With Saturday's storms hitting northern Illinois, there were a lot of questions as to Sunday's Rockett Brand Racing Fuels ET Bracket Series opening event. With the Route 66 staff monitoring the weather, a decision was made to make the attempt to have Opening Day. As the teams entered the gates, there were rumors abound about what the day was going to bring, from cancellation to one timed round with 1/8 mile runs. In the end, it was decided to have the full schedule of two timed runs and the full 1/4 mile. It was the right decision as witnessed by the above video with Troy Bogner in the green Camaro going wheelie-to wheelie with the gray Buick of Andy Brody! The competition was this tight all day. Here is some of the time trials action.
After completion of the time trials, it was time to start the round robin elimination rounds. Before the start of the racing, Track Announcer, Greg Nickleski, asked for a moment of silence in honor of Terry Stapleton who passed away on Saturday. Terry was the crew chief on Rocky Ausec's Nostalgia "Solid Rock" Mach One. Terry was a Marine Viet Nam veteran. Terry and I were in Viet Nam at the same time. Semper Fi!, Terry.
The competition was tough as the rounds began. The first class to be completed was High School with Samantha Senko defeating Randy Adler Jr. Sam ran a 12.214 on a 12.08 dial-in with a .155 response time and 92.02 mph.
The next class to complete it's competition, was Pro Bike. Tom Ewig was going up against Greg Darm. Greg had the better response time, however in his effort to catch Tom, he broke out by .017. Tom took the win win a 9.063 on a 9.01 dial-in, 136.08 mph.
Now it was Super Pro's turn to run their final. It was Kenny King versus Brandon Toma, both driving dragsters. Brandon was driving the slower car, it was up to Kenny to catch and pass him without breaking out. Kenny had the better light, .010 to Brandon's .043 and ran a 7.534 on a 7.50 dial-in at 172.06 mph to take the win.
After Super Pro, it was Pro ET's time to shine. The competition was fierce. In the end, it was John Coyle against Adam Needles. This was an extremely close race with John edging Adam at the finish to take the win light. John had a .036 response time and ran a 9.484 on a 9.48 dial-in at 141.37 mph to Adam's .042 response time, 11.524 on an 11.52 dial-in, 114.37 mph.
And the final class to compete was, the Sportsman Class. This race was 2018 Sportsman Champion, Paul O'Keefe against Stephen Mroz. In an effort to keep ahead of Paul, Stephen pushed it a little too hard and broke out. However, it might not have made a difference as Paul continued his dominance by running a 12.067 on a 12.06 dial-in, 110.26 mph.
In the first round of Pro ET competition, Troy Bogner, was racing against five-time Track Champion Herman Zehnder and made the Perfect Pass: .000 response time with a 9.360 on a 9.36 dial-in at 142.94 mph. Herman was no slouch in his ET by running 9.960 on a 9.96 dial-in and 133.20. However, Herman went red by -.010!
While walking the pits before the racing began, I struck up a conversation the soon-to-be-first-time Dad, Ryan Alley. His wife, Miranda (Lawson) is due soon. I inquired to any changes in the car and he pointed out the only change were the front wheels. I hadn't noticed, but upon closer inspection, they are some great looking wheels!
Speaking of the Lawson's, they have new drivers in the cars this year. Autumn (Audi) is driving the white Monte Carlo and Tyler is driving blue Nova.
While shooting the action, I spotted Nichole Medeisis spectating. Nichole was home from the University of Iowa to watch the racing. She is just completing her Junior year. I inquired about her car and learned the motor was out of the car to be freshened up and had just returned Wednesday. They should be installing it soon so she can get back to racing.
This was a great day at Route 66. The staff of Route 66 should be proud of the work it took to complete this event.
To see all the images from Sunday's action, please click here.
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