IHBA: Phoenix Lakefest race report

April 29, 2001 (Phoenix, AZ) --- Lakefest 2001 concluded at Firebird International Raceway on Sunday evening with some of the best side-by-side racing action of the weekend as John Hipwell, of Landing, New Jersey, bested Rex Childers, of ...

April 29, 2001 (Phoenix, AZ) --- Lakefest 2001 concluded at Firebird International Raceway on Sunday evening with some of the best side-by-side racing action of the weekend as John Hipwell, of Landing, New Jersey, bested Rex Childers, of Bakersfield, California, in the Top Fuel Hydro class. While a number of racers were trying to figure out their tune-ups and shake down their new water rockets, number one qualifier Hipwell was tops of the class all weekend that concluded with a trip to the winner's circle.

"I'm not even touching the ground right now. I'm floating 18" off the ground. This is a great way to start the season and my relationship with Ron Braaksma (team owner). All weekend Ron was giving me support. Ron always has words of wisdom. He's the best. The crew and everyone kept me relaxed. I haven't been this laidback at a race in my life. They make sure I have the best race boat and that everything is perfect. I don't have to worry about anything except driving," said John Hipwell, TFH winner.

Surprisingly, the Top Fuel Hydros were not the speed kings of the IHBA season opening national event as the Top Alcohol Hydros flew down the liquid quarter mile at breakneck speeds. Number one qualifier Tim Stokes of Eufaula, Oklahoma was gunning for both ends of TAH the record book following his 5.401 second, 225.10 mph pass in qualifying. Stokes backed up the ET record but he was unable to back up the mph record during Sunday's eliminations. In the Finals Ted Faggart, of Porterville, California defeated Rich Hayes of Santa Ana, California even though Hayes took the advantage off of the starting line. Faggart had the horsepower and at the top end he got around Hayes to take the win with a time of 5.59 seconds at 210.94 mph.

" I'm proud of that 5.59. I don't think we hurt the motor, which is a good thing. We had fun all weekend. We started running in the six's and we got it down for the trophy run. This class takes a lot of concentration and a lot of education. Overall our attitude is 'a win is a win' and we'll take them anyway we can get them," said Ted Faggart, TAH winner.

Johnny Heidemann, Tacoma, Washington, and Josh Hayden, of Pleasanton, California, took top honors in the Top Alcohol Flat and Pro Mod classes, respectively.

"It hasn't hit me yet. Last year we went to six finals and only won two. I was getting used to being the runner-up. This thing was dancing out there. I thought about getting out of it but I stayed on it and won. It was a pretty wild ride. I didn't know how close I was to losing it. I thought it was going to swing around but I hit the overdrive and it straightened up. It had my attention and at the end it definitely grabbed my respect," said Johnny Heidemann, TAF winner.

" Earl Smith, crew chief, was the head man today. I didn't think we could get down to the .06. This morning we ran 7.11 and we really worked on her to get it down that low," added Heidemann.

Hayden had one of the most consistent days on the race track any Pro Mod racer has experienced laying down, passes of 7.120, 7.052, 7.009, and 7.001 versus the 7.00 class index.

"That was the closest race you will ever see. I haven't seen a race like that ever. I didn't even know who won. That is the way to start the season. We were consistent all day. Our semi-final pass was great and we were hoping to get two like that in a row. We were thinking we will be happy to get close," said Josh Hayden, Pro Mod winner

"That was the closest race you will ever see. I haven't seen a race like that ever. I didn't even know who won. That is the way to start the season. We were consistent all day. Our semi-final pass was great and we were hoping to get two like that in a row. We were thinking we will be happy to get close," said Josh Hayden, Pro Mod winner.

-IHBA

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