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Tue, 2 Oct 2001, 01:34 PM

Maple Grove scores 9th Team Championship
Courtesy of NHRA Marketing

Puts a Pair of Drivers in Victory Lane

DELMAR, Del. -- The NHRA Summit Racing Series Northeast Division Finals concluded at U.S. 13 Dragway on Saturday with champions being crowned in the Super Pro, Heavy, Bike and Street eliminator categories. These wins place four more lucky drivers names on the competition roster for the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 8-11 in Pomona Calif.

By virtue of victories at the NHRA Summit Northeast Division Finals at U.S. 13 Dragway, Brian Crump, Mike LaRose, Jack Podowka and Dennis Parison have qualified themselves to compete in the "winner-takes-all" national championship finals in November.

Greeted by cheers from their championship Maple Grove team, Super Pro winner, Brian Crump and Street Champ Dennis Parison, were all smiles in the winner's circle.

"This is only my second year racing. I can't believe I actually won," said an excited Dennis Parison, who defeated Lebanon Valley Raceway's Mike Petro-Roy in the Street final. "On Friday I lost my job, and on the way here, I was pretty down on myself. This is unbelievable. You can't imagine how much this means to me and how's it's lifted my spirits. To think I'm going to California is unreal. I've barely even been out of PA!" he joked.

Brian Crump, who defeated Keystone Raceway's Jacob Meinert in Super Pro final, was equally thrilled with his win. "I'm so excited to be part of the Maple Grove team and to have won, but I don't which I should be celebrating more; my Super Pro win, or our Team Championship," said Crump.

"We're so happy to have won the Team Championship this year," said Maple Grove Raceway co-captains Sharon Zimmerman and Tammy Schichtig. "The team competition is such a huge part of this event, and with two of our racers in the winner's circle it seems all the more special. Though we're very proud of [winners] Dennis and Brian, we're just as proud of our entire team. Teamwork is what it takes to win the championship," they added.

Maple Grove Raceway, who earned 74 points, edged out last years winning team, Atco Raceway, finishing with 59 points. Finishing third was Team Spirit winner, Capital Raceway with 56 points.

Taking home the win in Bike, was Lebanon Valley Raceway's Jack Podowka, who defeated fellow Lebanon Valley runner Jason Fish in the all-Kawasaki final.

"I felt like I was just racing on a regular Saturday night up at Lebanon. It's seems funny that Jason and I race together almost every week, I couldn't believe that we now were racing each other in the final for a chance to go to California for the National Championship," said Podowka.

In the Heavy final it was Mike LaRose racing out of the ESTA Safety Park stable taking the win. Behind the wheel of his '74 Roadrunner, the West Monroe, N.Y. runner defeated hometown favorite Frank Park, racing for host track U.S. 13.

"I've been trying to win this thing since I made my first trip here in 1986. You can't imagine how much this means to me. I have I brother that lives in San Francisco that I'm dragging down to Pomona when I go. I don't care if it's 8 hours from the track, if I'm going to tow all the way out the California, what's another 8 hours or so?" said LaRose. The four drivers who have qualified for the Summit National Championship in Pomona will each receive $3,500 when they arrive at the Southern California facility. They then will race against six other competitors for four event titles, with the winner in each category receiving an additional $5,000 in the winner-takes-all contest.

In other NHRA Summit Racing Series Northeast Division Series Finals event competition, the Luzerne County Community College High Challenge Championship was earned by Lebanon Valley's Joe Santangelo, of Marlborough, Conn. Santangelo defeated, Capital Raceway runner, Rebbecca Jones, of Glen Burnie, Md. in the final.

The following are the final results from the NHRA Summit Racing Series Northeast Division Finals at U.S. 13 Dragway:

Brian Crump, Gap, Penn., 517 reaction time, 8.53 dial-in, 8.551 seconds def.
Jacob Meinert, Jeanette, Penn., .553, 7.39, 7.415

Mike LaRose, West Monroe, N.Y., .556 reaction time, 10.50 dial-in, 10.514 seconds
Frank Parks, Denton, Md., .606, 11.66, 11.655

Jack Podowka, Ware, Mass., .599 reaction time, 8.82 dial-in, 8.834 seconds def.
Jason Fish, Watertown, Conn., 573, 8.75, 8.800

Dennis Parison, Phoenixville, Penn., .503 reaction time, 12.43 dial-in, 12.453
seconds def.
Mike Petro-Roy, Waterbury, Conn., .592, 12.83, 12.826

Luzerne Community College High School Challenge
Joe Santangelo, Marlborough, Conn., .557 reaction time, 15.62 dial-in, 15.934
seconds def.
Rebbecca Jones, Glen Burnie, Md., .793, 19.48, 19.576

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