2016 IHRA Summit Super Series/Saturday Night Thunder at San Antonio




a smithAvery Smith piloting the car normally driven by the ailing Lonnie Alexander

By JM Hallas

Marion, TX (July 16th, 2016) Saturday afternoon was another round for the IHRA Summit Super Series bracket racers on the 1/8 mile drag strip outside of San Antonio. With only five more points races scheduled before Team Finals, the points chases are taking shape in all four classes [Electronics (Box), Foot Brake (No-box), Street and Jr. Dragster] and today, double points were on the line

To say it was hot, would probably be an understatement. As air temperatures hovered around the century mark, track temps soared to well over 140 by the time the first round of eliminations hit the track. From there, it only got hotter reaching 150 at times depending on the occasional cloud giving momentary relief.

Past track and World Finals Tournament of Champions winner, Scott Ball leads the way in Electronics (Box) as well as debuting his new Miller Dragster last race and winning. Ball holds a 31 marker edge on David Bills, with defending champ, Brent Ritter in third, but trailing by 73. Don’t count Ritter out yet, though. He’s known for late season runs and clinching the title in the final race.

Foot Brake (No-box) shows former track promoter Todd Zampese at the head of the class even while running his shorty Fox Chassis in both classes. Dennis Soefje holds down second 75 behind Zampese, while former Motorcycle Champion, Ruben Gallegos runs in third.

The Street Class points leader is Silvia Zemgals normally running her ‘Plum Crazy’ Dodge Challenger. Zemgals has nearly a 100 point lead over Patrick Borroum with Zach Tschoepe a distant third. The Jr. Dragster points battle is much closer. Defending track champ, Ashley Hubbell, comes in with only a 29 point margin over World Finals champ, Kenneth Hillin and 49 ahead of Caden Meuth.

Electronics (Box)

d smithElectronics winner Dennis Smith squats the tires on a pass

With the extra points up for grabs, a huge field of almost 50 Electronics cars showed up for action. At the end of a long, hot day it was two San Antonio drivers, Dennis Smith squaring off with Chris Keylich in the finals. C. Keylich, in his Keylich Electric, Keylich Motorsports, Steve Schmidt powered 2013 Miller Chassis got 1/100 on the tree. D. Smith, in his Nagolitos Gear Company, 2009 Worthy Chassis held C. Keylich off and nailed his number to grab the win.

**In the semi-finals, D. Smith, C. Keylich and Scott Ball opted to split the money, but still run for the points.

Dennis Smith (4.96) 4.96 @ 138.46 defeats Chris Keylich (4.82) 4.84 @ 142.18

Smith took out Greg Meuth, G. Duffield, Leroy O’Bryant, Gilbert Sanchez, Wes Bendele, and Ball. C. Keylich got by Avery Smith, Cassie Pennington, D. Covey, Kevin Picha, Todd Zampese and got a bye in the semi-finals.

Foot Brake (No-box)

zampeseFoot Brake Winner Todd Zampese goes on the chase after TJ Rome

Another big field of nearly 50 Foot Brake cars signed in, but Todd Zampese (Universal City) was up to the challenge despite losing to Dave Patton in round 1. Zampese then steadily made his way through the field to pair up with TJ Rome (San Antonio) in the finals. Rome, in his 302 68 Ford Mustang had 1/100th in the bank at the start, but Zampese drove around on the top end as both missed their numbers.

Todd Zampese (5.57) 5.67 @ 103.85 defeats TJ Rome (6.87) 6.98 @ 98.84

To get to the finals Zampese trailered Aaron Tschoepe, Ryan McDonnell, Patton in a rematch, Dale Rutledge, and Robert Sandoval. Rome got around Jimmy Inman, Brandon Mitchan, Tom Posey, Anthony Montoya and Daniel Alvarez, plus a round 6 bye.

Street

tschoepe spain finalsStreet class winner Zach Tschoepe (near lane) with the leave on Brandon Spain in finals

Zack Tschoepe (San Antonio), in his O’Bryant Automotive, 72 Olds Cutlass picked up ground on Silvia Zemgals, who went out in round 2. Tschoepe went up against Brandon Spain (San Antonio) in his big block 454 72 Chevy Vega in the finals. Tschoepe drilled Spain, who rebought after losing round 1 to Tschoepe, on the tree to get the advantage. Spain, trying to run him down, went under his dial in, breaking out.

Zach Tschoepe (8.09), 8.12 @ 83.36 defeats Brandon Spain (7.66) 7.63 @ 92.01 (broke out)

Tschoepe bested M. Koepsel, C. Koepsel, and Spain to make the finals. Spain, lost round 1 then beat Zemgals and Ron Gordner.

Jr. Dragster

littleKendal Little on a bye run in his winning Jr Dragster

Kendal Little made his trip down from Harker Heights pay off getting to the finals in the Team 14, Jr. Dragster against Kathrine Keylich (La Vernia) in his Keylich Motorsports Jr. Dragster. Little got the edge on the start and ran close to his number while K. Keylich ran too quick at the stripe.

Kendal Little (7.98), 8.00 @ 77.41 defeats Kathrine Keylich (8.62), 8.51 @ 73.87 (broke out)

Little took out Kenneth Hillin, Haily Ball, Emily Ball and had a round 2 bye. K. Keylich rebought then bettered Ashley Hubbell, Gianni Carrola and took a round 4 bye.

Points should tighten up with Hubbell, who broke a motor, going out in round 2 while Hillin advanced to round to round 4.

After the conclusion of the Summit Super Series and some track prep, it was time for Saturday Night Thunder, featuring the Nogalitos Gear Door Slammers 4.90, 5.80 and 7.00 index classes. SNT also gives anyone and everyone the chance to race their car down the track with an open test-n-tune included.

It was a big event for the Nogalitos Gear Company that sponsors the “Door Slammers” classes. They also held a silent auction and raffles to help benefit Lonnie Alexander who is battling cancer. Alexander, who was scheduled to be in attendance, unfortunately, suffered a setback and was forced back to the hospital. His racing brotherhood got together and took a group picture around his car that was given to his daughter to take to her dad.

One of Alexander’s good friends, Avery Smith, was chosen to wheel the car during the bracket race and in a story that would have written itself if he had won. A. Smith made his way through the big field to the final six cars in the quarter-finals of Electronics where the Cinderella story came to an end and he was beaten.

Nogalitos Door Slammers

4.90 index

In the 4.90 finals, it was Michael Pennington, in the Pennington Brothers Racing dragster taking down Chris Keylich, who was a bridesmaid twice during Saturday’s action.

5.80 index

Todd Zampese doubled up for the day taking home the victory over David Sawyer in the 5.80 index class after winning the Foot Brake finals during the Summit Super Series bracket race.

7.00 index
The 7.00 index win went to Austin’s Jesse Garza in his SS Camaro who took out Glen Gustafson in the finals.




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