Maybe a power surge, which knocked out the computer timing system at Brainerd International Raceway during the NHRA Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series West Central Division Top Alcohol Dragster finale, was an omen for Ed Schmeeckle.
After one-half hour, which gave Schmeeckle and his opponent Gary Orsmby, Jr., time to complete general maintenance on their cars, Schmeeckle won his first dragster final in 10 years. Both had completed their burnouts before the glitch.
Schmeeckle, who qualified No. 5 in the five-car field, took out Ormsby, Jr., who was the top qualifier, 5.70 to 6.06.
In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Jay Payne, the event champion and the NHRA national event champion at the raceway, defended his title by knocking off Kirk Williams by 6/100ths of a second, 5.839 to 5.945, in a rematch. Payne qualified No. 3 in his Pontiac Firebird and Williams qualified No. 4 in his Pontiac Firebird.
Williams should have won. He had a better reaction time, .455 to .499, and a better 60-foot time, .977 to .991.
"We had good numbers, he just had a little more power," Williams said. "He didn't catch me until the 1,000th foot or better."
Payne said he passed Williams when he shifted into second gear.
"He left on me and he did everything he had to do," Payne said. "We just made a little bit more horsepower and we got around him."
Williams also ran some consistent times during the day. He took out No. 5 qualifier Hank Coolidge in the quarterfinals and the No. 1 qualifier Vern Moats in the semifinals.
Payne defeated No. 6 qualifier Scott McVey in the quarterfinals, 5.80 to 7.36, and division points champion and No. 2 qualifier Cy Chesterman in the semifinals, 5.814 to 5.940.
For Schmeeckle, Sunday's win was only his second career final in the class. He was runner-up in a division race last year.
In the divisional opener, he qualified ninth, made the race as an alternate and defeated Ormsby, Jr., in the first round.
Schmeeckle opened the elimination rounds by striking down No. 2 qualifier Chris Ricketts, 5.68 to 5.85. Schmeeckle had a solo run in the semifinals.
He also was the only top alcohol racer to win any rounds racing in the right lane.
"Things were kind of going our way this weekend," he said.
Schmeeckle said in the final he never saw Ormsby, Jr., who lost traction early in the final.
"After I let go of the clutch, I never saw him again," he said.
Ormsby, Jr., had to like his early round wins. He clicked off a 5.39 elapsed time in a quarterfinal solo run, reaching 229 mph at the eighth-of-a-mile mark. In the semifinals, he defeated the event's defending champion Dave Wells,
At half-track, Ormsby Jr. had already reached 223 mph.
Ormsby said that in his quarterfinal run his car started losing cylinders.
"It was on the ragged edge," he said.
Ormsby Jr. added that one time he thought he was starting to lose traction and was just going to pull the brake when his car "took off" again.
After another 100 feet the same thing happened again. This time, when he was going to pull the brake, he said he felt the car begin to nose over to the wall so he shut it off.
"Still, 5.39, that is pretty awesome," he said.
* This was the second round of the series. The next round will be June 21-23 in Denver, Colo.
* With his fourth win of the season, Payne moves into first place in the national points standings.
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER
No. 1) Gary Ormsby Jr., 5.394 seconds, 209.24 mph vs. bye
5) Ed Schmeeckle, 5.681, 245.82 def. 2) Chris Ricketts, 5.852, 200.84
3) David Wells, 5.575, 252.49 def. 4) Ziggy Zivkovich, 5.921, 242.20
Ormsby, 5.406, 237.96 def. Wells, 5.671, 248.81
Schmeeckle, 5.659, 245.74 vs. bye
Schmeeckle, 5.701, 23
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
1) Vern Moats, 01 Firebird, 6.000 seconds, 241.83 mph def. 8) Kevin Richardson, '97 Firebird, 6.425, 228.61
2) Cy Chesterman, '99 Pontiac, 5.888, 230.85 def. 7) Gage Chaffee, '96 Cutlass, 6.318, 230.58
3) Jay Payne, '02 Camaro, 5.800, 245.86 def. 6) Scott McVey, '97 Cutlass, 7.360, 139.29
4) Kirk Williams, '98 Pontiac, 5.931, 242.16 def. 5) Hank Coolidge, '96 Firebird, 6.017, 240.17
Williams, 5.932, 240.53 def. Moats, 5.901, 240.85
Payne, 5.814, 247.21 def. Chesterman, 5.940, 239.38
Payne, 5.839, 247.23 def. Williams, 5.945, 243.04
Lucky Snyder, '62 Sunbeam, F/A, 8.461 seconds, 159.42 mph def. Tom Schmidt, '00 Grand Prix, C/EA, 8.569, 153.49
Mike Bogina, '70 Barracuda, SS/EA, 10.051, 130.08 def. Scott Pearson, '70 AMX, SS/JA, 11.065, 113.28
Gene Mosbek, '64 Plymouth, A/SA, 10.761, 110.26 def. Joe Demarais, '72 Skylark, G/A, 11.670, 107.11
Steve Swenson, '98 HP Motor, 8.903, 167.25 def. Sheldon Gecker, '98 Yancer, 8.914, 160.72
Bill Cawsey, '90 Probe, 9.914, 144.75 def. Gary Stinnett, '61 Corvette, 9.896, 155.63
Mike Anderson, '65 Nova, 10.892, 131.16 def. Chuck Lowery Jr., '73 Camaro, 10.894, 128.84
NHRA KERKER MOTORCYCLE SERIES
Brian Johnson, GS 1100, 9.319, 130.83 def. Ron Langowski, '81 Suzuki, 9.241, 131.57
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