Although Bruce Hemminger's meteoric comeback is surprising, it's just as surprising to see Tim Matherly's freight train of consistency derailed before it arrived at championship station. Again the number-one qualifier, Tim was set up early with a first-round bye, and in the second round he was the obvious favorite to pick off Jim Pickell and head into the semis against Kevin Scott. Alas, those best laid plans were waylaid by a 25-pound disparity between Tim's race weight and the rulebook. Tim's team seemed shocked by the difference, saying the car weighed in heavy the prior round, and the only change was swapping in a fresh engine.
Remember when Real Street race cars could be competitive running a stock short-block? Well, Kevin Scott sure does, because he made in to the finals at Bowling Green with a stock short-block. Knowing he was on borrowed time, Kevin plans to add a new engine before next season, but his success with such an attainable combo brought a smile to Editor Turner's face. Kevin says he's been testing and tuning with his combo, and he keeps learning things that make it run better. In fact, save for his bye run, Kevin kept getting quicker throughout eliminations, running, a 9.96/135 versus Bruce in the finals. We can't wait to see what his clean four-eyed Fox will bring to the table next season.
Though he only qualified seventh and went out in the first round against Dave Ginter, we just had to run a shot of Michael Bell getting in on the first-round wheelstand party that really got wild later on as the EFI Renegade racers got into the act. If you can't run a huge number, at least you can please the crowd by putting on a show. If you're going to keep this up next season, Michael, you better get some sponsor stickers on that K-member!
Bad Brad Meadows restored his nickname at Bowling Green after taking a brief hiatus from racing in the Pure Street ranks due to family issues. Brad didn't do too much to get the car ready for Bowling Green besides dust it off. The crew performed routine maintenance, such as changing the plugs on his carbureted combination, avoiding the teardowns popular in Pure Street and Factory Stock. Brad has run basically the same combination the past couple years, and it finally came together for him at the World Finals. He has runner-up'd three years in a row, so finally getting the win was huge. "I really wanted to win this race, and I finally got it done," Brad said.
Brandon Alsept lost the battle at Bowling Green but won the war--in the fact that he won the Pure Street Championship for 2008. Brandon battled weight revisions and transmission failures all year, but he battled back each time, staying near the top by going rounds at every race. Brandon's four-valve enjoyed the cooler weather at Bowling Green, running consistent 10.30s. He then ran a Sunday Pure Street best 10.22 at 131 mph, but a 10.33 wasn't enough to get past Brad Meadows' 10.29 in the final.
Tommy Godfrey came to Bowling Green in classic JPC Racing style, meaning he was sleep-deprived from thrashing on cars back at the shop. His first pass off the trailer he ran an 11.28, which is really stout for Factory Stock. However, Tommy broke a tooth off second gear on that pass so he had to swap it out that night. He then got a speeding ticket on the way to the hotel. (JPC needs a motor home, Justin.) After being awake for 36 hours straight, Tommy was not enthused about the ticket, so he took it out on the rest of the Factory Stock class by blasting out an 11.09 at 120 mph during the second round of qualifying. Of course, that pass meant Tommy would spend some quality time with the NMRA Tech Department Saturday night, and more sleep deprivation would follow. But the engine was found legal, and Tommy went on to win the race, set a new Factory Stock record, and win the championship for the second year in a row. Who thought an E7-headed combination would run 11.0s, but Tommy's ride utilizes a Rich Groh Racing 311ci short-block and heads, a Cobra intake, a JLT Performance cold air, a Bassani Xhaust system, and HP Motorsport suspension components.