Shorty Rader Wins NHRA Summit Division 3 E.T. Finals At Indy
Jim “Shorty” Rader earned the biggest win of his decorated racing career on Sunday when he drove his Racecraft Chassis dragster to the Super Pro title at the NHRA Division 3 E.T. Finals at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Rader, a machinist by trade, is a three-time track champion (twice at ORP and once at Wabash Valley Dragway) and was appearing in his eighth consecutive Division 3 E.T. Finals event competing as a member of the Lyons Raceway Park team.
A massive field of over 250 Super Pro entrants proved only to be a showcase for Rader’s skill and his cars consistency. He made his way through nine rounds of competition, spread over two days to claim his first NHRA Division Championship. Rader opened eliminations on Saturday with a scant .005 victory over Mark Hancock, then advanced past Don Stahl by posting a dead on 4.874 ET. That earned him a berth in Sunday’s third round of competition where he admittedly got his biggest break of eliminations when Jenni Zednicek red lighted.
“I’d say that was the pivotal round,” said Rader. “It was the first round Sunday morning, and I missed the dial a little bit. I ran 4.836 on a 4.85 dial, and she ran dead-on. If she had been green right there, I probably wouldn’t be talking about this win.”
With the added data, Rader proved to be unbeatable for the remainder of eliminations. In round four, he used a solid .013 reaction and .013 over 4.853 to best Alan Connors by a mere .002. He then posted a string of .00 reaction times to dispense of Randall Brough in round five and Rex Stamps in round seven, sandwiched around a fifth round bye run. Rader got another break in the semi-final round at Randy Wolfe’s expense when Wolfe had mechanical issues at the starting line. That set up a final round showdown with former IHRA World Champion and multi-time national event winner Scott Stillings.
In the final, Rader left little to chance, posting his best package of the event with a .007 induced 4.874 (4.87 dial) to oust Stillings and take home the NHRA Wally. With his victory, Rader is crowned as the NHRA Division 3 Champion and earns a trip to the NHRA Finals in Pomona in November where he’ll compete against the other six division champions for the Summit national title.
“I’m at a loss for words to be honest. I’ve had some success in this event over the years, but I’d never advanced past the quarterfinals. I’m excited to have the opportunity to go to Pomona, and I’m really looking forward to it. Trying to figure out the logistics of getting the car out there and thinking about the three day journey (each way) isn’t much fun, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
The machine that carried Rader to victory is a 2010 Racecraft Chassis Swing Arm Mono-Shock dragster. The car was built by Danny Nelson at the Racecraft shop and assembled by Rader. The car features a 565 cubic inch Chevrolet Engine built by Freedom Engines in Brownsburg, IN. The combination features a TCI Powerglide transmission and Transmission Specialties “spragless” torque converter. Rader relies on a Ron’s Terminator fuel injection system, which he purchased from good friend James Monroe at KillerRONS.com. Rader acknowledged Racecraft, KillerRONS.com, VP Racing Fuels, Tire & Wheel Centers in Bloomington, IN, Freedom Racing Engines, and Van Horn Tint & Accessories for their support.
Shorty Rader wished to thank Brent Jones, the owner of Lyons Raceway Park for the opportunity to compete on the Lyons team, and for maintaining a great facility at which to compete on a weekly basis. Lyons Raceway Park will host a free entry $5,000-to-win event on Saturday October 16, and Rader would like to invite racers to come and experience the great treatment from his home track staff.
In addition to his sponsors, Rader also wished to thank his father Jim, brother Kevin, Mother Connie, Step Mother Judy, his wife Sheila and his children; Corbin, Brodey and Carson. He also thanked James Monroe at KillerRONS.com and the staff at RPM Performance Data Recorders. To learn more about Shorty Rader, visit www.ShortyRader.com.
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