New England “Lobster” Nationals Recap
The final race of the 2018 eastern swing brought us way up in the northeast to Epping, New Hampshire for what seemed to be home of the 1st time winners as 4/7 sportsman champs were 1st timers. Most racers left Lebanon Valley Dragway monday from the D1 divisional event and came straight to NH to spend the 4th of July in the “stacking lot” eagerly waiting to enjoy more of the hot and humid 90+ degree weather. And Thursday did not disappoint as you could not move a muscle without sweating, while the start of Friday was another story as it had rain, rain, and more rain delaying the sportsman start time until about 2pm. With live tv being scheduled for the pros, sportsman were stuck with only getting 1 out of there scheduled 3 time runs for Friday, but one would think NHRA would certainly give another time trial before rd1 Saturday morning with a beautiful forecast in the future, WRONG! To back up the adjusted schedule at the last National event (Norwalk) where it was 2 time trials and go on Thursday, sportsman yet again drew the short straw on what was advertised and were stuck with 1 and only…
Randi Lyn Shipp didnt let the 1 and go format slow her down as she takes down Howie Smith in his M/SA Malibu for the Stock Eliminator title. Smith left first with his 11.88 dial and a .050 light, Shipp had the advantage at the start with a .039 and held it all the way down the track running 10.548 on her 10.53 dial as Smith slows to a 11.938. 1st time winner and D1 sponsor Anthony Bongiovanni had enough power to drive around Tom Boucher by just .002 to park his Micro Strategies Cobra Jet in the winner circle. Boucher was just over 1 second in front with a .027 reaction time before Bongiovanni left with his .045, but he was able to run closer to the dial at 8.461 on his 8.45 to take the wally home.
The .90 categories had 2 more 1st time winner and 1 seasoned vet in Mike Robilotto. He is sporting the #11 on the scoop for the 2018 season and is someone to not be taken lightly and it looks like that may have happened in the final round as Timmy Markoglu turned the tire .059 from perfect, and that is just leaving too much room. Robilotto had a great .018 light and noticed the real estate available and got out of it to run 8.935, while Markoglu ran way closer at 8.902, he was too far behind from the beginning. The middle of the road .90 (9.90) had 77 year old 1st timer Ken Bowers winning over Justin Lopes. Bowers smacked the tree with a .007 and ran 9.919 to be better on both ends than Lopes as he was .020 off the button and hit the brakes to run 9.943. The 10.90 class had another 1st timer Peter Maduri taking out last years winner Brian Sawyer with a .020 total package. Maduri left in half the time it took Sawyer to leave (.013 to .026) and killed just enough et to run dead on 7 to the 10.90 index as Sawyer took the stripe and ran under by running 10.881.
The top sportsman winner on the weekend was yet again another 1st timer as Dave Testa puts his Corvette in victory lane over the other Corvette of Brian Conrey. Testa was able to leave the line with a .026 light and run 7.221 on the 7.21 dial which was a combine package that was better than the reaction time of Conrey, leaving him dead in the water with a .038 let go. In an all female td final, Deborah DiGenova was able to win in back-to-back years over Rebecca Miller with a .007 MOV. With close 6.84 to 6.80 dials and close .034 to .039 reaction times, these dragsters were tied together the entire way down the 1320′. DiGenova had the better light and the better dead on run, running 6.802 on the 6.80 picking up her 2nd ever Wally.
Photos By – Auto Imagery