By Tim Glover:
(Commerce, GA – June 22) Racers coming to Atlanta Dragway had a chance at double the fun, where not one, but two complete Summit ET Series events were contested.
For the second week in a row, David Fletcher enjoyed the Super Pro Motorcycle winner’s circle, for Race #1.
Don Brown Sr. made it to the final round in last week’s Super Pro action, and this week his son Don Brown Jr. went all the way to the Race #2 Super Pro win.
Walt Mesik has enjoyed prior success in the Atlanta Dragway Index series winning three of those events. Today Mesik experienced the pleasure of earning his first Super Pro win with his Madison, GA based ’08 Racecraft dragster. Mesik posted the winning time of 4.95 seconds at 138.93mph (4.93 second dial-in time).
Smith’s car was close, with a breakout time of 5.137 at 133.55mph, but an untimely -0.005 second red light ended his day. Ryan Johnson began a good day of racing with his semi-final round finish. “It’s just time for this old man to win one,” Mesik added with a smile.
Pro winner Bruce Wilson of Tallapoosa, GA told Travis Bryant in late 2012 he had better enjoy winning the championship, as Wilson intended to run for the 2013 championship. Wilson made a big move toward that goal in his ’70 Nova with a final round victory against Tim Polnaszek (’84 Mustang – Nicholson, GA).
Wilson had a big reaction time advantage, and used up some of it by posting an off pace 6.98 at 92.94mph (6.85 dial). He still crossed the big end stripe ahead of Polnaszek, whose Nicholson, GA based ’84 Mustang carded a 6.77 at 102.12mph (6.74 dial).
The lone semi-finalist was Lonnie Cothran (’68 Camaro – Lavonia, GA).
Multi time Sportsman champion Mel Abney from Cumming, GA drove his ’67 Camaro back into the winner’s circle again, this time after defeating defending champion Howard Warren’s ’72 Maverick. After reacting with a stellar 0.017 second time, Abney couldn’t ask much more from his ride, which recorded a near perfect 12.184 second pass at 99.33mph (12.18 dial).
For the second week in a row, Warren’s Douglasville, GA based car went home with a runner-up, running close to its dial with a 12.17 at 96.07mph (12.14 dial). John Snapp (’12 Mustang – Conyers, GA) earned the semi-finalist portion of the purse. “I was impressed. All the track personnel did a great job keeping things moving,” added Abney.
For the second week in a row, David Fletcher out of Lawrenceville, GA earned his way to a Super Pro Motorcycle win, defeating Athens, GA racer Jay Rhyne (for the second week in a row) in the final. Fletcher’s ’84 Kawasaki broke out a bit with a 9.20 at 140.04mph (9.24 target), but the win was already his after Rhyne’s ’81 Suzuki broke the starting line beams 0.020 seconds before the green, which resulted in illuminating the dreaded cherry colored foul light.
Howard Bowman (’02 Harley – Homer, GA) and Scott Saemisch (’78 Kawasaki – Dacula, GA) ended their day in the semi-final round. “I’m glad I could win two in a row. I’d like to make it a double header today,” added Fletcher.
Street ET Motorcycle winner Michael Mann from Clarkesville, GA has been around the sport of drag racing for a while. He did take off the last two years to take care of his wife Kimberly, who is doing great now.
Mann earned his fourth overall Motorcycle win astride his ’06 Hayabusa against Guillermo Roman of Cartersville, GA. Mann posted a great 0.02 over 10.17 at 131.04mph (10.15 target), while Roman’s ’08 Honda fell off the pace this time with a 9.83 at 139.91mph (9.58 dial). Daryl Johnsey (’84 Kawasaki – Lawrenceville, GA) went all the way to the semi-final round. Mann thanked his sponsor Alan Shields and also his wife Kimberly for all of their help.
After completion of Race #1, racers were given the opportunity to take one time trial, and the second Summit ET series event of the day got underway shortly after 6:40pmIn Super Pro action, another Brown found himself in the final round for the second week in a row. Last week, Don Brown Sr. finished in the Super Pro runner up spot.
This week, Brown’s son, Don Brown Jr. took his ’03 Spitzer dragster all the way to victory lane after defeating Jesse Young of Danielsville, GA. Both racers were very quick at the starting line, and it came down to who did the best job this time of racing the finish line stripe.
