Coveted class trophies have already been fought for and earned in Stock Eliminator twice this year at divisional events, but the victories at New England Dragway this weekend were the first of the season at the national level.
Class racing in the Northeast is always a sight to behold, and three rounds of class eliminations did not disappoint on day one of the ninth annual TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila.
Winner: Bob Moran Jr., 1969 Camaro
After knocking out Thomas Auger in the first round, East Falmouth, Massachusetts, racer Bob Moran Jr. overcame a .090-second reaction time to end Jim Boudreau’s day in the A/SA final. Moran was 10.099, 109.02 at the final timer to his opponent’s 10.225, 99.27.
Winner: John Gray, 1969 Camaro
John Gray, of Hudson, Massachusetts, first got the best of John Shaul’s ’64 Fury in class eliminations, then took down a red-lighting Scott Gove (-.006) for the AA/SA win. Gray drove his ’69 Camaro to a 9.783, 133.61 in his defeat of Shaul, then wheeled his way to a 9.832, 115.84 in the final.
Winner: Frank Aragona, 1969 Camaro
Freehold, New Jersey’s Frank Aragona defeated 2016 Epping winner Allison Doll (then Smyth) in the first of three rounds, then sent Robert Dean away empty handed to gain his final-round berth. Aragona clocked a stinging .006-second reaction time before laying down a 10.184-second pass at 125.26 mph in his final-round defeat of Barry Parker. Parker launched his 1970 Camaro off the starting line with a .058 and followed it up with a 10.213, 121.16.
Winner: Adam Strang, 1968 Firebird
Two classic stick cars came to battle for the C/S hardware, and it was Adam Strang who emerged victorious. Jericho, Vermont, will soon be home to the class trophy earned by Strang with a defeat of Warwick, Rhode Island, racer Dean Cook. Cook, who won the main event in Epping in 2019, went red in his ’71 Mustang, and Strang surged ahead with the win light already flashing and logged a 10.413, 127.15.
Winner: Elroy Dame, 1969 Road Runner
Plymouth pilot Elroy Dame took his time getting out of the gate in the opening round of the C/SA war, but his ’69 Road Runner expediently assuaged any concerns over the .117-second reaction time as he clocked a 10.576 at 111.34 mph to defeat Richard Epprecht’s .035 and 10.828, 115.60. In the final, Eliot, Maine’s Dame was again second – by a bunch – to leave the line (.165 to .058), but George Vignogna’s ’69 Barracuda simply couldn’t keep ahead. Dame got the win, 10.552, 113.94 to 10.949, 118.38, in what was still a very cool side-by-side featuring two vintage muscle cars.
Winner: Joe Lisa, 1968 Camaro
Seasoned racer Joe Lisa was at an immediate disadvantage in the first and final round match for the D/SA title, and the chase was on. Lisa launched second in his ’68 Camaro, but the Vernon, New Jersey, driver’s .099-second reaction time was rectified as he crossed the final stripe with a 10.751, 104.88 to Carl Massafra’s .043 start and 10.929, 119.04.
Winner: Ken Robinson, 1967 Camaro
The E/SA class win was handed to Ken Robinson to take home to Toms River, New Jersey, after Dean Cook II fouled out by .019 in their head-to-head match.
Winner: Ron Infantino, 1969 Camaro
Infantino temporarily held the No. 1 qualifying position in Stock after the first session with a pass that was -1.108 under the 11.85 F/SA index, so heading into class eliminations, he knew he had something to work with. The Hasbrouck Hights, New Jersey, racer parlayed his efficiency into victory but not as one might think. He leaned on a holeshot to lock out Gary Walters in the first round, and when Nick Reiter went red by .034 in the final, Infantino was declared the winner. Infantino won the New England Nationals Stock Eliminator event trophy in 2014.
Winner: Phil Lankford, 2014 Camaro
Bob Latellier was just three-thousandths slower than Phil Lankford as the two left the starting line in the race for the FS/B class win, but he needed more if he was going to get around Langhorne, Pennsylvania-based Lankford and his FS/B ’14 Camaro. It was a 9.175, 146.10 win for Lankford over his challenger’s 9.264, 145.69.
