By: Tim Glover:
Commerce, GA – July 20: Although most were betting the scheduled Atlanta Dragway Summit ET event would be cancelled again because of rain, thanks to the huge effort put out by the Atlanta Dragway crew the track surface was race ready just before 6:00pm. The weather cooperated for the rest of the evening and racers completed their event for the first time since the Night of Fire event on June 29. David Fletcher enjoyed his third win of the season in Super Pro Motorcycle, and Chad Brewer took his third win in Pro. Brian Smith has been in the money for almost every event this season, and took his second win in three finals tonight.
“The duck hunt is over,” declared Super Pro winner Brian Smith from Flowery Branch, GA after his extremely tight victory against Lloyd Kaylor’s Winder, GA based ’87 Regal. Smith left the starting line in his ’07 Undercover dragster with a 0.003 second time and crossed the win stripe 0.005 seconds in front of Kaylor’s machine with a dead-on 5.146 second pass at 131.31mph (5.14 dial).
Kaylor was right there also, reacting with a 0.007 and also posting a dead-on 7.637 at 88.64mph. Marty Wilhelm (’00 Spitzer dragster – Commerce, GA) and Thomas Bell (’11 Undercover dragster – Toccoa, GA) were the semi-final finishers. Smith thanked Stacy and Debbie Blanton, Blanton Collision, Jefferson Quick Lube, Ed Nalley Racing Engines, Kurt Damron and Gary Dunn for their help.
Pro winner Chad Brewer from Canton, GA states that he just got lucky, but he backs that luck up in any car he drives with great passes. Because “Tweety” is still under repair, he was driving the Mayor of Hickory Flat’s ’67 Blood Sweat and Tears Camaro for this event. Brewer faced off against Brent Wheeler in final round action and reacted first with a 0.019 time, and then shut the door on Wheeler with a dead-on 7.696 at 87.56mph (7.69 target). Wheeler’s Monroe, GA based ’66 Coronet was close, but broke out ever so slightly with a 6.651 at 102.50mph on his 7.66 dial trying to catch Brewer.
George Mitchell (’69 Firebird – Canton, GA) and Scott Chapman, who was competing for his first time at Atlanta Dragway (’84 Mustang – Commerce, GA) ended their day in the semi-final round. “When we came through Gainesville today on our way to the track it was flooding. We thought no way would there be a race, but the Atlanta Dragway crew made it happen. I want to thank the Big Guy upstairs and also the Mayor of Hickory Flat.” Brewer then added, “I want to dedicate this win to Amy Glover, because it was always fun talking to her and Tim when they did the articles together a few years ago.”
Sportsman winner Chris Thompson of Murphy, NC enjoyed his first ever big car win with his immaculate silver and gray ’73 Vega. Thompson met defending champion Howard Warren’s ’72 Maverick in the final round, and received the automatic victory this time as soon as Warren left the starting line too quickly, resulting in a -0.008 second red light. Knowing the victory was already settled, both racers chose to run through the finish line wide open. Thompson’s machine carded an 11.97 at 110.78mph (12.03 dial) and Warren’s Douglasville, GA based mount also went a little too quick with a 12.05 at 102.53mph (12.07 target).
Sid Hopper (’84 S-10 Blazer – Gainesville, GA) was the lone semi-finalist. Thompson mentioned he has won in Jr Dragsters when he lived in Florida. “It’s been a rough year. Thanks to my dad (Doug) and Rick. Also thanks to my wife Suzanne for putting up with this,” added Thompson.
David Fletcher won his third 2013 Super Pro Motorcycle event, this time against first time finalist Mike Pearce from Avondale Estates, GA. Pearce gave Fletcher a run for it by leaving the starting line on his ’10 Victory with a perfect 0.000 reaction time. However, Fletcher also had a good reaction time on his ’84 Kawasaki. Pearce did cross the big end stripe first, but in doing so he went too quick, breaking out with a 9.49 at 138.86mph (9.65 dial). Fletcher also broke out trying to catch him, with the lesser breakout time of 8.74 at 147.91mph (8.78 dial).
Howard Bowman (’02 Harley – Homer, GA) and Tim Sutton (’89 Suzuki – Clermont, GA) took home the semi-finalist portion of the purse. “I tried nitrous today to see if that would help with the bad air, but I was just lucky,” added Fletcher. He then thanked friend and team mate Scott Saemisch for all of his help.
Street ET Motorcycle winner Michael Tlapa almost didn’t come to the track today, actually turning around en route to the track and starting to go back home. However, he changed his mind quickly, and came to the track, which paid off nicely with a final round victory against Don Chavous’ ’06 Suzuki, which is owned and tuned by Dave Hamilton. Both machines in the final round were Livengood Motorsports entries. Tlapa became one of the three winners in tonight’s action who won with a dead-on pass, posting a 9.782 at 133.47mph (9.78 target). By the time he reached the 60 foot marker, Chavous knew his run was over when he felt the bike’s performance falter, and carded a 10.48 at 131.63mph on a 10.32 dial in time.
Randy Barnett (’08 Suzuki – Colbert, GA) earned the semi-finalist portion of the purse. Tlapa thanked Brian and Sheila, his brother Paul, his “little crew chief” Caden (Tlapa’s son) and Brooks Performance.
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 may be obtained by calling the track office (706-335-2301) or logging on to www.atlantadragway.com.