For the seventh consecutive year, Rich Hanna claimed
victory at the New England Dodge Dealers Jet Cars Under the Stars held at
New England Dragway on August 12. The Jet Funny Car pilot claimed Low E.T.
of all three rounds at the premier exhibition event at the Epping, NH
facility. Other winners were Lou Brookman (Jet Dragster), Danny O’Day
(Wheelstander), Jim Kane (Super Slammer Challenge), Dan Page (Pro Comp),
Jim Yergeau (Quick 8 Bikes) and Neal Parker (Hot Rods From Hell).
Hanna’s First Strike Firebird was by far the class of
the field. Hanna’s best lap of 5.71, 277.89 far outdistanced Pat
Davidson’s 5.87, 257.28 in the Phantom Lumina. Al Hanna, who won this
event from 1991-1993, thrilled the fans with his Eastern Raider Firebird
to the tune of a 6.00, 268.81. Rounding out the field was the car with the
biggest engine, Mario Carranca, who ran a 6.11, 255.92, but consistently
put on the biggest flame show.
Brookman battled Jessica Willard for Jet Dragster
supremacy. Brookman’s 5.04 from the Braveheart entry topped Willard’s
5.10 in the Queen of Diamonds entry. Both drivers topped 300-mph, and
Willard ran her best speed at Epping, 307.72.
Dick Rosberg brought out Paul Stender’s incredible
stock-looking Dodge Ram Jet Pickup Truck for a pair of exciting passes in
the seven-second zone.
Danny O’Day’s Superwinch ‘34 Ford provided
performance antics in Wheelstander action, running a 9.16, 144.61 best.
Kenny Nelson’s Cool Bus Fun System recorded times of 12.30 at 100.25
Jim Kane won his first ever Super Slammer Challenge event
at New England Dragway in his nitrous-assisted ‘69 Camaro. Kane
qualified fourth at 6.94 then improved in eliminations. A 6.80, 207.85
easily defeated Terry Hall’s troubled 8.59 in his ‘36 Chevy. Kane then
got a bye run when number one qualifier Ron Iannotti (6.58) could not
returning after injuring his engine on a first round single. The final
paired Kane with Sal Passarelli’s blown ‘68 Nova. Passarelli had
qualified second at 6.62, but fought traction problems in the opening two
rounds. Passarelli’s problems continued in the final, as Kane streaked
to Top Speed and victory, 6.70, 209.79.
Dan Page joined Russ Vernali as a two-tine New England
Dragway Pro Comp winner. Page had won the previous month’s Night of
Thrills by pure luck from the number eight position. This time he
qualified number one at 6.63, 206.48 and dominated the race in his
nitrous-assisted dragster. Page’s path was greatly assisted when all the
top half qualifiers (Roland Deering, Uno Ilvonen and Don Johnson, all
driving supercharged entries) lost.
Paul Jannoni’s 6.99 was no match against Page’s 6.67
in round one. Page beat Vernali in a semi-final showdown, 6.66, 200.08 to
6.83, 199.25 to waltz into the final opposite Jerry Futia’s
Mopar-powered dragster. Futia made laps of 6.76 and 6.99 to topples the
problem-plagued dragsters of Ilvonen and Shawn Spencer. In the final,
Futia lose his reverse and Page took an eased-up 7.77 to victory.
Jim Yeargeau’s Pro Modified Kawasaki made short work of
the Quick 8 Bike field. With the regional Pro Stock racers in Indianapolis
for another meet, Yergeau dominated action but almost gave up the title in
the final. Against Steve White’s turbocharged Kawasaki, Yergeau opened
up a huge lead before breaking an engine at the finish line. Yergeau
coasted to an 8.16 as White’s normally consistent seven-second runner
missed the tune up, and an 8.47 could not catch Yergeau.
Also adding controversy was the fact that pieces of
Yergeau’s engine hit the centerline cubes, knocking it over, but was
apparently not called for disqualification. The winner had Low E.T. at
7.36, 175.07 while White was closest at 7.63.
Neal Parker was the only driver to set a new track record
as he lowered the Hot Rods From Hell E.T. mark to a 6.31. In the final,
the Excavator driver pedaled to a 6.41, 216.10 to best Harry Hall’s
7.38, 185.36 in the Shenandoah ‘23-T.
The New England Dodge Dealers Jet Cars Under the Stars
once again provided the best exhibition action in New England. The next
event on tap is the IHRA North American Nationals sponsored by Parts Pro,
along with the New England Dodge Dealers Night of Fire, September 8-10,