First-Timers Fill National Guard ADRL Winner’s Circle in Ohio

HEBRON, OH (Aug. 23, 2009) — In a remarkable turn of events, all professional class winners at the Aug. 21-22, ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III had never before visited a National Guard American Drag Racing League (ADRL) victory lane. Even more remarkable, four of the five were up against their class wins leader in the final round at National Trail Raceway, near Columbus, Ohio, with the fifth also facing a former race victor.

Young Cody Barklage defeated Joshua Hernandez, the Pro Extreme wins leader at six, while Thomas “Tom Slick” Myers took down Shannon “Iceman” Jenkins, who leads the Pro Nitrous division with seven prior event titles. In Flowmaster Extreme 10.5, Spiro Pappas broke through over eight-time race winner and defending series champion Billy Glidden; Paul Gast got past Scott Gray, who leads all Pro Extreme Motorcycle riders with three victories; and Dean Goforth downed Doug Kirk, winner of the season opener at Houston this year in the National Guard ADRL’s new Extreme Pro Stock class.

“That was awesome,” the Lake Ozark, Missouri-based Barklage declared after pedaling his supercharged Lucas Oil 1967 Firebird to a 3.91-seconds win over the eighth mile at 190.48 miles per hour. “I can’t really put into words how I’m feeling right now because our team really needed this. I’m sure it’ll hit us by tomorrow, but it just seems so unreal right now.”

After laying down a string of solid mid- to high-3.70 passes to reach the final, Hernandez had been heavily favored, but his National Guard-backed ’57 Chevy drifted left toward the center line, taking out the halfway marker on the track before the veteran got it reined back under control.

“That surprised me; it really did,” Hernandez said. “The car had been working great all day, going very straight and easy to drive. But we’re running these things right on the ragged edge every time. We’re balancing like a ballet out there and today I guess we just stubbed our toe.”

Myers, an auto mechanic from Granbury, Texas, won from the 16th and final qualifying position. He went 4.02 seconds at 183.89 mph with his ’63 split-window Safety-Kleen Corvette in the final, while Jenkins suffered traction problems early in his run and slowed to a 4.28 at 156.03 mph. Jenkins later admitted he simply misread changing track conditions and his ’68 Camaro started shaking its tires before reaching half-track, allowing Myers to overcome a holeshot and pass him by.

An emotional Myers dedicated the race win to his grandfather, who passed away just a few days before the event. He and his wife, Rebecca, have been racing with the National Guard ADRL since its inception five years ago.

“I can’t believe we finally made it, especially against the level of teams we’re racing against out here,” Myers said after defeating Pat Stoken, Stan Allen and Burton Auxier in the preliminary rounds, each a member of a multi-car team, as is Jenkins. “But the ADRL has put together a great series where the little guy can shine. It’s an honor for me just to line up against someone like Shannon Jenkins, but to actually beat him in a final? Wow, I can’t even say what that means to me.”

A red-light start by Glidden handed the Flowmaster Extreme 10.5 win to Pappas, who posted an off-the-pace 4.18 pass at 148.31 mph in the final due to the turbocharger on his 2009 Pontiac GXP malfunctioning. In the semi-finals against Chuck Ulsch, however, he went 3.99 seconds at 190.11 to advance while joining Ulsch as the second member of the exclusive Mickey Thompson 3-Second Club for Flowmaster Extreme 10.5 drivers.

“That was a big deal for us, to get that three-second run over with. I wish we could’ve been first, but it still feels good to know we did it,” the popular Chicago racer said. “I also wish we could’ve had a good race in the final, but it doesn’t make the win over Billy any less enjoyable. This is what we came here for.”

Glidden later explained he suffered a clutch controller failure on the line, causing him to go red.

“After the burnouts I looked over and could see he was smoking pretty bad out the left side of his car, so I knew he was hurt. So I wasn’t pushing the tree or anything. I was just going to do my regular deal when this happened,” Glidden said, referring to the faulty controller. “It makes me sick, if you want to know the truth.”

Gast, from Grand Island, NY, also was the beneficiary of a red-light start, as Gray left three-thousandths too soon, tossing away a 4.30 pass against Gast’s 4.31 at 160.69 mph.

“The bike ran really well all day, although it slowed down a little and made its worst run of eliminations there in the final,” the 60-year-old said in victory lane. “I knew I had a good light (.016, his best of the day), but I didn’t know he’d (Gray) gone red, so I wasn’t sure I’d won until it was over.”

After setting low E.T. of the meet for the Extreme Pro Stock class with a 4.10 in the semis that sent him to his second-straight final-round appearance, Goforth ran 4.13 at 173.25 with his ’09 GXP against a redlighting Kirk, who left four-thousandths-of-a-second ahead of the go signal.

