Last Sunday was race #2 of the Big Bucks Bracket Bash. After Saturday's nearly four hour rain delay, it was nice to have a beautiful day to race. On the schedule were all the classes:
Super Pro Box/No Box
Only Super Pro would be racing 1/8 mile with the rest the 1/4 mile. First up was Street Eliminator. They went four rounds to reach their Final. In the Final, it was Stephen Mroz from Summit, Il. in his 2014 Camaro against Ted Thompson in his 2012 Mustang. The classic Pony car matchup.
Steve was very consistent all day. In Round 2, his opponent was a long time friend and frequent competitor, Bill Larson. Bill was a little anxious at the start and redlighted. In Round 4, Stephen had a bye into the Final. Ted was also very consistent with his reaction times and running close to his Dial-in. In Round 1 he was aided when his opponent, Ken Rosebrook redlighted. In the final, Ted had the better reaction time, .046/.069. However, both broke out and Stephen ran closer to his Dial-in enough to overcome his reaction time.
The next class up was Sportsman. This class went four rounds before the Final. In the Final it was Jeff Toepper against Dennis Wrosch, another classic pony car matchup, Camaro vs Mustang.
Jeff's route to the Final was a little up and down. In Round 2, Jeff was up against Ted Thompson and both broke out, however Jeff ran closer to the dial-in to take the win. In Round 3, Jeff had the bye into Round 4. There, he was up against a tough competitor that he has raced on many occasions, Fred Trombley. Fred got a little anxious at the start and redlighted handing the win to Jeff.
Dennis took a more traditional route to the Finals. He consistently had better lights than his competitors. When he didn't run closer to this dial-in he beat them at the start.
In the Final, Dennis, again, was faster at the light than Jeff, .032/.051. At the stripe both broke out with Jeff, again, running closer to the dial-in to take the win.
Next in the queue was Pro Eliminator. They went five rounds to reach their Final, with Troy Bogner and Jordan Ancel facing off.
Troy earned a Round 1 bye with his qualifying in Time Trials. In Rounds 2 and 3, his opponents, Jessie Albright and Fred Berardi Jr., both redlighted. Rounds 4 and 5 were both more traditional wins to include a .001 light in Round 5.
Jordan, through the first three rounds, had better or tied her opponent's reaction times to take the wins. In Round 4, Mark Langfoss beat her on the tree, .039/.067, but broke out giving the win to Jordan. This led to a bye round to the Finals against Troy.
In the Finals, Troy cut a .006 light and Jordan went -.055 red to give the win to Troy. This was Troy's second win in as many tries this season.
Onto the Super Pro Class. Super Pro is broken into two sub-classes of Box and No-Box. After both sub-classes determined their winners, those then faced off for the overall Super Pro winner and the big check. Leading off was the No-Box class, which went five rounds to reach the Final. The Final pitted Kevin Lancaster against Bob Disch.
Kevin was racing well with great reaction times and having his car dialed in. In Round 3, he earned a Bye into Round 4, where he faced off against Brian Dumdie. Brian redlighted handing the win to Kevin. In Round 5, Kevin bested his opponent, Steve Marquis, on the tree and dial-in, 0.23/6.03/6.031, to reach the Final. Kevin had his worst light of the day, .057, which is still very good, but it didn't matter as Bob Disch went red by -.029 to give the win to Kevin and a place in the Final-Final.
The Box class went seven rounds to reach their final. In the Final, it was Dennis DiValerio against Saturday's big check winner Tim Vincent.
Dennis, in Round 1, lost to Scott LaBudde, but, with a buy back, came back in Round 2 to defeat Jim Laughlin, who broke out. In Rounds 3,4,&5, Dennis was chopping down the tree with a worst being a .012 light. That earned him a bye in Round 5. In Round 6, he continued his great R/T's with a .001. His opponent Monty Fisher went red by -.003.
Tim cruised through the competition with great lights and dial-ins through six rounds. This gave Tim a bye in the seventh and a place in the Final.
In the Final of Super Pro, it was Dennis DiValerio against Tim Vincent. Both took different routes to make it this far. At the start, Tim left first with the slower car with a respectful .022 light. However, Dennis cut a .003 light. With Dennis chasing, he forced Tim to push it causing Tim to break out, 4,84/4.829, giving the win to Dennis.
In the Final-Final of Super Pro it was No-Box winner, Kevin Lancaster against Box winner Dennis DiValerio. They both cut great lights, Kevin .006 and Dennis .014. Kevin ran closer to his dial-in, 6.03/6.052 to Dennis' 4.29/4.321 to take the win and the $5,000 big check.
In the Pro Elimination Final, it was Jordan Ancel's first final since graduating from the Junior ranks and driving the "big" car. I have been shooting the Ancel Family Racing for a long time. Below is the first time I photographed Jordan racing, May 5, 2013. Her sister, Darcy, had driven this car the previous year and had gotten a new car. Jordan got the seat in this car. It was renamed from "Dynamite Darcy" to the "Agitator". She has come a long ways, celebrating in the Winners Circle with her Mom and Dad and the Bogners at Byron Dragway to commemorate her first Final !
All weekend long, there was a lot of discussion about the upgrades made by Dennis DiValerio to his dragster that allowed him to pull a wheelie. While going through Sunday's images, I found another dragster doing wheelies driven by Charlie Hamma. It's unusual to have two dragsters pulling wheelies as much as these two.
Racers will travel all over to race on any given track. Most do have a home track which is normally the closest to where they live. On Sunday, there was a group of racers that I have worked with a very long time. We first met at Route 66 and now they congregate at Byron Dragway. It was a good day to get together with two of them, in the photo, winning this day. And this does not include the Pro Eliminator final with Troy Bogner and Jordan Ancel.