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AUGUST NEWSLETTER MAPLE GROVE 2017

 

We are now getting into the latter days of the summer; but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the we’ll have some cool weather to enjoy! As we pulled into the Maple Grove pits at around 8:20 AM; the sun was out and it looked as if we were going to have a great day for racing. By the time we were ready for the first round of qualifications, there were no less than 19 gassers moving into the staging lanes. We had another great turnout!! The sun was moving higher in the sky and the temperature was starting to climb into the 80’s. After the first round of qualifications was complete; the top five reaction times belonged to (in reverse order): Ron Carson (.026), Wayne Beach (.007), Scott Hasko (.005), Brian Freels (.005) and Rob Carson (.002). It took forever before we were finally called back into the lanes for the second round of time shots; and after the second round was complete, the best five were (again, in reverse order): Carl Bucks (.067), Wayne Beach (.032), Tommy Magers (.020), Gregg Grubel (.015) and David Grubb (.008). During this qualifying round, Mark Fenzel’s “Running Bear” 50 Pontiac decided to clean of the ring gear, and Mark was forced to withdraw from the race. In addition, Brian Freels noticed that a very small leak in the tail shaft of his transmission, started to get more severe; and after inspecting the underside of his “Irish Hill Billy” 55 Chevy, he decided to also withdraw from the race. The leak had covered the underbody and the rear end housing with oil. Brian decided to be safe rather than sorry. We were now down to 17 cars from our original number of 19 gassers. Here’s what the ladder looks like. Gregg Grubel would run Paul McCorkel and Scott Hasko would race Carl Bucks. David Grubb would run against John Labuda and Tommy Magers would take on Denny Stewart. Billy Magliane would oppose Dave Fenzel and Wayne Beach would face off against Barry Stephens. Ron Carson would be opposite Ray Bruno and Carly Boyer would race Kevin Lynch. The coveted, first round bye would go to Rob Carson.

ROUND #1

The second round of time shots took place at 2:24 PM and we were not called back into the lanes for the first round of eliminations until 5:34 PM. We waited over 3 hours before our guys finally began to race. The first pair to move into the water boxes was a couple of high horsepower cars. Gregg Grubel’s “Class Reunion” 51 Chevy (9.60 dial) would face Paul McCorkel’s black 32 Plymouth coupe (9.60 dial). Gregg has just switched over to a new Rocket Performance Olds block, in hopes of eliminating the weak parts of the factory Olds blocks he has been using in the past; and Paul McCorkel has been steadily improving the performance of his blown and injected big block Chevy. As you can see, this was a heads-up drag race. After both cars were staged and the Christmas tree began its downward sequence, we knew this was going to be a “good one”. When the lanes went green, Paul got a big jump on Gregg with his .063 light; and Gregg would have to hustle after leaving the line with a .393 reaction time, if he wanted to catch Paul. Well, at the far end of the strip, the win light came on in Gregg’s lane. Paul went just a wee bit too quick with his 9.14 @ 141 mph against Gregg’s 9.62 @ 137 mph. Paul’s car is really looking like he may be the first car to break the 8 second barrier. The next pair of gassers that moved toward the starting line was Carl Bucks and Scott Hasko. Scott dialed an 11.50 for his all steel 40 Willys coupe known as “The Relic” and Carl dialed a 9.30 for his beautiful “Wild Child” 62 Chevy Nova. Carl’s car is powered by an injected 409 style big block Chevy; and it is just a great looking car. When Scott got the green light, he left the line with a .233 reaction time; and as much as Carl tried to wait for his green light; he could not restrain his right foot from jumping on the gas; and he lit the red bulb with a -.072 RT. Scott ran close to his dial with an 11.54 @ 117 mph; while Carl ran a 9.32 @ 140 mph…………oh boy, if Carl did not red light; this would have been a close one. The third pair of cars consisted of John Labuda, driving his “Old Warrior” 56 Pontiac (10.55 dial) and David Grubb who dialed a 9.72 for his pearlescent green 41 Willys coupe. This would be big block Chevy power against big block Pontiac power. John would leave the line first, and unfortunately for John; he left too early and he fouled by one thousandth of a second. That did not matter, as Grubby was awarded the win; and it was a good thing, as David ran under his dial with a 9.63 @ 128 mph; against John’s 10.56 @ 124 mph. If only John had been an eye blink slower on the tree, he may have won the round.

