Phoenix: Charlie Stewart wrap up

CHANDLER, Ariz. - NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Charlie Stewart used a runner-up finish during this past weekend's Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals at Firebird Raceway just outside of Phoenix to catapult him to a strong third place...

CHANDLER, Ariz. - NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Charlie Stewart used a runner-up finish during this past weekend's Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals at Firebird Raceway just outside of Phoenix to catapult him to a strong third place national standing.

Stewart, from Arlington, Texas, qualified his Caliber Collision Centers backed A/Econo Dragster 14th in the 32 car field with a 6.811 (.539 under his index) second elapsed time. In round one, he took out Joe Mozeris with a .465 under 6.885 and then disposed of Darren Davis with a .513 under 6.837 in round two. In the quarterfinals, Stewart used a holeshot and a .499 under 6.841 to take out heavy-hitter Jeff Taylor. In the semifinals, Stewart watched former Super Stock World Champion Jimmy DeFrank go red and coasted to a 16.68 time.

Stewart couldn't overcome No. 1 qualifier Wayne Ramay's A/Nostalgia dragster in the final, however. Stewart's .472 under 6.868 was not enough to catch Ramay's .512 under 7.13. Stewart's runner-up finish was the second of his career.

"Thanks to the help we received from David Cook, Sr. in Pomona we were able to go to Phoenix," said Stewart. "Considering we kicked the rods out on the first pass in Pomona, this was a very good weekend in comparison. I was able to drive consistent, the car ran consistent, and we were able to make it to the finals. Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough to get the win."

As much as Stewart would like to enter this weekend's NHRA Division 4 opener in Houston with the momentum from Phoenix, Stewart was forced to undergo hand surgery on Wednesday. To replace Stewart will be team driver Greg Hogue to compete the team's C/Econo Dragster.

"We want to see where our C/ED program is at, so we are sending Greg down to test that in Houston," cited Stewart. "I should be able to be back in the driver's seat in about two weeks. I'll be ready for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston for sure."

Qualifying begins on Friday for Competition Eliminator, with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for round by round updates from Houston.

-csr-

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