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|This is the view of John Hale’s Camaro that most of his opponents saw at the U.S 131 last weekend.|
The Mickey Thompson Tire DragRacingOnline.com AA/FC Challenge presented by Victory Performance and Comp Cams made its first appearance at the prestigious U.S. 131 Dragway Funny Car Nationals in Martin, Mich., on Sept. 7-8. The Michigan track is renowned as one of drag racing’s true “speed palaces” and over the years nitro racers have recorded some astounding speeds and ET’s while racing there.
That was the case for the DRO AA/FC racers as both the series ET and speed records were reset by series point leader and defending champ, Texan John Hale, who broke his own ET record and regained the series speed record. He also won his third DRO Series event of the 2012 season.
Hale set the ET record at 5.711 and upped the speed record to 252.39 mph. Michigan racer Shawn Bowen also had one leg of the ET record and ran the fastest speed in series history with a 254.63 lap. Bowen also set a DRO series standard that may not soon be equaled when the team ran four-consecutive laps over 250 mph.
In the final, it was Bowen losing to Hale when Hale ran with his best ET of the meet in the “supposed” bad left lane. Hale’s final-round run was good not only for the win but got him 60 valuable bonus points for re-setting both DRO series records.
Bowen left first by .016 but his 5.8345/251.86 wasn’t enough to hold off Hale.
A persistant rain that came Friday night with the lanes full for the scheduled qualifying session caused both qualifying sessions to be moved to Saturday.
|The Bowen family’s “Violator” Firebird was the fastest on the premises all weekend and ran a track and series best mph of 254+. One of the downsides of running their car as hard is that they do is they have put in a carton of bearings after virtually every lap.|
That meant that the DRO racers, all of whom race this series as a hobby, would have to make as many as five laps on Saturday to win the race -- a daunting task for touring professional racers, much less the DRO series teams.
The first session on Saturday ran just after noon. The first pair in the lanes were rookie Barrie “Bazz” Young and Michigan racer Shawn Bowen. Young’s 6.202/230.66 was a normal pass for the Jerry Newman-tuned “Down-Under Thunder” ‘68 Camaro, but in the other lane Bowen rocked the house with a stellar 5.763/254.62 which was the team’s best ever.