After Sunday’s back-to-back first-round elimination losses in the Super Pro and Pro ET classes, one would think Wally Higby’s weekend on the drag strip was a complete wreck.
Higby shook off those two losses and then lined up against the top six drag racers in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series in a run-off to determine the best of the best in the bracket program. When the dust settled, Higby was in the winner’s circle where he was crowned “King of the Track.”
It was a bitter sweet weekend for Higby. He hoped to win a few rounds in the Pro ET Class, where he has his sights set on a series championship and a chance to compete next month in the Race of Champions during the NHRA Summit Racing ET Finals. But he lost to Stacey Nelson, who ran a near-perfect race.
In the King of the Track run-off, Higby won his first three rounds and found himself in the finals against Dave Ulhorn, who he split with in two races this year. But Ulhorn’s throttle cable broke before the race began, giving Higby an easy non-contested win for the title.
“With no money or points involved, it was less rewarding because he broke,” Higby said, adding that he still smiled all the way down the track, knowing that he won his fifth Wally trophy and first King of the Track title in his 42 years of racing.
“I would’ve rather raced against him and earned the win, but it was still a lot of fun,” said Higby.
Higby thanked Craig Smith, his long-time friend, crew chief and right-hand man, as well as racer Jeff Anderson, who helped him with his car.
The King of the Track competition was a highlight during the fourth race in the five-race Bracket Drag Racing Series. With only one race left (Oct. 1-2), points are at a premium for those who are competing for a series championship.
Higby earned his way into the King of the Track competition by sitting in second place in the 63-car Pro ET Class. With his first-round loss, he dropped to third place as Kelly Gjorvig went from ninth place to first place with a runner-up finish to Andy Schmall. Gjovig lost to Schmall by .007 of a second in the finals as Schmall ripped off a 10.441-second run at 123.35 mph in his ‘71 Fastronix Vega.
In the 69-car Super Pro field, Terry Pease jumped from fifth place to first after a runner-up finish to Travis Ruetzel, who drove his ‘67 Camaro to a winning time of 9.217 seconds and 146.80 mph.
Scott Heintzman leap-frogged nine racers in the 28-car Sportsman Class to the No. 1 spot in the points standings with his runner-up finish. In the finals, Heintzman faced Brad Mickle and his ‘67 Mustang. But Heintzman handed the victory to Mickle by fouling at the starting line. Mickle went from 15th place to fourth with the win.
The top three positions in the Pro Bike/Sled Class stayed the same with Mike Voss’ finals win on his ‘78 Kawasaki Z1-R. Voss beat Richard Tadych in the finals with a run of 9.874 seconds and 112.74 mph. Tadych was riding an ‘03 Arctic Cat F7700 snowmobile, finishing with a time of 11.046 seconds and 115.15 mph. Voss was a semifinalist in the King of the Track run-off, losing to Ulhorn.
In the Stock/Super Stock Class, this year’s season has been a slugfest between Ben Line and Terry Johnson, both have been at the top of the points standings most of the year. While Johnson was absent from the race this weekend, Line was winning the class, leaving him in first place with a significant lead over the second-place Johnson. Driving his ‘69 Mustang, Line beat Tim Lisson in the finals with a run of 10.870 seconds and 114.08 mph.
Like their counterparts in the Stock/Super Stock Class, Darren Arnold and Keith Allen Larson have been dualing all season at the top of the points standings in the Comp Trophy Class. Arnold overtook Larson in points this weekend by advancing to the semifinals before losing to Adam Anderson, who beat Grant Pesola in the finals with a 13.478-second run at 97.74 mph. Larson lost in the first round.
Sandy Luberda held on to the points lead in the Street Trophy Class by advancing to the semifinals before losing to Kayla Noyes, who went on to win the finals by beating Sid Osterman with a run of 14.556 seconds and 93.34 mph in her ‘97 Thunderbird. The second-place Noyes closed the gap between her and Luberda in the points standings.
The grand finale of the Bracket Drag Racing Series is Oct. 1-2, a Dual Event Weekend with the BMW Club on the Competition Road Course. A single ticket gets fans into both events, with the BMW Club racing rain or shine.
Here are the final two rounds for each class:
Finals: Travis Ruetzel of Eden Valley def. Terry Pease of Blaine
Semfinals: Ruetzel def. Gary Loeffelholz of Shafer; Pease had a bye
Finals: Andy Schmall of Lino Lakes def. Kelly Gjovig of W. Fargo, N.D.
Semifinals: Schmall def. Brett Speer of Ottertail; Gjovig had a bye
Finals: Brad Mickle of Lino Lakes def. Scott Heintzman of Fargo
Semifinals: Mickle def. Jerry Heinks of St. Cloud; Heintzman had a bye
Finals: Mike Voss of Maplewood def. Richard Tadych of Fertile
Semifinals: Voss def. Jeff Arpin of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Tadych def. Toby Giese of Kandiyohi
Finals: Ben Line of Cromwell def. Tim Lisson of Solon Springs, Wis.
Semifinals: Line def. Bruce Kerber of Cedar; Lisson def. Doug Jonak of Zimmerman
Finals: Adam Anderson of Golden, Colo., def. Grant Pesola of Duluth
Semifinals: Anderson def. Darren Arnold of Hopkins; Pesola def. Chris Henry of Sauk Rapids
Finals: Kayla Noyes of Andover def. Sid Osterman of Pequot Lakes
Semifinals: Noyes def. Sandy Luberda of Sauk Rapids; Osterman had a bye
Finals: Mike Voss of Maplewood def. Bill Heitmann of White Bear Lake
JR DRAGSTER ADVANCED
Finals: Emily Durenberger of Dayton def. Christopher Takacs of Thunder Bay, Ontario
Semifinals: Durenberger had a bye; Takacs def. Nick Gust of Isanti
JR DRAGSTER INTERMEDIATE
Finals: Sidney Haben of Hibbing def. Emma McFarland of Sabin
Semifinals: Haben def. Abby Haben of Hibbing; McFarland def. Cassidy Takacs of Thunder bay
JR DRAGSTER NOVICE
Finals: Trevor Jelinski of Little Falls def. Zach McFarland of Sabin
Semifinals: Jelinski def. Camryn Takacs of Thunder Bay; McFarland had a bye