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Mon, 24 Jan 2011, 11:56 PM

Victory in the Pacific Division
By Kelly Wade
Photo copyright 2011 Bob Johnson Photography

Ryan McClanahan
While the first events of the 2011 Full Throttle and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series are quickly approaching, last season's champions may still be rejoicing, but it is more likely that each are gearing up to defend their recently acquired crowns. In the Pacific Division, reigning titlists will include Ryan McClanahan (Super Stock), Rusty Hall (Stock), Robert Naber (Super Comp), Val Torres (Super Gas), Nik Downing (Super Street), and Rick Newport (Sportsman Motorcycle).

Alta Loma, Calif.-based McClanahan finished fifth in the division's Super Stock chase in 2009 and improved upon that by a bunch last season by scoring his first championship in the Pacific and earning the Super Stock national title as well. The former Jr. Drag Racing Series competitor raced hard all year in two categories; in Stock Eliminator, he placed fourth in the division and seventh in the national standings after opening the season with back-to-back final rounds that included a win at the Division 7 event in Tucson.

McClanahan managed a couple of Super Stock rounds at Tucson's Southwestern Int'l Raceway, and then at Top Gun Raceway in Fallon Nev., he got the win light in his SS/BM Cobalt when opponent Wes King fouled in the final. The title round would be the first of three for McClanahan in the category.

Tony Mandella
Tony Mandella had an outstanding season when it came to national events - he earned his first and second big Wallys one weekend in Sonoma due to the Arizona Nationals make-up scheduled during the national event held at Infineon Raceway - and he logged another win at the fall event in Las Vegas. His performance at the divisional level produced a couple of trips to the semifinals, a runner-up at the delayed Phoenix event and a win at the Northwest's Woodburn, Ore., points meet, establishing the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., resident as McClanahan's toughest competition for the Pacific title.

The two came face to face in the last round at the delayed Phoenix meet, and the outcome would set the tone for the rest of the season; McClanahan cut a killer .006 light to Mandella's -.005 red. The eventual champ would win rounds at each of the remaining four races he would attend and go as far as the final at the last race of the season in Las Vegas, while Mandella would make it to the semifinals in Bakersfield and record early exits at the remainder of the events he attended. The final count was 409 McClanahan, 345 Mandella.

Rusty Hall
Hall, of Chandler, Ariz., seemed to have the Stock Eliminator championship in mind from the first event in Tucson. He was runner-u p there to McClanahan and was dead on in the first round - where he picked up the Perfectly Strange cash - and again in the final. Hall then traveled out of the division to Houston for the Division 4 meet, where he went to the quarterfinals. At the Phoenix make-up, he again cleared a quarterfinals finish, and the next day at the Sonoma points meet, the AA/SA '67 Mustang driver was .001 at the tree and 10.317 on his 10.29 dial to beat Division 6 ace Mark Faul's .040 and breakout 11.700 (11.73).

There was just one event all season where Hall didn't win at least one round, and that was the Bakersfield match at Famoso Raceway where Ryan Mangus raced to victory and Leo Glasbrenner challenged in his second final of the year.

Toby Lang steadily hauled points into his basket throughout the season despite a delayed launch, starting off out of the Pacific Division but near his home in Auburn, Wash., where he went to the quarterfinals at the Division 6 meet in Woodburn, Ore. In Sonoma at the Phoenix make-up, Lang was runner-up to Larry Gilley in his G/SA Chevelle, and he added a couple of semifinals performances and a round win to his final tally.

Robert Naber
Hall held the lead when the curtain dropped on the 2010 season, and Lang trailed his rival's 365 points by 33 marks for second place with Glasbrenner in third, McClanahan fourth, and Chad Loge in the No. 5 spot.

Naber, hailing from Ontario, Calif., earned the Super Comp crown by just a single point, and he did it all in the second half of the season and by attending just six events total. He started the year in July, traveling north to Infineon Raceway for his first race. Stockton, Calif., competitor Greg Boutte was the winner of the Sonoma event, and Naber didn't win a round, but at the next race, he definitively put himself on the board.

Super Comp racing at the points meet at Famoso included matches still left to contest from the Phoenix meet. Naber raced to the semifinals in the make-up, and the next day, he won the Bakersfield final when opponent Brian Fischle broke out of the 8.90 index by two-hundredths. At each of the next three events he raced, Naber went at least one round, squeaking past Boutte at the last Division 7 meet of the year at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Val Torres
Bradley Hawk won the Las Vegas event to barely edge out Andrew Madrid, the Tucson winner, for third, and Matthew Woodard was fifth.

While in 2009 Val Torres Jr. took top honors in the Super Gas category, in 2010, father wrestled the division crown from son. Torres Sr., a resident of Valinda, Calif., went to the quarterfinals in his first race of the season in Tucson. Though he was unsuccessful in garnering round wins at the next two events at Top Gun Raceway and in Sonoma, the Phoenix Super Gas make-up in Bakersfield was a high point for the '63 Corvette pilot. Torres was dead-on the 9.90 index and went 165 mph to best Rick Beckstrom's breakout 9.889 in the final.

