Contact Bill Pratt 301-870-9876 (email@example.com) Superchargers Showdown Titles to Cannon, Burkett, McAdams & Snellings Budds Creek, MD, October 4, 1997 -- Maryland International Raceway hosted the 10th annual Superchargers Showdown event ...
Contact Bill Pratt 301-870-9876 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Superchargers Showdown Titles to Cannon, Burkett, McAdams & Snellings
Budds Creek, MD, October 4, 1997 -- Maryland International Raceway hosted the 10th annual Superchargers Showdown event Saturday. The race featured something for everyone as thirteen different categories of drag racing vehicles took to the track. The Showdown featured a Pro Modified match race between five time world champion Scotty Cannon and Johnny Rocca, a four car alcohol funny car field, the Hot Rods from Hell supercharged altereds, MIR's own Frantic Four Dragsters and Doorslammers, a nostalgia doorslammer match, Jamie Emery's Top Fuel Harley motorcycle, Bob Hall's Paddy Wagon wheelstander, Jim Neilsen's stretch Mercedes jet limousine, and huge fields of Super Pro, Heavy Eliminator, Motorcycle, and Junior Dragster racers.
Scotty Cannon's nitrous oxide injected 1941 Willys Pro Mod car took two out of three races from Johnny Rocca's supercharged 1949 Mercury. Rocca took the first match with a 6.58 second, 215 mph pass as Cannon got out of shape. Cannon won the second match at 6.62 seconds, 209 mph when Rocca left the starting line before the christmas tree even activated. In the final match of the day, Cannon and Rocca were glued together until half track. Rocca then got a little crossed up in a slippery spot, and Cannon took the win, 6.52 seconds at 210 mph to Rocca's close 6.66 second, 205 mph effort. Billy Gibson was on hand with his '38 Chevy as an alternate, if needed. With both stars running well, Gibson contented himself by thrilling the crowd with 660 foot burnouts and out of shape, six second blasts!
Funny car legend Bunny Burkett defeated a four car field by posting two wins and by setting low elapsed time of the night. In round one, Burkett drove her 1997 Dodge Avenger to a 6.49 second, 218 mph win over Mike Preslar's Stanback Headache Powders Camaro. Preslar ran a squirrelly 8.30 at 112 mph. Preslar had qualified at the NHRA divisional race in Richmond on Friday. He planned to race at MIR Saturday, then return to Richmond for Sunday's race. Sam Leland then took a win over Leroy Dewdney's Star Performance Cutlass, 6.42 seconds at 197 mph to a smoking, backpedaling 7.07 at 210. Leland was behind the wheel of his latest "Mason-Dixon Raider," the ex-Bob Weickgennant Dodge Avenger. Round two led off with a thrilling match up between veterans Burkett and Dewdney. Leroy flattened Bunny on the tree, .470 seconds to .646 seconds, but he drifted toward the centerline and had to lift and correct. That allowed Bunny to slip by to win by only .065 seconds. The elapsed times: 6.33 at 222 mph for Bunny, 6.56 at 221 mph for Dewdney. Sam Leland then took his second win of the night in 6.61 seconds, 212 mph as Preslar broke on the burnout. The funnies couldn't run a third round. An excessive number of oil downs and other mishaps ran the race right into the Maryland EPA curfew. Burkett was awarded the win based on her 6.33 to 6.42 ET advantage over scheduled finalist Leland.
The Hot Rods from Hell supercharged altereds circuit made it to a final round, but could not run it. That is because finalist Frank Schuster blew the connecting rods through the block, oiled the track from the starting line until the eighth mile, and put his Fiat altered into the other lane and onto its roof during the pre-race burnout! This necessitated a long cleanup from which the right lane never really recovered. Schuster was unhurt. Fellow finalist Neal Parker, who narrowly missed hitting Schuster when Schuster swapped lanes, was awarded the default win. First round HRFH action saw Emil Rolando's "Alterkation" '32 Bantam altered take a win over Carroll Hine's "Bucket of Thunder" '23 Model-T machine, 7.17 seconds at 187 mph to 7.44 seconds, 143 mph. Schuster's "Hell on Wheels" '37 Fiat then sped to a superb, final round qualifying, 6.74 second, 204 mph win as Neal Parker lost fire with the "Excavator" '38 Fiat. Rolando took another win in Round two with a consistent 7.15 second, 187 mph decision over Schuster. Schuster drove all over the track, getting in and out of the throttle several times to a 9.06 second, 124 mph effort. Parker then qualified for the other final round spot with a 6.80 second, 205 mph winner over Hine's struggling 7.46 second, 142 mph effort. Round three resulted in Schuster's crash.
