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MADISON -- Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.
That was the lesson provided Sunday by crew chief Jimmy Prock and an Auto Club of Southern California team that ended three months of frustration by sending driver Robert Top Gun Hight to the winners’ circle at the 14th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Winless on the season and a non-factor in Friday and Saturday qualifying at Gateway, Hight and his blue-and-white Ford roared to life Sunday thanks to wholesale changes made by Prock and the Auto Club crew on Saturday night. The result was a Sunday blitz culminating in final round victory ahead of the MTS Dodge of Fast Jack Beckman that included quick time of eliminations at 4.149 seconds.
It was a makeshift fix for a car that, day-in and day-out, probably is the most feared in the Funny Car division, one that has put up the quickest times at both one-quarter mile (4.636 seconds) and 1,000 feet (4.005 seconds) and one that has started from the front of the pack 34 times in 122 Full Throttle tour events.
“We changed almost everything last night because what we had just wasn’t working,” Hight said. “Jimmy got his dad [former Funny Car driver Tom Prock] to make us up some pistons like we used to run them. We changed piston rings and pistons and today it started to run. It’s stuff we were running 2-3 years ago.”
In winning for the 15th time in his pro career, Hight sped from ninth to sixth in Full Throttle points just behind sister-in-law Ashley Force Hood. Meanwhile, John Force, who led the qualifying at a track record 4.103 seconds, remained atop the driver standings after seven races despite an unexpectedly early Sunday exit courtesy of Hight, his teammate and son-in-law.
“That was the run of the day,” Hight said of his 4.165-second trip down a treacherous right lane. Force, who came in having won three of the season’s first six races in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang, concurred.
“I’m surprised that Jimmy ran 4.16,” said the 129-time tour winner who, despite the second round loss, left with a 151-point lead over the field. “We put her right back to run 4.20 [like it did in a first round victory ahead of Justin Schriefer] and it ran exactly what we called [4.221]. We [just] didn’t think Jimmy could get down that lane and run any better than a 4.20.”
With Force gone, along with Force Hood, who was upset in round two by Ford compatriot Bob Tasca III, Hight and Prock marched ahead with much more confidence than one would expect of a team that had won just four rounds in six previous races.
“I can usually tell how Jimmy feels and when we went up against John in the second round, I kind of thought we’d have something for him,” Hight smiled. “I could see it just in the way Jimmy was acting.”
As to the changes, they were the product of pure desperation.
“Our car is set up just like John’s,” Hight said. “Over the winter, Mike Neff got with Jimmy and the set John’s car up just like ours, but there still are some differences and we just couldn’t make [that combination] work for us. We were dropping cylinders and burning pistons every run. We burned a piston before we got 60 feet on Saturday night [in the last qualifying session]. We just couldn’t go on like that.”
“We didn’t get much sleep,” admitted Prock. “We worked all night to change it over. I overdid it a little [on the tuneup] first round, but [when first round foe Dale Creasy Jr.] put me over on the right side, I was worried about the bumps.
“It dropped a hole [covering the 1,000 foot distance in 4.235 seconds to 4.307 for Creasy] but at least it got there first. Finally, I got the clutch right and it just ran right over the bumps. We got up against Force and I said, ‘I’m tuning this thing up.’ After first round, we pretty much kicked their butts.”
In fact, Hight was quickest in each of the final three rounds, stopping the timers in 4.165, 4.159 and, finally, 4.149 seconds, each time in the less-favored right lane.
Atlhough anyone who qualifies for the Countdown to 1 can win the championship, Hight said he doesn’t want to put his team in the position it was a year ago when it had to execute a spectacular worst-to-first comeback to win an unprecedented 16th championship in 20 seasons for JFR.
The 40-year-old former Rookie-of-the-Year (2005) got the 10th an final playoff position in the semifinals of the final qualifying event—then buried the competition by winning three of the six races in the Countdown.
“We need to get up to the top with John because I don’t think anyone will be able to win from No. 10 like we did last year,” Hight said. “The Funny Car class is just too good. We want to finish as high as we can to give us the best shot possible at repeating as champions. This is a start, but we still have a lot of work to do.
“This has been an unbelievable week,” Hight said. “I’ve never had much luck here, but to go to the St. Louis Cardinals game [last Wednesday] and throw out the first pitch, [that] just started off the week right. You know, timing is everything. I’ve always wanted to come here to St. Louis and win and then give a trophy to the AAA of Missouri [essentially the event sponsor] because those people have been so supportive of the Gateway people and John Force Racing.
