Rod Short
April 1, 2009

Step By Step

Mdmp_0904_05_z New_england_ffw_nationals Engine_show
Mdmp_0904_06_z New_england_ffw_nationals Broken_inlet_tube
A broken inlet tube ended Mustang Mike Modeste's weekend early as well as his chances for the season championship in ProCharger Street Renegade in his Manhattan Ford-sponsored car. Modeste is rumored to be experimenting with a twin blower combination for next year.
Mdmp_0904_07_z New_england_ffw_nationals Shleby_gt500
After finishing a 30-mile cruise, Kevin Volk finished Third in True Street qualifying with a 10.672 average and then won the True Street Quick 8 program on Saturday with this venomous looking Shelby GT500.
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Conrad Jr.'s loss opened the door for series regular Joe Marini to jump back into contention for the class championship, who came into this event sitting Third in points. Marini did his part as he got by a sleeping Demih Sahila with a huge 2-plus-second holeshot. In other first round action, every other winner used a holeshot as well to win as Nick Bonang defeated Chip Meally, Marc Holten got by Jeff Pulaski, and Bob Dugan whipped Glen Misturado.

Marini saw the door of opportunity slam in his face in the next round, however, as Bob Dugan forced Marini into a breakout with a solid 0.059 starting line advantage. Nick Bonang then defeated a red-lighting Cottone, while Marc Holten advanced on a bye. After Holten was eliminated in the semifinals, the event championship got down to two New Englanders with Bonang and Dugan. Bonang launched first with a 0.019 light and ran a 10.646 at 135.32 mph, which was good for the win as Dugan's better 10.623 was negated by his slower reaction at the start. While the finals had no effect on the series title chase, it no doubt left Mac Sibley breathing a little easier when he saw that Conrad Jr. nor Marini made it to the finals.

In Fun Ford's other heads-up index class, Tom Conrad Jr. had his way again, as he has with his competition all year. Conrad Jr. qualified Second and got by Ken Durphily and arch nemesis Jim D'Amore III to make it to another final against Manny Saafta. Conrad's 0.329 holeshot meant the end of the line for Saafta and another victory for Conrad Jr., who entered this event with the class championship already locked up.

With five victories in seven events, Harland Sharp Mod Comp has been dominated this year by the Jon Pickering father/son team and Shane Williams. Each takes a different approach as points leader Jon M. Pickering uses a low-9-second Mustang II, father Jon N. Pickering runs a slower 11-second Maverick, and Shane Williams uses a mid 12-second late-model Mustang. The quicker Pickering qualified first in the field of 17 cars and then met up with Williams in the third round of what would be an important battle in terms of the class championship. Pickering's red light saved Williams from going home after he broke out with a 12.091 on a 12.14 dial-in. On the other side of the frame, Jacob Conant beat Mike Kuhl with a holeshot even though Kuhl ran closer to his dial-in. In the finals, Williams nailed a 0.006 light and used a 12.276 on a 12.14 dial to win it all over Conant's 10.991 on a 10.80 dial-in.

RPM Outlet Ultra Stang, which is a class devoted exclusively to '05-and-later Mustangs, has been a battleground all year between S.D. Wheeler and Paul Gamino. Wheeler, the '06 class champ, had four victories, while Gamino had one with JDM Engineering's incredible 10-second 25th Anniversary Saleen, which represents a $100,000 investment in stock form. Gamino qualified first with the Saleen Speedlab powered car by running a 10.318 at 136.70 mph. Sean Mackin was second with a 10.731 with Bill Jaynes, Wheeler and Nathan Meserve, Jr. rounding out the top five qualifiers.

During eliminations, Jaynes got by a red-lighting Dave Saunders while Meserve Jr. pulled a mild upset in beating Mackin with a holeshot. Wheeler advanced past James Brown while Gamino enjoyed a single bye run. In the semifinals, Meserve red-lighted against Wheeler, and Gamino used a holeshot to send Jaynes back up north to Maine. In another classic Gamino-versus-Wheeler duel, Wheeler's hopes for another win were dashed by a starting line miscue that gave Gamino his second win of the year. Wheeler still has his second championship in just three years locked up, however, on the strength of his previous wins this year.

Robert Chuhran has found JDM Engineering Tough Truck to be more than a little tough on him this year as he left New England Dragway bitterly disappointed. Chuhran, who has won twice earlier this year, came into Epping in Second Place just a mere seven points behind leader Paul Gamino. Chuhran desperately needed to outpace Gamino at this event if he was going to make the trip from his Michigan home down to the season finale in Ennis, Texas. It didn't happen, however, as Chuhran had a -0.007 red light against Gerry Van Veen who stumbled out of the gate with a 0.229 reaction time of his own. Van Veen would go on to the finals where he met and lost to Gamino to grab a stranglehold lead in the season championship points race. Depending on whose shoes you were standing in, it was either a tough loss or a great win that day.