“I had no idea he’d gone red until we were well on down there when I saw the win light in my lane,” said Goforth, who opened the day with a win over his son, Cary, then beat Pete Berner and points leader Brian Gahm to reach the final. “Every round is so tough out here. This is the best racing there is; I’m having a lot of fun doing this.”

The National Guard ADRL’s Pro Jr. Dragster class for kids 8-17 years old also crowned a first-time race champion in Minford, Ohio’s R.J. Thacker, who beat Caleb Ellison in the final round.

With just one race left to gain points toward qualifying for the 2009 championship-deciding Speedtech Battle for the Belts this October at Ennis, Texas, all National Guard ADRL teams will be turning their attention to the series oldest and most prestigious event, Flowmaster Dragstock VI, to be held Sept. 11-12, at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina.

PHOTO CUTLINES:

NTR_PXfinal.jpg
Cody Barklage (far lane) took a .035 advantage off the start of the Pro Extreme final of the National Guard ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III at National Trail Raceway, but ended up not needing it as opponent Joshua Hernandez got out of shape about half-track and was disqualified for taking out the 330-foot marker.

NTR_PNfinal.jpg
Thomas Myers (far lane) scored a very popular victory in the Pro Nitrous final of the National Guard ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III. Even opponent Shannon Jenkins said he was happy to see Myers and his wife, Rebecca, pick up their first Minute Man trophy. “They’re good people,” the “Iceman” said.

NTR_XTFfinal.jpg
Spiro Pappas, the newest member of the Mickey Thompson 3-Second Club for Flowmaster Extreme 10.5 drivers that dip into the threes, picked up his first National Guard ADRL win when Billy Glidden went red against him at the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III.

NTR_PXMfinal.jpg
The red light tells the story as longtime motorcycle drag racer Paul Gast (far lane) beat Scott Gray in the Pro Extreme Motorcycle final of the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III at Hebron, Ohio.

NTR_XPSfinal.jpg
Doug Kirk (near lane) left just four thousandths too soon in the Extreme Pro Stock final of the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III at National Trail Raceway, handing Dean Goforth his first National Guard ADRL event
win.

NTR_PJDfinal.jpg
R.J. Thacker ran 9.44 against a 9.39 dial in to win the Pro Jr. Dragster final over Caleb Ellison in the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III at Hebron, Ohio.

ABOUT SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT
Established in 1968, Summit Racing Equipment is the leading high performance parts and accessories company. Summit Racing offers the largest selection, lowest prices, and best customer service in the high performance industry via catalogs, Internet, and Retail Super Stores. The company is headquartered in Tallmadge, Ohio with retail stores in Tallmadge, Ohio; Sparks, Nevada; and McDonough, Georgia. For more information on Summit Racing Equipment, visit www.SummitRacing.com.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL GUARD
The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information on the National Guard, visit www.NationalGuard.com.

ABOUT THE ADRL
Based in O’Fallon, Missouri, the American Drag Racing League is the nation’s premier sanctioning body for the sport of eighth-mile drag racing. The professional categories featured in the ADRL are Extreme Pro Stock, Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Extreme 10.5, Pro Nitrous, and Pro Extreme, the quickest doorslammer class in all of drag racing. The 2009 National Guard ADRL series consists of 10 national events run throughout the United States. For more information on the ADRL, visit www.ADRL.us.

HEBRON, Ohio — Saturday’s final results from the ADRL Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags III at National Trail Raceway. The race is the Eighth of 10 in the National Guard American Drag Racing League:

Pro Extreme — Cody Barklage, Pontiac Firebird, 3.912, 190.48  def. Joshua Hernandez, Chevy Bel Air, DQ.

Pro Nitrous — Thomas Myers, Chevy Corvette, 4.023, 183.89  def. Shannon Jenkins, Chevy Camaro, 4.288, 156.03.

Extreme 10.5 — Spiro Pappas, Pontiac GXP, 4.186, 148.31  def. Billy Glidden, Pontiac GTO, foul.

Pro Extreme Motorcycle — Paul Gast, Suzuki, 4.310, 160.69  def. Scott Gray, Suzuki, foul.

Extreme Pro Stock — Dean Goforth, Pontiac GXP, 4.130, 173.25  def. Doug Kirk, Ford Mustang, foul.

Pro Junior Dragster — R.J. Thacker, Bos, 9.441, 66.88  def. Caleb Ellison, Halfscale, 9.113, 70.58.

For complete results go to DragRaceCentral.com

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