The Western Swing Part II
66.66% of the swing is now in the books as the rigs were pulling out of the Toyota Sonoma Nationals. 1 week after hosting his first divisional race as the newest track manager of Sonoma Raceway, Kyle Seipel was ready tackle the national event as they were back to back. To say he knocked it out of the park would be an understatement as the NHRA had yet another sell out crowd. The beautiful California weather was in full affect and all cars and classes saw the track many of times over the weekend, even the local PD and high school students would square off to see who was better on the track. The D7 presence was definitely known as out of the 6 sportsman classes contested this weekend, every final round car was a D7 runner besides 2. With the final swing event next weekend in Seattle, WA most racers in attendance will leave straight from here and start making there way as far north as possible to try there luck again.
Jody Lang was looking to add a 105 to his growing national point total but will have to settle for 94 thanks to Leo Glasbrenner who was able to overcome the reaction time deficit by running dead on 5 to his 10.59 dial. Lang was away first as he usually is with a .020 light and may have had something go wrong or just killed more et than planned with a 10 mph brake pedal push to go 12.224 on his 12.16 dial. Glasbrenner had an .053 light but his saving grace was the dead on 5 lap to take his 7th Wally home. Super Stock winner Don Keen was also able to run dead on 5 to his 10.31 dial with a .021 reaction time for a .026 total package and ending Mark Kirby’s day. In a side by side race, Kirby was slightly behind at the start with a .032 light and crossed the finish line ahead of Keen by .002 but broke out doing it (10.242 on the 10.25) handing Keen his 2nd Sonoma win, his first coming in 1995.
Super Gas winner Matt Blodgett wins in consecutive years after Ron Mackenzie lights up the red by -.012. Blodgett might have had Mackenzie shut out with his .022 light and dead on 8 pass as Mackenzie ran 9.938, but it was all over once the red light dropped. Robert Naber car #7851 took out Matt Woodard car #7852 (perhaps just a coincidence) in the 8.90 final. Woodard was worse off the button and worse on the dial as he was showing .070 total, more than enough room for Naber to get in as he moved .011 from perfect and ran 8.911 taking plenty of stripe for the power and his 5th win.
Not much of a handicap start was given in the Top Sportsman final with winner Ken Ratzloff dialed in at 7.20 and Ted Kellner dial in at 7.29. Ratzloff smacked the tree with a .004 then ran a few hun over the dial at 7.230. Luckily, Kellner also missed the dial by running 7.314 with a .014 light giving us a .004 MOV and yet another photo finish. Last but not least the weirdest final of the weekend had John Richardson defeating Andy Spiegel as he grabbed it -.005 too soon. Richardson was giving chase every round as he had the minimum dial 6.00 on the rail each time down the track and did not have to even move when the red dropped 6 tenths before he was supposed to leave, as both drivers back off the throttle and coast across the finish line to end the sportsman racers weekend.
Photos By – Auto Imagery