Chuck White (Super Pro) and Tim Zyla (Pro) Notch Their Second Wins of the Season!
Hot weather has invaded the Southern Tier and Saturday was no exception as a blazing hot sun blistered Rumble Ridge for the Mid-Season Championships held on July 16, 2011 at Skyview Drags. With an entire day filled with double points races on the line, racers filled the pits to take their shot at the top money and to add to their points as the standings in each class tighten up for the second half of the season.
The day started off with the Precision Crankworks Junior Dragster class, where 16 young racers filled the field. In the Second Chance Race, non-winners of Round 1 Eliminations get additional seat time and the chance to continue racing for bragging rights. The finals pitted rookie driver Faith Peckham from Oriskany Falls, NY against 15-year old Kimberly Klein from Livingston Manor, NY. In her first ever final round, Peckham proved her mettle as she cut a .5367 reaction time against Klein’s .6080 light. Peckham ran an 8.9932 ET at 70.18 mph on her 8.97 dial to take the win over Klein’s 8.9932 ET at 80.84 mph on her 8.97 dial. In Junior Dragster Eliminations, 2 of the youngest racers in the field showed their stuff as they worked their way through the pack and made it to the final round. Twelve year old Ron Klein from Livingston Manor, NY faced 11-year old Morgan Burgess out of Canton, PA who was making her first ever finals appearance. Earlier in the day, Burgess won the iPod Shuffle presented by Dave Connor, who races his ‘Slingshot One” front-engine dragster in Pro Class. Connor, who tows in from Camptown, PA generously donate the gift for the Junior Program. Burgess hoped her lucky day would continue as she staged her car against Klein in the finals. But the ever tough Klein would have a nice .5530 reaction time right out of the gate to Burgess’ .6630 light. Burgess ran a 10.9311 at 56.87 mph on her 11.10 dial and broke out. Klein ran a 9.2028 at 71.13 mph on his 9.16 dial to take the win light.
In the Super Pro class, the fastest cars take to the lanes to vie for the $900 top prize money. The field started off with 16 racers in their beautiful dragsters, altereds and door slammers. Chuck White, who races out of Ontario, NY had the worst luck in Round 1 Eliminations. He lined up against the altered of Chet Dragon and lost by .0000 at the stripe. “Who loses by .0000?” exclaimed White. Hoping that his bad luck had run its course, White bought back and made it through the Buy Back round to get back into eliminations. Meanwhile, just up pit row, point’s leader Kathy Kiekel from Binghamton, NY was struggling to find her rhythm. “I went a .497 red in my first time trial so I rolled 10 in the box and then proceeded to go a .494 red in my second time trial,” sighed Kiekel. The lights continued to give Kiekel trouble in eliminations but Lady Luck shined on her and by the quarterfinals Kiekel was one of the 6 cars that were left. “My husband leaned into my truck in the staging lanes and said, ‘Now is the time to find it Kathy. You want that Bye run into the finals with only 3 cars left.’ Talk about pressure,” she laughs. Kiekel was the first pair out and once her win light came on, she had to wait to see if her run was good enough to earn her the bye into the final round. “A race is over in 5-6 seconds, but it seemed like I was waiting an eternity for Don to get back from watching the other two races,” said Kiekel. Kiekel’s husband, currently tied with her for the point’s lead, finally wheeled back into the pits to tell her that she was the bye run in the semi-finals. “My little S10 was doing its job all day,” said Kiekel. Now it’s time for the driver to work some magic. Chuck White and his Malibu would face the 2010 Miller dragster of Russ Denmark out of Ovid, NY. White took the win out of the right lane and Kiekel took her solo pass down the left lane. The finals were set with White facing Kiekel. “I’m dialed a 6.66 for the finals,” said White. “And I’m being chased by an ordained minister with the flames of hell painted on her truck! This is going to be a great race.” White’s slower dialed Malibu took off first with Kiekel giving chase. White had a .5178 reaction time to Kiekel’s best of the day .5037 reaction. Kiekel ran a 6.0591 on her 6.03 dial and White ran a 6.6713 on his 6.66 dial. In the end, the margin of victory was a mere .003 in White’s favor as he earned his second win at Skyview this season.
