Phil Unruh scored the rare NHRA Double taking the wins in both the Super Stock and the Fineline/Madcap Top Dragster classes for the postponed NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event. The event was plagued by weather at Heartland Park Topeka two weeks ago when officials made the decision to finish the event yesterday at Tri-State Raceway in Earlville, Iowa, the day prior to the track’s scheduled NHRA Lucas Oil West Central Regional event.
Unruh, McPherson, Kan., added a twist to his double. He not only owns and drives the ’10 Cobalt that took home the Super Stock trophy but he also owns the ’69 Camaro driven by Super Stock runner up Douglas Baumgarnder out of Wichita, Kan. Unruh went on to face off with fellow Kansas runner JR Lobner in Top Dragster where he clocked in at 6.613 seconds at 199.17 mph to beat Lobner, Gardner, Kan., and secure the double win.
Sidnei Frigo picked up his first Top Alcohol Dragster win this year and Kris Hool his first in Top Alcohol Funny Car since he opened the regional era with a victory at Gainesville in February.
The alcohol classes completed the last two rounds at Tri State Raceway as Frigo topped Randy Meyer in a great final, 5.40 to 5.43, after gaining a slight edge at the Tree, .067 to .078. It was the Brazilian driver's second career win, including the Division 2 race last year at zMax Dragway in Charlotte.
"We backed it down because we hadn't made a run in that lane," said crew chief Tom Conway, who tuned the car to an early shutoff 5.34, 253 on the one time trial allotted all returning drivers. "The groove there is narrow, but if you can keep the car in the middle of it, you can really run hard."
Frigo shut off to a 5.87 at 185 mph on a semifinal single when Texan James Thompson, who had won the Topeka event in each of the past two years, was unable to make the trip north to Iowa for the rain date. Meyer won the other semifinal over John Finke in a match crucial to Finke's East Region championship hopes, 5.54 to 5.99. Had Finke reached the final, East leader Rich McPhillips, who was monitoring the results from the Indy pits and halfway packed up, would have driven to Earlville for this weekend's event.
The final-round loss extended a frustrating streak for Meyer, the 2003 national championship team owner, who has five runner-ups in five finals this season – two at national events, two in regional competition, and one at the Jegs Allstars event.
Hool, who finished in the national top 10 last year for the first time in his career, strengthened his position in the national standings with his third consecutive late-round finish. He reached the semifinals in his last two national event appearances, in Seattle and Brainerd, and put away three of the most feared drivers in the class at this race with consistent 5.80s: Cordova runner-up Dale Brand and perennial title contenders Jay Payne and Tony Bartone. Coming from the bottom half of the field, Hool upset Payne in Topeka, 5.80 to a shutoff 8.27, and erased Brand in the semis, 5.86 to 14.05.
Bartone qualified No. 1 in Topeka with a 5.64 and beat Bruce Carlson there with a 5.68. In Earlville, he narrowly got around Lance Van Hauen in the semis, 5.782 to 5.786, then slowed to a 5.91 in the final and lost to Hool's 5.83. Bartone, who lost the national championship to Frank Manzo last year largely because he didn't perform as well on the divisional level as he did on national event tracks, has yet to win a regional event in three tries this year.
Two additional Kanas residents took trophies back home as Nick Siebert won in Stock and Steve Domingues in Super Street. Siebert, Wamego, Kan., held off Troy Henderson, Haven, Kan., in his ’85 Camaro while Domingues, Derby, Kan., defeated Kyle Lawrence, Manhattan, Kan., in a close 10.914 to 10.896 second battle.
The Jerry Haas Top Sportsman title went to Curt Harshfield out of Sioux City, Iowa, wheeling his ’55 Chevy to a lap of 186 mph in 7.422 seconds to beat Keith Sasich, Bartonville, Texas, and his ’07 GTO running 190 mph.
Veteran and former NHRA Lucas Oil National Champion Jimmy Lewis led the rest of the winners as he came out on top in Super Gas with a hole-shot win over Chuck Rose. Clint Neff won in Comp Eliminator with his ’23 roadster, Kyle Friis took the honors in Super Comp, and Jason Clampitt downed Brian Wood in the Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley Davidson.
