Cade Poe continued to add to his record as the winningest driver in the history of the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League’s National Championships/Conference Finals when he added a fifth Wally to his collection. Poe, who won four Western Conference Finals titles, made his first trip across country to the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Eastern Conference Finals presented by Huddleston Performance pay off when he outlasted the field in the 15-year-old age category. No other competitor in history has more than two wins in National Championships/Conference Finals competition.
Poe was joined in the winner’s circle by seven first-time champions: Shawn Sanseverino (age 6-9), Brady Snack (10), Wyatt Palmatier (11), Savannah Bilton (12), Richie Fluck (13), Ashley Pumphrey (14), and Zach Lewis (16-17). Mason-Dixon Dragway won the team championship.
Poe, who made the long haul from Los Alamitos, Calif., to compete in the second of two national events for the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League, certainly made the trip worth it when he outlasted Franklin, Ky.’s Jacob Barnes for top honors in the 15-year-old age group. Barnes had the slight advantage on the Tree, .045 to .052, but Poe was able to outmaneuver him at the stripe, winning the double-breakout contest on a 7.89 (7.90 dial) to 7.93 (7.95) count.
The 6-9 age-group final was a battle of Northeast racers with Old Bridge, N.J., racer Sanseverino taking on Mont Alto, Pa., runner Harley Ely. Sanseverino got off the starting line first by nearly four-hundredths, and that pushed Ely into an 11.87 (11.90) breakout. Sanseverino turned on the win light with an 11.93 (11.90).
Snack took a bite out of the competition in the 10-year-old age group, taking that class’ Wally home to Fairmount, Iowa. Snack turned a reaction-time edge of six-hundredths into a 9.12 (9.03) to 9.00 (9.01) win against Pataskala, Ohio’s Maddox Tanzillo.
Palmatier, who hails from DeLand, Fla., got the automatic nod in the 11-year-old class final when Tustin, Calif., competitor Dylan Hegwood left the starting line too soon, red-lighting by .014-second. Palmatier cruised to a 9.05 (8.98) on his winning pass.
In the 12-year-old final, Bilton, an Orangeburg, S.C., racer, got off the starting line first by more than three-hundredths, and she turned the advantage into victory, running an 8.93 (8.92) vs. the 8.90 (8.93) breakout by California, Ky., driver Gage Rachford.
Fluck is taking the 13-year-old class Wally home to Sellersville, Pa., after getting the better of Taneytown, Md.’s Dylan Moore in the title round. Moore was better on the Tree, but he carried too much momentum on the top end and broke out with an 8.08 (8.13). That opened the door for Fluck, who won with a 7.91 (7.90).
Waldorf, Md., runner Pumphrey scored top honors in the 14-year-old class, outlasting Sunbury, Pa.’s Liberti Ferster. Pumphrey left the starting line first by more than a tenth, then eased her car to a 7.97 (7.92) to turn on the win light against Ferster, who finished with an 8.00 (7.95).
It was an all-Illinois battle in the 16-17 class final round with Lewis, of Knoxville, Ill., taking on Ryan Lauterbach, of Mechanicsburg, Ill. Though Lauterbach got the slight starting-line advantage, Lewis was able to run dead on his 8.01 dial to get around Lauterbach, who broke out by .002-second.
Bolstered by the Ely’s runner-up finish in the 6-9 age group and late-round showings by several other members of the team, Mason-Dixon Dragway Team 1 came out on top in the team competition, tallying 31 points. zMAX Dragway Team 1 was No. 2 with 29 points, followed by Huntsville Dragway Team 1 (27), Huntsville Dragway Team 3 (26), and Rockingham Dragway Team 2 and Edgewater Sports Park Team 1 (tied at 25).
Huntsville Dragway continued its reign in the Team Spirit competition, winning the award for the third straight year. Huntsville faced some very tough competition for this year’s award, most notably from Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
6-9 Year Old
Shawn Sanseverino, Mont Alto, Pa., 11.93 seconds,, def. Harley Ely, Mont Alto, Pa., 11.87 seconds,
10 Year Old
Brady Snack, Fairmount, Iowa, 9.12 seconds,, def. Maddox Tanzillo, Pataskala, Ohio, 9.00 seconds,
11 Year Old
Wyatt Palmatier, DeLand, Fla., 9.05 seconds,, def. Dylan Hegwood, Tustin, Calif., Foul
12 Year Old
Savannah Bilton, Orangeburg, S.C., 8.93 se conds,, def. Gage Rachford, California, Ky., 8.90 seconds,
13 Year Old
Richie Fluck, Sellersville, Pa., 7.91 seconds,, def. Dylan Moore Taneytown, Md., 8.08 seconds,
14 Year Old
Ashley Pumphrey, Waldorf, Md., 7.97 seconds,, def. Liberti Ferster, Sunbury, Pa., 8.00 seconds,
15 Year Old
Cade Poe, Los Alamitos, Calif., 7.89 seconds,, def. Jacob Barnes, Franklin, Ky., 7.93 seconds,
16-17 Year Old
Zach Lewis, Knoxville, Ill., 8.01 seconds,, def. Ryan Lauterbach, Mechanicsburg, Ill., 7.898 seconds,,