The tried just too hard. He ran under his dial with a 10.16 @ 129 mph. Billy took the win with his 10.73 @ 114 mph. Next up came Wayne Beach and his 55 Chevy (10.88 dial) and Barry Stephens at the wheel of his “Instigator” 60 Falcon (11.00 dial). Barry was out for the first time after doing his engine over; and he’s already discovered that he needs to replace the injection setup he currently has with a unit that has bigger throttle bores; as his current unit is actually restricting the volume of air that can enter into the combustion chamber.

The fourth pair of gassers to approach the starting line were Tommy Magers in his beautiful green 37 Ford coupe known as the “Destresser” (10.21 dial) and Denny Stewart in his “Outlaw Bills” 48 Anglia (9.32 dial). So, were talking about a second between when Tommy would leave the line and when Denny would get the go signal. Tommy’s .139 light should have opened the door for Dennis; but he had a slower reaction time with his .217 light. I know Denny has made some major improvements to his small block Chevy; but could he catch Tommy. Well, I was not down at the finish line; but it must have been a close one; because Tommy ran a 10.22 @ 126 mph; versus Denny’s 9.37 @ 141 mph. Following that race, came Dave Fenzel at the wheel of his “Fast Freight” 41 Plymouth (10.18 dial) and Bill Magliane at the helm of the “Mister C Gas” 37 Chevy sedan (10.64 dial). Billy left the starting line on a .072 reaction time; but David was slower with his .194 light. Dave was trying his best to catch and pass Billy; and he tried just too hard. He ran under his dial with a 10.16 @ 129 mph. Billy took the win with his 10.73 @ 114 mph. Next up came Wayne Beach and his 55 Chevy (10.88 dial) and Barry Stephens at the wheel of his “Instigator” 60 Falcon (11.00 dial). Barry was out for the first time after doing his engine over; and he’s already discovered that he needs to replace the injection setup he currently has with a unit that has bigger throttle bores; as his current unit is actually restricting the volume of air that can enter into the combustion chamber.

As a result, the engine can’t begin to develop the horsepower that it’s capable of making. So, Barry has been working on making the best of what he has right now. In the past, Barry has run in the low 10 second range. For this race, Barry left the line first with his .080 light; while Wayne bested Barry’s light with a quick .026 reaction time. At the far end of the track, Wayne took the victory, running an 11.04 @ 102 mph; against Barry’s 12.09 @ 114 mph. Following that race we had Ron Carson and Ray Bruno. Ron dialed a 9.38 for his “Rigormortis” 53 Ford and Ray put 12.80 on the window of his “Sidewinder” 57 Chevy. When Ray’s lane said go, he left the line with a .148 light; but Ron could not wait to get his green light and he lit the red bulb by a ton; with his -.451 reaction time. Ray took the win running a 12.91 @ 103 mph; while Ron just shut his car down, crossing the finish line with an 18.67 @ 52 mph. The final pair of gassers in the first round of eliminations had Kevin Lynch’s “Prime Suspect” 65 Nova (10.34 dial) against Carly Boyer’s “Untouchable” 39 Chevy sedan (11.16 dial). Carly had a .107 reaction time; but Kevin was quicker with his .064 light. At the far end of the track, Kevin took the victory, running a 10.45 @ 116 mph; versus Carly’s 11.31 @ 116 mph. Rob Carson’s bye run produced a 10.42 @ 126 mph on his 10.41 dial in his “Pure Hell Jr.” 55 Chevy. Round #1 is complete.