The victory would bring the championship into range for Torres, , who finished third in the national standings, and a semifinals at the out-of-division match in Reynolds, Ga., paired with a trip to the final at the last race for the Pacific Division helped him close in on the Super Gas honors.

Riverside, Calif., resident Randy Bowers missed the top spot by just 30 points and put together a very respectable season that included two wins in three final rounds. A first-round loss in Las Vegas was the end of Bowers' championship quest. Travis Balough, Ed Olpin, and Torres Jr. rounded out the top five.

Nik Downing
Nik Downing knocked defending Super Street champ Matthew Blodgett down a notch, finishing first in Division 7 while Blodgett crossed the final finish line in the No. 2 position.

Glendale, Ariz., racer Downing, driving a '79 Arrow, went to the final round at the first race of the year and then won the Pacific SPORTSnationals in Fontana. In Sonoma, Downing was a semifinalist, and the Phoenix make-up in Bakersfield produced a pair of round wins. The season ended on a relatively high note for Downing, who took on Henderson, Nev., racer Jeff Jackson in the Las Vegas final. Downing clocked a solid .013 light but Jackson bettered it with a quick .006 and was closer to the dial to win their double-breakout match. Downing lost the round by a smidge but already had possession of the championship; Blodgett bowed out in the second round.

Trailing second place Blodgett by 23 marks was Phoenix, Ariz.'s Ryan Giacone, with Jackson ending the year fourth and Ted Kellner, of San Jose, Calif., fifth.

Rick Newport
Newport redeemed a second place finish logged in 2009 Sportsman Motorcycle competition by edging ahead of Aaron Pine and scoring the title with 305 points to Pine's 294 in the final hours of the 2010 season.

Newport, of West Valley, Utah, rode his '90 GSXR to the money round at the Northwest Division's race in Boise, Idaho, and then plodded through the next three events without much fanfare before winning the Sonoma title. He went to the semis at the Division 6 race in Seattle and rounded out his season with a pair of round wins at the Las Vegas event.

La Mirada, Calif.-based Pine started on a high note aboard his '94 GSXR, beating Sean Conner in the final round of competition at the Pacific SPORTSnationals. He consistently went rounds throughout the remainder of the season but was unable to reclaim the lead after Newport's victory in Sonoma.

Tony Pellettera had an early advantage when he won the Tucson race as the season got under way, and he looked good in Bakersfield, scoring another win. Pellettera was third at final count, and Conner was fourth with Pete Miclette Jr. coming in fifth.

Division Seven Super Stock Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Ryan McClanahan             409   8 
2   Tony Mandella               345   8 
3   John Winslow Sr.            247   6 
4   Steve Wann                  245   6 
5   Josh Edwards                235   5 
6   Jim Rau                     227   6 
7   John Calvert                224   5 
8   Bill Blakeney               214   5 
9   James Butler                202   6 
10  Chuck Stubeck               183   7 

Division Seven Stock Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Rusty Hall                  365   7 
2   Toby Lang                   332   8 
3   Leo Glasbrenner             322   7 
4   Ryan McClanahan             321   8 
5   Chad Loge                   267   7 
6   Larry Gilley                255   5 
7   Jeffrey Jerome              245   6 
8   Mark Lelchook               235   6 
9   Steve Wann                  233   6 
10  Kayla Mozeris               214   4 

Division Seven Super Comp Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Robert Naber                319   6 
2   Greg Boutte                 318   8 
3   Bradley Hawk                297   6 
4   Andrew Madrid               296   6 
5   Matthew Woodard             285   7 
6   Thomas Bayer                275   8 
7   Steve Williams              266   9 
8   Justin Morgan               265   5 
8   Ken Mostowich               265   7 
10  Aaron Kinard                257   5 

Division Seven Super Gas Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Val Torres                  384   8 
2   Randy Bowers                354   6 
3   Travis Balough              317   6 
4   Ed Olpin                    307   7 
5   Val Torres Jr.              305   6 
6   Thomas Bayer                297   8 
7   Rick Beckstrom              286   5 
8   Ken Mostowich               267   7 
9   Jim Hughes                  264   8 
10  Steve Williams              254   9 

Division Seven Super Street Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Nik Downing                 388   8 
2   Matthew Blodgett            323   8 
3   Ryan Giacone                300   8 
4   Jeff Jackson                280   6 
5   Ted Kellner                 257   5 
6   Gary Reust                  248   5 
7   Seth Polvadore              246   5 
7   David Kiesel                246   5 
9   Justin Renoll               237   6 
10  Bernie Polvadore Jr.        225   5 

Division Seven Sportsman Motorcycle Top Ten Point Standings
Pos Driver                    Points Events
1   Rick Newport                305   8 
2   Aaron Pine                  294   6 
3   Tony Pellettera             283   8 
4   Sean Conner                 262   5 
5   Pete Miclette Jr.           252   8 
6   Thomas Medlin               251   6 
7   Douglas Schumann            250   6 
8   Augustine Herrera           219   5 
9   Gary Oaks                   219   5 
10  Jordon Miclette             186   6 

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