).
R/U: Eric Bush ('69 Camaro) - foul.
Semi's: Frank Merenda; Rick Logsdon. B/Gas
W: Brian Rogers ('67 Nova) - 8.57, 155.14 (8.60 dial).
R/U: Richard Dietrich ('41 Chevy Coupe) - 8.56, 154.43 (8.60 dial).
Semi's: Tom Tourek. C/Gas
W: Michael Williams ('55 Chevy) - 9.66, 133.24 (9.60 dial).
R/U: Greg Bagwell ('64 Falcon) - 9.57, 137.99 (9.60 dial).
Semi's: Dan Crisp. D/Gas
W: Ed Carey ('71 Camaro) - 10.86, 106.08 (10.60 dial).
R/U: Robert Kolding ('63 Polara 500) - 10.95, 120.20 (10.60 dial).
Semi's: Chris Kurtis. Hot Rod
W: Wesley Eisenga ('69 Valient) - 10.51, 126.30 (10.50 dial).
R/U: Paul Comeau ('39 Chevy Sedan) - 9.65, 135.50 (9.63 dial).
Semi's: Dan Barrie; Kurt Kaemeale. Pro Mod
W: Brett Williamson ('53 Studebaker) - 6.45, 213.43.
R/U: John Durden ('01 Chevy s10) - broke.
Semi's: Mike Leonard. Pro Slammers 6.90
W: Jerry Jahnsen ('69 Camaro) - 7.01, 179.29.
R/U: Tony Jurado ('69 Camaro) - 7.00, 194.39.
Semi's: Ralph Willis; Mike Doughgounian.
Tony Wimer survived two double breakout races, including a heart-stopping 7.553/7.551 parry against Schrokosch in the final, to win NE1.
Shades of 1965 resurfaced at the Nostalgia Reunion when Rich Raymond hit the track with his Millennium Warrior NE1 dragster. Despite qualifying last, Raymond managed to go a round at the expense of Chris Edwards.
If there is one thing Miguel Lomas excels at it’s cutting good lights. The zenmaster of “The Tree” ran off a .010/.007/.017/.019 series of RTs in eliminations.
Rich Harrison in NE3 was another number one qualifier to reach SRP’s winner circle.
In three out of the four gasser classes, the number one qualifier would go on to win a Wally; including, Dean Hall in A/G.
Brian Rogers qualified #1 in B/G with a 8.604, then toyed with the rest of the field with low 9.60s, an example of which was his 8.601 against Tom Tourek in E3.
Mike Williams clobbered the C/G field with his amazing reaction times, including a .004 against Greg Bagwell in the round for the Wally.
Ed “The Ferret” Carey was anything but crepuscular at the Nostalgia Reunion. The La Jolla, California racer increased his lead over 2nd place Chris Kurtis as a result of his win at Sacramento Raceway.
Wesley Eisenga won Hot Rod by doing what all good bracket racers do: cut good lights and run on their dial-ins. In the final against Paul Comeau, Wesley ran 10.511 on a 10.50 dial-in combined with a .036 RT.
Stephen Justice Sacramento Raceway Park Sacramento, California