Everyone had high hopes for great weather for the "Classic". Unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas. For the better part of the day there was a persistent rain that didn't allow for any on-track activity. However, the fans did not let the weather win. With umbrellas and wet weather gear they toured the Midway. viewed the classic cars, and visited the teams in the pits.
And then there was the Pin-Up contest to crown Miss Classic.
The Midway activities continued through the day and finally in mid-afternoon, the weather started to break. The "66" staff hit the track to dry it again and make another attempt to get cars on the track. The scheduled was changed and starting shortly after 5:00 p.m. cars were to go on track and an attempt to complete the whole program would begin. This year, Chaplain Bill Beagle made a dedication to longtime Route 66 Drag Staff member Bob Norkus who recently passed away. Katherine Norkus, Bob's daughter represented the family. This was followed by the National Anthem for which, in motorsports tradition, the drag staff paid homage.
The Will County vs Grundy County Annual Grudge Match were to start the program. Terry D'Arcy provided the trucks to be used in the Match. Grundy County won it's third consecutive match 4-2. They now hold a 3-1 advantage in the four years of the Match. To see more about the Match, click here.
The night was filled vintage and nostalgia cars, Super Stocks, Pro Stocks, the Great Lakes Nostalgia Funny Car Circuit were amongst the types of cars blasting down the track. In addition, John Lawson brought his two nostalgia nitro fueled funny cars, Runaway and QuickDraw. Bob Malloy brought the Beedy & Malloy nostalgia front engine dragster out for a pass. All in all it was an impressive group of cars.
After the first part of the "show" was completed it was the NHRA Junior Drag League's turn to hit the track for race #4. This race sponsor was Sub-Trailer Hitch and AreA Landscaping Supply Inc. sponsored the Best Reaction Time.
The Junior Sportsman were the first class to run. After the one round of Time Trials, there were three rounds of eliminations before the Finals. In the Finals it was Brindy Covell vs Nellie Ford. Brindy cut the tree down with a .001 reaction time with an ET of 11.941 on a 11.93 DI and 53.55 mph to Nellie's .294 RT, 13.967 ET, 13.96 DI, 45.71 mph. With Nellie running closer to her dial-in, this would count as a hole shot victory. Brindy also won Best Reaction Time in Time Trials with a .028. Also this was the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League Challenge race and came with a Wally. At the conclusion of the event Nellie was not feeling well and was not available for Winner's Circle photos. Get well soon, Nellie!
In the Junior Modified class there were four elimination rounds before the Finals. In the Finals, it was Zach Manaseri against Danny Ellis Jr. for the Wally. This was a heads-up 7.90 DI race. Zach had the faster RT .067/.111 and ran closer to the DI, 7.954/7.969 to take the Wally. Zach is aging out of the JDRL and this is his first Wally. This finals appearance should keep Danny in the lead for the season championship.
Ruby Zolper won the award for the Best Reaction Time.
In the big car category, this was the Run Tuff Eliminator race. There were quite a few cars trying to qualify for the top 16 spots to go for the title of Run Tuff Eliminator. In the end it was two of the local Rt. 66 ET Bracket racers running for the title, John Hixon and Mark Marusak. In the finals Mark had the better RT, .022 to John's .047. However, Mark was a little too quick at the stripe and broke out, 9.919 on a 9.93 DI. John was 9.903 on a 9.90 DI! John celebrated in the Winner's Circle with his youngest daughter Savannah. This is the first time in the WC with her Dad!
With all the bad and threatening weather, I was skeptical we could complete the show. However with great teamwork, the Staff at Route 66 pulled it together and completed a great event. Kudos to the Staff and the fans for sticking-it out to witness some great racing.
To see all the images from the day, please click here.
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