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Thu, 25 Nov 2010, 12:02 PM

Morehead and Lowell No. 1 in Division One
By Kelly Wade

Lincoln Morehead
The doorslammers of the Northeast put on an outstanding show this season in the race for the Super Stock and Stock Division 1 titles, with journeys out West putting a cap on the remarkable run for the gold. The chase came to a full boil at the pivotal Pacific Division Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Las Vegas, where Super Stock racer Lincoln Morehead and Stock Eliminator driver Dustan Lowell were awarded their respective titles.

The 31-year-old Morehead, of Marlboro, N.Y., started off his season with a trophy at the first event of two held at New Jersey's famed Atco Raceway. Driving his GT/FA '87 Camaro, Morehead was a hundredth quicker out of the gate in the final and ran dead-on his 10.18 dial for the important win, clocking a 10.182 to opponent Bryan Worner's 10.058 (10.04).

Joe Santangelo II
The early victory was likely a comfort to the Northeast standout after Joe Santangelo II got a jump on the points with an out-of-division title earned at the Southeast Division's opener in Bradenton, Fla., three months prior. Former Jr. drag racer Santangelo put together a heck of a season: he won the Super Stock category at the Allstars event to aid in the third sweep for the division in four years, went to the final round at a national event four times and won twice (once in Stock and once in Super Stock), and claimed one division win in three final rounds, two of which were runner-up finishes in Stock.

Morehead exited early at the Maple Grove points meet, where the event win was awarded to Marty Rinehart Jr., the No. 6 finisher in the division at the conclusion of the season. At the next Division 1 event, at Lebanon Valley Dragway, Anthony Fetch drove to the winner's circle, Morehead went to the quarterfinals, and Santangelo packed up for home with a single round-win in his possession.

Morehead and friends
celebrate Charlotte win.
The scenario improved for Morehead by a bunch at the next event at Cecil County. Although the completion of the race was weather-delayed by a week, Morehead kept his composure and closed in on the No. 1 spot with a final-round victory over Doug Linke. Santangelo and Sal Biondo, who ultimately finished third in the division, were both out in the quarterfinals.

Santangelo was able to collect a few more round wins before the season was over in his attempt to preserve his ownership of the Division 1 title that he earned in 2009, and Biondo notched a runner-up at the delayed Old Bridge Township Raceway Park meet, but Morehead was christened best of the region after winning two rounds in his final event of the season, the Division 7 closer at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Though he has finished in the top 10 in the division six times in the past decade, the championship title was the first for Morehead since 2004, and he closed out the national points battle in second place behind Ryan McClanahan, trailing the winner by just 40 marks thanks, in part, to a win at the fall national event in Charlotte at zMax Dragway.

Dustan Lowell
Kensington, N.H., racer Lowell wound down his best finish yet with a claiming of the Northeast Stock Eliminator trophy, but it didn't come easy with a gaggle of heavy hitters neck-and-neck with the driver of the F/SA '72 Duster right up until the very end.

Lowell started his season in Atlanta with a round win and then emerged from the division's opener at Atco Raceway with a semifinals finish. He picked up points for three rounds at Maple Grove but fell short at Lebanon Valley and didn't fare much better at Cecil County, where he saw no more than a single win-light.

The 105 marks Lowell raked in at the points meet for his victory at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park made a huge difference, however, and kept him just out of reach of his challengers. Early exits at the Atco closing act and an out-of-division event counted for nil, and he won the division with 329 points, just one mark ahead of second place John Shaul, 10 marks more than Santangelo, and 12 points above Steve Szupka's total.

John Shaul
In a true testament to the exceptionally competitive racing in the Northeast Division, the top 10 racers were separated by a range of no more than 54 points: Victor Guilmino III and Ralph Porpora each tallied 307 to finish 5th and 6th, respectively, Russell "Bubba" Linke finished 7th (298 points), Anthony Fetch ended the year in the 8th position (296), Jerry MacNeish was 9th (also with 296 points), and Lenny Williams was 10th (275).

Shaul and Santangelo were breathing down Lowell's neck after the last race at Atco Raceway, and the three traveled west to the Las Vegas divisional. Santangelo removed himself from consideration when he bowed out in the first round, and Lowell's own first-round loss to eventual event victor Brad Plourd had him sidelined as a spectator with his fate in the hands of Shaul. Fellow Mopar campaigner Shaul scored in the first-round, but his quest for his home region title was stopped by Division 7's Earl Snow in round two.

Lowell, who was second in the Northeast last season, tied Dan Fletcher for 13th in the Stock national standings after driving to the quarterfinals at both the Englishtown and Norwalk national events. He also competed in the prestigious Allstars event at Route 66 Raceway, falling in the second round to event winner Mark Faul after gaining valuable points for the Northeast in round one.

Division One Super Stock Top Ten Point Standings Point Standings
Pos   Driver             Points Events 
1   Lincoln Morehead       372   8 
2   Joe Santangelo II      340   9 
3   Sal Biondo             320   8 
4   Tom Sheehan            296   7 
5   David Thomas           287   7 
6   Marty Rinehart Jr.     265   5 
7   Jack Sepanek           265   8 
8   David Barton           264   5 
9   Bryan Worner           255   6 
10  Angelo DiTocco         247   6 

Division One Stock Top Ten Point Standings
Pos   Driver             Points Events 
1   Dustan Lowell          329   8 
2   John Shaul             328   8 
3   Joe Santangelo II      319   9 
4   Steve Szupka           317   8 
5   Victor Guilmino III    307   7 
5   Ralph Porpora          307   8 
7   Russ Linke             298   8 
8   Anthony Fetch          296   6 
8   Jerry MacNeish         296   6 
10  Lenny Williams         275   7 

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