ROUND #2

We were called back to the lanes somewhere close to 6:30 PM; and the initial field has now been reduced to 9 cars. The first pair to race was Scott Hasko and Gregg Grubel. Scott dialed an 11.50 for his Willys and Gregg put up a 9.60 on his Chevy. When Scott’s lane went green, he left the starting line with a nice .045 light; but Gregg was much slower out of the chute with his .161 reaction time; but just a few feet after his front wheels came back down on the ground, his car made a sharp turn toward the center stripe from his left lane starting position. The car bounced very high in the rear and it kind of tilted up on the left side wheels as if it wanted to roll over. Thankfully, the car settled back down on all four wheels and it stopped; straddling the tracks centerline. Gregg was okay; but the car was not. I’ve got to say, that Karen and I have known Gregg and Chris Grubel for over 10 years and we’ve seen the effort that he has put into his car; not skimping on anything. Every part in that gasser is first class; but for some reason, he has had his share of unfortunate problems. I know that Gregg will get everything repaired and he’ll be back on the track in short order. The most important thing is that Gregg is physically fine and he did not suffer any harm during the accident. NOTE: I spoke with Gregg during the week and he’s already getting his car back in shape for the next race; he’s comin’ back!!. Okay, let’s get back to this second round of eliminations. The second race in this round had Ray Bruno and Rob Carson squaring off. Ray put up a 12.80 on his “Sidewinder” 57 Chevy; and the window on Rob’s “Pure Hell Jr.” 55 Chevy was showing a 10.41. Ray’s .130 light was not the best in his career; and Rob’s .024 reaction time; put Ray under the gun. Down at the money end of the track, Rob took the win, running a 10.59 @ 102 mph; against Ray’s 13.02 @ 103 mph. It looks like Rob was testing his brakes for a future run!! Following that race, two beautiful green cars were set to do battle. Tommy Magers would face David Grubb.

Unfortunately, Grubby never made it to the starting line; because he could not get his car started. Tommy got a free bye run and he ran a 10.32 @ 126 mph against his 10.21 dial. Next up were Wayne Beach and Bill Magliane. Wayne had a 10.88 on the window of his 55 Chevy; while Billy again dialed a 10.64 for his white Chevy sedan. When the tower put each driver’s dial-ins up on the board, they made a mistake; and they showed Billy’s lane with an 11.64 and not the 10.64 he had on his window. Billy was concentrating on the tree; and he did not see the mistake that the tower had made. So, the starting sequence was activated and Billy left the starting too early anyway; and he lit the red bulb by 2 thousandths (-.002) of a second. Wayne almost ran his number with a 10.89 @ 119 mph. In his losing effort, Bill ran a 10.72 @ 119 mph. We all wished that Billy had noticed the error; stopped his car and allowed the track to change his dial-in to the correct number. This was a sad one for the Mister C Gas driver. The final run for this round belonged to Kevin Lynch, who was awarded a bye run from the previous rounds reaction times. Kevin ran down the track with a 10.42 @ 126 mph on his 10.34 dial. There were now only 5 cars left in competition.

ROUND #3

Well race fans, we’re now approaching 8 PM; and the track lights are on. At least it was much cooler as Robert Carson and Wayne Beach moved into the water boxes to clean off their tires. Rob dialed another 10.41 for his “Pure Hell JR.” 55 Chevy; and Wayne was looking for his 55 Chevy to run a 10.88. As the yellows clicked downward in Wayne’s lane, he got just a wee bit too itchy; and he went red with a -.036 light. This gave the race to Rob, who cruised to a 10.42 @ 126 mph win; while Wayne ran a 10.90 @ 120 mph. Following that pair, came Tommy Magers and Kevin Lynch. Tommy dialed a 10.21 for his “Destresser” Ford coupe; and Kevin put a 10.38 on the window of his “Prime Suspect” Nova. Neither Tommy nor Kevin had great reaction times; but Kevin’s .326 was much worse than Tommy’s .175. Down at the far end of the strip, Kevin took the win with his very nice 10.39 @ 126 mph; against Tommy’s losing 10.44 @ 125 mph. The bye run for this round belonged to Scott Hasko and he ran an 11.69 @ 116 mph on his 11.50 dial. We were now down to 3 cars.

