Sunday was the second day of the Junior Fest and Day 3 of Drag Week 500. Drag Week 500 was created when the Hot Rod Drag Week was canceled due to Covid-19. In conjunction with Rock Falls (Wi) Raceway, this three day event fills the void created by the cancellation. The racers held the first race event on Friday at Byron. Packed up their equipment and drove the race cars the 250 miles to the Rock Falls Raceway to compete Saturday. At the conclusion Saturday, they drove back to Byron for Sunday's race. The race cars had to be street legal and driven to the events, no trailering allowed.
In the Junior Fest, it again was two classes, Novice and Elite, running for a Wally. In Novice, there were four rounds of competition before the final. In the final for a second day in a row, it was James Pfohl. His opponent was Aiden Malek from, Beloit Wi. This race was won at the start line as James had a significant better light than Aiden, .125 to .188. Aiden ran closer to his dial-in, but could not overcome the start. This would be classified as a "Hole Shot Win".
In the Elite Class, it was Algonquin's Ryan Mackey against Joe Schubbe of Plainfield. Joe had been cutting great lights all day. His worst was a .077! At the start of the final, Joe must have gotten a little anxious because he went red by -.014. This gave the Wally to Ryan.
For the Drag Week 500, there was a bracket style race for Street Eliminator and two classes where the winner was declared by their average of the three races-two tracks.
The Street Eliminator Class ran three rounds of competition before the finals. In the final it was JT Barnes against Tony Churchwell. Tony was the slower car so launched first with JT playing catch up. Both drivers pushed each and both broke out. JT took the win by running closest to his D/I of 10.28 with a 10.274 to Tony's 11.55/11.500.
In the Street Class Power Added, it was Cameron Alley with an 8.58 average. In Super Street Power Added it was Scott Keplinger with an 8.05 average.
Here are some images from the entire day.
I had to leave the track before the completion of the Junior Fun Run. I understand Hayley Becker won the race. Congratulations to Hayley and the Becker Racing Team!
It was another beautiful weather day and a day full of great competition. I want to give kudos to BJ and the entire Byron Dragway Team for filling the void of the Hot Rod Drag Week with the Drag Week 500. All I heard Sunday was how grateful the Drag Week racers were for being able to compete in this event.
To see all the images from Sunday's event, please click here.
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Saturday was Day One of the 2-day Junior Fest at Byron Dragway. In addition to the competition, there were awards for best costumed crew and best decorated golf cart. Above was one of the competitors. As far as the crews, here are some examples.
I almost didn't recognize Bill Freis in the black wig!
The first cars to hit the track were the Test & Tuners. Almost immediately a car had a problem with a transmission seal blowing out causing a major oil-down.
Staff worked extremely hard to fix the track, however it took some time. So what do you do with kids who were expecting to be racing, let's check out the track!
After the delay, it was time to go racing. Today's racing included Wally's for each class of Novice and Elite. Both classes went four rounds to get to the finals. In the Novice class, it was Clinton, Iowa's James Pfohl against Berlin Wi.'s Thomas Konen. Thomas had cutting good lights in each round, however he went red by -.025. It would have been a very close race as James had a .009 light and ran an 8.930 on an 8.90 D/I.
In the Elite Class, it was Jack Nolan, Lemont, against Jesse Fritts, Greenup. This race was similar to the Novice because Jesse had good lights all day, but in the final he left just a little early, -.005, to give the win to Jack for the Wally. Both broke out, but that red light was Jesse's downfall.
In addition to the Juniors running today, the Buick Club was on hand and ran a competition amongst themselves. In their final it was Perry Carlini against Joe Garcia. Again, the win was a gift of a red light, when Joe went red by -.121.
It was a good day for Pfohl family. Not only did James win the Wally, but his sister, Jillian, won the Fun Race.
In the Test & Tune portion of the day, Launching Larry with his wheel-standing Barracuda asked me to get a shot from the rear as the car went up. Here is an example.
The North Shore Corvette Club was also on-track Saturday with some beautiful Corvettes.
As you will notice from the title, this is Day 3 of the 45th Annual US Bracket Nationals. You might be wondering, Day 3? What happened to days 1 & 2? Well day one, Saturday, I had to leave the track earlier than anticipated and day two was a weather day. These will be discussed in Track Bites.
So, onto Day 3. The racing on Monday consisted of a non-points, Super Pro race for a NHRA TV.com Challenge Wally for each class of Super Pro (Box/No Box) and for the overall winner, a $5,000.00 "Big Check". The No Box cars led off the day with their one round of qualifying for the entered 43 cars. The Box cars followed with their 72 cars. In between the end of qualifying and the beginning of eliminations, a small contingent of Test & Tune cars hit the track. After Round 2 of eliminations, the Test & Tune group got larger as eliminated cars joined the group. After six rounds of eliminations in No Box, it came down to Jesse Leonard, Hastings, Mn., in his 67 Camaro against David Strepek, St. Charles, in his 63 Chevy Pick Up truck.
David was slightly quicker off the line than Jesse, (.028/.030), however, Jesse ran closer to his 6.01 D/I with a 6.019 to take the Wally. David ran a 7.335 on a 7.32 D/I.
After seven rounds of Eliminations in the Box category, it came down to Johnny DiPiazza in his Chevy Vega against Steve Folk in the 65 Chevy Nova wagon. Johnny cut a .003 light and Steve had a very respectable .028. Johnny's quick light led to Steve trying to make up the difference and breaking out, D/I 6.11- E/T 6.097. The breakout gave the Wally to Johnny.
In the Box/No Box runoff race for the "Big Check", it was Johnny in the left lane and Jesse in the right. Both had respectable lights, Johnny .029 and Jesse .039. They pushed each other hard to the stripe where both broke out. Jesse ran closer to his D/I (6.00/5.999) to Johnny's 6.24/6.237 to take the big money payout.
Winner's Circle was a happy place for both drivers.
On Saturday, Day One of the US Bracket Nationals was a great day of racing. As I stated earlier, I had to leave the track and did not see the finals of the Super Pro points race. It was Johnny DiPiazza taking the win and the "Big Check". With two wins, one for a Wally and another for the big money, I would say Johnny had a great weekend!
On Sunday, Day Two, it started raining overnight and into the morning. Mother Nature wasn't playing nice as track personnel dried the track three times! The cars didn't hit the track until 4:30 pm and ran as many rounds as they could until halted by darkness. At that point, it was decided that the competitors would split the money and the Wally's would be awarded at a later race. Kudos to BJ and his staff for all the hard work it took to get cars on track.
On Saturday, Brian Dumdie had a very close call after his '57 Chevy starting spewing transmission fluid at the launch causing Brian to have a wild ride.
It was great to see Brian back on track Monday, no worse for the wear and in the same lane!
On Monday, it was time to welcome another young driver to the sport of Drag Racing. Jackson Lang of Hincklely, Il. was licensing his junior dragster. These kids in the Junior Program are the future of the sport!
Even with Mother Nature throwing us a curve on Sunday, it was a very successful weekend and we did get to hand out two Walleys. Here are some more images from Monday.