The Central States Superchargers packed the house at Tulsa Raceway Park as a feature attraction of the Nitro Nationals, held Saturday, September 17th. Don Wilcox and the "Show Me Thunder" blown altered team held a fourteen point lead over Adam Smith in the "Adam Bomb" blown slingshot dragster. Lee Loveall was in a chose third and all three cars were ready for action in Tulsa. A total of seventeen cars were on hand as teams warmed up for qualifying.
Daniel Butherus during warm up - Dave Gallegos
Upon the completion of qualifying, defending event winner Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" blown altered qualified in the top spot with a 4.31 at 128 mph. Anthony Whitfield wheeled the "Mighty Mouse" nitro small block altered to a 4.41 (4.19) at 182 and Dave Gallegos' "Nitro Clown" blown Fiat posted a 4.49 at 153 to qualify third. Points leader Don Wilcox lost his first qualifying session time when Whitfield took out the top end cones in the other lane, voiding both their first runs. In the second qualifier, Wilcox put out three cylinders and posted only a 4.88 which fell short of the quick twelve bump spot. Tom Butherus, Lee Loveall, Jeff Woolard and Howard Knowles also fell short of the 4.82 bump held by Scott Demaro. Number eight qualifier Paul Shultz and number ten qualifier Bill Seals broke during qualifying, so the first two alternates, points leader Don Wilcox and Tom Butherus were inserted to fill the field. What a sign of relief for Wilcox, who now had a second chance and the race for the Championship was on between Wilcox and Smith.
Don Wilcox - Adam Smith
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Ken Singleton - 4.31 @ 128
2. Anthony Whitfield - 4.41 @ 182
3. Dave Gallegos - 4.49 @ 153
4. John Umlauf - 4.53 @ 118
5. Adam Smith - 4.55 @ 151
6. Russell Ballew - 4.59 @ 145
7. Trey Newkirk - 4.67 @ 144
8. Paul Shultz - 4.68 @ 134
9. Daniel Butherus - 4.69 @ 160
10. Bill Seals - 4.71 @ 152
11. Cory Holcomb - 4.73 @ 146
12. Scott Demaro - 4.82 @ 112
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13. Don Wilcox - 4.88 @ 134
14. Tom Butherus - 4.91 @ 147
15. Lee Loveall - 4.93 @ 146
16. Jeff Woolard - 5.05 @ 103
17. Howard Knowles - 5.36 @ 95
Lee Loveall - Jeff Woolard
In a dramatic turn of events, alternate Wilcox drew his points rival Smith in the first pair of the first round of eliminations. The number one and two in points were set for a first round battle royale. In this twelve car first round, the two quickest winners would advance to the final round. Wilcox and Smith brought their machines to life and crept into the stage beams in a round that would have big implications on the 2016 CSS Championship race. Wilcox blasted off the line with a huge starting line advantage but again struggled with dropped cylinders as his 4.90 at 138 came up short to Smith's 4.55 at 147 mph. Was that win for Smith enough to come around Wilcox for the Championship? Time will tell as five more pair remained in the staging lanes ready for their first round matchups.
Next up was Tom Butherus' "Rude Rat" blown altered and Russell Ballew's "Ballew Thunder" blown front engine dragster as Ballew had problems and was forced to shutoff while Butherus soloed to a 5.18 at 140 mph for the win. Top qualifier Ken Singleton came to the line next alongside Trey Newkirk. Newkirk was also forced to shutoff and had the best seat in the house to watch Singleton click off one of the quickest passes of the season with a 4.01 at 174 mph for the win.
Anthony Whitfield and Daniel Butherus crept into the stage beams as eliminations continued. Butherus took a slight starting line advantage but his 5.08 came up short to Whitfield's header flaming 4.10 at 184 mph. Cory Holcomb's "Black Widow" blown altered came to life next with Dave Gallegos in the opposing lane. Holcomb was off the line with an incredible .003 reaction time and his 4.62 at 152 mph scored the win over Gallegos' 4.78 at 145 mph. In the final pair, John Umlauf's nitro burner was up against first time CSS racer Scott Demaro. Umlauf had to run better than Whitfield's 4.10 to earn a spot in the final round and he did just that, as a career best 3.98 at 168 mph lit up the scoreboards to take the win over Demaro's 4.58 at 151 mph. It was Singleton and Umlauf final round bound in Tulsa.