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After multiple battles with Mother Nature this year, the Victory Nostalgia Super Stock faithful were rewarded with beautiful weather for their fifth race of the series during the UBDRA Race at Gateway Motorsports Park on September 12-13. Racers from seven states gathered to fight for the Victory Crown, filling the pit area with 35 vintage Super Stocks. Great air and the always stellar Gateway track had expectations high for quick times and tight racing.
Once qualifying started on Saturday, those expectations were quickly proven right. Many personal bests were recorded but the qualifying drama didn’t end there. Previous Victory NSS Champion Dan Beale entered the Gateway race with the points lead. During his second qualifying run, his popular Pontiac suffered catastrophic engine failure at the 1,000’ mark. Dan’s years of experience showed as he quickly and safely got his wounded car stopped on the side of the track. Both Beale and car owner Dan Driscoll credit their recently installed DRE Engine Diaper with saving the car from a worse fate and keeping the track clean up to a minimum. The GMP Track Crew had the surface clean and in top form in short order and Qualifying resumed.
Everyone thought Beale’s chances of another Victory Championship were fading away, but they were not done yet. Fellow Pontiac racer BJ Bax offered his car to Beale since the Bax team were far back in the Points Chase. Beale accepted the gracious offer and used the final qualifier to familiarize himself with the new ride. After three rounds of qualifying, mid-Missouri racer Don Bruemmer grabbed the pole with a 9.753 on his 9.75 Index in his high flying Hemi Plymouth.
Sunday morning brought another gorgeous day for both racers and fans alike. The classic muscle cars of the Victory Series went straight to Eliminations. Highlights of Round One included Randy Vanhook’s .023 light, Tom Hoffman’s .027, Jerry Bolton’s .019 and Mike Kurz’s great .013 reaction. Dan Beale’s eventful weekend came to an end in the opening round with a break-out loss in his borrowed car. He did garner important points that could make a huge difference in the Championship.
The crowd favorite Super Stocks quickly returned for Round Two as the suspense grew. Series newcomer Dennis Spurgeon took out past series runner-up Dennis Diepenbrock. Fellow newbie Bob Lantero got past Series veteran Steve Stahlschmidt. Randy Vanhook overcame a starting line disadvantage to past Champion Tom Hoffman. Russ Berens showed why he is a two-time Champion, cutting an awesome .002 in his 1967 Hemi Plymouth. Nine cars were left for Round Three and the competition quickly continued.