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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Arizona Animal Annihilates Competition
at the "Flame Fest"

By Shane Tecklenburg

2001 WCPMA Red Line Oil Pro Mod Champion Andy Neyer picked up right where he left off last year; at the head of the Pack. Neyer, of Scottsdale, Arizona drove his Valvoline and Van's Chevrolet sponsored 93 Corvette into the winner circle in convincing style. Not only did he take the number one qualifying position at 6.415 at over 218.37 he bettered the low E.T. twice during eliminations. The only thing Neyer left laying on the table at the end of the night was top speed of the meet honors which went to Baker City, OR resident Dennis Radford, driver of the Poison Viper (220.22 mph).

Neyer took on surprise finalist Dan Vogt, and his Nitrous Oxide injected 94 Corvette. Vogt was the picture of consistency all weekend long running in the 6.80 range on nearly every pass. In the final though Vogt understandably had to hop it up for Neyer who had run low E.T. of the meet (6.37) in his semifinal matchup with Canadian Trevor Lowe. At the green, Neyer held a slight advantage but had to lift about 30 feet off the line because of tire shake. Meanwhile Vogt was having his own troubles in the right lane. Just about 60 feet of the starting line, Vogt made an abrupt turn to the right and had to lift to straighten out the car. That gave Neyer the edge he needed and Neyer streaked to a 6.48 at 217. Vogt chased in futile pursuit until about the 900-foot mark but by then Neyer had cleared the traps.

Neyer, who calls himself the "Arizona Animal" had this to say, "When I let the clutch out I felt it start to spin and I just jumped off it and slammed it back down and it hooked. I glanced over and didn't see him. It felt real good to run hard like this after the long off-season. It just proves what we did last year wasn't a fluke. This was a good deal."

The event was not without incident. During the second qualifying session on Friday, Canadian racer Glen Kerunsky had a huge engine backfire. The concussion was so big it threw the hood of Kerunsky's 99 S-10 Pickup 100 feet in the air. Kerunsky was able to get stopped safely and after a bit of a thrash was able to make the final qualifying session Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Breckenridge Excavating sponsored racer he was not able to make the field. Kerunsky and Eureka, Montana's Pat Stoken, both alternates, were reinstated for the first round when number 2 and number 6 qualifiers John Scialpi and Lee Smith respectively were unable to make the call.

Scialpi could not make the first round after finding his input shaft stuck in the crankshaft during maintenance. Scialpi and crew hammered, twisted, pried, drilled, and finally cut the shaft off but by then, there was no way to put it back together in time. Lee Smith and crew suffered a similar fate as they attempted to repair a burned piston from the final qualifying session. The remains from Smith's number six cylinder were lying on a table and even the untrained eye could spot the damage. A portion of the top of the piston roughly the size of a tennis ball had been burned away.

"There are chunks of aluminum all through the engine," explained Smith. "I am thinking it's not worth it to try and run it even if we get all the metal out that we can see. This engine is too expensive to take that chance."

Neyer, who is currently leading the points, will have his next opportunity to win on May 25, 26 when the WCPMA Red Line Oil Pro Mod Series stops at Firebird Raceway in Boise, ID.

Shane Tecklenburg


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