Sportsman Racers Reach Late Rounds in Epping

It’s “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!” and the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors are heading into the late rounds of competition at the TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila. We took a look at the results using our handy-dandy results machine (aka DragRaceCentral.com) and put together a look at what lies ahead for three categories of still-going-strong Sportsman racers at New England Dragway.

Super Stock – Fourth Round
Justin Picillo vs Eric Merryfield
Two-time Division 1 Stock champ Justin Picillo and his SS/BS ’85 Firebird will race Andover, Massachusetts, resident Eric Merryfield in the fourth round. Merryfield and his GT/TD ’96 Dakota defeated James Whitehead and Pat Glade in the earlier rounds and ran 10.52 both times – but he went 10.502 on a bye run last round. Picillo got the nod last round on a red light from Gregory Gay, but prior to that he had his work cut out for him. Picillo survived a close one in round two with Mark LaBrecque, advancing by just .006, after emerging victorious over reigning world champ Bryan Worner in a double-breakout first-round meeting.

Russell Linke vs Joe Santangelo
In the last round, 2014 Maple Grove winner “Bubba” Linke went dead-on with a seven in his SS/JA ’97 Camaro to beat No. 2 in the world Byron Worner’s break-out 9.700 on a 9.71 dial in his GT/HA ’94 Camaro. They launched with identical .024-second reaction times, and it was a great race from the start for two racers who have been doing this a long time. Linke won’t be catching any breaks in the fourth round, though – he’s got Joe Santangelo, and if you know, you know. You don’t know? Okay, fine. The name Joe Santangelo shows up three times in a row on the New England Nationals scorecard as a Super Stock winner, from 2014 to 2016.

Joe Lisa vs bye
Joe will carry the torch for the father-son Lisa team into Sunday after son Matt lost a heartbreaker on Saturday afternoon in Stock (see those results here). Papa Joe was doing double-duty this weekend in Stock and Super Stock, but after claiming the D/SA class win, Nick Reiter unceremoniously gave him the boot in round one of the main event. That being said, it allowed the eight-time national event finalist to focus on Super Stock in his GT/JA ’87 Camaro – and so far, so good. He has one previous win at an NHRA national, and that was in Stock at the Charlotte spring race in 2012.


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Stock – Fourth Round
Frank Aragona vs Ryan Horensky
Aragona has one win here at New England Dragway – in Comp, of course, at the JEGS SPORTSnationals in 2020. He claimed the B/SA class win on Saturday at New England Dragway, and now he’ll be looking to add a Stock Eliminator national event trophy to a collection that includes a plethora of Comp accolades as well as Super Comp hardware. It will be a heads-up B/SA affair between Aragona and his ’69 Camaro and ’68 Mustang campaigner Ryan Horensky, who is looking for his first national event win.

Phil Lankford vs Joe Santangelo
In the third round, FS/B class winner Phil Lankford won a close one over Tim Barrett, getting the go-ahead by just .003-second with his ’14 Camaro. Lankford will be seeking victory over B/SA ’69 Camaro wheeler Joe Santangelo this round, a guy who has pretty strong history at New England Dragway and is still in the hunt for two trophies (he’s also still going in Super Stock).

John Gray vs Jim Roberts
Oh, fun! It’s a battle of ’69 Camaros here. The AA/SA class trophy wasn’t enough for John Gray, so he’s here continuing to fight for the event win, too. He’ll be facing G/S racer Jim Roberts, the 2015 runner-up, this round.

Jim Boudreau vs John Shaul
Defending Division 2 Stock champion Shaul’s two national event trophies were both earned on the West Coast (Las Vegas 2008 and Pomona Finals in 2009), so the veteran racer who resides in Fultonham, New York, is likely eager to bring home an East Coast version of Wally. He and his AA/SA ’64 Fury will head to the starting line for a meeting with Tewksbury, Massachusetts, racer Jim Boudreau and his A/SA ’69 Camaro. Super Stock and Stock standout Boudreau’s most recent national victory came at the 2015 race at Maple Grove Raceway.

Jim Boudreau at New England Dragway in 2019. Photo: Auto Imagery

Super Comp – Round Four
Jack Sepanek Jr. vs Shawn Fricke
It will be a war of Division 1 champions here when 2007 Super Comp titlist Jack Sepanek Jr. races 2015 and 2016 Super Street champ Shawn Fricke, a three-time national event winner, here. The Sepanek family name, though, is peppered all throughout the scorecards, so this should be a good one.

Kyle Tavares vs Ken Moses
Ken Moses doubled here in 2019 in Super Comp and Top Dragster and was runner-up in Top Dragster at the inaugural event, and it’s likely that Kyle Tavares is aware of what he’s coming up against. If he wants a shot at his first national event win, he’ll be earning it here.

Jamie Blake vs Heather Fetch
Loudon, New Hampshire’s Jamie Blake ran dead-on with an eight to beat Johnny Smith by .003 last round, and Heather Fetch is carrying the Fetch Racing name into Sunday as husband Anthony was ousted from the Stock competition in the third round. Colonia, New Jersey, second-generation racer Fetch has two of the coolest trophies ever on the mantel with wins at the 2006 U.S. Nationals and the 2016 race at Englishtown’s Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, and Blake is looking for national event win No. 1.

Amanda Boicesco vs Vincent Nobile
It’s a bit unusual to see former Pro Stock standout Vincent Nobile in Super Comp, but he doesn’t seem to be having too much trouble this weekend in the rail. He had a .012 package in the third round with a dead-on 8.900, but 2016 Reading national event winner Amanda Boicesco, his opponent this round, was .017 on the tree and clocked a not-too-shabby 8.907 to gain her position here.


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Here are the drivers who advanced from the remaining Lucas Oil Series categories:

Super Gas – Round Three
Jerry Pierce vs Jim Repka
Pierce was runner-up at the 2020 JEGS SPORTSnationals here

Iggie Boicesco vs TC Smith
Boicesco is the 2019 New England Nationals winner

Kevin Carey vs Joseph Gallucci Jr.

John Labbous Jr. vs bye
Labbous is the 2017 Epping Super Gas winner

Super Street – Round Four
Frank Volpe III vs Dominic Burgese

Kelly Kundratic vs John Harper

Raymond Knight vs Rick Mattioli

Top Dragster – Round Three
Alan Kenny vs Gary Koebbe
Kenny won Super Comp here in 2015

Becki Miller vs Richard Bell

Rick Jamieson vs Nick Meloni
Nick Meloni was runner-up here in Top Dragster in 2019

Kyle Cultrera vs Shawn Fournier
Cultrera was runner-up here in Super Comp in 2014

Follow along at NHRA.tv today, and catch detailed results at DragRaceCentral.com. Post event, but sure to check out the amazing images of every racecar at AutoImagery.com (and yes, they’re all for sale.)

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