Overflow crowd watches records fall, winners crowned during San Antonio Nitro Jam finale
Nitro Jam Media
Apr 3, 2011
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that goes double for the racing.
In front of one of the largest crowds to ever watch a race at San Antonio Raceway, records fell by the wayside and a number of new winners emerged from the shadows to lay claim to an IHRA Nitro Jam trophy and take home a victory during the finale of the San Antonio Nitro Jam Saturday night in Marion.
Among the winner’s of Saturday’s huge show were new champions Rick Krafft in Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car and Randal Andras in Nitro Harley, while Bobby Lagana Jr. picked up a win in Top Fuel and Chris Bennett (Nostalgia Fuel Altered) and Michael Manners (Pro Fuel) swept their respective categories in front of an overflow crowd.
Peter Gallen also made headlines during the two-night event, setting a new Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car record for elapsed time and speed at 5.744 seconds at 252.10 miles per hour.
In addition to the pro winners seven sportsman champions were also crowned on Saturday including Trent Wilson (Castroville, Texas) in Top Sportsman, Gordon Cole (Wells, Texas) in Top Dragster, Cody Blackmon (San Antonio, Texas) in Super Stock, David Latino (Donaldsonville, La.) in Stock, Tommy Phillips (Forney, Texas) in Quick Rod and Super Rod and Deborah Ridenhour (Kennedale, Texas) in Hot Rod.
All seven winners not only took home IHRA hardware, but also punched their ticket to the year-end Summit Racing Tournament of Champions in Virginia.
With the stands at capacity, all of the classes produced an incredible weekend of racing capped off with a huge finale Saturday night. And the man taking advantage of the opportunity the most was local favorite Michael Manners.
Manners, who currently resides in the Lone Star State, swept the Pro Fuel Dragster class over the weekend with a couple of hot laps in the blistering conditions to pick up his sixth and seventh career Nitro Jam victories and propel himself into first place in the standings.
“It was a wonderful night for our team. We were a little disappointed with the first round, we thought we would be faster, but we were able to turn that round in the final,” Manners said. “We were also a little surprised with the track and how good it was even with the heat. The crew did an excellent job out there and we were able to fire off good runs both nights.”
After downing Robin Samsel in Friday’s final, Manners returned on Saturday with more winning on his mind and wasted little time in reaching that goal, easily dispatching of Cherissa Smallwood in round one with a 5.578, 253.09 to set up yet another final round matchup between the “Shredder” and Bill Evans and the “Black Pearl” crew.
In the final Manners saved the best for last with the quickest lap of the weekend to down Evans and pick up his second win in as many nights. Manners ran a 5.288, 274.06 in the final as Evans sputtered off the line and never really got going.
“It was a shame those guys had trouble. We love running Evans and his bunch and you can never really count them out,” Manners said. “In the final we made a few small adjustments after round one and ran a darn good number. It would have been great to put those numbers up against those guys.”
In the consolation matchup Samsel defeated Smallwood.
In the other dragster class Bobby Lagana Jr. produced a weekend split with a pair of 300 mile per hour passes on Saturday under the hot Texas sun to pick up his sixth win of the year. In the final Lagana, who had never won at the San Antonio track, shook off the cobwebs and finally visited victory lane with a solid 4.707, 301.41 in the final as opponent Bruce Litton lost power right after launch and coasted to the runner-up finish.
Lagana’s other Saturday pass was a 4.859, 310.56, providing just enough consistency to come away a winner.
“We are excited to be back here. We have lots of memories here at San Antonio, unfortunately many of them are not good ones,” Lagana said. “Tonight, however, the track was phenomenal and the fan turnout was unbelievable. I have never seen this place with that many people. It was just such a big hit and we are glad to be a part of it.
“I am also glad we were able to go out there and put on a show. Even though we had some trouble on the last pass running the car a bit too hard, we were still able to put up some pretty good numbers and give the fans something to see.”
While the dragster classes offered up a few relatively uneventful rounds, such was not the case for the Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car category. Chaos ensued when one potential final round participant brushed a timing block thus disqualifying his run and another driver just barely earned his way into the final setting up an unexpected, yet very exciting final.
Rick Krafft in the Mike Faser owned “Chicago Fire” Corvette was the biggest winner of the chaotic first round as his potentially losing first round run turned into a win when opponent Mike McIntire nudged the centerline and made contact with one of the timing blocks. That one little error was all that was needed to propel the Indiana native into his first final of the year to face “Mr. Explosive” Mark Sanders.
