Cy Chesterman could breathe a sigh of relief after defending his Federal Mogul Funny Car title on Sunday.
He defended his title at the NHRA Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series West Central Divisional at the Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway.
He won the final, his first in the division this season, despite his opponent's better reaction time (.486 to .519) and losing his engine's blower belt at the 660 foot mark (four and a half seconds into his 6.364 second pass.)
Another Iowan and last year's division Federal Mogul Dragster points champion by only three points, Dave Wells defeated the event's defending champion, Mark Kinser, to win his first dragster final this season. Kinser lost by a foul start for leaving the line too early.
Chesterman, who won his 11th NHRA National final at Houston in April and was the event's No. 1 qualifier, described his win as "terrible."
"It was in trouble from the word go," said Chesterman, who finished second in the division's points last season. "For some reason we're just blowing the tires loose."
His opponent and No. 2 qualifier, Kirk Williams, also shook his tires.
"The tires started rotating immediately," said Williams, who was competing in only his seventh Funny Car race. "There was absolutely no traction whatsoever."
Williams said he pedaled -- let up on the accelerator and stepped on it again -- his car twice.
Chesterman, who was competing in his fourth event, said his car spun its tires all weekend at the top end of low gear.
After taking the No. 1 qualifying spot in the final round of qualifying on Saturday with an elapsed time of 5.796 seconds at 252.86 mph, he took out No. 8 qualifier Kurt Prososki in the first round (5.799 to 6.172) and No. 4 qualifier Randy Fleming in the semifinals (5.889 to 8.000).
Williams, who took the second qualifying spot with a 5.906 at 246.02 mph, defeated Larry Bakke in the first round (5.915 to 6.242) and 14-time division points champion Vern Moats in the semifinals (5.992 to 9.558).
At the finish line, Moats told his crew his car just shut off for some reason. It was a good race at the start. Williams had a reaction time of .512 compared to Moats' .513.
For Williams he was pleased with just making it to the final.
"Things are coming together finally," he said. "So we're quite proud of our whole accomplishment as a team."
Things look to be coming together for Wells too. This was his fifth race this season and first win.
At the division opener in Topeka in May with Goodyear tires, he struggled with tire shake in all six rounds. He lost in the semifinals. From there, he kept the Goodyears and struggled with tire shake for three rounds at the Prestone NHRA Nationals at Joliet, Ill., losing in the first round.
He said he also had tire shake in the first round of qualifying for this event on Friday with Goodyear tires. He qualified No. 7 with a 8.301.
After that he replaced the Goodyears with Hoosiers and qualified No. 4 with a 5.646.
He said in Sunday's final, his tires began to shake in second gear.
"I got through that and saw the win light on my side come on so I figured (Kinser) must have pulled a red light," he said. "So I put it in high gear a little early."
Wells took out last year's event runner-up Ziggy Zivkovich in the first round (5.546 to 5.789) and No. 1 qualifier Billy Bybee (5.646 to 5.665). It was Bybee's first time he qualified No. 1.
Kinser, who qualified No. 3, defeated Ed Schmeekle in the first round (5.653 to 5.989) and a broke No. 2 qualifier and winner at Topeka Bruce Bowler in the semifinals.
Bowler damaged a cylinder head, his third of the weekend, defeating Randy Meyer in the first round. Bowler did borrow a head from Meyer and had installed it in his engine but he said it didn't sound right when he started his car up in the pits.
He said he figured that the head did not fit his engine quite right.
In that solo run, Kinser also had a very high wheelstand so he slowed to a 12.662 at 76.94 mph.
The next stop on the six-race series is Bandimere Speedway in Denver on June 23-25.
-- Racers from as far away as California and Delaware attended this event.
-- Gage Chaffee of Big Lake became an alternate in the 9-car Funny Car field when Bruce Carlson broke. Carlson of Prior Lake, who qualified No. 5 with a 6.247 at 228.47, said a head stud in one corner of his engine's cylinder head pulled up. Fleming defeated Chaffee (6.159 to 12.495).
-- For Scott McVey, who lost to Moats in the first round, this was his first Funny Car event. He posted his licensing run on Friday and qualified No. 6 on Saturday (6.290 at 221.59 mph).
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.