SPORTSnationals Columbus Saturday summary

Westcott sweeps SPORTSnationals Hemi Challenge event Three months after winning the Mopar Performance SS/AA Hemi Challenge at the Jegs.com NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., Charlie Westcott Jr. struck again with another victory at...

Westcott sweeps SPORTSnationals Hemi Challenge event

Three months after winning the Mopar Performance SS/AA Hemi Challenge at the Jegs.com NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., Charlie Westcott Jr. struck again with another victory at the inaugural Jeg's NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals at National Trail Raceway. Westcott, of Parma, Mich., drove his Warfish Barracuda to a final round victory over Steve Baughman of York, Pa., who left the starting line early in the final, drawing a red-light start. The Mopar Performance SS/AA Hemi Challenge is a special event for competitors in the top NHRA Super Stock class. The only cars that are eligible to compete in the SS/AA class are specially constructed 1968 Dodge Dart or Plymouth Barracuda factory race cars.

Westcott had the quickest car in qualifying, but had to rely on a little racing luck during eliminations as he spun the tires in the semifinals and broke an engine in the final round. Westcott earned a $5,000 bonus from Mopar Performance for his convincing victory.

The Super Stock Hemi Challenge capped a busy day in Columbus that included class eliminations for Super Stock and Stock competitors, final qualifying in Comp Eliminator and the AMS Staff Leasing/TLR Pro Mod Series, and the opening round of eliminations for racers in Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street.

In Comp eliminator, Allyn Armstrong continued his hold on the top qualifying spot in the 32-car field. Armstrong, of Kingston, N.S., posted a 9.03-second run in his L/A Opel on Friday which was not bettered Saturday. Former NHRA national champion Steve Eckard of Pataskla, Ohio, was the 32nd and final qualifier in Comp eliminator with his B/AA '32 Bantam.

Yesterday's final Pro Mod qualifying session produced a change at the top of the leaderboard as reigning AMS Staff Leasing series champion Mike Ashley of Melville, N.Y., claimed the top spot with a 6.229 run in his Gotham City Racing Mustang. Ashley, the current Pro Mod points leader, bumped early leader Jay Payne to second. In tomorrow's opening round, Ashley will be paired with Steve Engle of Shandon, Ohio, who qualified in the 16th position with his '63 Corvette.

Jeg's driver Troy Coughlin qualified fifth for the Pro Mod field with a 6.288 elapsed time, and also won the opening round of eliminations in the Team Jeg's Super Gas Corvette. Mike and John Coughlin also won their respective opening round races in Super Comp.

Final eliminations for the inaugural Jeg's NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals will continue Sunday at 9 a.m.

-jegs-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Jay Payne