The 32nd annual P.C. Richard & Son Summer Motorsports Spectacular
July 3 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ, featured
weather very similar to the Summer Nationals of the past. Hot, humid
weather made for difficult conditions for pro teams.
The highlight of the event was a match race between three-time Winston
Champion Shirley Muldowney and the New York Yankees Spirit of New York
dragster, owned by Darrell Gwynn and driven by Andrew Cowin. Their
much-publicized disagreement in Gainesville only made the marquee match up
even more appealing. After splitting their previous round one match ups
(Pomona 2000 and Columbus 2002), the two drivers split round wins at
E-Town, with Muldowney taking the overall title due to recording Low ET.
In round one, Cowin smoked the tires immediately, while Muldowney's Mac
Tools Blue Angels machine did the same at about 200 feet. Cowin pedaled
four times to cross the finish line ahead of Muldowney, recording a 6.94,
190.16 in the process. Muldowney coasted to a 9.77, 88.93. For the final,
Rahn Tobler was able to tune Muldowney down the track better, recording a
5.02, 260.56 to best Cowin's early shut-off 5.43, 193.32. Even before
Cowin shut-off, Muldowney was already ahead by a car length.
Defending Federal-Mogul Funny Car champion Frank Manzo won a Top
Alcohol Funny Car match race with Bruce Peterson, Jr. in the New York
Earthshaker. Manzo, who won all five years of Federal-Mogul titles, and
who also has two Winston titles to his name, recorded a 5.98, 236.59 in
round one to best Peterson's 6.23, 229.39. He fell off to a 6.07, 222.11
in the final, but still had enough horsepower to stay ahead of Peterson's
In Pro Modified action, Vinny Budano's ‘63 Corvette took on Pat
Musi's Pro Street ‘69 Camaro. Musi scored in the first round with a
6.59, 211.46 to 6.63, 217.07 win after a large holeshot. Budano came back
in the final to claim the event title with a Low ET 6.58, 217.00, as Musi
shut down to a 7.18, 152.55.
Aggi Hendriks made her return to the Jet Dragster wars behind the wheel
of Al Hanna's Queen of Diamonds entry. Hendriks was still adjusting to
the modern jets, as she rolled the beams both rounds, but still managed to
set Low ET and Top Speed with a 5.75, 294.56 pass in round one. Dennis
Roslansky's Cross Fire recorded a 5.78, 276.07 best.
Rich Hanna proved once again why he is the King of the Jet Funny Cars
when his First Strike toasted Ernie Bogue's Blast from the Past entry
two straight, 5.76, 276.69 best to 6.17, 257.68.
Bob Hall debuted his Chevy Astro Van Wheelstander to great appreciation
from the crowd. A 10.74, 130.24 was his best run of the evening, as Jon
Oswell recorded a 12.59, 98.26 best.
Between rounds, entertainment was provided by four Monster Trucks (Big
Foot, Grave Digger, Team Meentz, and Bulldozer) and Robosaurus, which
destroyed three vehicles.
The next major event at Englishtown will be the 23rd Annual Old Time
Drags & Rod Run on Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28, featuring
the first Annual Funny Car Reunion. Right after that is a Wednesday night
match race between Shirley Muldowney and Don Garlits. These two have
paired up in qualifying twice, and their last match race was December 31,
1999. Mark your calendars for July 31, for a rare event as these two
legends battle it out at the P.C. Richard & Son All-American Jet Car
Nationals and Pro Mod Cars Under the Stars.