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Sept. 13, 2008
What a final weekend!!!!!
Rob Charlton wins the battle Sunday, but Grant Howell won the war.
After the wild events from Saturday, Sunday looked to be one of the most exciting final days in recent memory. After the completion of Saturday's final round, Grant Howell went into Sunday's race with a 35 point lead on Zak Clarke and another 7 points on Layne Wooley. In total, four cars had a shot at the championship prior to qualifying for Sunday's race.
Todd Jacques went airborne on two runs in qualifying Satuday, and then for good measure went to the final round Sunday.
Saturday's eliminations also went towards qualifying for Sunday's race, and there was one more shot Sunday morning. 22 cars entered the final race of the year presented by Charlton Automotive. Three drivers who had never raced in the series (Tony Hopkins, Alex Dewolf and Todd Jacques) signed up for the first time and all three had a blast, and will be back in 2009. All 22 teams had made the 8.70 minimum on Saturday, so the teams were just jockeying for position Sunday morning. On Saturday, one of the newcomers wanted to be noticed, as Todd Jacques driving a 5 litre style Mustang (he had a nitrous assisted powerplant) went into a huge wheelstand and was forced to lift early and then get back on the loud pedal. He cruised to a 8.99 to start. Along side Jacques, was Alex Dewolf, and he laid down a 8.64 in his turbo charged Mustang. Tony Hopkins driving his Firebird, went 8.9 to easily make the cut. Terry Spargo as usual was right at the top and he matched his career best with a 6.72/206. Craig Donaldson made one of his rare appearances this year, and went 6.93 in his Pro Stock legal Grand Am. With corrected air sub 1000 feet,, almost all car ran as quick as they have all season and all cars were qualified by the time the second qualifying session was done Saturay afternoon.
Alex Dewolf was outdone by his buddy Jacques
Glen Norman is said to be heading South to Vegas for the World Pro Stret event in Novemeber.
Sunday Morning saw the best weather of the weekend and Greg Anderson came close to the 7 teens with a 7.207, Mike Bedsworth went a 7.27, Dean Woods was back in the 20's with a 7.280 (that run from Saturday and he did not run on Sunday due to his vacuum pump issue) and Brian Kikel came oh so close to the 20's with a 7.301. Layne Wooley went into the 7.50's for the first time ever with a 7.577 and Glen Norman went clsoe to his career best with a 7.94@170 mph. The run most were looking forward to was Terry Spargo as he has been trying gamely to hit the 6.60's since his first ever 6.7 pass. One the launch, he went .976, his quickest ever by over .02 and it was one of the quickest ever 60 foots for any 800+ inch pro stock car anywhere including the IHRA. Terry checked the IHRA web site and I have checked as well. A couple drivers had .977 and .979 at Milan Michigan earlier this year. If only these IHRA Pro Stock cars were to run in Mission in the Spring or Fall.
Brian Kikel will go into the 2009 season with a lot of promise.
Unfortunately for Spargo, the engine started to fall off right a 660 feet and he could only run a 6.74@201 mph. He wound up finding very little compression in one cylinder (collapsed ring or something similar) and he was done for the season. Based on the half track numbers I do believe it would have been around a 6.68 run. Terry stated that the car has 60+ passes on it this year and it was definitely time to do a rebuild. The tires were also 7 runs older than they should be, but being the end of the season He did not want to put new ones on it at the last race.
Terry Spargo wished the car could had run for 1320 feet on all 8 cylinders. We will never know if a '60 would have come up on the reader board (Yes it would have).
Here is the final qualifying order after four rounds of qualifying.
1. Terry Spargo 6.725/206.32
Ray Kirton broke in qualifying. Will he debiut his new ridein 2009?
Tony Hopkins made his debut.
Based on the "q" numbers and enrty points the top six in the points were:
Howell, 489, Clarke 452, Wooley 448, Charlton 411, Spargo 409 and Bedsworth based on his R/U from Saturday now had 408.
Layne Wooley was an unfortunate first round casualty went all the chips were down.
All six drivers were guaranteed 30 first round loser points and the winner could receive 90 points. Based on those totals, only Wooley and Clarke could conceivably catch Howell for the title, and to do that Howell had to go out in round one or two, and the two in 2nd and 3rd, had to go to the final and likely win.
Monster round one match-up.
In round one, the key match up was Rob Charlton and Grant Howell. Charlton was unfortunately too far back to win but only Marcy and myself knew that for sure, and we did not want to give any info away to the racers, making first round matchup that much more interesting. That match-up got lots of buildup by the announcers and Charlton did what he had to do for himself (so he thought) and the guys behind Howell. Charlton drilled Grant to the tree (but in Grant's defense, he said afterwards he punched in the wrong numbers in his delay box). Charlton had a solid .025 package to advance to round two, and Clarke and Wooley had a slim chance.
Randy Arlitt went to round two. Zak Clarke had a surprising early race exit. He will be back next year, Right Zak!!!!
