Three days, three winners at World Footbrake Challenge

Big money bracket racing returned to Bristol, Tennessee’s Thunder Valley with three different winners each taking home $10,000 during last weekend’s World Footbrake Challenge V at Bristol Dragway.

Ed Talbert of Woodbine, Md., drove to victory on Friday evening, scoring the first $10,000 win over Todd Atkinson. Atkinson jumped the start, giving the win to Talbert. The winning run had a .026 reaction time and a 7.100 elapsed time (7.09 dial-in) at 105.20 mph.

Looking to add to his hefty pay from a day earlier, Talbert raced to the final round in Saturday’s 1000-foot Shootout. Seth Phillips of Montpelier, Va., had other plans for the money, however. Phillips reacted with a .014 light, and raced down the track with an 8.167 E.T. (8.16 dial-in) at 125.58 mph. Talbert’s losing run on Saturday was quicker than his dial, a 9.117 E.T. (9.13 dial-in) at 118.85 mph.

Sunday’s big money went to a Bristol Dragway regular, as Steve Foley of Barbourville, Ky., raced to the win against Nick Hastings of Shelby, Ohio. Foley used a strong .008 R.T. and a 7.581 ET pass (7.57 dial-in) at 85.03 to defeat Hastings. Hastings left the line with a .014 RT and ran through the finish in 7.062 seconds (7.03 dial-in) at 96.11 mph. [7/19/2011]

Gray hopes to get lemonade from ‘Lemonator’ at Denver

Johnny Gray, whose 2011 return to piloting a Funny Car after a five-year hiatus has been a series of disappointments sprinkled with flashes of success, believes changes made between testing sessions should pay off beginning this weekend at the 24th-annual MOPAR Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway outside Denver.

“We tested in Joliet right after the last race and it was a total disaster,” said the 58-year-old driver of the Service Central Racing “Lemonator” Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car. “We made two good runs, then smoked the tires twice.

“We took the car back to the shop, rewired and reworked it, gathering parts and expertise from other DSR cars and crew chiefs before testing again in Indy, where it ran flawlessly! Three times down the track and it didn’t do anything stupid!”

In addition to racing for a trophy and a higher position in the standings, Gray and the Service Central organization are involved in a month-long grassroots-fundraising campaign for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Gray and the Service Central Funny Car will both sport unique designs for the race encouraging contributions to the ALSF, which is in a race to find a cure for childhood cancer. (Joe McHugh photo) [7/19/2011]