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
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.
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.