Author: Benson, Candida
Date published: May 11, 2012
Journal code: NDRG
After a rough start to his title defense, in which he lost in the first round at his first three national events and his first regional, defending Top Alcohol Dragster national champion Duane Shields was able to right the ship at the first East Region event in Richmond, Va. Shields, the No. 2 qualifier, defeated low qualifier Rich McPhillips to claim top honors at the event.
McPhillips had the best car through most of the weekend, running low e.t. of the first two rounds and setting low e.t. and top speed in qualifying, but in the final, McPhillips' dragster smoked the tires early, opening the door for Shields. Shields, who ran a pair of 5.4s to open eliminations, sealed the deal with a 5.38 to take home the Wally.
After running career-best numbers at the national event in Charlotte the weekend before, Todd Veney continued his torrid pace in Virginia, stopping all comers to claim the Top Alcohol Funny Car crown. Veney was low qualifier, with a low-of-the-weekend 5.600, and was at or near the top in performance each round, posting a 5.65, 5.71, and 5.66 en route to victory. In the final, Veney's 5.66 edged No. 3 qualifier DJ Cox's 5.69 by less than two-hundredths.
Frank Aragona Jr., a perennial contender in both divisional and national competition every year, made the most of his first divisional of the 2012 season when he went the distance in Comp. Aragona's path to victory was made a little easier when Steve Szupka didn't make the call for the final, giving Aragona the automatic win.
Joining Shields, Veney, and Aragona in the winner's circle were Lincoln Morehead (Super Stock), Don Pires (Stock), Tom Cable (Super Comp), Kevin Maupin (Super Gas), Brian Lee Baker (Super Street), John Taylor (Top Sportsman), and Bill Russell (Top Dragster). The event also featured a Pro Stock Sled race; Scott Marsh was the winner. ND
by Candida Benson
photos by Phil Hutchison