Dover Drags 2022

Words and photos by Ted Pappacena

Well, the 14th edition of the Dover Drags at Lebanon Valley Dragway is in the books. Looking back, three words (actually one name and one word) come to mind; Dino Lawrence and weather. As you should know by now from previous reports I’ve done on this event, Dino Lawrence is the driving force behind it. He spent a lot of time at Dover Dragway in Wingdale New York as the announcer as well as managing duties. His experiences left quite an impression on him enough to start and continue this amazing event. The man practically leaves no stone unturned in promoting it. Endless hours are put into the show and he’s already working on 2023’s edition. He constantly updates additions to the event throughout the year leading up to it via social media.

This year, besides all of the Dover eliminators, there were healthy doses of exhibition cars featured. We’ll start with 4 alcohol funny cars; Rocky Pirrone’s Super Camaro, the Sweetman Brother’s Frantic Ford Mustang II, Steve Musser’s Time Bomb Vega, and George Reidnauer’s new China Syndrome Vega (tribute to the late Al Hofmann). There were 2 nitro cars as well; Keith Davidson’s Bits & Pieces T/A and Chuck Exton’s “Devil’s Fuel” Mustang. Up next would be the East Coast Fuelers including Jim Cummings’ Seconds of Pleasure, the Outer Limits, Blake Belbot, SBS Racing, and Bill Masiello. All are blown front engine dragsters guzzling healthy doses of alcohol. Want more? How about 4 fuel altereds? Troy Liebi’s Aftermath, the Pale Rider coupe, the Fuelish Behavior  T-roadster, and Jon Wall’s Night Moves roadster. Interestingly Troy was to do double duty driving not only his roadster but Richard Walkoviak’s Fuelish Pleasure as well! It would be the first time out for the car and Rick wanted Troy to pilot it.

Not enough? How about 4 supercharged gassers including the Caged Heat 33 Willys, Junkyard Dog 33 Willys sedan, Headknocker 39 Willys and the Mopar Missall Dodge Business coupe? Curiously, they only ran the 1/8th mile. I wondered why and found out that they only wanted to run the 1/8th mile because if they went the full quarter it would put more stress on the cars and risk parts breakage. HUH! I never thought about that Wink! Wink! Seriously? So that means that it’s okay for all the other cars to be stressed? Weird, right? Too bad because 1/8th mile times are hard to translate when everyone else is going the full quarter. It would be nice to know what these cars are fully capable of plus they would generate some great parachute shots.

But wait, there’s more! Wayne Hofmann and Jim Gifford asked Dino if it would be okay if they brought their cars to make some test passes. How cool is that? Jim’s Svengali ex- Del Worsham CSK T/A would be the third nitro car on the grounds and Wayne’s China Syndrome Omni would be the second well, China Syndrome car on the grounds as well. They were even pitted next to each other. So Dino, no jets and no wheelstanders? Maybe next year?

How about a Back up Girl Contest? Check! And a $500 to win Burnout Contest open to any supercharged vehicle on the premises. All this plus a Saturday evening dance party featuring a live rock n roll band, a Sunday Car Show featuring Drag Alley and all of the other Dover Eliminators. This event started out as a 1 day event and over the years morphed into a 3 day affair. Friday is tech & test day, Saturday is for test & tune plus exhibition car test passes and Dover eliminators. Sunday is for final eliminations as well as all of the feature cars. By the way, the pit area was packed all the way past the end of the track. I know this because I walked it!

My experience with this event is to go both Saturday and Sunday. That way I can do and see twice as much as I would if I only went on Sunday. The Saturday portion featured spectacular weather. A typical early fall day with bright sunshine, blue skies, and a nice breeze. The day was chock full of eliminations and test passes. Most of the feature cars made 2 passes each except for the alky funnies (they didn’t arrive till the late afternoon). The two non- featured funnies did make test passes though. The best reason to have attended on Saturday this year was because it rained on Sunday!

 The Weather Channel said it would rain at 1 PM and it did. There were rumors circulating that first round of eliminations would be held at 3 P M Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t happen. Internet fueled rumors! Sunday’s eliminations were moved up to around noon only to be pushed off to clean up a small oil down in the left lane. So only the first round of N E T O Nostalgia, Supercharged Gassers, East Coast Fuelers, and 2 fuel altereds made passes before drops were felt. Troy Leibi made what looked like a 1000 foot burnout from my vantage point at the top end! He would’ve been a serious contender for the $500. The track manager and Dino were in the tower watching the radar and there would be about a 2 hour window between showers and even if the track was to be dried, with no sun and more showers on the way, Wayne ( track manager) had to make the tough decision to cancel the rest of the event. The place proceeded to empty out quickly. It’s too bad, because it would’ve been a great show. It wasn’t a total loss though because of Saturday’s great action. This is the premiere nostalgia event on the East coast in my opinion. Yes, there are others (and I’ve been to them) and as good as they are, they are not as well rounded as this one. It’s a must attend event and if you can swing it, do the 2 days.



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