In the Pro class, 32 modified cars filled the field looking for their chance at the $900 top prize money. Current point’s leader, rookie Tim Zyla out of Sayre, PA and second place point’s racer, 2010 Pro Class Rookie of the Year Steve Cross from Friendsville, PA had their eyes set on the prize money and the double points. “This is the time you want everything working perfectly,” said Cross. “I need to focus today and just do my job,” added Zyla. Both racers worked their way through the pack and in the end, the final round would feature their dueling Camaros. Zyla had the advantage off the starting line with a .5628 reaction time to Cross’ .6219 but both race cars would break out by running under their dial ins. Cross ran a 6.3352 ET on his 6.39 dial while Zyla ran a 6.3191 on his 6.33 dial in to take the win light. This was Zyla’s second win of the season. “I tried to stay focused the entire day and do everything I was supposed to,” said Zyla. “I had good lights all day and the Manley Houghtalen owned Camaro was doing its job as well. I had just run a 6.36 the prior run so I don’t know where that 6.31 came from, but I broke out by less than Steve so Lady Luck played her part in this win as well.” Mel Teed from Friendsville, PA was the semi-finalist in her Olds Cutlass 442.
In the Bike/Sled class, 15 motorcycle and snowmobile racers lined the staging lanes at the start of the race. Kenny Dolatowski tows his sled from Camillus, NY and Brent Garcia brings his Buell bike in from Cincinnatus, NY. The long tows for both racers proved to be a good omen as they met in the final round. Garcia, dialed in at a 6.92 would leave first with Dolatowski, dialed in at a 6.24 giving chase. Garcia had a .6327 reaction time but Dolatowski was too eager to chase him down and went red off the starting line, handing the win over to Garcia. Garcia is the 2010 Bike/Sled class defending champion. Boyd McGarry was the semi-finalist.
In the Street Money class, 21 racers were looking to improve their point standings and earn the $200 top prize money. Charlie Fulmer and current point’s leader Howie Conklin, from Grahamsville, NY seem to enjoy racing each other in the finals and this race would see them lined up against each other once again. Conklin had a .6648 reaction time and ran an 8.4932 on his 8.47 dial in. Fulmer had a very good .5268 reaction time and ran an 8.9392 on his 8.78 dial in to earn his second win of the season and of his career. Matt Peterson from Spencer, NY and Joe Patelunas from Elmira, NY were semi-finalists.
In the Street Trophy class, 8 racers vied for the trophy and bragging rights for the week. Current point’s leader Howie Conklin worked his way through the field and faced Shanon Fenton from Laceyville, PA in the finals. Conklin’s Strip Blazer II Malibu would take the win light as he ran an 8.4843 on his 8.47 dial in. The Mustang of Fenton was too fast as it ran a 7.9168 on a 7.98 dial trying to run down Conklin, who had a significant starting line advantage with his reaction time.
In the Teen Championship Racing (TCR) class, open to all 13-17 year olds who take to the track in their family car with a parent/guardian riding in the passenger’s seat to help coach them, Brandon Searcy from Waverly, NY faced Teresa Kurtz from Richford, NY. Searcy had a stellar .5147 reaction time to take the win.
Skyview Drags also welcomed back Northeast Open Comp to the track. Kenneth Roberts from Ulster, PA continued to dominate in this class as he drove his USS Nemesis to earn a win over Larry Carasea and his beautiful Camaro from Vestal, NY. Roberts had a .6098 reaction time and ran a 9.6750 on his 9.66 dial. Carasea jumped the gun just a bit when he went red and ended his chances for a win.
The track will be open for Test & Tune on Friday, July 22 but will be closed for racing on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Skyview Drags will reopen for Test & Tune on Friday, July 29 and then will hold a regular point’s race on Saturday, July 30, 2011. Visit www.skyviewdrags.com for their complete schedule and racing information.
Pictures taken by Jason Auman. Visit www.jasonauman.smugmug.com to see his complete gallery of Skyview racing pictures available for purchase