TOPEKA, Kan. -
Gingles, who drove "The Bull" A/Fueler to a tight final-round decision over defending national champ Jim Whiteley last week in Brainerd for his first national event win, got off the line first and pounded out low e.t. of the meet - 5.354, a slight improvement on his 5.358 semifinal time - to put away Randy Meyer this time in a final-round battle of the top two drivers in the region in 2012.
Gingles qualified No. 1 with a 5.40 and clocked a 5.43 in the first round against veteran Edwin Schmeeckle. He stepped up to a 5.358, low e.t. of the weekend to that point, in the semifinals against John Finke, which cost Finke the East Region title. Dan Page, who was upset in the first round in Bowling Green this weekend after setting top speed in qualifying, won the East championship on the strength of one win (Maple Grove) and three final-round appearances.
Competing at his home track, Meyer, of Spring Hill, Kan., began eliminations from the No. 3 spot (5.44) and was the picture of consistency all weekend, running between 5.42 and 5.46 in all three rounds of eliminations. His 5.45 took out Christine Chambless in the opening round, and a 5.42, his best run of the weekend, was just enough to get past quick-leaving James Stevens' 5.50 by three-thousandths of a second in the semi's.
Payne picked up a hundredth of a second to oust Lance Van Hauen in the first round with a 5.68 and another hundredth to beat red-lighting Kris Hool in the semi's with a 5.67, making it an all-California final against Lombardo, who ran in the 5.60s in both qualifying sessions and in every round but the final.
Lombardo beat Steve Griboski in the opening round, 5.67 to 5.88, and defending Central Region champ Kirk Williams, who had a .008 reaction time, in the semi's, 5.68 to 5.82. With the final-round appearance, Lombardo's NAPA team moved into the national points lead when Tony Bartone, in his first race in Mickey Ferro's car after splitting with longtime team owner Rick Jackson, was a victim of the abbreviated two-shot qualifying format and failed to qualify.
A pair of Kansas racers made trips to the winner's circle with Gary Stinnett, Emporia, Kan., and Kyle Lawrence, Manhattan, Kan., taking the wins in Super Comp and Super Street respectively. Stinnett beat out Jimmy Lewis, Forney, Texas, and Lawrence knocked out Clint Parker, Gilmer, Texas, with his '79 Cutlass Wagon.
Two other Kansas racers advanced to the final round as Todd Patterson, Augusta, Kan., faced off with Bruno Massel in Comp Eliminator and Larry Piper, Wamego, Kan., meet up with Rodney Frazier in the Division's Fineline / Madcap Top Dragster class. Patterson fell to the quicker Massel, Woodbridge, Ill., who ran 7.064 seconds at 183.77 mph and Piper went down to Rodney Frazier, Sand Springs, Okla., who clocked in at 7.009 at 188.31.
Other racers taking home the trophies this weekend were Dan Fletcher, Churchville, N.Y. in Super Stock over Robert Cruzen, Las Vegas; Brett Speer, Little Falls, Minn., beat Neal Rhodes, Elizabeth, Colo., in Stock; Brandon Harris, Sand Springs, Okla., defeated Steve Williams, Beaumont, Calif., in Super Gas; Michael Chitty, Ames, Iowa, upended Ryan Julius in the Jerry Haas Racecars Top Sportsman; and Tom Gilligan, Fremont, Neb., held on to beat Andy Millet, Denham Springs, La., in Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson.
Many of these racers will head to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals this weekend, Aug. 28 - Sept. 2. Next up for the NHRA West Central Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series is Tri-State Raceway, Earlville, Iowa, Sept. 6-8.
The following are the final results from the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka:
TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER: Round 1 3) Randy Meyer, Spring Hill, Kan., 5.454, 260.31 def. 6) Christine Chambless, Scott City, Kan., 5.596, 254.47 4) John Finke, Selkirk, N.Y., 5.688, 245.90 def. 5) Jackie Fricke, Flemington, N.J., broke 1) Gord Gingles, Winnipeg, Manit., 5.432, 266.69 def. 8) Edwin Schmeeckle, Gothenburg, Neb., 5.646, 249.63 7) James Stevens, Gothenburg, Neb., 5.574, 257.63 def. 2) Mark Taliaferro, Odessa, Texas, 9.567, 83.34 Semifinals Meyer, 5.420, 262.64 def. Stevens, 5.507, 258.47 Gingles, 5.358, 269.19 def. Finke, 5.533, 250.23 Finals Gingles, 5.354, 268.01 def. Meyer, 5.467, 260.31 TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR: Round 1 3) Kris Hool, Casper, Wyo., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.710, 252.85 def. 6) Bryan Brown, Gainesville, Texas, '06 Monte Carlo, 6.551, 207.30 4) Kirk Williams, Glenwood, Iowa, '02 Camaro, 5.819, 246.30 def. 5) Scott McVey, Winnipeg, Manit., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.762, 250.09 1) John Lombardo Jr., Brea, Calif., '06 Monte Carlo, 5.679, 256.11 def. 8) Steve Griboski, Centennial, Colo., '09 Mustang, 5.884, 243.85 2) Jay Payne, Claremont, Calif., '09 Mustang, 5.687, 253.28 def. 7) Lance Van Hauen, Reinbeck, Iowa, '12 Camaro, 10.164, 137.16 Semifinals Payne, 5.675, 252.90 def. Hool, foul Lombardo Jr., 5.680, 256.55 def. Williams, 5.822, 246.80 Finals Payne, 5.668, 254.42 def. Lombardo Jr., 5.843, 254.95 COMP ELIMINATOR Bruno Massel, Woodridge, Ill., '10 Cobalt, DD/AT, 7.064, 183.77 def. Todd Patterson, Augusta, Kan., '10 Cobalt, A/SMA, 8.004,169.42 SUPER STOCK Dan Fletcher, Churchville, N.Y., '69 Camaro, SS/IA, 10.441, 123.13 def. Robert Cruzen, Las Vegas, '06 Cobalt, GT/AA, 9.273, 143.17 STOCK ELIMINATOR Brett Speer, Little Falls, Minn., '70 Nova, A/SA, 10.531, 119.24 def. Neal Rhodes, Elizabeth, Colo., '67 Mustang, E/SA, 11.249, 114.63 SUPER COMP Gary Stinnett, Emporia, Kan., dragster, 8.955, 165.46 def. Jimmy Lewis, Forney, Texas, dragster, 8.924, 167.28 SUPER GAS Brandon Harris, Sand Springs, Okla., '07 GTO, 9.894, 162.29 def. Steve Williams, Beaumont, Calif., '63 Corvette, 9.892, 158.61 SUPER STREET Kyle Lawrence, Manhattan, Kan., '79 Cutlass Wagon, 10.882, 126.21 def. Clint Parker, Gilmer, Texas, '67 Camaro, 10.870, 146.27 TOP DRAGSTER Rodney Frazier, Sand Springs, Okla., dragster, 7.009, 188.31 def. Larry Piper, Wamego, Kan., dragster, foul TOP SPORTSMAN PRESENTED BY AEROMOTIVE Michael Chitty, Ames, Iowa, '04 Cavalier, 7.165, 193.05 def. Ryan Julius, Frederick, Colo., '08 GTO, 7.127, 193.21 SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE PRESENTED BY HARLEY-DAVIDSON Tom Gilligan, Fremont, Neb., '77 Kawasaki, 9.077, 145.38 def. Andy Millet, Denham Springs, La., '82 Suzuki, 8.607, 145.80
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