The last time Rudy McAdams drove a drag race car, at the IHRA World Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, he drove history's quickest Chevy funny into and over a guardrail. Saturday night, he won MIR's Frantic Four Dragster/Altered title. With a new "Pipe Dream" Camaro in the works, McAdams borrowed back last year's Pipe Dream altered from Edgewater, Maryland's Bob White. With a new 509 cubic inch Jim Oddy motor on aboard, McAdams' altered defeated a stout field of dragsters. Rudy won the battle, but Bobby Parlett easily won the war, winning the 1997 Frantic Four/Dragster points championship. Of the five Frantic Four races contested in 1997, Saturday's race was the first that did not end with the Parlett Bros. Computech Systems dragster in the winner's circle. Eleven cars attempted to qualify for the four car field. Royce Miller, ever the showman, promptly expanded the field to eight cars.
On the pole was Pasadena, Maryland's Larry Plummer, who made an astounding run in his nitrous oxide injected Pontiac dragster. In the first of two qualifying sessions, Plummer launched hard and went into a 300 foot powerstand and drove through it masterfully. The missile landed ever so gently and kept on pulling to record an amazing 6.394 second run at 210 mph. Coming in second was Steve Wilson with a surprising 6.76 second, 192 mph run from his new dragster. McAdams qualified third at 6.87, 195, followed closely by points leader Parlett at 6.89, 189. The remainder of the field included Tony Tull at 7.09, 187, Mike McKenzie at 7.18, 190, Dave Cornell's nostalgia slingshot at 7.28, 180, and Sonny Hammett's late in the gate, no time run, first run of the day shot of 7.68 at 176 mph! Alternates included Joe Smith's A/Altered at 7.72, 172, Tony Sessomes' Top Dragster at 7.73, 171, and Dickie Smith, Jr., with two shut off runs.
Round one began with a popular win as Cornell took the "New Generation" small block nostalgia car to a 7.36, 180 single when Wilson couldn't show. Plummer, who did not run the second session, then survived a close one. The Top Dragster again went into a huge wheelstand, but did not recover smoothly this time. Plummer had to get on and off the throttle several times to hold on to a 7.19 second, 179 mph win over upset minded Sonny Hammett at 7.59, 179. McAdams then destroyed Joe Smith (in for Mike McKenzie) in a battle of altereds, 7.01, 169 to 7.85, 165. Bobby Parlett survived a serious challenge from Tony Tull to wrap up the round, 6.91 at 190 to 7.09 at 184. McAdams led off round two by helping Cornell's slingshot out of the show, 7.00 at 189 to 7.29 at 180. Bobby Parlett then lost his first round of the entire year as Plummer settled down the nitrous monster to record a 6.81, 199 to 7.21, 189 win. The FF/D final was the last race of the night. McAdams laid down an eighth mile burnout with sparks of some sort showing underneath the car. Coming just two runs after Schuster's mishap and resultant cleanup, the crowd let out an audible moan. McAdams staged against Plummer anyway. The result was a fantastic battle as the blown altered barely held off the charging nitrous dragster by .056 seconds, 6.92 at 191 to 6.95 at 177.
Frank Snellings, Jr., made a real statement in winning the Frantic Four Doorslammer event title AND series title in the same race. Snellings survived a tough points battle with Billy Farmer and Tommy Howes and 23 other drivers to take the title. But unlike Farmer's 6.60 nitrous Trans Am or Howes' 6.60 supercharged Camaro, Snellings' Chevy Lumina has never seen the sixes and is powered by a non-nitrous, unblown 632 cubic inch Charlie Garrett Chevrolet! Snellings used a combination of consistency and cunning to win the title. He was always quickest when it counted and on one occasion, engaged Farmer in a 55 second burndown to win a race! Coming into the Superchargers, Snellings was ten points behind Farmer in the standings. With points coming at miniscule ten per round, Snellings had to last two more rounds than Farmer to steal the title.
Frantic Four Doorslammer qualifying was led by the always impressive Tommy Howes at 6.63 seconds at 210 mph. Farmer was close behind at 6.73 seconds, 206 mph, followed by Barney Squiers driving the new "Better Homes" '41 Willys of South Carolina racer Roy Singleton at 6.94, 198. Jeff Bittner's gorgeous, chopped '57 Chevy took the fourth spot with his best ever run, a 7.00 at 192. Bob Bailey's Monte Carlo was fifth at 7.04 at 194, and Snellings came in sixth at 7.07, 192. Pat Donovan's Batten-powered Trans Am was seventh at 7.33, 184, and "Fast Amar" Riley made the bump in a last ditch effort, 7.44 at 185. Alternates included George Barksdale's Trans Am, 7.50, 180; William Clements '95 Camaro, 7.52, 179; Ray Love's low rider '65 GTO, 7.80, 156; Perley Toye's '86 Camaro, 8.15, 173; and Marc Hayes COMPLETELY street legal '70 Nova, 8.70 at 156.