ROUND #4

After the last round, we were put into the “Round Robin” mode of racing; and it was about 8:15 PM when the remaining three gassers moved right back into the staging lanes. If you were paying attention, all of the three remaining drivers had already had a bye run in one of the previous rounds. What a dilemma!!! Has this ever happened before? Just when I thought I knew what I was doing, I get a curve ball thrown at me. Believe me when I tell you that although Karen and I have been involved with this club in one way or another since 2005; this was a situation that I was not familiar with. I found my answer from an associate club’s leader. Since all previous round byes for these drivers were earned byes (yes they were); the driver who had the best reaction time in the previous round would get a second bye in this round. If the driver, who receives the bye, decides that he wants to race the competitor who had the worst reaction time in the previous round, he can.

Scott decided he wanted to run Kevin and give the bye to Rob. Of the three remaining drivers, Kevin had the worst reaction time in the previous round. Scott and Kevin moved their cars into position for the start. Kevin dialed a 10.38 for his Nova and Scott was showing an 11.65 on the window of his Willys. Scott would leave over a second earlier than Kevin. When Scott got the go signal, he left the line on a .258 light; and when Kevin’s lane went green; he beat Scott’s reaction time with his .136 light. The question was whether the launch difference between Scott and Kevin would be enough for Kevin to catch and pass Scott. Well, down at the end of 1320 feet of Maple Grove asphalt, the win light went on in Kevin’s lane; as he ran a 10.42 @ 126 mph; versus Scott’s 11.71 @ 115 mph. Both drivers ran very close to their dial-ins; and the race was won and lost on the starting line via the driver’s reaction times. Kevin would move onto the final round. Rob Carson dialed a 10.41 and he ran a 10.35 @ 126 mph on his solo pass. I’m sure some of you may have differing opinions on how this round went down; and you can send any of your thoughts to our email address or you can call me.

FINAL ROUND

It was getting close to 8:30 PM when the final two drivers moved their cars into the water boxes and cleaned off their slicks. Neither of these racers has ever won a race; so this was a “Big One” for both drivers. As the cars moved toward the starting line, the down track score boards showed a 10.38 for Kevin’s “Prime Suspect” 65 Chevy Nova; and in the other lane, the score board had a 10.41 for Rob Carson’s “Pure Hell Jr.” 55 Chevy. Kevin was in the left lane and Rob in the right lane. There was only three hundredths of a second between the two dial-ins; so this race, would just about be a heads-up race. As the staging yellows glowed on this late August Sunday night; the starter initiated the Christmas tree. Down came the yellow bulbs and when Rob’s lane went green; he left the line on a .275 light. It was not Rob’s best effort; but a blink of an eye later, Kevin was off, with his wheels in the air. Kevin’s mind was somewhere else when his lane went green; because his .522 reaction time opened the door for Rob. It would take a mighty effort for Kevin to drive around Rob; and in the end, the win light glowed brightly in Rob’s lane. He ran a 10.88 @ 90 mph; and this showed he had the win in hand; as he got off the gas going through the traps. Kevin ran a nice 10.64 @ 125 mph; but it was just not enough to beat Rob. Congratulations to Rob on his win; and to all the drivers for putting on another great show. After we handed out the track’s winner and runner-up plaques; and took some final pictures; we were on our way back to the hotel. As we passed through the pit gates, the clock in our car read 8:42 PM……12 hours at the track on a hot August afternoon. It was a great race; we got to meet up with some old friends including Jeff Thornton, Jim Holmes and Mike Judkins; who said he’s bringing the Pittman Edwards Willys back out next year. Well, in about a month, we’ll head north, to Lebanon Valley for a 2-day event with double points on Sunday. We’ll see you there.

Photos by Jeff Unfried and Miss Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS

158 Rob Carson
150 Wayne Beach
150 Tommy Magers
138 Bill Magliane
132 Mark Fenzel
124 Clayt Deming
116 Ron Carson
110 Bruce Deming
110 Scott Hasko
100 Denny Stewart
90 Kevin Lynch
70 Carly Boyer
60 Cricket Clonch
54 David Grubb
52 Pat Kelly
50 Ray Bruno
40 Pete Boyer
40 Dave Fenzel
40 John Labuda
40 Gregg Grubel
30 Jack Matson

 

 

EAST COAST GASSERS-DRAG RACING LIKE IT USED TO BE!

 

 

 

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