GINGLES WINS 2ND STRAIGHT, PAYNE HIS FIRST THIS SEASON
Gingles, who drove "The Bull" A/Fueler to a tight final-round decision over defending national champ Jim Whiteley last week in Brainerd for his first national event win, got off the line first and pounded out low e.t. of the meet – 5.354, a slight improvement on his 5.358 semifinal time – to put away Randy Meyer this time in a final-round battle of the top two drivers in the region in 2012.
Gingles qualified No. 1 with a 5.40 and clocked a 5.43 in the first round against veteran Edwin Schmeeckle. He stepped up to a 5.358, low e.t. of the weekend to that point, in the semifinals against John Finke, which cost Finke the East Region title. Dan Page, who was upset in the first round in Bowling Green this weekend after setting top speed in qualifying, won the East championship on the strength of one win (Maple Grove) and three final-round appearances.
Competing at his home track, Meyer, of
In the Top Alcohol Funny Car final, Payne beat early leader John Lombardo, 5.67 to 5.80, with a half-tenth edge in the first 60 feet, .976 to 1.024. Payne's Peak/FireIce Mustang got quicker every trip to the starting line all weekend, opening with a 5.80 in the first qualifying session and running nothing but high 5.60s the rest of the way, including a 5.69 for the No. 2 spot behind Lombardo.
Payne picked up a hundredth of a second to oust Lance Van Hauen in the first round with a 5.68 and another hundredth to beat red-lighting Kris Hool in the semi's with a 5.67, making it an all-California final against Lombardo, who ran in the 5.60s in both qualifying sessions and in every round but the final.
Lombardo beat Steve Griboski in the opening round, 5.67 to 5.88, and defending Central Region champ Kirk Williams, who had a .008 reaction time, in the semi's, 5.68 to 5.82. With the final-round appearance, Lombardo's NAPA team moved into the national points lead when Tony Bartone, in his first race in Mickey Ferro's car after splitting with longtime team owner Rick Jackson, was a victim of the abbreviated two-shot qualifying format and failed to qualify.
A pair of
Other racers taking home the trophies this weekend were Dan Fletcher, Churchville, N.Y. in Super Stock over Robert Cruzen, Las Vegas; Brett Speer, Little Falls, Minn., beat Neal Rhodes, Elizabeth, Colo., in Stock; Brandon Harris, Sand Springs, Okla., defeated Steve Williams, Beaumont, Calif., in Super Gas; Michael Chitty, Ames, Iowa, upended Ryan Julius in the Jerry Haas Racecars Top Sportsman; and Tom Gilligan, Fremont, Neb., held on to beat Andy Millet, Denham Springs, La., in Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson.
Many of these racers will head to Lucas Oil Raceway at
The following are the final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka:
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER:
3) Randy Meyer,
4) John Finke,
1) Gord Gingles,
7) James Stevens,
Meyer, 5.420, 262.64 def. Stevens, 5.507, 258.47
Gingles, 5.358, 269.19 def. Finke, 5.533, 250.23
Gingles, 5.354, 268.01 def. Meyer, 5.467, 260.31
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR:
3) Kris Hool,
4) Kirk Williams,
1) John Lombardo Jr.,
2) Jay Payne,
Payne, 5.675, 252.90 def. Hool, foul
Lombardo Jr., 5.680, 256.55 def. Williams, 5.822, 246.80
Payne, 5.668, 254.42 def. Lombardo Jr., 5.843, 254.95
Dan Fletcher, Churchville, N.Y., '69 Camaro, SS/IA, 10.441, 123.13 def. Robert Cruzen, Las Vegas, '06 Cobalt, GT/AA, 9.273, 143.17
Brett Speer, Little Falls, Minn., '70 Nova, A/SA, 10.531, 119.24 def. Neal Rhodes, Elizabeth, Colo., '67 Mustang, E/SA, 11.249, 114.63
TOP SPORTSMAN PRESENTED BY AEROMOTIVE
SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE PRESENTED BY HARLEY-DAVIDSON