Action continues at racetrack
No-box co-winner Dennis Soefje gets the front end up on his launch during a semifinal run.
MARION -- While people in the Midwest and Northeast are buried under mountains of snow or shivering in sub-zero temperatures, Mother Nature provided Central Texas with a beautiful day for drag racing. San Antonio Raceway hosted its annual Hangover/Racers Appreciation race on the drag strip just east of San Antonio.
Sunny, warm conditions with temperatures in the lower 70s (eat your hearts out, northern states) greeted drivers as they made some of their first passes of the year using the 1/8-mile track. The early race gives everyone a chance to break in their new Christmas toys, try out new parts, or just get dialed in again following the end of last season’s points.
Two of the three regular classes, Electronics (Box) and Foot brake (No-box) were on hand competing for some post-holiday cash. Junior Dragsters ended up being a no-show. Track conditions were a bit cool early, but with the sun out, it warmed to the mid-80s throughout eliminations.
Last year’s No-box champ and Motorcycle Shootout runner-up, Brandon Mitchan, took home the pot in Dialing for Dollars. The impromptu second qualifying round, with a buy-in jackpot up for grabs, saw Mitchan go out early and lay down a pass that no one could beat. Mitchan, in prime form, put his Suzuki Hayabusa through with a .0011 package.
Two perennial contenders squared off in the Electronics (Box) Finals with David Bills of San Antonio and Preston Pennington of Three Rivers going head to head. Bills cut a .0161 light and needed every inch of the lead as Pennington ran quicker, but came up short by .002 at the line, as Bills scored the hole shot win.
Bills in his 2007 TNT Dragster, sponsored by Mission Racing, defeated M. Mathews twice, Russel Fields in round 2, and took a third-round bye. Pennington bought back after a round 1 loss, and then took out Matt Esper and Brett Zampese before a bye in the semifinals.
Former San Antonio Raceway owner/promoter Todd Zampese of Converse and Dennis Soefje of Seguin opted to split the cash and forgo the final run in No-box.
In his dragster, Zampese took down Ruben Gallegos, J. Garza, Matthew Villarreal, Laurie Vontour, and James Tijerina in the semifinals. Soefje, in his late wife’s ’83 Mustang GT, trailered Brandon Mitchan, R. Floyd, Roland Wray, M. Frankson, and M. Merino before a bye in semifinals.