Unfortunately for both, they wound up on the wrong side of the win light. Zak Clarke got big starting line advantage on Glen Norman, (.034), and had him coverage at the stripe. Clarke lifted early but not early enough and he broke out by .006. Ouch!!!! Wooley faced off against that ex owner of the car he is driving, and the two left within .001 of each other. Wooley had the lead and held it to the stripe, he lifted slightly, but unfortunately for him he too went under his dial-in. He went 7.596 on his 7.62 dial, so the car was one a real strong pass, similar to the one from 90 minutes earlier.
Greg Anderson was a top seven finisher.Mike Bedsworth as per usual was in the hunt for a top three finish
After all was said and done, Grant and Dayle Howell got their first ever title. All that was left was to decide the placings from #2 on. In the other match-ups, Bedsworth went .007 at the tree but had a single due to Dean Woods electing to sit out (Vacuum pump issues from Saturday), Craig Donaldson also had a single when Spargo sat out due to his issues from the qualifying pass. Randy Arlitt got his first ever round win against a too fast Alex Dewolf, Dave Richardson won a double breakout with against Dave Warren. Greg Anderson defeated Brian Kikel by .001 as both dirvers also went under their dial in. Shane Wangler got his first ever round win as newcomer Tony Hopkins was a scant .002 short at the stripe for the second very close first round pairing. Todd Jacques started his cinderella race win a win against Saturday winner Tom Montgomery. Montgomery broke out by .006 He will be kicking himself as he has .06 on the starting line. In the final pairing, it ended up to be another single as Kevin Lance went to round two when Ray Kirton broke in qualifying Saturday.
Tom Montgomery did like many who have won race #1 of a double header, they lose in round one of race #2.
Kevin Lance had a blast with the DS'ers this season.
With 11 cars in round two, the top half of the ladder got a single (top qualifier left in the field).Craig Donaldson was the lucky participant in round two (two rounds in a row). He was off to round three. Todd Jacques got his second round win with a defeat of the Islands Randy Arlitt. Both drivers were way late, but Arlitt had tire issues and had to lift way early. Rob Charlton with his slight hope of catching Howell defeated Terry Shuflita who went red. Glen Norman went to round three with a great .008 light compared to his opponent's (Shane Wangler) way late .202. Greg Anderson was a bit slow to stage with did not have an affect on his opponent Mike Bedsworth who had his second great light of the day, a .010, But Bedsworth was too greedy at the stripe and took too much going under his dial by .014. Anderson also went under , but by only .011 giving him a .003 margin of victory. Close!!!! That ended Bedsworth chance of moving into the second or third spot in the final standings. The final pair in round two was Dave Richardson and Kevin Lance. Richardson was solid on the tree and got an easy win over a very late Lance.
Shane Wangler went to round two. Terry Shuflita did the same
In the 1/4's, Jacques got an easy win over Glen Norman, when Norman had issues just past the 330 mark. He coasted the rest of the way through, while Jacques was solid in the win, with his best package of the day. Craig Donaldson got another easy win, this time when Anderson went red by .006 (he also was .006 too quick, but that was close to being a great run for the Snohomish driver. The early season point leader's day ended with him finishing 7th in the standings, his best finish. Rob Charlton and Dave Richardson, two of the top drivers in the lower Mainland faced off next, and Richardson went .002 red handing Charlton a bit more life in his quest to finish at the top (I don't know or not if Rob or brother Scott had actually done the math).
Richardson was red in the 1/4's
Todd jacques needed to slap himself to wake up from his dream day as a first time CWDS competitor, because he got the odd car single right tot he final round. He just idled down the track to save parts. Rob Charlton needed to take out the five speed Grand Am driven by "Lumpy Donaldson" and he did just that, as Donaldson's luck ran out, and he went waay red, putting the Maple Ridge driver into the final round at the race he sponsored. Fix or what!!! Just kidding, 'cause I doubt that everyone in his way laid over for him just to win his own race (yes that whole last statement was tongue firmly in cheek).
Donaldson was a wee bit early on the starting line against Charlton (do I see a pattern here)
(below) Final round for all the dough and bragging rights for the next six months until the 2009 season
Final round, and Jacques was a little too anxious (Yes there is a pattern, all the guys who faced Charlton from second round on went red, and his firsrt round opponent was dead late. They did not want Rob to have to spend his sponsorship money I guess)
A win for Charlton and the math would be, the most important thing on his team's list. A win for Jacques and he will have wished he was a member because and extra $500.00 was a stake. It was another race decided on the starting line, as Jacques went .118 red and Charlton was the winner at the last race of the season. Was his point total enough to capture the title was the next thing on the teams mind. Well, it was a valiant effort, but Rob fell 17 points short of being a two time series champion (he was the series in 2006).
Todd Jacques, wife and daughter celebrate as Sponsor Rob Charlton hands over the cash.
Final standings are on its page
What a great final weekend and what a great year. A number of new teams were out and the outlook for 2009 looks very strong. The big news heading into the 2009 season will be the possible voting of going to a 5/10ths full tree. For the growth of the class it is an important vote for sure, so make sure you come out to the final meeting of the year the same weekend as the banquet (likely the last weekend of November).
There will be photos attached to this weekend's final results so check back over the next couple days.
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