Summit Racing Series Reaches Its Halfway Point…Almost!

Auto Club Speedway

Local racers from as far as Las Vegas, Nevada descended on Auto Club Dragway in hopes of much needed points and a shot at the money up for grabs in the Summit Racing Series.  Team members and those seeking the finest competition in Southern California bracket racing were greeted by great racing weather on Saturday but the threat of a rainy Sunday was in the air.  Despite our best rain dances throughout the weekend and our hopes for great weather, Sunday’s action was cancelled before it had the opportunity to begin with a make-up date yet to be decided.  Racers made the most of their opportunity on Saturday, however, with some drivers going enough rounds to shake up the early season points battles in their respective classes.   

Taking top honors in the Super Pro category was Jim Gardella.  Jim got the best Tim Takeshita who fouled away his chance at the win in the final.  Gardella posted an 8.450 on his 8.41 dial on his free pass to the winner’s circle.  Ken Hemstreet was the lone semi-finalist and a quarter-final finish for Rhobert Strong allowed him to remain the point’s leader for now.  Gardella’s win moved him into second place, trailing Strong by only eleven points!  In the hotly contested Pro category, reigning SCEDA Non-Electronics champion Jeff Interlicchia took his orange Dodge Coronet to the winner’s circle after chopping down the tree against young hitter Daniel McClelland.  Interlicchia used a stellar .016 start paired with an 11.277 on his 11.26 dial to take home the $1000 purse and the much-sought after 107 points.  2008 Pro class National Dragster Challenge winner David Hoyt was the lone semi-finalist in the Mopar vs. Mopar battle with Interlicchia.  A fourth round finish allowed points leader John Brooks to maintain his sizeable lead over his competitors, while Interlicchia’s big win catapulted him into the coveted top four in fourth position.  In the Sportsman category, the later rounds were dominated by non-team members which had little affect on the overall points standings.  Taking the win was David Dowdell in his quick 2003 Corvette when Joy Linehan in her Chevelle red-lighted her chances away by -.002!  The lone semi-finalist was tough High School competitor and former Junior Dragster standout, Krystal Book.  A quarter-final finish by 2008 Sportsman Track Champion, John Joines, propelled him into a slim points lead over tough competitor C.W. Hoefer in the early battle for 2009 honors.  The ever-growing Motorcycle category saw 41 bikes vie for a shot at the money!  Clearly one of the largest bike fields in Division 7, Auto Club Dragway is becoming the place to race for motorcycle competitors.  Taking the win was Augustine Herrera on his Kawasaki over defending Motorcycle Track Champion, Aaron Pine.  Herrera used a dead-on-the-dial 8.370 to take the big win over Pine who broke out trying to catch up from a tardy leave.  Darren Murphy was the lone semi-finalist on his Suzuki.  The win for Herrera moved him into second place for the end of season championship and the runner-up finish for Pine allowed him to keep his pace from last season at the top of the pack by 22 points.  Finally, taking the big win in the Summit High School category was Emily Swanson.  Emily, who also turned in a quarter-final finish in Sportsman, took the win over the newest Hoefer to hit the racing scene.  Craig Hoefer red-lighted his chances at victory away with a -.067 giving Emily another win to add to her growing total.  Emily was dialed to win anyway and went through the finish line with a 15.022 on her 15.02 dial on her victory lap!  Point’s leader Daniel Sweitzer was the lone semi-finalist.  The runner-up finish by Hoefer moved him into second in the category’s point’s battle, trailing Sweitzer by only eleven points. 

Despite the rain washing race four away on Sunday, Saturday’s action was worth the price of admission and the huge car and motorcycle counts again prove that Auto Club Dragway is the premiere place to race in Southern California.  Be sure to check out the schedule for upcoming events and come be a part of the action at Auto Club Dragway - “The Track of Champions!”

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