Winner: Shane Oakes, 1983 Camaro
It was a somewhat narrow victory for Shane Oakes in the G/SA final after Matt Lisa was off the starting line .014-second quicker, but Ottsville, Pennsylvania, resident Oakes made good time in his race to the finish. His 10.823, 117.95 got the nod over Lisa’s 10.853, 120.33 by .0154-second. Oakes got the best of Timothy Gray in the first round to score the bye into the final.
Winner: Chris Butcher, 1983 Camaro
Chris Butcher, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, took a bye run in the opening round and then defeated Dan Lynch in round two to earn his position in the H/SA final. There, he used a sizable starting line advantage (.025 to .103) to crush Richard Boyle’s 11.031, 117.44 effort. Butcher was 11.065, 118.67 at the finish line stripe for a holeshot win.
Winner: Glenn Briglio, 1989 Camaro
Glenn Briglio might have been sweating in his I/SA ’89 Camaro as he watched Katie Sepanek leave on him in her ’72 Chevelle, but her .008 start to his .023 wasn’t quite enough. Briglio will be bringing the class trophy home to Massapequa Park, New York, thanks to an 11.388, 82.96 over an 11.413, 99.64. Briglio’s margin of victory was by just a hundredth.
Winner: Pete Oakes, 1966 Malibu Wagon
A bye run in the first round for Pipersville, Pennsylvania’s Pete Oakes set him up for success in the J/SA battle, but he kept it interesting with a .161-second reaction time next to George LaBelle, who was off the starting line with a non-stellar but still better .087. Oakes and his grocery getter reeled their opponent in with a winning 11.468, 110.51 to an 11.566, 112.98.
Winner: Timothy Stickles, 1980 Malibu
Robert Kelleher was off the starting line with a blistering .003-second reaction time, but Timothy Stickles was having none of it. The Dover, New Hampshire, resident’s .088 launch was paired with an 11.839, 100.82 for victory over Kelleher’s 12.180, 107.84.
Winner: Lauren Kanuik, 1977 Grand Prix
Lauren Kanuik was awarded the O/SA class victory with fair immediacy as opponent Bob Bender fouled out by .025-second and then sputtered to a stop on the track. Kanuik wheeled merrily ahead for a 12.490, 85.69 win. The trophy will go home to Scott Township, Pennsylvania.
Winner: Ed Bednaz, B/S 1969 Nova
Terryville, Connecticut’s Ed Bednaz represented B/S in the Stick Combo class run-off. After turning away A/S ’69 Camaro pilot Bob Broadbent in the first round, Bednaz recovered from a stunning .177-second light with a 10.098, 129.40 to shut out J/S ’72 Cutlass wheeler Sam Murray’s .064 and 11.408, 116.03.
Winner: Gene Monahan, K/SA 1989 Firebird
The Auto Combo class trophy was in the hands of Gene Monahan after the Brockton, Massachusetts, driver first ousted Q/SA ’92 Comanchie pilot Bob Salemi in the opening round, then kept well ahead of Eric Merryfield and his T/SA ’77 Gremlin. Monahan and his ’89 Firebird recorded a victorious 11.528, 109.70 to a 13.566, 95.11.
Factory Stock Combo
Winner: Stephen Smyth, FS/D 2009 Challenger
After breezing through a bye run in the first round, Smyth unearthed a fair bit of luck in the final when Anthony Bongiovanni launched from the starting line .006-second too soon. In a Ford vs. Mopar final, the red light blazed in Bongiovanni’s lane as his FS/A ’10 Mustang flew to an 8.995, 115.00 in a losing effort. Uxbridge, Massachusetts, resident Smyth sealed the deal on the Factory Stock Combo class trophy with a 9.744, 140.04 in his FS/D ’09 Challenger.
With class eliminations in the books, the event title is next up for grabs. Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminations are scheduled to begin at 9:15 local time at New England Dragway, starting with round one of Super Street.
Get detailed results and the event schedule at DragRaceCentral.com.
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