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The latest update as of September 13, 2010
"Clearing away the cobwebs...."
Another week has passed, lots of drag racing action has occurred, numerous stories have been written, and here, at your source for the latest news in the wide, wide world of drag racing.... absolutely nothing. What gives? Time for another 3-year hibernation? Too many "projects" on the go at once? Work getting in the way of the really important stuff in life... like writing about my favourite sport? Let's just answer that it's a combination of all of those factors, except for the hibernation part. So let's clean up the dirty dishes, sweep the floor, dust off the keyboard and get busy.
Where do we start? How about copying a few items from the top of the page at SpeedZone. Our heartiest congratulations to Nathan and Carla Sitko on their recent marriage. Many happy years ahead for both of you I'm sure. Remember though: you've still got a race car that needs your attention too.
Second item to deal with is the victory by Shawn Cowie and the Mundie's Towing team in the final round at the NHRA Division Five Lucas Series race at Earlville, Iowa's Tri-State Raceway. Even better news was that he defeated the man who is rapidly becoming his arch-rival, Chris Demke, in a very close race. After his unfortunate final round at Indy just six days earlier, where a broken transmission (not an engine as I had surmised) snatched away an almost certain win over Marty Thacker, Cowie did the deed, sealed the deal, and took home all the marbles at Earlville.
His weekend started well, with a low qualifying 5.388 at 263.31 mph in Saturday's first session, then continued with a nearly identical 5.389 at an even better 266.74 mph in the second qualifier, to hang onto the #1 spot. His luck changed in the final session as Demke took over the top spot by the slimmest of margins, one thousandth of a second, and pushed aside Cowie's very good 5.429 at 267.11 lap. Going into eliminations, Demke had the upper hand by a minute fraction in e.t. but with a top speed edge of nearly three mph at 269.73.
Both racers advanced through the quarter and semi-final rounds, with Cowie having a real battle in his first match against Cody Perkins' nitro burner, leaving second by four hundredths and eking out a .015 victory margin at the finish line. Shawn did improve his best qualifying e.t. by a few thousandths, 5.382 to 5.388, but Perkins picked up nearly half a second over his sluggish qualifying numbers and gave the Cowie team a real battle.
In the semi-final, Shawn took on another A/FD, that of Randy Meyer, and again left second, but easily drove around a cylinder-dropping Meyer to win by nearly four tenths of a second. While Meyer can be dangerous, with some very quick runs at times, he's as inconsistent as they come in the injected ranks and was just the opponent Cowie needed to help him advance to the final round. Of course, a new low e.t. of the meet, 5.370 at an even 266 mph didn't hurt either.
Similarly advancing to the finals was Chris Demke in Jerry Maddern's "Peen-Rite" car that has been on quite a roll this season, with national event wins at the season-opening Winternationals, Seattle's Northwest Nationals, and the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd. Even with only one divisional event win and one runner-up on their scorecard, the Demke - Maddern team still held a very slim lead over Cowie for the second spot in the national point standings coming in to the Iowa final round. Feel the tension time, eh?
Going into his seventh divisional final round of the year, Shawn was certainly looking to improve on a 1 - 5 mark, with the rain-delayed Mission Raceway win (at Seattle last month) being his only victory on the divisional level all year. The team did have a national event win at Las Vegas and of course the runner-up finish at Indy last week on their ledger, but a win in the final here would be a huge boost to a team that has hit a few bumps in their road to the championship this year. With everything on the line, Cowie and Demke staged up and for the third time of the day, Cowie left second, but only two hundredths of a second in arrears of a tree-chomping Demke. Both cars slowed from their earlier bests, but Shawn turned on the winlight by a very narrow one hundredth of a second winning margin.
He didn't quite "run the table" at the Earlville Lucas Series race, as Chris Demke took top speed and low qualifier, but Cowie snatched second place in the national standings by a ten point margin. Points leader Bill Reichert, who stumbled and went out early (second round) at Indy, and was idle this past weekend, now leads Cowie by only 31 points and even though he has raced at one less divisional event, can only gain any points at further divisional (Lucas Series) events by going to, and/or winning, a final round. He's got more to gain at national events too, but first, he's got to attend the races, second, he's got to qualify, and thirdly, has to win the rounds to garner the points required to stay ahead of the competition. And at this point, Cowie and Demke are his main challengers, with Jim Whiteley and Duane Shields a fairly long way behind.
With only seven divisional events remaining on the calendar, but the last five national events all featuring Top Alcohol competition, starting this coming weekend at Charlotte's Z-Max Dragway, then continuing next weekend at the Texas Motorplex Fall Nationals, it's going to be a real battle of strategy and performance as the racers head down the home stretch towards the championship. At this point I've got to think the top five in Top Alcohol Dragster have a very good chance of winning the crown, with the # 6 and # 7 racers possibly crashing the party before the year is done. Hang on for what should be quite a ride through the final two months of the 2010 drag racing season.
To see previous updates go to the What's Old page