Most of the West Central Division racers were back at it at Tri-State Raceway today as qualifying and time runs began for the final 2012 NHRA West Central Division event this weekend at Tri-State Raceway.
The following are the final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Heartland Park Topeka event (completed at Tri-State Raceway):
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER:
5) James Thompson, Vernon, Texas, 5.452, 257.48 def. 4) Todd Odom, Dallas, Texas, 11.896, 81.50
3) Randy Meyer, Spring Hill, Kan., 5.445, 259.61 def. 6) Christine Chambless, Scott City, Kan., 13.772, 60.53
2) John Finke, Selkirk, N.Y., 5.439, 262.90 def. 7) Gord Gingles, Winnipeg, Manit., 5.539, 238.93
1) Sidnei Frigo, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 5.318, 259.06 def. 8) Edwin Schmeeckle, Gothenburg, Neb., broke
Meyer, 5.544, 253.33 def. Finke, 5.990, 227.80
Frigo, 5.872, 185.72 def. Thompson, broke
Frigo, 5.401, 265.43 def. Meyer, 5.438, 259.56
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR:
1) Tony Bartone, Long Island City, N.Y., '09 Mustang, 5.681, 257.38 def. 8) Bruce Carlson, Prior Lake, Minn., '97 Firebird, 5.898, 228.07
2) Dale Brand, Sully, Iowa, '06 Monte Carlo, 5.724, 252.24 def. 7) Scott McVey, Winnipeg, Manit.,
'06 Monte Carlo, 5.870, 249.67
6) Kris Hool, Casper, Wyo., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.802, 252.76 def. 3) Jay Payne, Claremont, Calif.,
'10 Mustang, 8.273, 109.72
4) Lance Van Hauen, Reinbeck, Iowa, '02 Camaro, 5.823, 242.89 def. 5) Wayne Butler, Forest City, Ill., '02 Firebird, 6.771, 147.94
Hool, 5.865, 247.79 def. Brand, 14.053, 59.30
Bartone, 5.782, 256.16 def. Van Hauen, 5.785, 246.80
Hool, 5.837, 248.20 def. Bartone, 5.914, 247.75
Clint Neff, Arvada, Colo., '23 roadster, K/A, 7.811, 159.34 def. Terry Ticel, Lawrence, Kan., '09
GXP, G/AA, 8.396, 164.35.
Phil Unruh, McPherson, Kan., '10 Cobalt, SS/CM, 12.132, 73.30 def. Douglas Baumgardner, Wichita,
Kan., '69 Camaro, SS/DA, foul.
Nick Siebert, Wamego, Kan., '85 Camaro, I/SA, 11.806, 110.07 def. Troy Henderson, Haven, Kan., '68
Camaro, A/S, 10.347, 124.87.
Kyle Friis, Omaha, Neb., dragster, 8.915, 148.69 def. Trevor Larson, Starbuck, Minn., dragster,
Jimmy Lewis, Forney, Texas, '58 Corvette, 9.911, 162.04 def. Chuck Rose, S. Sioux City, Neb., '71
Challenger, 9.902, 155.42.
Steve Domingues, Derby, Kan., '67 Camaro, 10.914, 137.22 def. Kyle Lawrence, Manhattan, Kan., '79
Cutlass Wagon, 10.896, 123.47.
Curt Harshfield, Sioux City, Iowa, '55 Chevy, 7.422, 186.36 def. Keith Sasich, Bartonville, Texas,
'07 GTO, 6.932, 190.40.
Phil Unruh, McPherson, Kan., dragster, 6.613, 199.17 def. Jr Lobner, Gardner, Kan., '08 Mullis,
Jason Clampitt, Lino Lakes, Minn., '10 Suzuki, 8.934, 149.63 def. Brian Wood, Bellevue, Neb., '76
Kawasaki, 9.127, 144.47.