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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Shirley Takes E-Town Match Over Cowin

By Billy Anderson

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 6.26, 222.29.

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.

Billy Anderson
Karp1149@aol.com

 

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