World Finals Open ADRL 2009 Season
ENNIS, TX (Oct. 26, 2008) — Speed and thrills highlighted the running of the 4th annual LenMar Motorsports ADRL World Finals Oct. 24-25, at the Texas Motorplex, by the Flowmaster American Drag Racing League presented by the National Guard.
Day one featured the Speedtech Al Anabi Nitrous Battle for the Belts, in which the top-eight points earners in each ADRL pro class raced against each other in single-elimination “playoffs” that determined 2008 series champions. Pro Extreme Motorcycle rider Billy Vose successfully defended his 2007 title, as did Jason Scruggs in the almost unlimited Pro Extreme class, while Billy Harper prevailed in Pro Nitrous and Billy Glidden won the Extreme 10.5 championship.
With the 2008 season capped off, all points earned in qualifying and eliminations at the World Finals counted toward setting the Battle for the Belts fields for next year. So, leaving with the early lead after winning on the Ennis eighth mile were Quain Stott in Pro Extreme, Mike Castellana in Pro Nitrous, Glidden in Extreme 10.5 and Scott Gray in Pro Extreme Motorcycle.
A record 45 Pro Extreme entries showed up at the Motorplex, with 23 posting sub-four-second laps in qualifying for the 16-car raceday field. Travis Swearingen of Blue Springs, Missouri led the way with a 3.78-seconds pass at 199.40 miles per hour, while Toronto, Canada’s Ray Commisso anchored the field at 3.94 seconds and 192.11 mph, making it the quickest field in ADRL history.
Stott faced off against Scruggs in the Pro Extreme final, running 3.87 seconds at 183.59 mph in his ’63 Corvette, while Scruggs came oh-so-close to crashing. Straight off the start, his 2007 Dodge Stratus took a hard left, taking out an unmanned TV camera in front of the starting-line “tree” before Scruggs wrestled it back under control.
“The master (brake) cylinder let go just as I let the clutch out and brake fluid sprayed all over the rear tire,” Scruggs explained. “I don’t know how I managed to not hit anything more (than the camera), because I really should have.”
Earlier, in round two while racing fellow Texan Clyde Scott, Joshua Hernandez was not so lucky, as he crashed his National Guard-backed ’57 Chevy, slightly injuring his right arm after bouncing the car off both guardwalls before grinding to a halt beyond the finish line.
“It was on a good pass, but just got a little loose and I tried to drive through it, just like I had last night (in qualifying),” Hernandez said. “This time, though, my right foot wrote a check my body couldn’t cash. I’m pretty sore right now, but what I really hate is that I tore up a great hot rod.”
No such violent results in Pro Nitrous, where Shannon Jenkins paced the qualifying field with a 3.93 at 191.02 mph and his teammate Castellana drove his ’68 Firebird to a 3.92-seconds win at 190.57 mph over the ’68 Camaro of Jim Halsey, who lost traction within about 60 feet of launching and had to shut off early.
“Once we got the car to go straight it got better every time out,” said Castellana, who made the best Pro Nitrous pass of the weekend in the final round. “It was really straight and smooth by the end there.”
The diverse Extreme 10.5 class (so named for the cars’ relatively narrow 10.5-inch-wide rear slicks), put on a great show at Ennis, as several drivers traded record-setting runs in a wide array of combinations on their way to a climactic finish.
Georgia’s Steve Kirk Jr. threw down the first gauntlet with a stellar 4.12-seconds run at 177.91 mph to earn the number-one starting spot with his nitrous-boosted, 820-cubic-inch ’63 Corvette. Then Glidden answered with a 4.11-second run in the semi-finals with his 404 c.i., small-block-Ford-powered ’06 GTO, while Gary White kept pace with his own 4.12 effort to advance the 186 c.i., turbocharged six-cylinder Team Titan ‘07 Scion to a final-round showdown with the new champ.
Along the way, Texas racer Todd Moyer officially set a new ADRL speed record of 180.45 mph with his twin-turboed, 622-equipped 2000 Firebird in his semi-final loss to White.
The Glidden-White showdown produced one of the all-time great ADRL pairings as the combatants laid down the quickest side-by-side pass on 10.5W tires ever—anywhere—with a pair of stunning 4.10s over the all-concrete Ennis strip. Glidden took the win, courtesy of a sizable .060 holeshot, but White at 4.101 earned the official elapsed time record by just two thousandths of a second.
“This class just keeps getting tougher and tougher,” Glidden said later. “It used to be you could run 4.30s and occasional 4.20s and be competitive, but everyone has really stepped up their game over the last five months or so and that’s a thing of the past.”
The record-setting continued in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, where Louisiana rider Charlie Prophit, aboard a 1570-cc, Suzuki-equipped, Timblin Chassis bike, went a precedent-setting 4.24 seconds to qualify on top in Texas.
It was left to Floridians Scott Gray and Matt Prophit to settle the final round, though, with Gray’s 4.37 at 165.09 taking the win after Prophit’s bike missed a gear shortly after launching.
“I just felt like it was my time to win today,” Gray said. “For sure it took a lot of hard work, but when it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.”
All four winners will be on top of the points lists when the ADRL’s 2009 campaign resumes next March in Houston, Texas.