Author: Benson, Candida
Date published: August 20, 2010
Journal code: NDRG
Comp racer Jeff Lane notched his second win of the 2010 season and Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley- Davidson competitor Buff Kobs made it two in a row at Spokane County Raceway during the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Northwest Thunderfest. The event was just the second LODRS race held at the new Washington track, and though it was race No. 4 on the 2010 Division 6 calendar, it was just the third completed this year after rain postponed eliminations for the Mission Raceway event to the end of August.
Joining Lane and Kobs in the winner's circle were Mike Austin (Top Alcohol Dragster), Clint Thompson (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Mark Faul (Super Stock), Jody Lang (Stock), Jim Glenn (Super Comp), Mike Ferderer (Super Gas), Larry Miner (Super Street), Randy Pressel (Top Dragster), and Randy Johnson (Top Sportsman).
Austin's road to the victory celebration was a very odd one that ended with him having no opponent for the final round and thus soloing to the win. With four Top Alcohol Dragsters on the property, the first round also served as the semifinals. Austin, the No. 2 qualifier, handily won his match with Don St. Arnaud, posting a 5.48 to St. Arnaud's 5.93 to earn a spot in the final round. Things didn't quite go according to plan on the other side of the ladder. Bill Edwards Jr. broke during qualifying and was unable to make the call for the first round, apparently giving a single to No. 1 qualifier Joey Severance, but Severance's car broke a rod on the burnout and was unable to take the Tree. That gave Austin the single run in the final, on which he posted another 5.48. Austin's victory gave him more than just the Wally; it also moved him around Severance to the top spot in the Division 6 standings.
Thompson made a clean sweep of the Top Alcohol Funny Car class, qualifying No. 1, running low e.t. and top speed, and winning the event. He qualified atop the ladder with a 5.61, then remained in the low to mid-5.6s in eliminations to take the title. In the final round, Thompson got the jump at the Tree and drove away from Brian Hough, the No. 2 qualifier, who was seeking a third straight win in Division 6 competition, scoring on a 5.65 to 5.73 count.
Lane solidified his hold of the No. 1 points position in Comp when he defeated Dale Giroux to claim his second Northwest Division Wally of the year. Lane, who also won the opener in Boise, Idaho, had a nearly flawless outing, leaving on every opponent and suffering just a minor race-only CIC penalty. Lane saved his best light for last, cutting a .009 that put him solidly in control of the match with Giroux, which ended with Lane turning on the win light with a (-.495) 8.325.
Faul, who is leading the division points in both Super Stock and Stock as well as the national Stock standings, added the Super Stock Wally from this event to the one he earned in Stock in Boise in May, using a combination of strong lights and top-end driving and a good car to get the win. Faul was first out of the gate in all of his pairings, and his .001- initiated 10.856 (10.85 dial) in the second round was the best package of eliminations. After getting by Troy Olsonawski, Art Congdon, and his closest points pursuer, Wes King, in the early rounds, Faul outmaneuvered Steve Hanby on the top end to win their double-breakout final-round bout.
Lang, who sits second to Faul in both the Division 6 and national Stock standings, gained some ground on the points leader when he went the distance. Though he qualified down in the No. 21 spot, Lang was the dominant driver of eliminations, putting together four of the seven best packages. Two of those packages came in the final two rounds. In the semifinals against brother Toby, Lang paired a .014 light with a 12.70 (12.68) to turn on the win light. This was the second straight event Lang defeated his brother in the late rounds of Stock competition. In the final, Lang cut a .039 light and posted an on-the-dial 12.734 to defeat fellow former Division 6 champ Joe Sorensen, who broke out with an 11.27 (11.30). Lang's win was a little bit of payback on Sorensen, who defeated him in the semifinals at the Woodburn, Ore., event in June.
Glenn survived tight battle after tight battle to earn the Super Comp trophy. Four of Glenn's five opponents recorded times that were within five-thousandths of his e.t., and on two occasions, Glenn and his opponent left the starting line within a thousandth of one another, putting him in the pressure cooker on pretty much all of his matches. In the final round, Glenn got his biggest jump of the day, leaving .020-second ahead of Mike Shannon, and he used that to win the close doublebreakout match, 9.045 to 9.040 (9.05 index).
Ferderer's triumph in Super Gas capped a great July that also included winning the Top Sportsman title at the national event in Sonoma. Ferderer, who was runner-up at the opener in Boise, picked up his first divisional win of 2010 when he stopped Chris Cannon in the final. After a day of hard-fought battles, including a 10.07 to 10.07 (10.05 index) race with Bobby Rice in round two that was the second-closest match of eliminations, Ferderer got a freebie in the final when Cannon red-lighted.
Miner entered the race with just two roundwins to his credit thus far in division competition, but he more than doubled that when he survived the five rounds to claim the Super Street Wally. After getting the automatic nod in round one when former Division 6 champ Dudley Gee red-lighted, Miner defeated Boise champ Nikki Cannon, Jim Ellingson, and Steve Lowe to earn a spot in the final. In the title round, Tom Clark got the reaction-time advantage, .013 to .031, but Miner was able to work the finish line better and win the doublebreakout contest, 11.03 to 11.00 (11.05 index).
Racing for just the second time this season, Pressel outlasted the Top Dragster field. Pressel's dragster seemed stuck on 7.25, posting the number in three of the five rounds, including twice when he had that as his dial. In the second round, Pressel's on-the-dial 7.251 paired with a .007 light to give him the best package of the weekend. In the final, Pressel dialed 7.25 once again, and he came close to hitting the number, posting a 7.261 that gave him the victory over Scott Taylor, who broke out by three-thousandths.
After landing on the trailer early at the first couple of events, reigning Division 6 Top Sportsman champ Johnson broke through for his first win of the year. Johnson's weekend got off to a quiet start with him qualifying 10th in the 12-car field, but things came together in eliminations. He posted a 7.65 in the opening round, then posted three straight 7.67s en route to victory. In the final, Johnson clocked a 7.676 (7.67) to defeat Jake Neibauer, who posted a 7.64 (7.63) for the second straight round. In the semi's, Neibauer's 7.640 (7.63) combined with a perfect .000 light to give him the best package of eliminations.
Kobs kept his record perfect at Spokane County Raceway, successfully defending the Sportsman Motorcycle title he earned at last year's inaugural Lucas Oil event at the track. After topping Janet Cloke, Brett Payne, and Jon Jenkins in the opening rounds, Kobs got a free pass to the winner's circle when Travis Patridge red-lighted. Kobs posted a .015-initiated 7.96 (7.93) on his victory pass.