Round one began with more breakage, as Bittner's showpiece turned up lame. Bailey put the refrigerator white Aero Coupe through its paces at 7.10, 189. Billy Farmer then beat Pat Donovan's unique machine, 7.05, 202 to 7.33, 170. The next race may have been an indication of the way the night would go for Snellings. While he sat in the pre stage beams with the motor revving, Barney Squiers and crew were frantically trying to get the '41 Willys fired. Starter Jeff Taylor gave the Singleton team the signal that they were on the clock. After about a minute, Taylor motioned Snellings into the beams. Just then, the Willys roared to life and lurched forward toward the starting line. It was too late. Taylor activated the red light and sent Snellings on to a 7.24 second, 189 mph win. Squiers staged anyway, just to prove a point. As soon as Snellings cleared the top end, Squiers blasted off the line to a fantastic 6.76 at 198, an obvious winner if he could have made it to the line on time. The round ended with a good grudge match. In qualifying, Amar Riley had bumped George Barksdale out of the show at the last minute. Tommy Howes hurt his big Rodeck on his pole sitting qualifier, however, and that let Barksdale back in as alternate. Barksdale was denied revenge, though; Riley took the win, 7.24, 188 to 7.63, 161.
Round two opened with the race everyone was talking about Snellings versus Farmer. Farmer only had to put Snellings away to win the championship, but a huge ball of flame out of the hood scoop on the burnout seemed to dim his chances. Farmer staged with no further problems, but problems came on the run itself. While Snellings cruised to a consistent 7.10, 191, Farmer got severely out of shape. He refused to click it early, however, and tried everything he could to catch the fleeing Chevy. An 8.38 at 128 just wasn't enough. At this point, the two racers were tied in the points. Bob Bailey then got an easy pass to the final round as Amar Riley fouled and clicked if to an 8.40 at 139 mph. Bailey went 7.14 at 190 to win.
The final round wasn't close at all. Pushed up against the curfew, and only two runs after Schuster's crash and cleanup, the race was staged quickly. Snellings put Bailey in the "bad" right lane, and that was all she wrote. While Frank blasted to an ultra-consistent 7.11 at 191 mph, Bob lost it at 660 feet (just as Rocca and Plummer had) and slowed to an 8.72 at 104 mph. Snellings had turned back the nitrous and supercharged monsters with his little Pro Stock motor that could. In defeating Bailey, he gained the ten points he needed to pass Billy Farmer for the 1997 Frantic Four Doorslammer title.
Ford racing legend Dickie Estevez defeated youngster George Mandes in a Nostalgia Doorslammer match race. Estevez, driving a reconstruction of Phil Bonner's "Daddy Warbucks" '65 Falcon, won two out of three rounds against Speed Unlimited's "Ultimate Willys," a Chevy powered '33 Willys Sedan Delivery. Estevez ran best times of 7.64 seconds at 177 mph. Mandes had best numbers of 8.20 at 173 during the match, although he hit a 7.73 at 173 in earlier testing. Marco DeCesaris was on hand with the Thunderbolt as an alternate. He ran best times of 8.55 at 158 mph.
Local Top Fuel Harley bike rider Jamie Emery, mired in the 7.30s at best for a few years, laid down an outstanding 6.95 at 188 mph effort on an exhibition run. The Emery racing team wished to acknowledge the assistance of the Parlett Bros. and Computech Systems for their assistance in sorting out the bike.
Bob Hall made three passes in the "Paddy Wagon" wheelstander, recording best times of 9.90 seconds at 135 mph on the car's rear wheels only.
Jim Nielsen made two runs in his jet-powered stretch Mercedes limousine. The unique machine thrilled the crowd with an impressive afterburner flame show and ran best times of 7.00 seconds at 233 mph.
The aforementioned race car breakage and resultant cleanups were not the only obstacles MIR promoters and staff had to overcome. For one thing, the east coast's largest annual craft fair created an enormous traffic jam 20 miles north of the track, inhibiting or at least severely delaying spectators from the most populous surrounding area. Then, a barn fire on an Amish farm five miles from the track closed off an entire connecting highway, forcing spectators to try to find other back roads to MIR. A good crowd eventually found their way to Budds Creek, and despite the breakage and late hours, seemed to enjoy themselves.
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