2001 IHRA Eastern Junior Dragster Nationals
Presented by Briggs and Stratton
By Bill Pratt
The weather was a huge factor at the 2001 Eastern Junior Dragster Nationals. Royce Miller and the entire MIR staff worked diligently to get the race into the books despite having to deal with a cantankerous Mother Nature. With the aid of MIR's own on-site weather station, Miller was able to make strategic decisions that got the majority of the action into the books. According to the weather screen, at times MIR was the ONLY dry place in the entire area, and the racers and MIR staff pitched in to run a very tight race. Thanks to all for their participation in getting this race into the books.
The Saturday ET race and all the index races were postponed until after Sunday's national event finals, which themselves were touch and go. As it worked out, the ET race second round was completed Sunday night and the Index races were completed to the semifinals. The decision was made that if the rain stopped the Saturday race (on Sunday night) that the winning reaction times from the most recent COMPLETE round of racing would be used to determine the winners. That happened in the ET race and in all but one Index race.
Sunday began with a steady rainfall, too, but the on-site weather station showed nothing but clear skies after the storm. That eventually held true, but in the meantime, announcer Bill Pratt asked all the kids in the place to contribute to a Sunday Morning Groove Party. Each kid was asked to bring up one favorite CD and to select one favorite song. MIR was jumping with sound as the kids mixed up a good cross section of 30 of the hottest new songs.
Unfortunately, the Wacky Eliminations portion of Saturday night's show was rained out and was not completed Sunday due to the tight schedule. The popular Moms in Juniors and Dad's Pit Bike Challenge will have to wait until the 2002 event. However, the Kid's Big Wheel Challenge did take place on Sunday morning while the track was being dried after an early morning rainfall.
The winner got a large Water Gun and a Trophy. The Runner up got a small water gun and a trophy. The runners up each got their choice of any free ice cream treat in the truck from the Mr. Softie ice cream concession that supports MIR. In addition, it was later announced that Mr. Softie also gave each Big Wheel runner up $5.
Sunday's eliminations winners w were as follows. All winners got huge trophies and complete new Briggs and Stratton Racing Engines. R-Way Services Oil Recycling Company had put up $200 for the Mom's Race. When rain prevented that race, R-Way Services divided the money to give $25 to each winner and runner up in Sunday's eliminations
Jason Claytor of Peebles, OH, won the 660 Top Gun eliminations with an 8.03 at 78 mph to defeat Josh Eastburn's 8.06 at a booming 81.87 mph. Jennifer Haddock and Lindsey Wood made it to the semifinals. Eastburn was the number one qualifier at 7.985 seconds.
Jess Outten of Houston, TX, won the long distance award and made the trip worth her while as she won the 330-foot Outlaw race. Jess went 4.691 to defeat Jennifer Haddock of Chattanooga, TN, who trailed at a 4.773. Outten was the class of the field, running consistent 4.60s while her closest competitors' best times were in the 4.70s. Jess had low et at 4.647 seconds. Brandon Shuman had top speed at 61.98 mph.
Nicholas Chiles of Reedville, VA, won the 8 and 9-year-old eliminations on Sunday. He went 13.16 with a great .541 reaction time to defeat Dennis Bargeron of Screwen, GA, in the final.
Darren Rick of Elyria, OH, won the 10 and 11-year-old eliminations, defeating Mercedes Oglesbee of Richmond, VA, in the final.
Max Mogan of Holbrook MA, won the 12 and 13-year-old title with a come-from-behind victory over Brandon Shuman of Washington, PA.
Kelsey Redmond of Hurricane, WV, won the 14 to 17 year old race with a quick 7.97 defeat of fellow Mountain State racer Josh Starcher of Fairmont, WV.
Saturday was a day of fun and time runs. As always at MIR, the kids had a chance to win a prize every time they went down the track, even during time runs. The best four reaction times in the first time run session got prizes. In the second time run session, the four kids closest to the dial in got prizes. In the third session, the four kids closest to the "bogie" (the combined time of the reaction time and the dial in) got the prizes. Royce Miller also tossed in an extra prize for the best performance by an 8 or 9 year old in each session. On Sunday, there was only one time run session. The four best reaction times in that session got prizes, too.