Young actually took the stripe first, but went too quick, breaking out with a 4.82 at 140.02mph (4.86 dial). Brown slowed his car a little to 4.86 at 133.25mph (4.84 dial) for the win.
Lloyd Kaylor (’87 Regal – Winder, GA) was the semi-finalist. “Thanks to Big Don for everything, and also thanks to my crew, which includes Katie and Hank Wilhelm and Pam Bennett,” said Brown.
Pro winner Chad Brewer’s Hickory Flat, GA based ’68 Camaro lost a trans-brake during the first race of the day, but an unfazed Brewer simply went back to his footbrake roots, and continued on to a Pro win in the evening event.
Brewer’s opponent was Wade Bryant from Homer, GA, who was in a Pro final for the second week in a row with his ’67 Camaro. Brewer reacted first with a 0.018 react, and less than a second later became the race winner after Bryant fouled away his chance of winning with a red light start. Brewer ran his car all the way out to a 7.69 at 88.16mph (7.73 dial).
Bryant’s car was heartbreakingly close with a 6.990 at 98.36mph (6.98 dial). Troy Fortner (’90 Mustang – Nicholson, GA) went home with a semi-final finish. “I want to thank the Big Guy upstairs, the Mayor of Hickory Flat, and also my good luck charm Leighann Mayfield,” said Brewer. He then added, “It was fun to get back to my roots.”
In his first full season of racing, Mike Garland from Hoschton, GA looked like a seasoned pro by the final round of Sportsman action. Garland began the final with a perfect 0.000 second react, and closed the door with his Ryan Johnson owned ’68 Camaro on 2011 Sportsman champion J.D. “Doc” Burford with a 14.31 at 95.07mph (14.30 dial).
Burford’s ’08 Corvette broke out with a 12.61 at 108.83mph on a 12.67 target. Sid Hopper (’84 S10 Blazer – Gainesville, GA) enjoyed making it to the semi-final round. “I was shocked. During the first race I took it too serious, but just relaxed and had fun for the second race,” said Garland.
“The conduct of the race today by the professional staff was exemplary, and they deserve a well earned tip of the hat,” said “Doc” Burford.
Jay Rhyne from Athens, GA made it to his third Super Pro Motorcycle final in a row, but this time he turned the tables, taking the win against good friend and competitor Tim Sutton (’89 Suzuki – Gainesville, GA). Rhyne’s ’81 Suzuki was close to perfect, beginning with a telepathic 0.003 second reaction time and finishing with a 9.40 at 133.29mph (9.38 dial).
Sutton was also excellent in the reaction time department, with a 0.024 second time, but his machine fell off a little on the top end, and posted a 9.02 at 142.22mph (8.93 dial).
Scott Saemisch (’78 Kawasaki – Dacula, GA) ended his day in the semi-finals. Rhyne thanked Tim and Jennifer Sutton for all their help, and then looked at Tim and added with a smile, “If I’m on next week like I was today, y’all in trouble.”
Street ET Motorcycle winner Jimmy “Cha Cha” Heisler from Woodstock, GA enjoyed the taste of victory against last week’s winner Jordan Autrey (’11 Kawasaki – Traveler’s Rest, SC). Heisler’s ’00 Kawasaki made a good 10.69 second pass at 123.67mph (10.67 dial). Autrey’s mount was just a little further off pace, with a 9.53 at 136.14mph (9.50 dial).
Although he has been in several finals for the past couple of years, this was Heisler’s first win since he won the 2011 Night of Fire event. “It’s been a long time coming. I want to thank my wonderful wife Eeman (that’s what she told me to say), Motul Oils, Vanson Leathers, Broward Motorsports and Mattei Cycle Supply,” added Heisler.
Guillermo Roman (’08 Honda – Cartersville, GA) and Allen Hitt (’99 Kawasaki – Cartersville, GA) were the semi-finalist pair.
Sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Atlanta Dragway is located just off I-85 at Exit 149 in the Banks Crossing area of Commerce, Georgia. Information on all 2013 events, including the Night of Fire on June 29, 2013, may be obtained by calling the track office (706-335-2301) or logging on to www.atlantadragway.com.