First Time Winners Rule at NHRA Eastern Conference Finals
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Carson Emmett (age 6-9), Mallory Logan (10), Maicy Stewart (11), Brady Fomby (12), Nicholas Ferraro (13), Ethan Rudisell (14), Austin Carden (15), and Jaxon Messamore (16-17) outlasted the large field of competitors at the 2015 NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Eastern Conference Finals presented by ViperizerRacing.com, one of two national events in the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League.
The victories were the first Eastern Conference Finals wins for each of the champions. National Trail Raceway Team 1 took home the team championship. It was the second team title for the Columbus, Ohio, track, which also won at the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
Emmett, a Montgomery Motorsports Park racer from Cedar Bluff, Ala., got the automatic nod in the 6-9 age group final when Numidia Dragway runner Zachary Shirkey, of Ridgely, Md., went red. Emmett cut a .103 light and ran a 12.94 (12.93 dial).
Logan, who hails from North Chesterfield, Va., and raced for Virginia Motorsports, was also the beneficiary of a red-light start in the 10-year-old final, this one by Music City Raceway runner Matthew Brock, of Clarksville, Tenn. Logan had a .121 reaction time and posted a 9.68 (9.44) on her victory lap.
National Trail Raceway's Stewart, of Fairmont, W.Va., got the starting-line advantage, .111 to .228, in the 11-year-old class final, and she parlayed the advantage into a 9.02 (8.93) to 9.21 (9.16) win against Emily Parker, a Shelbyville, Ind., racer who was part of the Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis team.
A foul start determined the outcome in the 12-year-old age bracket. No Problem Raceway Park's Bryce Stansbury, of Youngsville, La., left too soon, giving the nod to Montgomery Motorsports Park's racer Fomby, who wheeled his Cottondale, Ala.,-based dragster to a .060-initiated 8.93 (8.94).
Orlando Speed World Dragway's Ferraro made his trip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., pay off when he took home the trophy in the 13-year-old age group. The race was decided on the starting line when Lyons Raceway Park competitor Blake Lee, of Kansas, Ill., went red. After cutting a .102 light, Ferraro ran right on his 7.99 dial.
The best race of the finals was in the 14-year-old bracket, which was decided by .004-second. Rudisell, a National Trail driver from Hamilton, Ohio, got the reaction-time advantage, .043 to .047, and that was the deciding factor because both Rudisell and Atlanta Dragway's Dylan Blanton, of Campobello, S.C., broke out by .009-second.
Carden, an Atlanta Dragway racer from McDonough, Ga., added the 15-year-old class championship to an already impressive racing résumé that includes wins at the Division 2 Jr. Championships, track titles, and more. Carden cut a .049 light and clocked a 7.89 (7.90) en route to victory over a red-lighting Bryce Granier, a No Problem Raceway Park competitor from Labodieville, La.
Beacon Dragway's Messamore, who hails from Hanson, Ky., had to battle through the biggest field of competitors, outlasting 125 other 16-17-year-old drivers to win that category. In the final, Mason-Dixon Dragway runner Jake Bevard, of Davidsonville, Md., had the advantage at the tree, .038 to .059, but Messamore was able to drive around him and win the double-breakout match, 8.15 (8.16) to 7.90 (7.93).
With wins by Stewart and Rudisell and several late-round finishes by team members, National Trail Raceway Team 1 dominated the team competition, winning by 11 points. National Trail tallied 42 points to the 31 of second-place Orlando Speed World Dragway Team 1. Montgomery Motorsports Park Team 1 finished third with 28 points, and Virginia Motorsports Park Team 2 and No Problem Raceway Park Team 2 tied for fourth with 27.
The National Trail Raceway team was also among the group of strong contenders for this year's Team Spirit title. Ultimately, the award went to Montgomery Motorsports Park, which beat out National Trail, Maple Grove Raceway, Summit Motorsports Park, and Virginia Motorsports Park. Other special-awards winners were Shelby Hoffmeyer (Best Overall Appearing Car), Shelby Todd (Best Appearing Theme Car), Jacob Oiler (Coolest Car), and Lyons Raceway Park (Best Appearing Track).
Trophies were also presented to the drivers who cut the best reaction time on winning run in round one and to the drivers who where closest to their dial-in on a winning run in round one. The Best Reaction Time award winners were Lydia Kish (age 6-9), Katherine Craft (10), Allyson Downs (11), Stansbury (12), Benjamin Spotts (13), Autumn Greene (14), Dillan Kyle (15), Brandon Lange (15), Elizabeth Keene (16-17), and Mike Poznek (16-17). Closest to Dial awards went to Jordan Mason (6-9), Blaine Bazell (6-9), Brock (10), Gracie Freeman (11), Logan Cook (11), Jackson Earwood (12), Braden Well (13), Morgan Miles (14), Danielle Leo (14), Alexis Sherman (14), Anthony Capirose (15), and Garrett Sheppard (16-17).
The following are the final results from the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals from Bristol Dragway:
6-9 Year Olds
Carson Emmett, Cedar Bluff, Ala., Montgomery Motorsports Park, 12.943 seconds def. Zachary Shirkey, Ridgely, Md., Numidia Dragway, 12.011
10 Year Olds
Mallory Logan, North Chesterfield, Va., Virginia Motorsports Park 9.689 def. Matthew Brock, Clasrksville, Tenn., Music City Raceway, 8.938
11 Year Olds
Maicy Stewart, Fairmont, W.V., National Trail Raceway, 9.027 def., Emily Parker, Shelbyville, Ind., Lucas Oil Raceway, 9.215
12 Year Olds
Brady Fomby, Cottondale, Ala., Montgomery Motorsports Park, 8.933, def. Bryce Stansbury, Youngsville, La., No Problem Raceway, 8.873
13 Year Olds
Nicholas Ferraro, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Orlando Speed World Dragway, 7.992 def., Blake Lee, Kansas, Ill., Lyon Dragway, 8.003
14 Year Olds
Ethan Rudisell, Hamilton, Ohio, National Trail Raceway, 7.931, def. Dylan Blanton, Compobello, S.C., Atlanta Dragway, 7.891
15 Year Olds
Austin Carden, McDonough, Ga., Atlanta Dragway, 7.897 def. Bryce Granier, Labodieville, La., No Problem Raceway def., 7.915
16-17 Year Olds
Jaxon Messamore, Hanson, Ky., Beacon Dragway, 8.155 def., Jake Bevard, Davidsonville, Md., Mason Dixon Dragway, 7.909