DENTON, Texas --
Despite heavy rain chances a strong field of junior fuelers in addition to the Outlaw Fuel Altered and Texas Blown Fuel Associations came to entertain the crowd at North Star Dragway and the call went out shortly after noon to bring em' to the lanes. The first pair out featured the cars of George DeLaMatyr and Gary Isom in a special tribute pass to both men who passed away earlier this year. Jeff Jones wheeled the "Off-Shore Flash" of DeLaMatyr alongside Kent Birkes who honorably piloted Isom's "War Horse" as both blasted side by side down the track after a tribute was read aloud over the intercom.
In the final session, Michael Renaker claimed the number twelve spot with a 5.21 and Ron Muncy found himself in the number eleven spot with a 4.93 at 136 mph. Brian Briggs stepped up to a 4.89 at 140 mph to secure the tenth position while Kent Birkes' 4.91 was good for the number nine spot. Mike Buchanan and Jeff Jones posted 4.87 elapsed times in qualifying and respectfully qualified seventh and eighth. Richard Brady used a strong 4.60 at 150 mph to claim the number one qualifying position for the first time this season.
Final Qualifying Order: 1) Richard Brady (Ft. Worth, Texas) - 4.60 @ 150 2) Odie Coker (Dallas, Texas - 4.63 @ 148 3) Ricky Marshall (Burleson, Texas) - 4.64 @ 147 4) Tera Wendland (Commerce, Texas) - 4.72 @ 144 5) Mike Millsap (Sachse, Texas) - 4.814 @ 142 6) Ken Hawkins (Pooleville, Texas) - 4.815 @ 142 7) Jeff Jones (Sachse, Texas) - 4.873 @ 138 8) Mike Buchanan (Wichita, Kansas) - 4.879 @ 141 9) Brian Briggs (Lake Charles, Louisiana) - 4.89 @ 140 10) Kent Birkes (Alvarado, Texas) - 4.91 @ 138 11) Ron Muncy (Weatherford, Texas) - 4.93 @ 136 12) Michael Renaker (Arlington, Texas) - 5.21 @ 129
Richard Brady and Ricky Marshall squared off in the biggest match-up of the round, although Marshall had the Championship locked up by this point, this pairing would put either the top qualifier or the Champion on the trailer in round one. Brady took the lead at the starting line and never trailed with a 4.63 at 150 winning lap over Marshall's 4.66 at 147 mph.
Brian Briggs and Jeff Jones were up next as Briggs advanced with a 4.92 at 140 mph over Jones' close 4.94 at 137 mph. Odie Coker and Ron Muncy crept into the beams as eliminations continued. Coker dominated this pairing leaving first and posting a 4.65 at 147 mph to Muncy's 4.93 at 136 mph. Mike Millsap and Mike Buchanan closed the round as Millsap clicked off a 4.81 at 143 mph to knock out the Buchanan's 4.94 at 139 mph.
(W) Ken Hawkins (.026 rt) 4.83 @ 142 mph vs. (L) Michael Renaker (.117 rt) 5.39 @ 125 mph
(W) Tera Wendland (.028 rt) 4.76 @ 143 mph vs. (L) Kent Birkes (.111 rt) 4.90 @ 139 mph
(W) Richard Brady (.012 rt) 4.63 @ 150 mph vs. (L) Ricky Marshall (.051 rt) 4.66 @ 147 mph
(W) Brian Briggs (.026 rt) 4.92 @ 140 mph vs. (L) Jeff Jones (.162 rt) 4.94 @ 137 mph
(W) Odie Coker (.077 rt) 4.65 @ 147 mph vs. (L) Ron Muncy (.095 rt) 4.93 @ 136 mph
(W) Mike Millsap (.002 rt) 4.81 @ 143 mph vs. (L) Mike Buchanan (.165 rt) 4.94 @ 139 mph
In the second round, Richard Brady and Brian Briggs got things started in a good race. Brady was ..008 on the tree and posted a 4.88 at 145 mph to take the nod over Briggs' 4.92 at 139 mph. Ken Hawkins used a reaction time advantage and 4.84 at 141 mph pass to take out the quicker but loosing Mike Millsap who went 4.80 at 142 mph but was denied the win light. In the final pair of the round, Odie Coker faced off with Tera Wendland. Wendland pushed the tree just a little too far going -.012 red then had her hands full and lifted while Coker clicked off a solid 4.66 at 147 mph to advance to the semi-finals.
(W) Richard Brady (.008 rt) 4.88 @ 145 mph vs. (L) Brian Briggs (.092 rt) 4.92 @ 139 mph
(W) Ken Hawkins (.044 rt) 4.84 @ 141 mph vs. (L) Mike Millsap (.085 rt) 4.80 @ 142 mph
(W) Odie Coker (.112 rt) 4.66 @ 147 mph vs. (L) Tera Wendland (-.012 rt) 6.05 @ 70 mph
In the semi-finals, Richard Brady drew the lucky competition bye run and clicked off a 4.68 at 150 mph to solo into the final round to run the winner of the next pairing featuring Odie Coker and Ken Hawkins. Hawkins, like many others this season, pushed the tree a little too far hoping to get an advantage on Coker and went red by -.016 as Coker clicked off a 4.61 to advance to the finals against Brady.
Semi-Final Round Results:
Ricky Marshall claimed his first Southwest Junior Fuel Association Championship, a well-earned title from a dedicated racer who collected four top qualifying efforts and went to four final rounds earning three series wins in the seven completed events this season.
"I'd like to first thank the people who made this Championship possible which is my crew, family and my engine builder. Without that Bob McKray horsepower we wouldn't have been able to go as many rounds as we did this season and it's nice to see all our hard work pay off finally with a Championship in the Southwest Junior Fuel. Thanks again to everyone who helped us achieve this goal and we look forward to defending our title next season," said Marshall.
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