Frank H. Cicerale
November 1, 2008

Virginia was one of the last states to secede from the Union during the Civil War, and arguably the Confederate state that saw the most action and destruction by the end of the conflict. While Virginia is home to numerous battlefields, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, and a host of other attractions and historical landmarks, for one weekend it was home to the Fun Ford Weekend carnival of horsepower. The three-day event at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie showcased the finest in Ford drag racing, resulting in a hefty payday for the Pro category contestants.

With $10,000 up for grabs in the Pro category, eight cars made their four respective qualifying attempts, with a new Pro record being set in the process. Dale Brinsfield stepped out of his Probe and into a new Jerry Haas Mustang that packed a 738ci Fulton motor with a pair of guns. Brinsfield shifted the Lenco to a new world record of 6.35 seconds, and made his way into the money round where he would tangle with the IHRA Pro Stock Shelby GT500 of Robert Patrick. Patrick had the cubes, Brinsfield the go-juice, and at the stripe, it was Patrick who took the win with a holeshot-aided 6.41.

Sherman Vining had a heck of a sleeper for a True Street ride. His '03 Marauder looked stock, but thanks to a Trilogy blower kit that allowed him to drop an Eaton supercharger atop the Four-Valve mod motor, the Merc ripped off a pair of high-11-second laps to end up Seventh overall. According to Sherman, the 17 psi of boost the Eaton supplies has motivated his land yacht to a best elapsed time of 11.20 seconds.

Not to be outdone by Brinsfield's record-setting performance was Don Burton. An NMRA Super Street Outlaw staple, Burton took the short trip from Aberdeen, Maryland, and not only won the race, but also set the Street Renegade record in the process. Travis Franklin was the No. 1 qualifier with a stout 7.66, but Burton sent out a moon shot in the semifinals when he popped off a 7.52, resetting the record of Sam Vincent at this event last year. Franklin gave it all he had against Burton in the final, but a holeshot was not enough to hold off Burton, who bested Franklin by a 7.58 to 7.72 count for the victory. An item of interest in the Street Renegade pits was the no-show by Ronnie Wilson in Round 1. After winning in Atlanta, Wilson, who has been having powerplant problems all year, burned up the No. 5 piston again. According to Wilson, expect the car to be fully rewired before the next event, as he feels the gremlin is in that area of the car.

The heads-up index classes showcased some close racing as well. The Street Bandit final came down to R.L. Smith and Joe Marini. Smith hit the Tree hard with a 0.012 light and used the holeshot to score the win, as his 10.75 was just enough against Marini's quicker but losing 10.67.

In Street Stang, Jim D'Amore III's yellow S197 squared off against Tom Conrad's Fox-body. Both drivers were nearly identical on the starting line, but at the stripe, Conrad's 11.97 was closer to the 11.90-second class index than D'Amore's losing 12.08.

Rounding out the rest of the racing action were the bracket classes. Jon Pickering downed the colorful New Edge of Shane Williams in the Mod Comp final, while Paul Gamino drove JDM Engineering's new Saleen race car to victory in only its second time out, when he downed Cliff Elliot in the final of Ultra Stang. Finally, in Tough Truck, Robert Chuhran duked it out with Gerry Vanveen for the money, with Chuhran overcoming Vanveen's holeshot to come out on top.

The True Street category was strong once again, as 66 cars gathered for the 30-mile cruise and three dragstrip passes. Will Williams ended up at the top of the True Street heap when the day was done. After ripping off a stout 9.74 on his opening salvo, he recorded a 10.43 and an 11.61. Williams' 10.598-second average was almost a half-second quicker than runner-up Ron Ramsey's 11.18. While Williams is listed as the only one to record a 9-second run in True Street, there were a pair of cars capable of running in the 9-second zone and giving Williams a run for the money. Alas, the back-to-back-to-back runs took their toll on both competitors, resulting in the pair dropping out of contention when they couldn't make the required third run.