Rod Short
May 1, 2009
Photos By: Keplinger Designs
David Schorr capped a historic third Pro championship in a row at the 18th annual World Finals with some exhibition runs in front of an appreciative crowd of onlookers.

With the championships in Probe Pro and Performance 2 Way Street Outlaw already decided, all eyes were on the seesaw points battle that was going on in ProCharger Street Renegade. Coming into the event, the struggle for the class championship had boiled down to Travis Franklin and Angel Padilla. Franklin, the defending champ from last year, had struggled throughout much of the year with inconsistency while Houston winner Padilla was quietly accumulating points. Padilla had actually assumed the points before a crash forced him to miss a race while he was putting his car back together. In the meantime, Don Burton had assumed the role as spoiler, as a hot second half of the season made him the dominant driver in the class.

Burton, Franklin and Padilla were all there for the start of Sunday eliminations at Ennis along with D.J. Loiacaino and another driver named Angel Padilla (no relation). Round one saw Franklin's prospects for the title sink as he lost to Loiacaino. Padilla, on the other hand, failed to gain any ground as he lost as well against his namesake while Burton singled by virtue of being low qualifier. That loss allowed Franklin to breathe a bit easier, as any mathematical chance for him to lose the title was erased. Burton then disposed of Loiacaino in the semifinals while Padilla advanced. In a race for the event title, Burton overcame Padilla's holeshot to record a 7.506 at 188.46 mph while Padilla shut down to a 10-second run.

With five wins in 2008, Paul Gamino wrapped up the 2008 JDM Tough Truck championship with a final-round appearance at Ennis. Gamino has shown that he is one of the sport's elite drivers in anything that has wheels.

While attention was focused on these season championship battles, there was other good racing going on, too. In Street Outlaw, 11 different entries were led in qualifying by Jeff Naiser's 4.433 at 164.75 mph, with Kenny Hubbard's 4.449 and Darrin Wade's 4.481 following just behind. Conrad Scarry and Mike Murillo rounded out the Top 5 qualifiers. At the start of eliminations, Cory Wheat advanced after Nick Williams fouled while Murillo upset Ron Lummus with a holeshot 4.519 to 4.480 victory. Scarry got by Dennis Sugrus while Hubbard got the redlight win over John Steffield. Naiser advanced on a bye as Darrin Wade set the low class e.t. of the meet with a 4.424 in beating Chris Shortridge. Round two saw Wade beat newly crowned champ Scarry while Hubbard overcame Murillo's 0.003 reaction time to win 4.492 to 5.031. Wheat then closed the round by knocking off the low qualifier with a 4.463 to 4.702 victory to advance.

In the semifinals, Wheat beat Wade in a great race with a 4.471 to 4.485 victory while Hubbard won the bye to advance into the finals. Unfortunately for Hubbard and the fans, he was broke at that point, so Wheat got a 4.451 victory lap at 172.17 mph to take his first-ever victory in Battle of the Brands competition.

Shane Williams lost in the first round of Mod Comp at Ennis but walked away with a championship, winning the season title in one of the closest points battles in history.

Heads-up index racing continues to attract a lot of racers-and that was certainly the case at Ennis-as 14 drivers were there to rumble. In the semifinals, Brian Warwas used a big holeshot to win over Michael Burns, while Jack Robnett earned a narrow victory over Tom Conrad Jr. In the finals, Warwas overcame a 0.072 starting line deficit to beat Robnett with a 10.650 to 10.731 run, which was closer to the 10.60 class index. In Street Stang, Jimmy Stokley grabbed the win over Mike Harris after the latter was forced into a breakout due to Stokley's 0.214-second holeshot.

Over in Mod Comp, Shane Williams came into the event with the points lead and was looking to lock up a championship, but an untimely breakout sent Williams back to the pits. In the end, Tony Malone's '67 Cougar was the victor over Lloyd McBride's Mustang by virtue of a 9.912 on a 9.90 dial-in.