SHRA Crowns Ardmore Dragway Reunion Winners
August 30th, 2014 - Ardmore, OK
Report - Chris Graves / Photos - Chris Graves & Steve Scott
The sixth of eight events on the MalloryPrint.com Southwest Heritage Racing Association tour brought the series to Ardmore Dragway in Ardmore, Oklahoma to headline their 9th annual Ardmore Dragway Reunion on Saturday, August 30th. With all five SHRA classes in action, over 100 cars packed the pits eager to do some old school drag racing on a hot and humid summer afternoon in southern Oklahoma.
Tera W. Graves, Bee Godwin, Dusty Rose, Russell Cook & Joe Elmore came into the event leading the points standings of their respective classes but by the conclusion of this event some new names found their way to the top of the charts. Nostalgia Eliminator teams felt the pressure in Ardmore as just two events remained to earn Shootout points during qualifying and some drivers were in critical need of points to earn a spot in this special race within a race later this season.
The SHRA program was joined by the famed "Blue Max" nitro funny car driven by Ronny Young, an awesome nitro nostalgia cacklefest, junior fuelers and more as a full day of racing got started with two time trials for each class. SHRA announcer Charles Faulkner made the call to the lanes and staging lane director Justin Haas got the first time trail session underway.
NOSTALGIA ELIMINATOR 1:
In the 4.65 index Nostalgia Eliminator 1 class, Tera W. Graves came into Ardmore with a firm grasp on not only the series points lead, but also the lead in the Good Vibrations Motorsports NE 1 Shootout standings. W. Graves was able to qualify third with a clean 4.754 at 147 mph and would take on number six qualifier Dale McKee in first round. Jason O'Neill wheeled the "Bad Behavior" blown altered to a 4.751 at 144 mph to qualify second and earn a date with Adam Smith in round one. Chris Graves, winner from Ardmore Dragway back in May, put the "Blown Inheritance" front engine dragster in the number one qualifying position with a 4.69 at 150 mph and would face Steve Matthews in the opening round. San Antonio winner Richard Brady rounded out the top half of the eight car field as qualifying concluded.
NE 1 FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Chris Graves (Carrollton, TX) - 4.69 @ 150
2. Jason O'Neill (Mesquite, TX) - 4.751 @ 144
3. Tera W.Graves (Commerce, TX) - 4.754 @ 147
4. Richard Brady (Ft. Worth, TX) - 4.786 @ 143
5. Steve Matthews (Marietta, OK) - 4.788 @ 145
6. Adam Smith (Copan, OK) - 4.873 @ 144
7. Gary Ballard (Wichita Falls, TX) - 4.877 @ 141
8. Dale McKee (Heath, TX) - 4.88 @ 144
First round action got underway with Gary Ballard and Richard Brady squaring off in their beautiful injected slingshot dragsters. Ballard stepped up to a 4.81 at 142 mph, but it came up just short to Brady's winning 4.75 at 146 mph. Steve Matthews lit the red bulb at the starting line with a close -.012 reaction time, while Chris Graves laid down a 4.69 at 150 to advance. Matthews' 4.78 earned him the Hayden Enterprises "Closest to Index Rd. 1 Loser" bonus. Tera W. Graves posted a stout .001 reaction time, which earned her the Good Vibrations Motorsport "Quick Light" bonus and coupled that with a 4.69 at 149 mph to get around Dale McKee's 4.94 at 141 mph. In the final pair, number two qualifier Jason O'Neill ran into problems after his burnout and was forced to shutoff, allowing Adam Smith to solo into the semi-finals with a 4.85 at 144 mph in the "Adam Bomb" blown dragster.
(L) Adam Smith (Copan, OK) - (R) Richard Brady (Ft. Worth, TX)
NE 1 FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Richard Brady (.072rt) 4.73 @ 146 vs. (L) Gary Ballard (.074rt) 4.81 @ 142
(W) Chris Graves (.076rt) 4.69 @ 150 vs. (L) Steve Matthews (-.012rt) 4.78 @ 146
(W) Tera W. Graves (.001rt) 4.69 @ 149 vs. (L) Dale McKee (.030rt) 4.94 @ 141
(W) Adam Smith (.116rt) 4.85 @ 144 vs. (L) Jason O'Neill (No Time - Broke)
The semi-final kicked off with Richard Brady and Adam Smith bringing their front engine dragsters to the line. Smith took a nice starting line advantage but his 4.84 at 145 mph wasn't enough to hold off Brady's hard charging 4.75 at 144 mph as Brady moved into his second straight SHRA NE 1 final round. Husband and wife duo of Chris & Tera Graves were out next to see who would advance to the finals to face Brady. Chris Graves used a bit of starting line strategy to gain the reaction time advantage he needed as his 4.68 at 150 mph took out Tera's 4.68 at 149 mph. Graves moved into his second final of the season and hoped to sweep Ardmore Dragway in 2014 with a win, while Brady and company aimed to win their second straight NE 1 event victory.
NE 1 SEMI-FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Richard Brady (.074rt) 4.75 @ 144 vs. (L) Adam Smith (.021rt) 4.84 @ 145
(W) Chris Graves (.068rt) 4.68 @ 150 vs. (L) Tera W. Graves (.113rt) 4.68 @ 149
The sun had set and the NE 1 final round was set to go down under the lights at Ardmore Dragway after a hot and full day of racing. Graves and Brady came to the line after side by side burnouts and at the flash of amber, Graves took a slight starting line advantage. Brady pulled ahead early but Graves closed the gap and at the stripe Graves' 4.730 at 149 mph was enough to take the win over Brady's very close 4.739 at 144 mph.
NE 1 WINNER - Chris Graves (Carrollton, TX)
NE 1 FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Chris Graves (.100rt) 4.730 @ 149 vs. (L) Richard Brady (.125rt) 4.739 @ 144
Chris Graves made up ground on his wife and points leader Tera W. Graves but still trails the leader by sixty five points with two events remaining this season. Brady has catapulted into the top ten with back to back finals and Steve Matthews, Dale McKee and Jason O'Neill round out the top five. The Good Vibrations Motorsports NE 1 Shootout standings are very tight at the bottom with Steve Dunkin and Gary Ballard currently in the field in seventh and eighth, but Clay Cunningham, Ron Muncy and Kenny Stroud all have a fair shot at a position in the top eight. The qualifying efforts of these particular racers will be critical at the next SHRA event, Oct 4th at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas.
"I'd like to thank the staff of SHRA and Ardmore Dragway for yet another great event. My crew did an awesome job today and we had a good hot rod and good tuning calls from my dad David. Thanks to my partners Rich Howell and Allen Meyer for their support and to my sponsor Competition Sales of Dallas. It's been three long years with this car but I think we finally got a handle on it and hope to rack up another win or two before the season ends," said Graves.
Continued on next page...
<<<PREVIOUS PAGE NEXT PAGE>>>