Huw Evans
September 1, 2006
Photos By: Francis Butler

On Sunday it was time to get down to business. With a full field, nobody caught a bye, but after round one, it looked like this: Gugliotta against Hauf, local boy Dan Saitz against Patrick, Nobile against Samuel and Jeff Dobbins against Donnie Walsh. Frank G was pushing hard against Mike Hauf, but the Gomaco driver was right with him off the tree, but then had to let off and coast through, pushing Gugliotta through to the next round. Saitz muscled passed Patrick, grabbing a better light and motoring on to a 7.016 (versus Robert's 7.220), while the Purple people eater of John Nobile got the hook on Chuck Samuel with a 6.471, against Chuck's 6.589. Don Walsh put down a 6.526, putting him through final, leaving rival Jeff Dobbins picking up the pieces of his wounded ZX2 dragster. So for the semis it was Gugliotta against Saitz, and Nobile against Walsh. And for the most part it was very, very close. All four drivers put in some very respectable times - Donnie Walsh even cutting a .013 light. However, when the dust settled the two left standing were John Nobile and Frank Gugliotta. In the final it was almost dead even all the way down GIR's 1320, but Nobile had cut a better light than Frank (0.50), so although Gugliotta cut the better ET, it was John who made history by becoming champion of WFC 9. That's the thing about this event, you never know who's going to come out on top. We've had three different winners in the last three years, Randy Eakins, Tony Gilig and now John Nobile. What will happen at the decade anniversary WFC is difficult to say.

Outlaw is getting big these days, to the point that there were two classes at WFC9 and both were packed with entries. First off was Pro Outlaw and these guys put on a real show. There were some tense moments, notably when Conrad Scarry lost traction in qualifying. The car squirrelled left and right as Conrad fought to maintain control, he did a good job and although the blue beast hit the wall, the damage was relatively minor. One guy to watch out for was Forest Lake, MN's Brian Carpenter, behind the 2003 Mustang bodied machine. Carpenter got the top spot in qualifying with a 6.901! Behind him was Tim Lynch, Scarry and Livernois' Dan Millen. Hot on the heels of the Desert Eagle was Chip Havemann, who bagged a 7.311. Make no mistake, these guys were running fast, especially considering the size of their rear tires, which can often make maximum traction a tad on the tricky side. As Eliminations began, the ranks thinned quickly. Carpenter caught a bye in round two, while Millen drove around Dennis Bailey and Havemann got past Lynch, who was having problems. For the semis, it was Chip Havemann's turn to get a bye, leaving Millen and Carpenter paired up on the other side of the ladder. Dan was quicker on the tree than Brian, but Carpenter started coming on strong and by the end, had nudged past Millen, landing him a 7.09. In the final, Chip Havemann put up a fight, but Carpenter was clearly getting into his groove and drove one seamless run, right from the .117 reaction time, to the 6.996 second Elapsed Time at 210.08 miles per hour. Havemann coming in behind with a 7.077. So the guy from Minnesota gets the crown for '06.