Randy Eakins Baytown summary

Originally-From: eastwestclutch@charter.net EAKINS SCORES FIRST WIN WITH THREE HOLESHOT VICTORIES BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30) -- Randy Eakins scored the first NHRA national event win of his career with his Top Alcohol Dragster triumph at...

Originally-From: eastwestclutch@charter.net

EAKINS SCORES FIRST WIN WITH THREE HOLESHOT VICTORIES

BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30) -- Randy Eakins scored the first NHRA national event win of his career with his Top Alcohol Dragster triumph at the 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park held on March 28-30. The driver of the Edgecombe family's Canidae All Natural Pet Foods, Red Line Oil A/Fuel dragster moved into the top 10 at the eighth spot in the national points standings.

Eakins, a 39-year-old resident of Carson City, Nev., qualified No. 11 with a 5.432 at 260.66 mph and faced strong opposition throughout eliminations. His parachutes deployed prematurely on a 5.602 in the first round against Lindsey Wood, but her Tom Conway-owned dragster lost traction early. He began Sunday eliminations with a major upset in the second round over reigning two-time world champion and perennial favorite Bill Reichert by virtue of a superior starting line reaction. Eakins won his semifinal race against a resurgent Darryl Hitchman in the same fashion, setting him up for a final round matchup against three-time Houston winner and Division 7 rival Duane Shields.

Eakins grabbed another starting line advantage in the final round, which ended up deciding the race as both drivers ran identical 5.392 elapsed times.

"I'm still kind of shocked about it," said Eakins. "I was fortunate just to get past first round with the parachute coming out. Between that and dealing with the No. 1 car in the country in the second round, I thought I was done in. We were pretty pumped up after we beat Reichert, because getting past the champion is a huge hurdle.

"It was funny to come all the way to Houston to get to the final round and race Duane Shields, who we race every weekend in Division 7. We tried to pick our car up a little bit to get closer to his level, he slowed down a little bit, and I was fortunate to cut a pretty good light."

The win helped to right Eakins' season, as he began the year with a nonqualifying effort at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

"We made a mistake and built a whole new engine combination in Pomona," said Eakins. "We had to take a step back to get our performance back up. We're still learning things about the car that I think will lead us to the performance level of the top cars that are running 5.20's."

Besides the underlying themes of Eakins being a first-time winner and accomplishing the rare feat of scoring three holeshot wins in eliminations, it was an emotional win for the team which was competing at its first national event since it's beloved matriarch Marge Edgecombe passed away at age 69 on Feb. 19.

"(Car owners) Dave and Larry (Edgecombe) were getting inspiration from their mom," said Eakins. "They were so calm all weekend, like they knew they were going to win because she was with them. We skipped the Division 7 race in Phoenix after she passed, but she wanted us to keep racing so we went to the Division 7 race in Tucson and to Houston. We are fortunate to be able to win this race for her."

This is Edgecombe Racing's second team win; they won the 2002 SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas with Darren Nicholson behind the wheel. It was a strong showing for primary sponsor Canidae All Natural Pet Foods as Eakins delivered them a win and fellow sponsor representative Tony Bartone qualified No. 2 and scored a semifinal finish in the Funny Car class.

-credit: er

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Bartone , Duane Shields , Bill Reichert