Southwest Heritage Racing Association
Photos & Report: SHRA Media
Wendland, Hixson & Carrell Claim Ardmore Victories
The MalloryPrint.com Southwest Heritage Racing Association held the fifth event of its inaugural season at Ardmore Dragway on Saturday, August 31st, as a feature of the 8th Annual Hot Rod Reunion at the longest continually run drag strip in the country. After almost two months off, the SHRA nostalgia eliminator class racers were eager to return to the strip on Labor Day weekend despite temperatures in the triple digits. The SHRA series welcomed several new racers at this event including the first female to compete in the nostalgia eliminator ranks in Tera Wendland, who made a big splash in the 4.65 index Nostalgia Eliminator 1 class.
Nostalgia Eliminator 1
Wendland, a hot topic in the pits after landing on the cover of the recently published Nitro Madness Magazine, found herself signing plenty of autographs for fans and fellow racers but when the call went out for the first qualifying sessions it was all business. After two sessions of qualifying, Wendland held the number two qualifying spot with a 4.674 right behind her fiancé Chris Graves who took his first top qualifying effort of the season with a 4.673 at 152 mph. Wes Breiten's "Bad O'Man" blown altered qualified third with a 4.76 at 146 mph with Steve Matthews, Steve Dunkin and Dustin Johnson rounding out the field.
Final Qualifying Order:
1) Chris Graves (Carrollton, Texas) - 4.673 @ 152
2) Tera Wendland (Commerce, Texas) - 4.674 @ 150
3) Wes Breiten (Wolfe City, Texas) - 4.76 @ 146
4) Steve Matthews (Marietta, Oklahoma) - 4.78 @ 146
5) Steve Dunkin (Aledo, Texas) - 4.81 @ 149
6) Dustin Johnson (Davis, Oklahoma) - 4.95 @ 141
Graves and Matthews were the first pair out to kick off eliminations in a class match-up between two blown front engine dragsters. Matthews, the current points leader, was looking to defend his turf at his home track and took the advantage off the starting line and at half-track the cars were side by side. Graves was able to drive around at the top end and take the win light, posting a 4.67 at 151 mph to Matthews' 4.82 at 145 mph. Dustin Johnson made his SHRA debut in the "Fair Warning" blown altered and earned his first round win of the season over Wes Breiten with a 4.92 at 142 mph. In the final pair of the round, Tera Wendland squared off with her friendly rival Steve Dunkin in the "Foolish Pleasure" blown front engine dragster. Dunkin took over a tenth of a second advantage off the line and posted a 4.78 at 145 mph, but Wendland had the ponies to drive around him with a strong 4.66 at 152 mph. Wendland took the nod in the closest pairing of the round, .009 margin of victory at the finish line, to advance to the semi-finals.
First Round Results:
(W) Chris Graves (.147 rt) 4.67 @ 151 mph vs. (L) Steve Matthews (.098 rt) 4.82 @ 145 mph
(W) Dustin Johnson (.080 rt) 4.92 @ 142 mph vs. (L) Wes Breiten (No Time - Foul)
(W) Tera Wendland (.154 rt) 4.66 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Steve Dunkin (.037 rt) 4.78 @ 145 mph
In semi-final round action, Wendland lined up with Johnson and this one was over early as Johnson went -.016 red and had the best seat in the house to watch Wendland blast to a 4.66 at 152 mph to advance to the final round in her debut event with the SHRA. Graves soloed into his first final round on a competition single to meet his fiancé in the final round.
(W) Tera Wendland (.420 rt) 4.66 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Dustin Johnson (-.016 rt) 4.89 @ 142 mph
(W) Chris Graves (.113 rt) 8.29 @ 50 mph vs. (L) Competition Bye Run
In the highly anticipated final round featuring the future husband and wife combo of Wendland and Graves, all eyes were on the starting line as both cars were running in the high 4.60 zone and both drivers were eager for their first SHRA event win. Graves took a slight starting line advantage and at half-track the cars were dead even. As they neared the stripe Tera Wendland lit the win light with a stellar 4.651 at 152 mph to Graves' loosing 4.661 at 150 mph in one of the closest side by side finals in series history. Wendland with crew chief and car owner Darrell Walden as well as her family, all celebrated a well-deserved win after putting down great passes in the heat at Ardmore.
Final Round Results:
(W) Tera Wendland (.046 rt) 4.651 @ 152 mph vs. (L) Chris Graves (.038 rt) 4.661 @ 150 mph
"Our SHRA debut couldn't have gone any better, especially to end up in the final against the "Blown Inheritance" team. All of the glory goes to God for keeping us safe out there. I cannot thank Darrell Walden enough, not only for the opportunity to drive his car, but for calling the tuning shots and getting us to the final after back to back 4.66 passes during eliminations and a dead-on the index 4.65 in the final. I'm having an absolute blast behind the wheel with this new supercharger! I'd also like to thank my family for their help, Frank and Scott Parks, Mallory Print, Robinson Restoration, Meyer Enterprises, Good Vibrations, Harry's Hot Rod, Triple C Agency, North Texas Diesel, Competition Sales of Dallas, and Alkydiggers for supporting the SHRA and nostalgia drag racing. This win means so much to our team, we're looking forward to the next one, October 5th in Denton, and a full season of racing with the SHRA next year!" said Wendland.
Steve Matthews continues to hold a commanding lead in the NE 1 points standings and will lock it up by qualifying for the final event of the season on October 5th at North Star Dragway. Chris Graves moved into second place with his runner-up finish and Steve Dunkin rounds out the Top 3 looking ahead to the final event.
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