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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

30 Top Alcohol Cars! Last Gremlin! Luck Changing!

Lebanon Valley, NY, Division 1 - 4th Points Race...

By Len Cottrell

Over the last 10 years, I have watched the number of blown alcohol car entries drop at both the national event and divisional level. Fortunately, starting at the end of last season, the car counts have been rising, which has been a plus for the track owners, the spectators, and even the competitors. Most of us prefer a tough field because when you beat one, well, it means more. Lebanon Valley continued the trend with 30 cars, 16 dragsters, and 14 funny cars. Another new qualifying format was tried here with one qualifying session on Fridy at at 7:00 p.m., two more Saturday afternoon, and the finals starting at noon Sunday. While the whole crew has been busy exorcising all manner of poltergeists, gremlins and whatever other critters attempt to make trouble for us, we must have missed one because on our first qualifying run Friday, as soon as Fran let the Clutch out, the blower belt with five runs on it broke and we listened to the engine go silent. We believe that this was the last known gremlin. That was hiding in our trailer and we are now ready to move forward.

The fix was easy; we installed a new belt and went out Saturday for the First session. Nailed down # 4 qualifying spot with a 5.63 at 250 mph, which was only a tenth behind the leader Art Gallant. Unfortunately, the last session was cut short when our friend Karen Benkovich blew an engine and shrapnel blew out her racing slick which immediately made the car turn left, go airborne, and land on top of Kenny Winward's car, This resulted in both cars majorly harmed and both driver walking Away with only bruises.

First round Sunday was exciting as we drew our nemesis Billy Gibson 1st round. He "guessed" at the starting line and cut a .404 light against Fran's respectable .472 light. By 1/2 track, we had caught up with him and at 100 feet; his supercharger burst panel blew out. That was good because Fran had his hands full with the car getting out of the groove at the same time and lifting. Billy coasted through at 5.89 at 204 mph and we coasted through at 5.77 at 213 mph, but we had the win light! Our luck is changing! For the final 4 we drew the #1 qualifier art gallant in his nitro entry and while Fran left 3 hundredths on art on the starting line, art ran a 5.58 to our 5.68 and we lost by 7 hundredths. Art then went on to the finals for the second race in a row and beat Dave DeAngelis (our driver for the Gatornationals) in his first final.

All in all, a good race for us.

Next stop, Numidia, PA

Len Cottrell
len.cottrell@lmco.com

 

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