Saturday was Wally day at the Route 66 Raceway with the NHRA All Access Challenge for the big cars and for the juniors, the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge. After a very successful Race Your Ride Friday night, the expectations were very high for another great ET Bracket race. We were not disappointed. The weather continued to be moderate which led to some very good racing. As is customary, the racing started with two Time Trial runs for both the big cars and the JDRL.
As soon as Time Trials were completed we rolled right into the eliminations. During the eliminations two drivers earned the Hollywood Casino Lucky Light Award. The Lucky Light is awarded for posting a perfect reaction time or “Lucky Light” during eliminations for all Rockett Brand Racing Fuel ET Bracket Series Races (High School and Juniors not included) and will earn racers a $50 gift card redeemable at Hollywood Casino Joliet and can be used at Final Cut, Epic Buffet or 99 Hops House. Those two drivers were:
And Bill Ingraham!
The first class to complete its eliminations and have its finals race was High School. Connor Lawson defeated Russell Gomien in a good race. Connor was a little late on the light with a .185 reaction time to Russell's .037, but chased down Russell at the top end. This was Connor's third win of the season and increased his points lead for the Championship
Next up for a Finals race, was Pro Bike. It was Greg Darm and Bob Foster Jr., with Greg taking the win light for the Wally. About half track, Bob appeared to develop some type of problem, finishing with a disappointing 11.415 on a 7.71 dial-in. Greg was near perfect with a reaction time of .019 and an 8.724 on an 8.72 dial-in, 145.42 MPH.
After Pro Bike, it was the Sportsman driver's turn. This race was between Stephen Mroz and often finals participant/winner Paul O'Keefe. This time it was Stephen taking the win light and the Wally. On this day, Stephen was better on the light (.048/.059) and was closer to his dial-in (14.136/14.393).
The Super Pro cars were the next to contest their final. It was John Woolwine against Jim Fredericks. John had been consistent with his reaction times with numbers .0__ all day. However in the Finals John was a little late (.143) on the tree and Jim won on a hole shot with his .035 light.
In the last Final of the day, it was the Pro ET cars, with good friends Cory Dunkin and Andy Campbell. As the lights came down, Andy left a little early (.051) giving the win to Cory. Andy had been very consistent on the tree all day, so I'm not quite sure what happened.
Junior Drag Racing League
On Saturday, the JDRL teams were also racing for Wally's. The Saturday's JDRL were presented by:
Sportsman- VP Mechanical
Modified- Ingalls Park A.C.
The first JDRL Final to be constested was the Sportsman Class. It was Cooper Hamelen versus Cole Campbell. Cooper was a little early on the tree (-.015) and redlighted giving the win to Cole.
Besides runner-up Cooper was the #1 qualifier with the Best Reaction Time in qualifications.
In the Modified Class, it was Kyle Mackey against Allie Furman. What a race this was with Kyle cutting a .008 to Allie's .014 light. At the top end Kyle took the win light to take home the Wally.
It was Alexis Tanner who was the #1 Qualifier with the Best Reaction Time.
In the first round of Junior Modifieds there were two perfect (.000) lights.
Allie Furman (showing off her hat)
And Liz Manaseri. On her run Liz broke out by .001 seconds.
Jim Fredericks win in Super Pro was a very popular win. About a week ago Jim lost the front portion of his car when there was a metal fatigue issue. They thrashed all week to rebuild the front end and didn't know if they were going to be able race Saturday. Winning the Wally was extra reward for hard work. Here is a pic of the car. As you can see, they didn't have time to paint it.
Before the Pro ET final, Cory Dunkin requested that since he was running against one of his good friends, no matter who won, if we could photograph both cars together in the Winner's Circle. Of course we could. Andy decided he didn't want to rain on Cory's Wally win so he did not want to bring his car to Winner's Circle. So...
Friday was a day that we finally caught a break with the weather! Instead of scorching heat with very high humidity, we had moderate temperatures and low humidity. However, there were several racetracks in North to Central Illinois hosting major racing events, so I was anticipating a lower car count. Well that was wrong! When I first arrived I saw a few cars that started raising my suspicions that something was happening that I did not anticipate seeing. First Dave Granger's 1951 Henry J.
Dave was testing some new components for the upcoming Division 3 race/Burndown @ Sundown.
I turned around and saw Shake, Rattle & Run, which I haven't see in awhile. NHRA Pro Stock driver Kevin Lawrence was driving the car this night.
I look across the parking lot and see Tim Cullinan's nostalgic front end Nitro powered dragster. The last time at Route 66, Tim had a minor brush with the wall.
About this time, more cars started arriving and it was time to head to the track for the beginning of on-track activities. As cars starting rolling through the tunnel, there seemed to be a lot more than I had originally seen. Besides the Race Your Ride street cars, there were some very fast dragsters on property
Randy Adler's 1957 Pro Mod, Dave Esposito's Top Sportsman car, The Tiffin & Hess Nostalgic Funny Car, Robbie Van der Woude's Top Sportsman car and Dana Kleinhoffer's Nostalgic Funny Car, Tremor.
Here are some more images of the night's variety cars.
There was also folk/fans sitting in the grandstand, standing by the fence and parked in their trucks, at he top end, watching the racing. There was also a contingent of JDRL families testing for Saturday's Wally Challenge race.
The icing on the cake was the Fify Cal jet dragster of Scotty Heat making an appearance. Scotty was testing for next week's Burndown at Sundown.
One of my favorites of the night was this one with Bob Norkus sitting in the late afternoon sun, smoke filled tunnel.