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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Booz, Manzo, Kinash repeat at LVD

by Billy Anderson

Jeannie Booz beat all the boys to take the FMD title at LVR. Photo by James Morgan
Jeannie Booz beat all the boys to take the FMD title at LVR. Photo by James Morgan

Jeanie Booz, Frank Manzo, and Andy Kinash, Jr. repeated victories at Lebanon Valley Dragway July 2-4. Besides Booz (Federal-Mogul Dragster), Manzo (Federal-Mogul Funny Car), and Kinash (Stock), other winners at the third Division One Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series event of 2000 were Frank Aragona, Jr. (Competition), Pat Storey (Super Stock), Jeff Szilagyi (Super Comp), Ken Bowers (Super Gas), and Mike Giuliano (Super Street).

For Booz, she used her LVD charm to survive the challenges of three higher qualified injected nitro entries to win in her third straight Division One final. Booz received numerous breaks during the day, and the biggest one involved a race in which she didn't participate. Art Gallant qualified number one with a 5.50, 253.52 in his A/Fuel Dragster and looked to cruise easily into the final. Instead of dominating the early rounds of eliminations, Gallant smoked the tires and allowed bump qualifier Ken Winward to advance with a 5.81, 229.24. Booz had to breathe a sigh of relief when scheduled opponent and former Division One champ Cliff Bozzelli lost fire after his burnout. The lady's 5.71, 248.02 put her more on par with Winward than it would have had Gallant won the round. Booz made short work of Winward as both drivers made their best passes of the weekend, 5.68, 249.58 to 5.78, 237.71. A/FD drivers Mike Gunderson and Rich McPhillips made up the other half of the semi-finals. Gunderson was the dominant car, with a 5.51, 228.38 in round one and a 5.57, 227.88 to defeat a fouling McPhillips. Gunderson looked to be the odds-on favorite in the final, but suffered breakage from the Under the Gun entry, coasting to a 9.56. Booz's crew hopped it up and shook to a 5.77, 245.85, but it was enough. Not only did Booz win, but also it was the first time in the history of the event that there was a repeat winner in Federal-Mogul Dragster.

While the past two even years had produced new winners in Federal-Mogul Funny Car (Paul Gill, 1998, and Craig Gleason, 1996), someone forgot to show the script to Manzo, and Bob Newberry. The Kendall Avenger dominated qualifying with an incredible 5.69, 252.71 track record pass. Newberry was a tenth back at 5.79, while everyone else was stuck in the sixes. Both drivers ran 5.83, 248 in round one, as the number three and four qualifiers, Gill and Eric Lourie, lost to slower qualified cars. In round two, Manzo stayed consistent with a 5.82, 247.07 to easily best Paul Athey's 6.18 in Ed Parker's Mohegan Sun Cape Codder. Newberry shook and shut down to an 8.90 when Jeff McCulloch's Chevy entry couldn't make the call. The final was a repeat of the 1995, 1997, and 1999 finals. Manzo evened it to 2-2 when he shook less than Newberry, 5.86, 247.57 to 5.99, 242.36. It was a virtual carbon copy of the previous year's final, as Manzo had taken that one on a 5.81 to 5.96 measure.

Andy Kinash, Jr.'s K/SA '69 Chevelle Wagon not only repeated his win, but in round four defeated last year's runner-up, Mark Dickerson. Dickerson fell off-pace in his F/SA '71 Duster, while Kinash ran a right-on 12.53. Kinash also defeated Division 1 hitters Dean Cook, John Presing, and Alan Peters, Jr. before landing in the final opposite Larry Pappas' I/SA '86 Camaro. Pappas, who got by Brian Valentine in the semi-finals, had a .628 reaction time, which led to him being defeated on a holeshot. Kinash's .504-initiated 12.63 (+ .10) got by Pappas' 12.12 (+ .07).

Super Gas winner Ken Bowers didn't win in 1999, but he was in the final, losing to Jim Smulligan. Bowers, in his Mopar-powered '27-T, went one round further this year, defeating Steve Drummond's Mustang. Bowers' .405 and 9.90 took out Drummond's .431 and 9.90 by .021 seconds. Bowers had beat another '27-T, that of Jim Fizz in the only semi-final race. Both drivers ran 9.894, with Bowers getting the better reaction time. Bowers also ran a 9.90 in a round four win over Jim Cirigliano.

Competition Eliminator was dominated by the Subaru-powered dragster of Frank Aragona, Jr. Aragona, hot off his win at the NHRA Sears-Craftsman Nationals, continued his winning ways by leading the 32-car field with a -.663 (8.447) pass to pace the field by .06 seconds. Aragona defeated bump qualifier Steven Levine's AA/A in round one, then received three consecutive red-lights by Walter Zalak, Dave Fiore, and Greg Kozera to avoid any CIC infractions. Final round opponent Don Stratton had lost .02 seconds to the CIC in his quarterfinal match with former Super Stock Winston Champion Jeff Taylor. Stratton beat Richard Schonberger in the semi-finals. Aragona lost a permanent .01 seconds with an 8.498 (-.612) in the final, but got the win over Stratton's 8.226 (-.494) in his B/SR.

Pat Storey took his SS/TA '99 Dakota to victory in Super Stock by beating former national champions Dan Fletcher and Sal Biondo in the last two rounds. In the semi-finals, 1998 Super Stock national champion Fletcher cut a .519 light to Storey's .527 light, but could not run the number. Storey's 9.90 on a 9.86 dial bettered the SS/HA Summit '69 Camaro's 10.26 on a 10.21. For the final, Storey picked up to a .518 reaction time, as 1995 Competition national champion Biondo had a .553 light. That was all Storey needed, as a 9.89 (+.03) defeated a quicker 11.11 (+.01) from Andy Boltz's GT/HA '92 Firebird. Storey had gotten past former national event winners Norman Hall (quarterfinals) and Arnie Martel (round one) in earlier rounds. Biondo defeated Dennis Steward's GT/EA '91 Daytona to prevent an all-Mopar final.

As in Super Gas and Super Stock, a Mopar won in Super Comp when Jeff Szilagyi's dragster outreacted former Division One resident Wally Roberts. Szilagyi's .417 and 8.91 pushed Roberts under to an 8.86 after a .438 reaction time. Szilagyi had survived an all-8.90 affair with former Mopar Parts Nationals finalist Jack Sepanek, Jr. in the quarterfinals. That race was decided by .011 seconds, and Szilagyi's round four race with Division One Super Gas champion Dan Northrop was separated by .003 seconds at the finish. Roberts beat 1995 LVD winner Bob Kodadek in the only semi-final race, 8.92-8.93.

Defending Division One champion Mike Giuliano took the Super Street title from Ken Van Gorder by .001 seconds on a holeshot, 10.913 to 10.906. Giuliano had defeated Tom Paquette in the semi-finals, while Van Gorder got past a fouling Glenn Winzer. Van Gorder was locked on 10.90 for his last three passes, but it was not enough to come away with a victory in his Nova. 

Throughout the years, Lebanon Valley Dragway has provided great Federal-Mogul racing excitement, and 2000 was no exception. National event caliber upsets and performances always follow the small, finely prepped track, as the first half of the Division One season ends.

Billy Anderson

 

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