“I [also] want to say that it’s great to see Warren Johnson back in the winners’ circle [as the Midwest Nationals Pro Stock Champion]. I’m always glad to see him back, not just because he’s a great racer, but because he was the Pro Stock winner when I won my first two races [at Houston and Denver in 2005] and here we are back in the winners’ circle together again,” Hight said.
Johnson, 66, won for the first time in four years when final round opponent Jeg Coughlin Jr., a prohibitive favorite, suffered mechanical problems that prevented his Chevrolet from even leaving the starting line in the final. Johnson now has 97 career victories, second only to Force.
As for Force Hood, once again she was so close to breaking through and contending for her first win of the year.
She dispatched journeyman Jeff Diehl in round one with a time of 4.168 that was second best of the stanza. In round two, though, her Castrol GTX Ford fell off ever so slightly to 4.222 and that was all the opening Tasca needed to send the 27-year-old to the sidelines.
Unfortunately for Tasca, his day ended a round later against Beckman in another race that could have gone either way. Beckman won in 4.215 in the Dodge; Tasca was eliminated at 4.224 in the Quick Lane/Motorcraft Ford.
“Tasca ran really well, especially out of that right lane,” Force Hood said. “It was close, but not quite enough. It was pretty warm today and we ran pretty well [and] that gives you confidence as [you] move into the hotter races.
“I thought for sure I would be ‘pedaling my Mustang on that run,” she said, referring to the technique of feathering the throttle to regain traction control, “but it ran right on down the track. We’ll be able to use that info for races down the road [at] places like Atlanta and Topeka, where it can get really hot. We’ll try again at the next race.”
Although she slid two positions in the points, from third to fifth, Force Hood will move on to Atlanta Dragway for the 30th annual Summit Southern Nationals, May 14-16, just 10 points behind second place Matt Hagan.
As for Force, who qualified No. 1 at Gateway for the first time in his career, his first round victory ahead of Schriefer was an emotional one insomuch as his opponent lost his 26-year-old daughter in a fatal skiing accident over the winter and is driving for a privateer team with few resources.
“I spoke with him this morning,” Force said of Schriefer, “and it really threw me because I watched him struggle yesterday just getting one run down the race track and here I am low qualifier. He is a good guy and I had to show him how to get out on the stage for pre-race [ceremonies].
“This was his first race, so God Bless him and his family. Life will be good [again]. We just have to trust in the good Lord.”
Schriefer, driving an Illinois-based car owned by Dale Creasy Sr., was the 125th different rival Force has faced in his 33-year NHRA career.
While Mustang found its way into the Funny Car winners’ circle for the fifth time this year, the Mustang Pro Stock effort made a move in the right direction when Erica Enders qualified the PiranaZ entry No. 15 and then used a spectacular .016 second reaction time to give Coughlin a scare in the first round.
Coughlin, who posted quick time of the event in the semifinals (6.607), ran down Enders by .071 of a second in the first round when the Jim Cunningham-owned Mustang slowed from its 206 mph qualifying pace to just 186.12 mph.
Final round results from Sunday’s 14th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
FUNNY CAR – Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 4.149, 304.25 mph, def. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., MTS/Valvoline Dodge Charger, 4.204, 296.49 mph.
TOP FUEL – Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.849, 317.87 mph, def. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Rocky Boots dragster, 317.87 mph.
PRO STOCK – Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill, Ga., K&N Filters Pontiac GXP, 6.670, 207.75 mph, def. Jeg Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, Jeg’s Mail Order Chevrolet Cobalt, broke.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge, La., Racers Edge Suzuki, 6.926, 193.99 mph, def. L.E. Tonglet, Metairie, La., Suzuki, 7.002, 189.47 mph.
PRO MODIFIED – Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.933, 243.81 mph, def. Dennis Radford, Baker City, Ore., 1970 Plymouth Duster, 6.088, 233.44 mph.
SUPER STOCK – Jimbo Fields, Gallatin, Tenn., 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, def. Jeff Taylor, Sellersburg, Tenn., 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt.
STOCK – Bobby Brannon, Bossier City, La., 2002 Pontiac Firebird, def. Kevin Cradduck, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 1969 Chevrolet Camaro.
SUPER COMP – Bob Fuller, Rogers, Ark., dragster, def. Tommy Phillips, Forney, Texas, dragster.
SUPER GAS – Jerry Duke, Nashville, Tenn., 1996 Chevrolet Beretta, def. Scotty Vandewalker, Portland, Tenn., 2000 Dodge Viper.
