CLERMONT, Ind. -- While Thursday might not be considered a big day for the Pro racers, for the 151 racers in the Stock Eliminator division, it was a battle for supremacy over their peers. These guys (and gals) had already put in a full day on Wednesday with two runs, and after a third qualifying session first thing in the morning, they were sorted by class in the staging lanes and began to run off for the U.S Nationals Class Championship crowns. In some cases, it would also be an opportunity to actually become part of the final 128-car field for those drivers who did not run under the -0.635 bump that finished up the third session.
For the drivers who had no opponents in class, it was simply an exercise in taking the tree and heading down track. As per the NHRA Federal Mogul rules, if the racer fails to run at or below the index for his or her combination, that racer does NOT get seeded into the field. In the end, four class victors got into the program despite not being under the -.0635 final bump, while three others failed to do so since they were above the index for their combinations.
Of the 56 different classes contested at this year's event, the three largest were E/SA, G/SA, and H/SA, with ten cars each in E/SA and H/SA, nine in G/SA. In the final of E/SA, it was Lincoln Morehead driving his late-model '97 Firebird to victory with an 11.13 to Monte Howard's 11.24. Howard was in a '67 Camaro. Meanwhile, in H/SA, Brain Rogers' '69 Camaro cranked out an 11.49 to take out the '72 Demon of Ed Wallace, who followed with an 11.75. Of the nine cars in G/SA, Joey Wilkes took his new 2000 Firebird to a single when opponent Micci Walter could not make the call.
Also taking U.S. Nationals trophy honor in fields of five opponents or more were Jim Waldo (B/S '69 Mustang), Tim Russell (C/S '98 Firebird), Bill Hawk (D/SA '67 Shelby Mustang), Verne Buchanan (J/SA '73 Mustang), Don Holmes (K/SA '78 Firebird) and Bud Rowe (M/SA '85 Camaro)
Moving into the classes with three or four competitors, hard-fought wins came to Gene Mosbek (A/SA '64 Plymouth Savoy), Dave Young (B/SA '63 Polara convertible), Al Corda (C/SA '99 Firebird), Randy Wilkes (F/SA '00 Camaro), Danny Ashley (N/SA '74 Grand Am), and Bob Dennis (U/SA '82 Cutlass) in the automatic classes. Stick car winners were Tom Baird (A/S '69 Camaro), John Cavalato (D/S '94 Camaro), Steve Brack (J/S '85 Camaro) and Jeff Swanson (K/S '93 Mustang).
Finally, those emerging as victors in two-car battles included the stick entries of Dean Cook (F/S '72 Mustang), Todd Bednaz (G/S '68 Camaro), Rob Turkal (I/S '80 Camaro), Gary Russell (L/S '94 Camaro), Travis Gusso (M/S '88 Mustang), and Jim Schaechter (N/S '65 Malibu). Doing the trick for the automatic contenders were Dave Edwards (L/SA '78 Trans Am), Clint Blezien (O/SA '91 Camaro),Bert Morgan (R/SA '75 Buick) and Greg Philley (W/SA '80 Mustang). In the popular truck classes, it was Chris Sniesak (DT/SA '99 Dakota) and Ray Valpreda (FT/SA '98 Dakota).
Below is the list of 2000 U.S. Nationals Stock Class Winners:
Num Class Driver, Home Town, Car Type 1681 A/S Tom Baird, Blue Point NY, '69 Camaro 6730 B/S Jim Waldo, Richland WA, '69 Mustang 32 C/S Tom Russell, East Sparta OH, '98 Firebird 3114 D/S John Cabataio, Macomb MI, '94 Camaro 3222 E/S Ben Wenzel, Saginaw MI, '67 Camaro 1165 F/S Dean Cook, West Warwick RI, '72 Mustang 1056 G/S Todd Bednaz, Terryville CT, '68 Camaro 3113 H/S Dave Walther, Lanesville IN, '69 Camaro 3105 I/S Rob Turkal, Rapids City IL, '80 Camaro 5899 J/S Steve Brack, Lawrence KS, '85 Camaro 4209 K/S Jeff Swanson, Arlington TN, '93 Mustang 3154 L/S Gary Russell, E. Sparta OH, '94 Mustang 5008 M/S Travis Gusso, Sioux Falls SD, '88 Mustang 3163 N/S Jim Schaechter, Colona IL, '65 Malibu 5552 O/S Jerry Heath, Minneapolis MN, '89 Mustang 3058 P/S Jimmy Gower, Leitchfield KY, '66 Chevelle Wgn 3777 R/S Harlan Updike, Fredericktown OH, '66 Bel Air 3099 T/S Bill Koski, Las Vegas NV, '66 Belvedere 5426 A/SA Gene Mosbek, Elk River MN, '64 Savoy 5555 B/SA Dave Young, Inver Grove Hts MN, '63 Polara 5300 C/SA Al Corda, Elk Mound WI, '99 Firebird 1352 D/SA Bill Hawk, Manassas VA, '67 Shelby 1633 E/SA Lincoln Morehead, Newburgh NY, '97 Firebird 3220 F/SA Randy Wilkes, Zanesville OH, '00 Camaro 3125 G/SA Joey Wilkes, Zanesville OH, '00 Firebird 2217 H/SA Brian Rogers, Franklin TN, '69 Camaro 3419 I/SA Bruce Parsons, Lewisburg OH, '86 Camaro 43 J/SA Verne Buchanan, Conway AR, '73 Mustang 3040 K/SA Don Holmes, Dayton OH, '78 Firebird 3852 L/SA Dave Edwards, Washington OH, '78 Trans Am 1924 M/SA Bud Rowe, Bridgeton NC, '85 Camaro 3474 N/SA Danny Ashley, Marion IN, '74 Grand Am 3278 O/SA Clint Blezien, Bensenville IL, '91 Camaro 3300 P/SA Tom Kasch, Toledo OH, '00 Firebird 3231 Q/SA Harry Doolittle, Grosse Ile MI, '00 Firebird 3066 R/SA Bert Morgan, Charleston IL, '75 Buick 3080 T/SA Rick Fuller, Louisville KY, '66 Bel Air Wgn 4093 U/SA Bob Dennis, Shorter AL, '82 Cutlass 3611 V/SA Jonathan Tarrance, Bremen KY, '82 Monte Carlo 1118 W/SA Greg Philley, Taberg NY, '80 Mustang 5237 GF/S Terry Lacy, McPherson KS, '83 Dodge 3520 HF/S Steve Pohill, London ON, '82 Escort 2205 BF/SA Mark Poole, Hendersonville TN, '87 Sundance 2030 EF/SA Jimmy Malone, Nashville TN, '91 Shadow 3321 FF/SA Marion Stephenson, Danville IL, '91 Delta 88 3139 HF/SA Ron Seibenick, Perry OH, '84 Topaz 3604 DT/S Mark S. Hinz, Warren MI, '00 Dakota 3629 IT/S George Strohauer, Montpelier OH, '90 Dakota 3346 JT/S Bill Curtis, Ann Arbor MI, '97 Ranger 5508 AT/SA Charles Blossom, Woodbury MN, '91 GMC 3022 CT/SA Jennifer Dziorny, Wixom MI, '94 Dakota 3121 DT/SA Chris Sniesak, Wales Twp MI, '99 Dakota 3582 ET/SA John Lovins, Riverside OH, '96 Dakota 1869 FT/SA Ray Valpreda, Lawrenceville NJ, '98 Dakota 3658 GT/SA Phil Pierce, New Carlisle OH, '92 Ram 150 4261 JT/SA Gerald Nivans, Memphis TN, '91 Ranger
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