Bob Mermuys Norwalk summary

Mermuys takes Bar's Leaks Supercharged Thunder win in Norwalk NORWALK, Ohio - Bar's Leaks President Bob Mermuys wheeled his 33 Willys Coupe to the win in the Bar's Leaks Supercharged Thunder class at this past weekend's ACDelco/Ohio Lottery...

Mermuys takes Bar's Leaks Supercharged Thunder win in Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio - Bar's Leaks President Bob Mermuys wheeled his 33 Willys Coupe to the win in the Bar's Leaks Supercharged Thunder class at this past weekend's ACDelco/Ohio Lottery Night Under Fire at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Mermuys cites in addition to winning on the track, his Marines themed tribute car was a hit among the huge crowd, estimated to be nearly 40,000 for the one-day event.

Mermuys, a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, chose to use the car as a tribute to all Marines past and present in lieu of flying his company's sponsorship colors.

"Being a veteran of the Corps, I decided to use my car as a tribute to the Marines," said Mermuys. "I bounced the idea around over the offseason and decided it would be a good deal to salute those who have served in the Corps, not only in the past, but those who are currently serving. It's also to serve the memory of our POW's and MIA's. When we came back from Vietnam we weren't thought very highly of. This is just a small way to say we appreciate what they've done and what they're doing."

"The fan response this weekend in Norwalk was unbelievable," Mermuys continued. "We received a warm reception from the fans. Billy Bader, the track owner, has all the cars participating in the show put on a parade. He also interviews the drivers. When he asked me what I planned to do that night, I told him we came here to kick some butt. He came back and told me with that interview and winning with a Marines car, it was perfect. It was a good time."

The Bar's Leaks Supercharged Thunder series competes on a 7.60 index in the quarter mile. The race is competed in a 'Chicago Style' format where the two closest cars to 7.60 in the final qualifying session come back to run each other in the final. Mermuys' 33 Willys is powered by a Bill Reichert (Current Top Alcohol Dragster World Champ) prepared 528 c.i.d. supercharged Ford that runs on methanol alcohol. In the first qualifying session, Mermuys jumped to the top of the pack, qualifying No. 1 with a stellar 7.602 e.t. With the top spot in hand, he stepped his mount up a little too much, recording a 7.47 in the second qualifier.

The top qualifier has the luxury of running last during the all important last session.

"We were in the back of the lanes and my brother Fred kept me updated on what the cars were running," explained Mermuys. "When it came time for us to run, the time to beat was 'Nitro' Mike Pole's 7.603. We ended up running a 7.607, which was the second closest time of the session to put us in the final."

The final turned into a duel of finish line gamesmanship, with Mermuys and his Marines mount taking the win. Mermuys took a .068 to .123 reaction time advantage, then 'backed into,' the practice of backpedaling to scrub time, to take a double breakout win, with a 7.57 to Pole's worse breakout of 7.53.

"I got down there and knew we were both fast," stated Mermuys. "So I started getting on and off the throttle and when he got to my door handle, I cut him loose. We both got on the brakes hard, but I ended up taking the win with my .57 to his .53. It was a great night. We got the win and we got to salute the Corps in front of a great crowd!"

The evening's festivities included a Nitro Funny Car exhibition which included stars of the sport like John and Ashley Force, Robert Hight, Tim and Daniel Wilkerson, Tony and Cruz Pedregon and Jim Head. To cap the night off, the Bader family fires over $100,000 worth of fireworks. The event is commonly regarded as the biggest one day show in all of drag racing.

-credit: bl

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Cruz Pedregon , Ashley Force , Robert Hight , Daniel Wilkerson