TO THE POINTS
Unofficial professional points following Sunday’s 14th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway:
FUNNY CAR – 1. John Force, Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 616; 2. Matt Hagan, Diehard Dodge Charger, 465; 3. Jack Beckman, MTS Dodge Charger, 464; 4. Ron Capps, NAPA Dodge Charger, 459; 5. Ashley Force Hood, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 455; 6. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang, 427; 7. Tony Pedregon, Quaker State Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 405; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 387; 9. Del Worsham, Al Anabi Toyota Solara, 378; 10. Bob Tasca III, Quick Lane/Motorcraft Ford Mustang, 377.
TOP FUEL – 1. Larry Dixon, 637; 2. Cory McClenathan, 596; 3. Doug Kalitta, 551; 4. Tony Schumacher, 545; 5. Antron Brown, 492; 6. Brandon Bernstein, 368; 7. Shawn Langdon, 360; 8. Morgan Lucas, 355; 9. David Grubnic, 274; 10. Steve Torrence, 270.
PRO STOCK – 1. Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, 785; 2. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 499; 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Chevrolet Cobalt, 449; 4. Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, 441; 5. Greg Stanfield, Pontiac GXP, 432; 6. Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 380; 7. Ron Krisher, Chevrolet Cobalt, 373; 8. Rodger Brogdon, Pontiac GXP, 350; 9. Bob Yonke, Pontiac GXP, 283; 10. Shane Gray, Pontiac GXP, 264.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – 1. Hector Arana, Buell, 366; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 318; 3. Matt Smith, Suzuki, 296; 4. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 275; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 252; 6. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 227; 6. L.E. Tonglet, Suzuki, 208; 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 202; 9. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 190; 10. Shawn Gann, Buell, 181.
PRO MODIFIED – 1. Kenny Lang, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 176; 2. Von Smith, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 175; 3. Joe Baker, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 172; 4. Danny Rowe, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 171; 5. Jay Payne, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 156; 6. Troy Coughlin, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 150; 7. Tony Pontieri, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 141; 8. Dennis Radford, 1970 Plymouth Duster, 140; 9. Melanie Troxel, 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, 133; 10. Tim Tindle, 1967 Shelby Mustang GT, 129.
HERE WE GO ROUND-BY-ROUND
Round-by-round results from Sunday’s 14th annual AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway:
First round – 1. John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 4.215, 299.26 mph, def. 16. Justin Schriefer, Grant Park, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 8.382, 72.10 mph; 2. Ashley Force Hood, Anaheim Hills, Calif., Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 4.168, 298.01 mph, def. 15. Jeff Diehl, Salinas, Calif., Rimz One Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 7.379, 106.74 mph; 3. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., MTS/Valvoline Dodge Charger, 4.254, 290.63 mph, def. 14. Tony Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Nitrofish Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 7.114, 88.15 mph; 4. Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Dodge Charger, 4.157, 300.26 mph, def. 13. Jeff Arend, San Dimas, Calif., DHL Toyota Solara, 5.114, 196.07 mph; 5. Del Worsham, Chino Hills, Calif., Al Anabi Toyota Solara, 5.202, 205.16 mph, def. 12. Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Diehard Dodge Charger, 6.539, 122.40 mph; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang, 4.236, 295.59 mph, def. 6. Paul Lee, Anaheim, Calif., Canidae Pet Food Chevrolet Impala, 4.757, 180.21 mph; 7. Bob Tasca III, Cranston, R.I., Quick Lane/Motorcraft Ford Mustang, 4.202, 295.85 mph, def. 10. Cruz Pedregon, Brownsburg, Ind., Snap-on Tools Toyota Solara, 4.327, 282.01 mph; 9. Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang, 4.235, 289.57 mph, def. 8. Dale Creasy Jr., Beecher, Ill., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 4.307, 289.57 mph.
Second round – Beckman, 4.243, 294.56 mph, def. Wilkerson, 4.304, 290.07 mph; Capps, 4.181, 286.50 mph, def. Worsham, 8.731, 92.84 mph; Tasca, 4.218, 293.47 mph, def. Force Hood, 4.222, 294.63 mph; Hight, 4.165, 297.42 mph, def. J. Force, 4.221, 294.50 mph.
Semifinals – Beckman, 4.215, 297.29 mph, def. Tasca, 4.224, 291.76 mph; Hight, 4.159, 297.48 mph, def. Capps, 4.182, 293.73 mph.
FINAL – Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang, 4.149, 304.25 mph, def. Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., MTS/Valvoline Dodge Charger, 4.204, 296.49 mph.
