If it weren’t for bad luck….

Bad luck continues for NHRA Funny Car team owner/driver Cruz Pedregon as he suffered a fire during qualifying at Seattle. He was not harmed and continued to race on Sunday where he was ousted in the first round by Matt Hagan. 

McGaha protests Coughlin, Enders but NHRA finds no impropriety

Chris McGaha won at Epping. Just after Jeg Coughlin ran a class-leading 6.501 at 212.16 mph Friday night to earn the No. 1 qualifying position, Chris McGaha decided Coughlin and teammate Erica Enders must be breaking the rules, putting up $2,000 to file a protest on both driver's car.


Both Elite Motorsports vehicles were thoroughly inspected and subsequently deemed legal, so Coughlin and Enders were given the cash. By NHRA rule, any competitor can challenge the legality of any other car, but they have to stipulate how the accused party is cheating and pay a $1,000 fee.


"Not sure what was going on there but we'll chalk that up as a flattering experience and enjoy a little party money for Saturday night," Coughlin said. "Yeah, it's kinda funny. I guess you look at it after racing for 30 years, we've been torn down and checked by the NHRA Tech department many times and never had an issue.”


According to NHRA reports, both Elite Motorsports vehicles had a single cylinder head "pulled" so that the NHRA tech department could do a "thorough” inspection. The Agent has no favorite in this Pro Stock brouhaha but does wonder how any engine is thoroughly checked for rules violations with just one cylinder head removed?    

Hamer tops Gaines at Gateway Victory NSS match

The Victory NSS Series held Race #4 of their six-race series at Gateway's Street Car Super Nationals event this past weekend. Series Freshman John Hamer outlasted 33 other Nostalgia Super Stock Racers to take the win.


In a very close final, Hamer's quicker light forced #1 Qualifier Tom Gaines to break out giving the win to Hamer and his wedge-powered Barracuda. Gaines' strong runner-up finish puts him in the points lead going in to Race #5 at Cordova's World Series of Drag Racing on August 24-25.


We will have a full race recap of the Gateway race soon on DRO. 

What a great birthday present, arf?

After winning at Seattle, Pro Stock racer Tanner Gray was asked how he will spend the coming weekend off.


“The next time I’ll be back in an Outlaw car will be at Milbridge trying to win a ride for the Chili Bowl, so that will be the next time I run anything but this,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back and hanging out. Today is my dog’s birthday, so I’m going to go back and hang out with him.”


Ya gotta love a guy who loves his dog, says Ace, the DRO shop dog.

Haddock tries out Funny Car seat

Instead of his usual Top Fuel dragster, Terry Haddock was in a Mustang Funny Car at Seattle, but did not make the field, along with Jeff Diehl. There were 18 entries in Funny Car with 16 each in Top Fuel and Pro Stock.

Bowman, Shomber top Sportsman Spectacular winners at Keystone

Nick Bowman and Mitch Shomber scored key wins in the IHRA Summit Sportsman spectacular races at Keystone Raceway Park in New Alexandria, PA. Bowman became the first No Box racer to win an IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular race on Moser Engineering $10K Saturday. He doubled up with the $10,000-to-win race and earning a $1,000 bonus as the final No Box racer.


Mitch Shomber had a near perfect run including a perfect light to edge Steve Marinchek for the victory in Sunday’s race. In Saturday’s final, Bowman from Export, PA, was .03 slower than Andy Conrath from Pleasant Unity, PA, at the tree, but Conrath broke out by .006 on his dial-in, while Bowman went 6.789 on a 6.78 dial-in.


Bowman had earlier taken the No Box win with a .012 reaction time and a 6.783 against a 6.79 dial-in. Runner-up Jeff Stewart of Fairmont, WV, was slightly slower .014 at the start and ran a 7.259 against a 7.27 dial-in.

In the Junior Dragster 7-11 category, Jake Harvanek from Cheswick, PA, matched his 8.94 dial-in to overcome Nicholas Abruzzi from Warren, OH. Abruzzi had the better reaction time .052 to .153 for Harvanek.


