ENNIS, Texas -- Texas Motorplex is hosting a record number of cars in this weekend's South Central Division NHRA Summit Racing Series Finals. The 617 competitors from 15 tracks across the Southwest are competing in five classes - Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, Motorcycle and High School. Drivers in the top four classes are competing for a share of the $23,950 purse.
The winners in each of the four higher classes will compete against the winners from NHRA's other six division at the NHRA Automobile Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, Calif. Each class will compete for a "winner-takes-all" purse of $5,000.
In Motorcycle, Lake Dallas, Texas resident Larry Eperjesi took the win over Mike Hullett. Epperjesi, who made an 8.275-second pass at 152.80 mph on his '00 Koeing, won the race when his opponent, from Maypearle, Texas, red lighted at the starting line.
The final round of High School competition featured a double breakout win for 17-year-old Chad Sandlin of Burleson, Texas. He defeated Mission, Texas, resident Mario Cantu. Sandlin drove his '67 Dodge Dart to a 13.756-second, 100.27 mph pass over Cantu's 16.365-second, 78.65 mph effort in his 2001 Dodge Dakota.
Due to the number of cars, race officials opted to run first round of eliminations in Pro and Super Pro on Saturday night. Each class boasted more than 200 cars. Elimination for all other classes will begin Sunday at 8 a.m. Gates at the Motorplex will open at 8 a.m.
"Racr Within a Race" Crowns Best of the Best at NHRA Summit Racing Finals
Each of the South Central Division's 15 participating racetracks brought a team of up to 50 racers and of those competitors the track champion raced against each other in a "race within a race" contest. The Race of Champions crowned a winner in two classes; those cars with Electronics and those without.
In the Electronics class, Larry Eidson of Mineral Wells, Texas defeated Jimmy Smith, from Batesville, Miss. With a .507 light, Eidson likely would have beaten Smith regardless, but in the end, Smith broke out.
In No Electronics, Reggie Bishop, who hails from West Monroe, La., took out Lubbock, Texas', Brian Lozano. This race was over at the starting line when Lozano red-lighted.
Team Managers Fight for Bragging Rights in Manager's Race
In another "race within a race" today, the track operators from across the South Central Division faced each other down on the dragstrip. Racing in such unsuspicious vehicles as full-size vans and SUVs, and posting reaction times that seemed to be counted with a calendar rather than a clock (although they did improve through the later rounds), the track manager's race is for nothing more than the right to say, "I beat you!"
Twin Cities team manager Ken Berry came away with the win. He beat No Problem Raceway's Felix Acosta. Although both drivers red lighted (.466 to .480), Berry ran within .058 seconds of his 14.77-second dial-in.
2001 South Central Division NHRA Summit Racing Series Participating Tracks
Alamo Dragway, San Antonio, Texas Amarillo Dragway, Amarillo, Texas Hallsville Raceway, Hallsville, Texas Houston Raceway Park, Houston Idalou Motorsports Park, Lubbock, Texas International Racetrack, Edinburg, Texas Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn. No Problem Raceway, Belle Rose, La. Paris Dragstrip, Paris, Texas State Capitol Dragway, Baton Rouge, La. Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas Texas Raceway, Kennedale, Texas Texhoma Motorplex, Walters, Okla. Thunder Valley Raceway Park, Noble, Okla. Twin Cities Dragway, Monroe, La.
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