First round – 16. Antron Brown, Brownsburg, Ind., Matco Tools dragster, 4.510, 245.99 mph, def. 1. Cory McClenathan, Brownsburg, Ind., Fram/Autolite dragster, 5.357, 158.19 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.859, 317.72 mph, def. 15. Scott Palmer, Marionville, Mo., Tigerflow Racing dragster, 7.198, 97.63 mph; 3. Larry Dixon, Indianapolis, Al Anabi dragster, 3.835, 317.57 mph, def. 14. Luigi Novelli, Crete, Ill, National Machine Repair dragster,; 13. Terry Haddock, Temple, Wash., Haddock Racing dragster, 9.852, 83.57 mph, def. 4. David Grubnic, Ennis, Mont., Kalitta Air dragster, broke; 5. Brandon Bernstein, Indianapolis, Copart/Lucas Oil dragster, 4.082, 265.90 mph, def. 12. Shawn Langdon, Brownsburg, Ind., Lucas Oil dragster, 4.293, 243.50 mph; 6. Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg, Ind., Geico Powersports dragster, 3.932, 308.71 mph, def. 11. Troy Buff, Spring, Texas, Bill Miller Engineering dragster, 8.716, 77.20 mph; 10. Pat Dakin, Dayton, Ohio, Metal Specialties dragster, 3.954, 307.79 mph, def. 7. Terry McMillen, Elkhart, Ind., Amalie Oil dragster, 4.006, 269.56 mph; 8. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Rocky Boots dragster, 3.885, 305.84 mph, def. 9. Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Color Fast dragster, 3.966, 302.28 mph.
Second round – Bernstein, 3.941, 305.42 mph, def. Haddock, 4.253, 247.75 mph; Kalitta, 3.932, 294.50 mph, def. Brown, 4.157, 256.75 mph; Schumacher, 4.209, 252.47 mph, def. Dakin, 4.994, 194.66 mph; Dixon, 3.878, 314.44 mph, def. Lucas, 3.966, 290.38 mph.
Semifinals – Kalitta, 3.928, 303.64 mph, def. Bernstein, 8.985, 83.40 mph; Schumacher, 3.863, 305.29 mph, def. Dixon, 3.936, 292.52 mph.
FINAL – Tony Schumacher, Long Grove, Ill., U.S. Army dragster, 3.849, 317.87 mph, def. Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Rocky Boots dragster, 317.87 mph.
First round – 1. Mike Edwards, Coweta, Okla., Penhall Company Pontiac GXP, 6.628, 208.42 mph, def. 16. Vieri Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger, 6.685, 206.89 mph; 15. Justin Humphreys, Mt. Airy, Md., RaceReady Motorsports Pontiac GXP, 6.679, 205.44 mph, def. 2. Rodger Brogdon, Tomball, Texas, Racers Edge Pontiac GXP, 6.722, 186.79 mph (crashed); 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, Jeg’s Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.669, 207.46 mph, def. 14. Erica Enders, New Orleans, La., PiranaZ Ford Mustang, 6.767, 186.12 mph; 4. Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Mopar Dodge Avenger, 6.659, 207.82 mph, def. 13. Ronnie Humphrey, Jacksonville, N.C., Troy Humphrey Motorsports Pontiac GXP, 6.711, 207.05 mph; 12. Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill, Ga., K&N Filters Pontiac GXP, 6.685, 207.08 mph, def. 5. Ron Krisher, Warren, Ohio, Valvoline Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.666, 206.86 mph; 6. Greg Anderson, Concord, N.C., Summit Pontiac GXP, 6.645, 207.85 mh, def. 11. Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill, Ga., Mark Christoper Auto Center Chevrolet Cobalt, 6.656, 207.18 mph; 7. Greg Stanfield, Bossier City, La., Nitrofish Pontiac GXP, 6.649, 206.76 mph, def. 10. Shane Gray, Artesia, N.M., Tire Kingdom Pontiac GXP, foul; 9. Johnny Gray, Artesia, N.M., NTB Pontiac GXP, 6.687, 205.29 mph, def. 8. Rickie Jones, Galesburg, Ill., Elite Motorsports Pontiac GXP, foul.
Second round – W. Johnson, 6.692, 207.11 mph, def. A. Johnson, 12.696, 69.60 mph; Stanfield, 6.656, 207.34 mph, def. Humphreys, 6.701, 206.07 mph; Coughlin, 6.632, 207.66 mph, def. Anderson, 6.635, 208.62 mph; Edwards, 6.631, 208.30 mph, def. J. Gray, 6.681, 207.18 mph.
Semifinals – Coughlin, 6.607, 208.17 mph, def. Stanfield, 6.634, 207.40 mph; W. Johnson, 6.668, 207.56 mph, def. Edwards, broke.