Grace Rowe from Marengo, OH, captured the Junior Dragster 12-17 victory with a .063 reaction time and a 7.915 elapsed time. Kyle Beno from LaGrange, OH, finished with .079 reaction time and a 7.932 elapsed time.

In Sunday’s $5,000-to-win race, Shomber from Philo, OH, had a perfect light and then paired it with a 5.129 elapsed time at 131.27 mph against a 5.12 dial-in. Marinchek from Mt. Pleasant, PA, was solid with a .015 reaction time, and then posted a 5.009 elapsed time at 136.99 mph against a 5.01 dial-in. The final margin of victory was a scant .004 of a second. 


JT Harrold from Pittsburgh was the final No Box racer. He had a .021 reaction time and then matched his dial-in with a 6.531 elapsed time at 103.85 mph. Hometown driver Kevin Romeo from New Alexandria, PA, went 6.762 against a 6.75 dial-in and had a .028 reaction time.


Ava Hamilton was the winner for the Junior Dragster 7-11 category. The Dresden, OH, driver was .019 at the tree and then ran a 9.002 elapsed time with an 8.99 dial-in. Isabella Richey from Ebensburg, PA, was the runner-up with a .100 reaction time and running a 9.052 against a 9.02 dial-in. In the Junior Dragster 12-17 race, Kyle Beno from LaGrange, OH, picked up the win by going 7.943 against a 7.94 dial-in with a .054 reaction time. Runner-up Eddie Yorns III from New Brighton, PA, had a .062 reaction time and went 7.944 against a 7.95 dial-in for his final-round run.


The next IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular event is scheduled August 17-19 at US 131 Motorsports Park at Martin, MI. Click here to pre-enter the event for two races for the price of one.

Aeromotive supports World Series of Pro Mod with free tickets

Pro Mod racer Steve Matusek, president of Aeromotive, will compete at the event for the second year. 


Aeromotive, Inc., will continue its support of the DRAG ILLUSTRATED World Series of Pro Mod as a title sponsor for the second straight year at the race, which takes place Aug. 10-11 at Bandimere Speedway outside of Denver.


Aeromotive’s partnership with the World Series of Pro Mod will include a unique aspect leading into the race that will award $100,000 to the winner. Aeromotive has purchased 500 event tickets (valued at $30 each) and will hand them out on Wednesday at Bandimere Speedway as part of the track’s Colorado State Patrol “Take it to the Track” test night.


The test and tune on Thunder Mountain draws hundreds of participants each week, as the “Responsible Speed” program created by the Colorado State Patrol and Bandimere Speedway provides a controlled, safe and fun drag racing opportunity to all Colorado drivers.

Topeka track owner disputes property tax assessment on two venues

Chris Payne, owner of Shelby Development, which owns Heartland Park and parcels surrounding the racetrack, said he had not paid the tax bill because he was appealing the property valuations to the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA), the Topeka Capital-Journal reports


The battle over the troubled racetrack and its property taxes is several years old. In 2014, the facility was valued at nearly $15 million, but an appraisal by Shawnee County officials for 2016 taxes found the facility in disrepair. The appraisal dropped to just under $9 million for 2016, but Payne argued it should have been nearer the $2.55 million he and a partner paid to acquire the track.


They appealed the decision to the BOTA for multiple parcels that included the racetrack and areas around it. On June 4, the BOTA issued a ruling that dropped the 2017 valuation for Payne’s property from $10.4 million to $7.5 million, but Payne insists that valuation still is too high.


Payne owes just over $43,000 for 2016 taxes. Added to the balance for 2017, and the total is around $351,000. That amount includes interest charges because of late payments in excess of $17,500.


Property taxes that are owing on the National Trail Raceway that Payne owns near Columbus, Ohio, said Wesley Carrillo, Payne’s Kansas City, MO-based attorney, are due to a problem with the valuation there, as well. On that property, Payne is behind, including penalties, nearly $33,000, according to Licking County, Ohio, appraiser records.

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