Rod Short
December 1, 2008
IHRA Pro Stock champ Robert Patrick stormed the field at FFW Richmond in his Shelby GT500 to pick up his first series win and a $10,000 paycheck as well.

With $40,000 in winnings passed out to the Street Outlaw 10.5 guys over the past three events, you can bet that more than a few Pro drivers were chomping at the bit to reclaim their place in the spotlight. That happened in a big way at Fun Ford's 10th annual stop at Richmond as fans saw one of the best Probe Pro shows in recent memory.

Dale Brinsfield, who was behind the wheel of Jerry William's new Mustang Pro Mod, led the field in qualifying with a stout 6.351 at 222.58. This pass was backed up to eclipse John Gullett's 2-year-old 6.367 record and establish Brinsfield as the man to beat at any event he attends. Of course, the guy in the No. 2 slot wasn't all that intimidated. Reigning IHRA Pro Stock champ Robert Patrick was right behind him with a 6.385 from his 827ci naturally aspirated Ford Hemi. Rounding out the field was defending class champ David Schorr, Tony Mangrum, Jeff Rodgers, Todd Howard, Todd Amandus, and Tony Lobaldo in that order.

By the time the semifinals rolled around, Patrick, Schorr, Brinsfield, and Mangrum were still in the thick of it. In a battle of Fun Ford and IHRA champs, Patrick drove around Schorr's holeshot to grab a hard-fought 6.415 to 6.524 victory. Mangrum, who was behind the wheel of Dan Seamon's IHRA Pro Stock Mustang, did a heck of a job driving an unfamiliar car, as his 6.562 at 216.58 came up just short against Brinsfield's 6.429 at 217 flat.With the top two qualifiers in the finals, the fans knew they were in for a treat. Brinsfield had run quicker all weekend, but was slowing down each round and not quite as sharp on the tree as Patrick had been. That proved to be the difference in this race as Patrick's .056 holeshot gave him the lead all the way to a 6.413 versus 6.390 upset victory.

ProCharger Street Renegade was just as dramatic. Five drivers were in the field at Richmond. Defending class champ Travis Franklin, who showed up just before the last round of qualifying, led the field with a 7.667 at 188.38, which was significantly faster than Dan Schoneck's speed record of 185.49 from 2005. Don Burton, Atlanta winner Ronnie Wilson, Houston winner Angel Padilla and local driver Shelley Smith completed the field.

In the semifinals, Franklin ran a 7.661 at 188.25 to beat Smith, who improved to an 8.186 at 173.90 to surpass her qualifying effort. Burton dropped a bomb, however, when he uncorked a 7.527 elapsed time, which was way under Sam Vincent's record set at Richmond the year before. While Franklin was running the best he has all year, he knew he didn't have the horses in his ProCharger machine to run against Burton's nitrous car. All he could do was try to make up that difference at the tree, which he almost did. Franklin left with a .079 starting line advantage, but Burton made up the difference and then some as his 7.585 at 181.52 put $3,000 in his pocket as the event winner.