A sign the apocalypse is upon us: Justin Burcham's '05 GT featured-gasp-an automatic transmission. Specifically, the JPC Racing team leader's war horse had a Turbo 400 in the tunnel for a run at the eight-second zone, but the transmission had other ideas after going south during the first test-and-tune run. The weekend didn't get much better for the JPC Racing crew. Of the dozen or so JPC-sponsored racers, Real Street racer Bruce Hemminger was the lone JPC-stickered entry to take it to the house.
Jack Roush was once again the Official Grand Marshal of the Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing. In addition to shaking hands and kissing babies, he signed autographs and cheered on his sponsored race cars, including his daughter Susan in the Modular Muscle class. Freelancer Paul Rosner caught this rare image of a hatless Roush, but it was during the National Anthem. That must be the one instance when the Cat in the Hat removes the lid.
Michael Hauf ran a 6.63 at 211 mph, but he still found himself at the bottom of Pro 5.0's qualifying sheet. Number-one qualifier Tony Bischoff posted a 6.60 at 208 mph, so he was right in the mix. In round one, Michael squared off with David Schorr, but David went 0.388 red, handing Michael the round win. In the final, Tony turned it up with a 6.58, but it didn't matter because this time it was Michael going red, giving the uncontested win to Tony.
We counted five Pro 5.0 cars on the property, but when qualifying was over, three were left standing. Tony Bischoff's Cougar was at the top, David Schorr's Escort was second, and Michael Hauf's Mustang was third. Though they were few, the three were close to each other in qualifying times. In round one, they all ran 6.63s, but David redlighted against Michael, and Tony had a bye. In the final of Pro 5.0, Michael saw red against Tony, handing the BES Racing chief another victory. In the Super Bowl Shootout against Randall Haynes' '41 Willys, Tony's 646ci nitrous combo started to eat itself toward the top end. It slowed to a 6.71 at 175 mph, allowing Randall to come around him for the win.
Super Street Outlaw
What a weekend it was for Super Street Outlaw racer John Urist. First off, he burned another piston-his nickname is "The Fireball," after all-in the third round of qualifying Saturday afternoon, a problem that's plagued the New Mexico racer all year. Most racers would be done at that point, especially since round one of eliminations at the Super Bowl was Saturday night. It's a good thing John was scheduled to race Hellion Power Systems teammate Dwayne James. Dwayne took one for the home team in round one by not going up to take the Tree so John could stay in competition. A late-night/early-morning thrash took care of the burnt piston. When they started the car Sunday morning, out popped a freeze plug, so 30 minutes from lane call, the transmission was out of the car. More drama came in round two when AJ Powell rolled through the lights, but the auto-start must not have been set or he rolled through a nano-second prior to John staging his car because it didn't signal a redlight start. Even so, John thought for sure he was the automatic winner, but AJ quickly backed up to stage once again. John began to back up his car, but suddenly it was three yellows and a green-time to go. He slammed the shifter down into low, hammered the throttle, and still ran a 7.51 to beat AJ's 7.66. John had problems again in round three, but his opponent, Kentucky Sam Vincent, broke right off the line, allowing John to coast down the track for the round win. In the semis, John relied on a holeshot to get past Jarrett Halfacre, who had his own problems at Joliet. In the final round, Zach Posey redlighted, handing John the victory. In the Super Bowl Shootout, however, Billy Glidden ran the number to keep John from completing the sweep.
Zack Posey's weekend can be best summed up by the old phrase "Sometimes you're the windshield, other times you're the bug." Case in point, the 13th qualifier in Super Street Outlaw drew Donnie "Burndown" Burton in round one. Zack had struggled in qualifying, so he had to lay it all on the line just to make it out of round one. With a stellar reaction time, he had a tenth on Donnie right off the bat. On that pass, Zack had enough ProCharger to survive with a 7.63 to Donnie's quicker-but-losing 7.53. It was that close. Quick reaction times got Zack past Billy Laskowsky and Filthy Phil Hines in rounds two and three, respectively. Knowing he needed another quick light in the final against John Urist, he pushed the Tree too hard with a 0.380 light, handing John the win.
The Drag Radial class has been up in arms all year concerning class parity, so the NMRA adjusted the rules by adding 100 pounds to competitors utilizing an 88mm turbo. One guy the adjustment was aimed at is John Kolivas. Instead of hitting the donuts, though, John dropped down to an 85mm turbo and still ran 8.0s with an 8.09 at 173 mph to qualify number one. With perennial contender Chris Tuten struggling with wheelstands and Tony Akins getting used to his new turbo combination, John had a relatively easy time during eliminations, and he doubled-up by winning his shootout race against NMCA Extreme Street racer Bob Curran.