Saturday's Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series with Midwest Super Comp and Midwest Top Sportsman raceday began under overcast skies with temperatures in the high 40's to low 50's. With worse weather forecast for later in the day, it was decided to forego the normal series schedule and go into a hurry-up mode of one timed run and then immediately go into eliminations. The time runs started right at 9:30 a.m. and for all intents and purposes, went off smoothly.
As soon as the time trials were completed, Round one eliminations began. In this round there was one Final, that being High School. It was Samantha Senko, ETB #1 winner, against Darcy Ancel, last week's ETB #2 winner. It was Sam taking the win light.
Continuing in the hurry-up schedule, Round Two, Pro ET eliminations began. Before they could be completed the rains came. After deliberation, Route 66 Staff decided that the racing could not continue and called the race complete after the first round. Here is the official announcement:
"Today's Route 66 Raceway Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series Event is complete. We will be unable to get back on track today. Payouts will be split as of completion of the first round and points will be rewarded for the completed round. If you have not won money here recently please visit the media center in the tower to fill out your W9. Checks will be mailed as normal. Thank you to those who came out to the event.'
Here are some images from the eliminations:
Midwest Super Comp Series
Like the ET Bracket Series, the Midwest Super Comp Series completed their first round of eliminations. At this time I do not have any information as to the Series plans whether the event is cancelled or will be made up at a later date. Here are some images from their racing:
Midwest Top Sportsman Series
From the information I received, Midwest Top Sportsman called the race after the first round of eliminations. It doesn't appear that there will be a make up. Matt Szymczak was the no. 1 qualifier and Kyle Dumke won the Youtzy Family Racing Q1 reaction time with a .002 light.
Here are some additional images from their day.
While this was listed as Race Your Ride #4, due to this Spring's unusual weather, it was actually the second of the 2019 season. However since this is an "open" night of racing, one never knows who is going to show up. With a scheduled Midwest Top Sportsman race on Saturday, several of their drivers made an appearance to test. Above is Robbie Vander Woude with his T/S Chevrolet Camaro. There were street cars who just wanted to drive the track to Junior Dragsters practicing and testing for upcoming races. One of those, was Cooper Hamelen, 2018 Route 66 Junior Sportsman Champion. Cooper is moving up and joining the 8.90 class this year in Junior Modified.
As I watched the cars roll under the tunnel, I saw Mark Marusak's pale yellow Nova roll towards the water box. I really didn't think anything strange until I saw Mark crew chiefing the car. The way the driver handled the car, it was evident he/she was no rookie. After the run, I spoke with Mark and learned his cousin, Matt Sackman, was driving. Matt is a Don Shumacher Racing developmental driver who recently licensed in Top Fuel. On NHRA Nationals race weekends, Matt is the cylinder head specialist on the DSR Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster of Antron Brown. At last year's, Route 66's NHRA Lucas Oil Division 3 race Matt took home the Wally for Top Alcohol Dragster. In the team picture, Mark is standing fourth from the left.
Early in the event, I made a sweep through the pits and found Greg King's Nostalgia Nova Funny Car, "Deuce on the Loose". If you recall, this was the car that was built and featured on the now Motor Trend TV show "Garage Squad". Route 66 Track Announcer, Greg Nickleski drives the car. The plan was to make two runs. However, after a tachometer and oil issue after the first run, it was decided to better be safe than sorry and call it a night.
Another driver who is moving up or maybe could be said down a number, Tyler Lawson. He was out attempting to obtain his 9 second license in the family run Nova. The last few years almost the entire Lawson clan has driven the Nova. I believe, his first run was a 10.04. He followed that with the two required 9 second passes to obtain his license. In the first image that is Dad, Mike, in the background.
After the sun went down, it started to cool rapidly, however the racing continued unabated and overall it was a fun night of racing. Here are more images from the event.
What a magnificent day to be at the race track for Route 66's second round of Rockett Brand Racing Fuel's ET Bracket Series. The day broke with beautiful, partly cloudy skies and warming temperatures. Overnight the track experienced some unexpected rain and with the rising temperature, it caused a little seepage. As soon as it was detected, the Drag staff got to work to make the track safe for our drivers and teams. Even though the racing was delayed, when it did start it was evident everyone brought their "A" game. As was customary, the race day began with two rounds of time trials. As the teams made their way to the staging lanes, it was evident there was a large contingent of Pro cars. It was going to be a Pro day!
After completion of the time trials, the racing began in earnest. The smallest class to run Saturday was High School. In the Final, it was Darcy Ancel against Dylan Hensley. Darcy was the slower car and launched first. Dylan in his haste to catch Darcy left early gaining a redlight and Darcy taking the win.
The next class to complete its eliminations and go to the finals, was Pro Bike. It was Bob Foster Jr. versus Bill Homuth. Bill had the slower dial-in and launched first. He had a very good light, .035. However, Bob had better one, .031 and ran closer to his dial-in to take the win (7.58/7.614).
The Sportsman class was the next to run its final. It was Jeff Sandowski against Stephen Mroz. Steve had been cutting great lights all day and Jeff had been very consistent running close to his dial. Steve launched first, making his only mistake of the day by going red, -.043. Jeff already had the win as he launched and still ran another consistent pass, 12.00/12.039. This is Jeff's first win in a very long time! If you remember on Route 66's opening day, Jeff got engaged to Marilyn at the track. He has had a good couple of weeks!
Super Pro was up next. It was the dragster's of Kenny King and Jay Allen up against each other. Both are long time competitors at Route 66 and Kenny won last week's ET Bracket race #1. Both cut good lights, Jay .011-Kenny .030. This was a great race with Jay running slightly closer to his 7.85 dial-in to take the win.
The largest class was the last class to complete it's final, Pro. It was Valparaiso's Adam Needles, last week's finalist, against Symerton's Owin Proffit. Just before going through the tunnel, I spoke with Owin and he was not confident of being able to beat Adam. At the top end, it was Owin taking the win light. In the Winner's Circle Owin stated, "Sometimes you get lucky!" There may be a little talent involved.
The Lawson family was out in force, except for Miranda (Lawson) Alley and her husband Ryan who were at the hospital having a baby. All day Mom (Michelle) was sending out updates. (not pictured Connor)
I am happy to announce the birth of Corbin Michael Alley! Congratulations to Ryan, Miranda, the Alley and Lawson families!
Born May 5, 2019 @ 4:16 a.m.
On that happy note, I want to welcome back to Route 66, Don Yonkers. Its been about three years since Don has raced at Route 66. He has been extremely busy traveling the world for his work at Palmgren.
Today's win for Darcy Ancel was her first since 2014, when she was in Junior's. That is a long wait between wins! The Ancel family are long time racers and car builders at Route 66. Pictured are Darcy and Dad, Dave, driving Saturday.
We always talk about luck in racing. Five time champion including 2018, Herman Zehnder has had terrible luck in the first two races of the season. He has had two first round losses. Last week he lost to Troy Bogner when Troy ran a perfect pass. He was nearly perfect himself except for a -.010 red light. This week he went red by .001 and almost ran his number. Herman is too good a drag racer for this to continue!