Saturday winners and their prizes were as follows:
Session one (reaction time):
1. Charlie Betts - .501 - Walkie talkies
2. Edwin Brown III - .502 - Polaroid camera
3. Brian Bell - .506 - $10 MIR bucks
4. JD Ryce - .507 - $10 MIR bucks
8&9 - Michael Klein - .620 - Misting water spray bottle
Session two (closest to dial)
1. Mark Roe - .001 seconds from dial in - Compact disc player
2. Michelle Chiles - .002 seconds from dial in - Sport binoculars
3. Erin Toolis - .003 seconds from dial in - $10 MIR bucks
4. Michael Boswell - .006 seconds from dial in - $10 MIR bucks
Honorable mention -
5. Jessica Eastburn - .009 seconds from dial in
Session three (bogie run)
1. Mark Roe - .037 seconds from perfect - Walkie talkies
2. Austin Hartley - .041 seconds from perfect - Polaroid camera
3. Kelsey Redmond - .044 seconds from perfect - $10 MIR bucks
4. Brian Hubble - .049 seconds from perfect - $10 MIR bucks
8&9 - Nicolas Chiles - Misting water spray bottle
Sunday session one (best reaction time)
1. Michael Boswell - .501 - CD/Radio/Cassette boom box
2. Jennifer Kaye - .503 - Large super soaker water gun
3. Steven Klock Jr. - .504 - $10 MIR bucks
4. Mercedes Oglesbee - .505 - $10 MIR bucks
8&9 - Cory Cox - $5 MIR bucks
Honorable mention -
5. Martin Flegal - .506
6. Gregory Denis - .508
7. Stephanie Chappell - .508
8. Emily Lewis - .508
9. Kimberly Piston - .509
Saturday racing was abbreviated by the weather, as noted earlier. The ET race stopped in the middle of the second round. Through hard work and strategic planning, Royce Miler was able to offer the parents a choice of either staying late Sunday to complete the Saturday ET race or to get a good start on leaving for home. To a team, the junior dragster families all chose to stay and race. MIR picked up the race from the middle of the second round and raced as far as they could on Sunday night until Mother Nature finally put her foot down. Saturday's ET bracket race finished half the second round on Saturday and the remainder of the second round on Sunday. Royce Miller got four pairs of cars into the third round when the rains came for good on Sunday night. The decision was made to award the titles based on the four best winning reaction times from the second round. Those winners and their prizes were as follows:
Winner - Mark Roe, Clarksville, OH - .501 light - $200 savings bond, a mountain bike, and a trophy
Runner up - Josh Starcher, Fairmont, WV - .503 light - $100 Savings bond and a trophy
Semifinalist - Gregory Denis, Nandover, MA - .510 light - Trophy
Semifinalist - Martin Flegal, Ephrata, PA - .514 light - Trophy
The 8.90 index class winner also was determined by the best winning reaction time from the last fully completed round before the rain. Daniel Lorenzo of Monroe, NJ, was declared the winner based on his winning .569 reaction time in the second round. Angela Ray of Plaistow, NH, was the runner up with a winning .591 light. Lorenzo won a $100 savings bond and a trophy; Ray won a $50 savings bond and a trophy.
In the 9.90 Index race, Scotti Dewitt of Essex, MA, was declared the winner based on his winning .624 light in the second round of eliminations. Max Mogan of Holbrook, MA, was the runner up based on his winning .642 light from the same round. Dewitt won a $100 savings bond and a trophy; Mogan won a $50 savings bond and a trophy.
The 10.90 index race was actually completed before the rains came. Patrick Cassidy of King William, VA, won the category on a huge holeshot, defeating Chris Bruce of Mechanicsville, MD, with a 10.98 to 10.93. The difference was in their respective .628 to .713 reaction times, which resulted in a .034 second margin of victory for Cassidy (about three feet)! Semifinalists were Tim Dewitt of Essex, MA, and Bobby Chocie Jr. of Peabody, MA. Cassidy won a $100 savings bond and a trophy; Bruce won a $50 savings bond and a trophy
In the 12.90 Index race, Ricky Menditto of Lakeland, FL, was declared the winner based on his winning .661 reaction time in the second round. Amanda Klinger of Purcellville, VA, was runner up based on her winning .704 light in the same round. Menditto won a $100 savings bond and a trophy; Klinger won a $50 savings bond and a trophy.
Special awards went to the following deserving teams:
Best Appearing Car - Derek Ward - #1469
Best Engineered Car - Phil Smida - #3695
Beast Appearing Team - New England Dragway
Long Distance Award - Jessica Outten - Houston, Texas - 1400 miles