In the final round it was Krafft who found just enough to light the win bulbs with a 5.958, 223.77 final round run to Sanders’ 6.058, 221.13 – a difference of just a few feet at the line.
“It was an absolutely incredible ending to the weekend for us. The first round we had all kinds of problems with the car, so as you can imagine we were a little shocked that we ended up in the finals,” Krafft said. “Once we learned that we made the finals the crew wanted to do a whole bunch of adjustments to keep up with Sanders, but we ultimately decided to leave it alone and see what the track would give us. Thankfully it was enough to get a win.”
In the consolation rounds Gallen defeated Mike Smith, Greg Jacobsmeyer won on a bye run and Jon Capps in the San Antonio-based “Jungle Jim” machine capped the unlucky weekend for McIntire with a win.
While Krafft was busy hoisting his third career Ironman, Friday winner Gallen had his own reasons to celebrate as he backed up and even improved on his record-setting numbers from the opening night to set the new Prostalgia record for elapsed time and speed at 5.770 seconds at 252.10 miles per hour.
Wrapping up the weekend were the two-wheel warriors of Nitro Harley as Randal Andras claimed his first career Ironman trophy with a win over Steve Dorn and Chris Bennett in the “Pure Heaven” Nostalgia Fuel Altered won for the fourth time in a row and sixth time this season in a victory over Jim Maroney.
To add to the exictment of Andras picking up his first Nitro Jam victory was the fact that he beat the current points leader and did it by just six feet at the line. Andras produced a very quick 6.496, 210.97 lap in the final, just nudging Dorn’s 6.568, 178.78 at the line. In the consolation round Mike Scott defeated Jay Turner.
Bennett wrapped up the pro winners with the quickest lap of the weekend, a 6.272, 222.86 in a victory over Maroney in the “Blind Faith” entry. Maroney ran a 6.565, 196.42 in the runner-up effort. In the Nostalgia Fuel Altered consolation Jason Richey beat Ron Maroney.
Other winners from the San Antonio Nitro Jam included Ryan McDonnell in Top ET, R.J. Doerr in Mod ET and Kaleigh Scates in Junior Dragster. The event also featured appearances by the jet dragsters of Jill Canuso and Terry Rosberg, the “Airborne Express” wheelstander and the monster showdown between Grave Digger and Shockwave.
The two-night San Antonio Nitro Jam produced a huge weekend of racing and continued a string of sold out Nitro Jam events. Next up for the stars of the Nitro Jam tour is a trip north to Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh Nitro Jam in the Steel City May 20-21.
SAN ANTONIO -- Saturday's final results from the IHRA San Antonio Nitro Jam at San Antonio Raceway. The race is the fourth of 10 in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO
Bobby Lagana Jr., Scarsdale, N.Y., 4.707 seconds, 301.41 mph def. Bruce Litton, Indianapolis, Ind., 15.533 seconds, 58.98 mph.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO
Rick Krafft, Chesterton, Ind., '79 Corvette, 5.958, 223.77 def. Mark Sanders, Maple Valley, Wash., '70 Nova, 6.058, 221.13.
PRO FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO
Michael Manners, Willis, Texas, dragster, 5.288, 274.06 def. Bill Evans, Miramar, Fla., dragster, 12.525, 78.26.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO
Chris Bennett, N. Las Vegas, Nev., '32 Bantam, 6.272, 222.88 def. Jim Maroney, 32 Bantam, 6.565, 196.42.
NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO
Randal Andras, Amelia, La., 6.496, 210.97 def. Steve Dorn, Milwaukie, Ore., 6.569, 178.78.
Gordon Cole, Wells, Texas, dragster, 7.111, 183.82 def. Jenifer White, Conroe, Texas, dragster, 6.654, 187.73.
Trent Wilson, Castroville, Texas, '68 Chevy Camaro, 7.472, 184.80 def. Glenn Wright, Odessa, Texas, '04 Pontiac Grand Am, foul.
Tommy Phillips, Forney, Texas, dragster, 8.919, 158.51 def. Gina Mundt, Longview, Texas, dragster, 8.876, 159.24.
