Greer Junior Kelli Bennett Report

Kelli Bennett Reaches The Finals Of Junior Dragster Competition At Greer Dragway! GREER, SC-- Kelli Bennett has learned that drag racing is a very unpredictable spot. A week after suffering through the most untimely of incidents, he earned more...

Kelli Bennett Reaches The Finals Of Junior Dragster Competition At Greer Dragway!

GREER, SC-- Kelli Bennett has learned that drag racing is a very unpredictable spot. A week after suffering through the most untimely of incidents, he earned more than one lucky break to reach the finals of Junior Dragster competition at the IHRA-sanctioned, Greer Dragway in Greer, SC. Bennett has only logged ten races in his Bobby Barr-prepared, Trim Parts junior dragster.

To understand what the final round appearance meant, we must describe what happened to the 9-year old, rising fourth grader at Pine Street Elementary School in Spartanburg, SC during the previous week. He had provided the ultimate display of consistency by posting qualifying runs of a 13.429, 13.425 and a 13.419. Bennett dialed-in on a 13.40 and carded a perfect 13.400. There was only one problem. The red-light was left glowing on the tree.

Now, consider his performance this evening. Bennett, posted a 13.768 and then a 13.770. In an attempt to make the car perform up to the previous week's status, the crew made a minor change in the engine and changed a "tired" spark plug. Simple change and instant positive results? Wrong. The car did not like the new plug and sputtered and eased to a 19-second run. The former plug was returned to duty and clocked a 13.790 elapsed time.

In the first round, the Trim Parts entry dialed-in on a 13.75. Bennett earned a victory despite running a 13.881 and carding a decent reaction time. His opponent Chris Alexander, broke out by .005 in his attempt to catch the bright orange and purple machine. The dial-in was not changed and Bennett ran a 13.95 elapsed time, which was enough to secure victory when Brannon Racing tripped the red-light. Kelli received the bye run into the final round.

Bennett, with only two months of experience, reached the finals against Casey Simms. Simms, who is a four-year veteran of the junior dragster wars, carded an excellent .01 reaction and ran his dial-in for the victory. Kelli made a valiant effort and fell short at both ends of the drag racing battle. Just reaching the finals for Bennett, was a major objective.

Special sponsors of the night's racing festivities insured that Kelli pocketed $70 for his efforts. His take for the evening was $20 and the rest was put back into his racing efforts. He promptly asked for change for the bill and proceeded to award his crewchief "Uncle" Bob Linburg with a $10 bill. Linburg secretly "invested" the bill back into the racing operation.

When asked why he performed such a noble act, Kelli responded. "He looks out for me. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't get to race. Plus, he's a good crewchief. One day I want to race Paul Romine in Top Fuel and I'm going to need a good crewchief to help me beat him. I think Uncle Bobby might be able to make that happen. Thanks to everyone who stuck with me when I couldn't win anything."

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Series Drag
Drivers Paul Romine