by Tim Glover:
All the championships were settled at the 2013 final Summit ET Series event held at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA on September 14th . In addition, the 19th annual Racetrack Ministries Day was held near the staging lanes, featuring the group B-Shoc, and including, but not limited to, a bounce house and the best barbeque chicken in the Southeast. Prior to the event, Racers For Christ chaplains Lloyd Shanks and Scott Griffith presented track manager Mike Savage with a plaque expressing their appreciation of his support. In addition, Racetrack Ministries gave all the winners, runner ups and semi-finalists a trophy for their achievements.
Congratulations to all the newly crowned 2013 champions. They are: Super Pro – Brian Smith, Pro – Chad Brewer, Sportsman – Mel Abney, Super Pro Motorcycle – Jay Rhyne, Street ET Motorcycle –Jimmy “Cha Cha” Heisler, 8-12 Jr Dragster – Nate “Hot Rod” Halsey and 13-17 Jr Dragster – Maddie Lee.
Super Pro winner Phil Sexton was also the 1988 Atlanta Dragway Super Pro champion, and proved he still had what it takes to win with a victory against the red-hot young Wesley Mayfield, who was also racing Junior Dragsters earlier this season. Thanks to a slightly better reaction time (0.013 seconds for Sexton and 0.029 for Mayfield) Sexton’s Hampton, GA based’04 Miller dragster crossed the finish line 0.0155 seconds in front of Mayfield’s Gainesville, GA based ’03 Worthy dragster. Sexton’s times were 4.947 at 132.14mph (4.93 dial) to Mayfield’s 4.956 at 137.05mph (4.94 dial). The lone semi-finalist was Bob Coombs (’66 Cutlass – Jefferson, GA). “It was a team effort that got us down the track. Thanks to everyone who helped, including my wife Ann and Doug Stringer,” added Sexton. Mayfield was in fourth place in the points coming in to the event, and moved up to second place, with 582 points to Smith’s 631 points.
The Pro final was over before it even started. Pro winner Dickey Forrester from Hickory Flat, GA was paired against his protégé Chad Brewer of Canton, GA (Brewer had just sealed the 2013 Pro championship earlier in the evening against Travis Bryant) for the final. However, a flat drag slick prevented Brewer’s yellow ’67 Camaro “Tweety”from going down the track, so Forrester singled to the victory in his ’68 Camaro with a 12.96 at 51.15mph (7.58 dial). The semi-finalists were Peter Mansolillo (’80 Monza– Suwanee, GA) and George Mitchell (’70 Nova – Canton, GA). “I’m just proud Chad won the championship,” said Forrester. With a smile, Brewer added, “The Mayor of Hickory Flat thanked the Mayor of Hickory Flat.”
Sportsman winner Steve Wagner from Jefferson, GA wrecked his ’71 Duster earlier in the season, and then pressed his ’98 RAM pickup into action, winning with it during the August 24 event. In the meantime, he prepared his “Orange Crush” ’69 Dart, which he debuted tonight. Thanks to his great preparation, not only did he do well, he won the event the first time the car was on the track. Wagner met Danny Towe (’70 Mustang – Lawrenceville, GA) for the final. Towe actually took the big end stripe first, but went too quick in the process, breaking out with a 7.55 at 84.76mph (7.57 dial). Wagner’s time was 7.90 at 82.85mph (7.87 dial). Allen Long (’96 Silverado – Ballground, GA) and Ed Nalley (’76 Silverado – Carnesville, GA) earned the semi-finalist portion of the purse. “Thank God for the victory. I’m blessed to be able to do this. I also want to thank my dad Pete and brothers Chris, Jeff and Nick,” added Wagner. Chad Brewer then dubbed Wagner’s car the “Majic Dart”.
Super Pro Motorcycle winner David Fletcher has been strong in the latter part of the season, and took yet another victory, this time against Tim Sutton of Clermont, GA. Fletcher’s Lawrenceville, GA based ’84 Kawasaki crossed the win stripe 0.04 seconds in front of Sutton with a 5.79 at 110.91mph (5.74 dial). Sutton’s ’89 Suzuki was good, with a 5.66 at 120.08mph (5.61 dial). The new 2013 champ, Jay Rhyne (’82 Suzuki – Athens, GA) ended the day in the semi-final round. “I’m happy to win the final race. It’s been a fun year,” added Fletcher. He then thanked Ed Mazzolini for all of his help.Winder, GA racer Adam Edwards has been in several Street ET finals before with his ’05 Hayabusa, and enjoyed winning his first Summit ET series event during tonight’s show. Edwards met Michael Mann (’06 Hayabusa – Clarkesville, GA) and edged out Mann at the finish line with a 6.21 at 113.72mph (6.16 dial). Mann’s machine fell off the pace to a 6.85 at 106.47mph (6.60 dial). Jordan Autrey (’11 Kawasaki – Traveler’s Rest, SC) and Paul Lee (motorcycle – Mt. Airy, GA) were the semi-final finishers. “Thanks to my fiancée Heather and my track family for everything to help a rookie earn his first win. I raced Fast Fridays here last year, and entered the points program for 2013,” added Edwards.
8-12 Jr Dragster winner Jessie Daniel (12 Loganville, GA) rocketed from fourth place in the points to second, defeating Wallace Wilson (10 – Taylors, SC) in the final with an 8.93 at 70.89mph (8.90 dial). Wilson actually crossed the finish line first, but unfortunately for him, he went 0.011 seconds too quick, breaking out with a 12.889 at 50.70mph on a 12.90 dial-in time. Ryan Blanton (10 – Jefferson, GA) and Jacob Wilson (10 – Tallapoosa, GA) earned semi-finalist trophies for their efforts. Nate “Hot Rod” Halsey bowed out of competition early, but as it turned out, he had enough to seal the 2013 championship, with 383 points to Daniel’s 372 points.Hunter Ramsey (15 – Commerce, GA) earned his first Racetrack Ministries winner’s trophy and second Atlanta Dragway race by defeating Chris Bowden (17 – Homer, GA) in final round action. Ramsey left first, and nailed his dial in time of 8.00 with the only dead-on final round pass in all classes, an 8.005 second pass at 80.80mph. Bowden was too quick, posting a losing time of 7.98 at 81.57mph (8.02 dial). Paul Charette (18 – Evans, GA) took home a semi-finalist trophy. “I think were dialed in now for the big show,” Ramsey’s dad Mike said. Hunter mentioned his sister Taylor had won the Racetrack Ministries day in 2007, and then thanked his family for all their help.
The first round “runner-ups” in the main Jr Dragster competitions were allowed to enter the Jr Dragster Consolation race, and this time it was Rachel Flowers (13 – Loganville, GA) taking the final round win light against Daniel Bruce (14 – Covington, GA). Flowers used a great reaction time aided 9.02 at 71.85mph (8.96 dial) for the win. Bruce took the stripe first by 0.004 seconds, but broke out with a 7.86 at 82.62mph (7.90 dial).
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 remaining 2013 events may be obtained by calling the track office (706-335-2301) or logging on to www.atlantadragway.com.