Tommy Phillips, Forney, Texas, '57 Chevy Corvette, 9.926, 145.63 def. Kip Guenzel, Troy, Texas, '70 Chevy Camaro, 9.890, 151.46.
Deborah Ridenhour, Kennedale, Texas, '41 Willys, 10.878, 138.16 def. Ray Todd, Friendswood, Texas, '68 Chevy Nova, 10.862, 130.78.
Cody Blackmon, San Antonio, Texas, '91 Oldsmobile Calais, GT/FA, 13.256, 70.65 def. David Latino, Donaldsonville, La., '06 Chevy Cobalt, GT/DA, 10.346, 96.11.
David Latino, Donaldsonville, La., '02 Pontiac Firebird, B/FIA, 10.619, 122.35 def. Kirk Morgan, Spring Branch, Texas, '67 Ford Fairlane, E/SA, 11.197, 117.68.
Ryan McDonnell, San Antonio, Texas, dragster, 8.234, 106.99 def. R.J. Doerr, Marion, Texas, dragster, foul.
Ryan McDonnell, San Antonio, Texas, dragster, 7.505, 168.67 def. Phil Pennington, 7.510, 174.42.
R.J. Doerr, Marion, Texas, dragster, 10.674, 123.52 def. Rick Hudel, San Antonio, Texas, dragster, 9.492, 149.35.
JR. DRAGSTER ADVANCED
Kaleigh Scates, Center, Texas, dragster, 7.948, 82.46 def. Ashley Hubbell, San Antonio, Texas, dragster, foul.
SAN ANTONIO -- Final round-by-round results from the IHRA San Antonio Nitro Jam at San Antonio Raceway, the fourth of 10 events in the 2011 Nitro Jam Series:
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Bruce Litton, 4.811, 296.83 def. Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.859, 310.56;
FINAL -- B. Lagana Jr., 4.707, 301.41 def. B. Litton, 15.533, 58.98.
PRO FUEL DRAGSTER DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Michael Manners, Spitzer, 5.578, 253.09 def. Cherissa Smallwood, Innovative, foul; Bill Evans, Spitzer, 5.322, 268.66 def. Robin Samsel, Dragster, 5.831, 241.68;
CONSOLATION -- R. Samsel, 5.769, 238.85 def. C. Smallwood, 6.055, 240.13;
FINAL -- M. Manners, 5.288, 274.06 def. B. Evans, 12.525, 78.26.
PROSTALGIA FUNNY CAR DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Peter Gallen, Chevy Vega, 5.904, 246.71 def. John Dunn, Plymouth Duster, 7.464, 127.44; Mark Sanders, Chevy Nova, 5.690, 240.64 def. Jon Capps, Chevy Camaro, 5.999, 237.22; Rick Krafft, Chevy Corvette, 5.838, 144.88 def. Mike McIntire, Camaro, broke; Greg Jacobsmeyer, Dodge Challenger, 6.386, 219.94 def. Mike Smith, 9.577, 87.67;
CONSOLATION -- J. Capps, 6.411, 200.71 def. M. McIntire, 18.121, 71.67; G. Jacobsmeyer, 6.389, 220.05 was unopposed;
P. Gallen, 5.744, 251.82 def. M. Smith, 11.594, 70.28;
FINAL -- R. Krafft, 5.958, 223.77 def. M. Sanders, 6.058, 221.13.
NITRO HARLEY DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Randal Andras, 8.282, 109.60 def. Mike Scott, broke; Steve Dorn, 6.479, 199.82 def. Jay Turner, 6.596, 202.61;
CONSOLATION -- M. Scott, broke def. J. Turner, broke; M. Scott, 6.721, 208.62 def. J. Turner, 6.747, 174.35; M. Scott, 6.721, 208.62 def. J. Turner, 6.747, 174.35;
FINAL -- R. Andras, 6.496, 210.97 def. S. Dorn, 6.569, 178.78.
FUEL ALTERED DAY TWO:
ROUND ONE -- Jim Maroney, 6.322, 225.56 def. Ron W. Maroney, '-T Ford, 6.515, 220.48; Chris Bennett, Austin Bantam, 6.559, 165.32 def. Jason Richey, 6.976, 220.80;
CONSOLATION -- J. Richey, 6.503, 230.18 def. R. Maroney, foul;
FINAL -- C. Bennett, 6.272, 222.88 def. J. Maroney, 6.565, 196.42.