FINAL – Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill, Ga., K&N Filters Pontiac GXP, 6.670, 207.75 mph, def. Jeg Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, Jeg’s Mail Order Chevrolet Cobalt, broke.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
First round – 1. Hector Arana, Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell, 6.929, 191.32 mph, def. 16. Angie Smith, King, N.C., Karl Klement Racing Buell, 7.165, 169.57 mph; 2. Craig Treble, Brownsburg, Ind., Valvoline Suzuki, 7.010, 190.81 mph, def. 15. Wesley Wells, Greenwood, Ind., Kendall Oil Suzuki, foul; 3. Matt Smith, King, N.C., Al-Anabi Buell, 6.919, 192.77 mph, def. 14. Junior Pippin, Conyers, Ga., PiranaZ Buell, 7.099, 188.17 mph; 13. L.E. Tonglet, Metairie, La., Suzuki, 7.029, 186.05 mph, def. 4. Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod, foul; 12. Douglas Horne, Aberdeen, Md., Horne Racing Buell, 7.009, 191.29 mph, def. 5. Karen Stoffer, Smith, Nev., GEICO Powersports Suzuki, foul ; 6. Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge, La., Racers Edge Suzuki, 6.980, 193.90 mph, def. 11. David Hope, Nevada, Mo., Mohegan Sun Buell, 6.959, 192.60 mph; 7. Eddie Krawiec, Englishtown, N.J., Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod, 6.960, 192.47 mph, def. 10. Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Suzuki, foul; 9. Shawn Gann, Stoneville, N.C., Rum Bum Racing Buell, 6.996, 189.42 mph, def. 8. Jim Underdahl, Forest Lake, Minn., Suzuki, 7.023, 191.00 mph.
Second round – Tonglet, 7.022, 186.82 mph, def. Horne, 7.234, 187.60 mph; Krawiec, 6.974, 190.83 mph, def. Treble, 7.058, 189.39 mph; Arana, 6.975, 190.48 mph, def. Gann, foul; Phillips, 6.972, 192.93 mph, def. M. Smith, 6.984, 191.35 mph.
Semifinals – Tonglet, 6.977, 189.76 mph, def. Arana, 6.927, 192.74 mph; Phillips, 6.944, 194.88 mph, def. Krawiec, 6.958, 193.40 mph.
FINAL – Michael Phillips, Baton Rouge, La., Racers Edge Suzuki, 6.926, 193.99 mph, def. L.E. Tonglet, Metairie, La., Suzuki, 7.002, 189.47 mph.
First round – 1. Danny Rowe, Laguna Hills, Calif., 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.925, 245.76 mph, def. 16. Mike Castellana, Westbury, N.Y., 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.009, 235.56 mph; 15. Troy Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 6.705, 169.51 mph, def. 2. Jay Payne, Ontario, Calif., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 9.838, 89.62 mph; 14. Joe Baker, Milton, Fla., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.990, 238.22 mph, def. 3. Brad Personett, Elkhart, Ind., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.955, 248.75 mph; 4. Mike Janis, Lancaster, N.Y., 1968 Pontiac Firebird, 9.135, 101.67 mph, def. 13. Tim Tindle, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., 1967 Shelby Mustang GT, no time; 5. Kenny Lang, Grande Pointe, Manitoba, Canada, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 6.538, 199.64 mph, def. 12. Roger Burgess, Duluth, Ga., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 15.999, 49.03 mph; 9. Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.958, 241.97 mph, def. 8. Rick Stivers, Lexington, Ky., 2006 Dodge Stratus, 7.511, 128.05 mph; 11. Dennis Radford, Baker City, Ore, 1970 Plymouth Duster, 6.060, 232.47 mph, def. 6. Ed Hoover, Gilbert, S.C., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 7.498, 132.69 mph; 7. Tony Pontieri, Bolton, Ontario, Canada, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 11.026, 68.61 mph, def. 10. Scott Ray, Greenville, Ohio, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, foul.
Second round – Coughlin, 5.963, 236.55 mph, def. Baker, 8.254, 112.18 mph; Lang, 6.082, 239.36 mph, def. Janis, 6.319, 209.59 mph; Radford, 6.074, 232.75 mph, def. Pontieri, 6.097, 213.23 mph; Smith, 5.936, 243.85 mph, def. Rowe, 5.972, 244.65 mph.
Semifinals – Radford, 6.387, 202.48 mph, def. Coughlin, 6.595, 209.48 mph; Smith, 5.948, 243.68 mph, def. Lang, 6.040, 229.82 mph.
FINAL – Von Smith, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, 5.933, 243.81 mph, def. Dennis Radford, Baker City, Ore., 1970 Plymouth Duster, 6.088, 233.44 mph.