Wrap-Up: American DRAGCAR at Wild Horse Pass, May 2nd, 2015

Ron Shelly has run 3 races this season and been in the final of all 3, winning the last 2.

Bill Matchette gets into his second ever DRAGCAR final and scores a Runner-Up finish to put him at 2nd in the points.

Text and photos: Jeff Sefranek / American DRAGCAR

Ron Shelly waits just over 3 seconds to chase Bill Matchette's clean Coronet.

Willie Wray-Jeff Sefranek match race.

American DRAGCAR's Race #3 of the AZ Differential Specialists Central State Championship Series on Saturday, May 2nd at Wild Horse Pass started off the night racing season.

A special event was set to take place at this race during qualifying which involved a DragCar formulated index match race between Jeff Sefranek’s XP/D1 11.20 indexed Mustang and Willie Wray’s MS/C2 10.30 indexed Camaro. These two were the quickest DragCar Eliminator qualifiers at the CSCS Race #2 only a hundredth apart from each other so this match race was planned as an introduction to the DragCar Eliminator truly all-out format.

As it turned out, the match was less than spectacular as Willie Wray drew the red-light in the first 2-rounds awarding Sefranek with the match win and the $25 per round prize money. But it’s not to say that it was not a good match-up. In fact, it was to be an awesome match as in the first round, Sefranek ran an 11.02 on his 11.20 formulated index while Wray ripped off a 10.11 on his 10.30, one hundredth of a second better than Jeff. But in round 2, Willie's car went quiet at halftrack as he lifted due to what he thought was a persistent tire shake. As it turned out, it was a broken crank that was rattling his cage so Wray was done for the night.

With 25 entries again laddered up in DragSport Eliminator, the Fast Five had a Downing in the #1 slot as Austyn Downing clicked off an 8.836 in the family rear engined dragster. That left Mark Ballard to pick up 2nd with his 9.147 while Geanine Ballard took 3rd this time with her 9.169 performance. Nick Micale made the 4th place spot with his 9,929 and Ron Shelly once again closed out the 5 with a 10.076 effort.

New member Donald Goodlue provided for some excitement in first round of qualifying as his TC/B8 Camaro ended up against the wall due to a front brake failure but fortunately the damage was primarily cosmetic and Donald was physically uninjured. Donald says he’ll be back out for the next race and we certainly hope to see him make it back out.

In addition to Willie Wray and Donald Goodlue’s no-shows for first round of eliminations, Scott Gibson broke a rear-end in his Mustang, and Lewis Higgins’ motorcycle suffered failure also, making for 5 single runs in the round as Mick Sramek drew the laddered bye-run. Then, red-lights plagued nearly every other pairing in the round as there were only 2 actual races to be witnessed. Neva Wray fell to Chris Holbrook as the two had nearly identical RT’s but Neva’s Nash ran an off pace 11.94 on her 11.85 while Chris’ Mustang hit an 11.72 on his 11.70 adjusted index. Then Rochelle Smith showed her continued improvement as she went double-O7 for a nice holeshot advantage against Geanine Ballard and ran 12.067 on her 12.10 against Geanine’s strong 9.165 effort.

Second round opened with Gary Navis announcing he was up for the best RT award as he went double-O5 against Mark Ballard in their rematch from last race. This time it was actually a dead heat decided solely by RT’s as Navis ran 10.160 on his 10.15 over Ballard’s 9.160 on a 9.15 adjusted index. A.J. Crader then took out Jeff Sefranek in the same manner with a double-O6 while holding of the charge with a 13.83 on a 13.75 over an 11.07 on an 11.00. Then Underdog Racing teammates Chris Holbrook and Thom Fitch paired off in the closest race of the round as Fitch put up a solid .012 RT to Holbrook’s .074 but was unable to hold on as he ran 10.614 on a 10.55 to Chris’ 11.649 on an 11.70.

Third round saw Bill Matchette then take out Chris Holbrook with a clean 2 hundredths RT advantage paired with a 13.108 on a 13.10 over Holbrook’s 11.69 on an 11.60. A.J. Crader got the better of Rochelle Smith as she drew the red-light and Ron Shelly got past Mick Sramek with a healthy RT advantage while Gary Navis earned the bye-run for the round.

The semi-finals had Bill Matchette on his 13.10 adjusted index paired with Gary Navis on a 10.15. Matchette took his tree 3 seconds ahead of Navis but Gary left too soon and turned on the red-light as Bill cruised through with another nice 13.12 performance. Ron Shelly then took pleasure in disposing of the lone Ford left in competition as he took a healthy RT advantage with his .019 light and followed through with a 10.00 on his 10.05 over Crader’s 13.80 on a 13.75 effort.

So the final had Ron Shelly on a 9.95 re-adjusted index up against Bill Matchette on his 13.10 adjusted index. Matchette’s tree came down over 3 seconds before Shelly’s but Ron picked up a 4 hundredths advantage as his front wheels left the ground in chase of the big Mopar. And it was the Chevy at the stripe first for the win with a 10.01 over the 13.16 runner-up effort. Ron Shelly incredibly picks up his second win in a row after 3 consecutive final round appearances and charges right up the CSCS points standings to now sit in 3rd while Bill Matchette moves into 2nd.

Race #4 of the AZ Differential Specialists Central State Championship Series is next on the calendar for May 30th 2015 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Results - American DRAGCAR, Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ / May 2, 2015

Quarter Finals:

W: Bill Matchette, Glendale, AZ., '69 Coronet, Index: 13.10, RT: .054, ET: 13.108
L: Chris Holbrook, Chandler, AZ., '66 Mustang, Index: 11.60, RT: .077, ET: 11.697

W: A.J. Crader, Glendale, AZ., '01 Mustang, Index: 13.75, RT: .219, ET: 13.831
L: Rochelle Smith, Glendale, AZ., '69 Chevelle, Index: 12.05, RT: -.021, ET: 12.100

W: Ron Shelly, Phoenix, AZ., '74 Vega, Index: 10.05, RT: .052, ET: 10.206
L: Mick Sramek, Glendale, AZ., '72 Cutlass, Index: 12.95, RT: .373, ET: 13.079

W: Gary Navis, Scottsdale, AZ., '67 Camaro, Index: 10.15, RT: .298, ET: 10.852

Semi Finals:

W: Bill Matchette, Index: 13.10, RT: .093, ET: 13.129
L: Gary Navis, Index: 10.15, RT: -.172, ET: 10.230

W: Ron Shelly, Index: 10.05, RT: .019, ET: 10.006
L: A.J. Crader, Index: 13.75, RT: .104, ET: 13.807


Win: Ron Shelly, Index: 9.95, RT: .033, ET: 10.016
Runner-up: Bill Matchette, Index: 13.10, RT: .078, ET: 13.164

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