And, they’re off! First Lucas Oil race of 2023 in the books

The first trophies of the 2023 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series season were handed out this past weekend at Orlando Speed World Dragway, where Race 1 of the six scheduled for the NHRA Southeast Division (Division 2) took place. Wes Leopold, Kevin Helms, Jeff Longhany, Doug Foley Jr., Sherman Adcock, John Rollins, Clint Riley, and Robert Sellers were all victorious.

Wes Leopold and his Dodge Stratus at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals in Reading in 2022. Photo: Auto Imagery

Longtime Mopar campaigner Wes Leopold returned to the winner’s circle with a victory in Comp Eliminator. The Bethel Park, Pa., resident drove his A/SMA 2005 Dodge Stratus to the win over final-round opponent James Hardee and his H/AA 2008 Pontiac G5. Leopold, who won Stock in 1991 at the Columbus national event, has previous divisional event win in Stock and Super Stock.

Kevin Helms and his Oldsmobile Achieva at the 2021 NHRA Southern Nationals. Photo courtesy of Auto Imagery

Super Stock
Four-time Stock Eliminator world champion and nine-time division champ Kevin Helms claimed the Super Stock trophy in Orlando with a final-round victory over No. 1 qualifier Stacy McCarty. McCarty’s GT/DA 1995 Grand Am was unable to make a pass in the final, and Helms made a full pull for the win in his SS/CM 1995 Oldsmobile Achieva.

Jeff Longhany and his 2000 Corvette at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals in 2022. Photo courtesy of Auto Imagery

Jeff Longhany finished No. 2 in the Southeast standings last season, and the Wade, N.C., racer made early headway in his 2023 quest with the Stock win at the division’s season-opener. Longhany, driving a B/SA 2000 Chevrolet Corvette, defeated a fouling James Roberts and his G/S 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. Longhany’s most recent divisional win was last season at the Rockingham Dragway division race; he also won the Virginia NHRA Nationals in 2022.

Super Comp
Doug Foley Jr. def. Frank Altilio

Super Gas
Sherman Adcock def. Tim Powell

Super Street
John Rollins def. Ronnie Blanks

Top Dragster
Clint Riley def. Steve Furr

Top Sportsman
Robert Sellers def. James Hinkle

Next up on the division trail:
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix will host the NHRA Pacific Division 7 double-header beginning February 23rd, and No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La., will host the first NHRA South Central Division 4 event beginning February 24th. For the full division schedule, click here.

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