NORWALK — Avon’s David Roemer was the last local man standing at the 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Nationals on Sunday.
After a record 14 local drivers entered the sixth annual event, Roemer won his opening race Sunday morning before losing in the semifinals of the Pro Mod class.
“It was like a dream come true,” Roemer said of his weekend. “That was the first time we’ve done this well at a national event, so that was exciting. Being that it was an NHRA race at home … that made it spectacular.”
More photos below.
Roemer downed Rickie Smith in the quarterfinals, beating Smith’s .090 reaction time with a .041, then putting up an elapsed time of 6.492 seconds compared to Smith’s 9.738.
“We were dealing with probably the best nitrous car out here,” Roemer said. “Rickie Smith, I watched him race since I was little, so it was pretty exciting to get to race against him. I left on him and got the win, so that made it even more special.”
Roemer’s run came to an end with a semifinal loss to Donald Walsh. Trying to gain an edge on the favorite, Roemer left .204 of a second early and red-lighted. Walsh ran the lap at 5.887 seconds and 253.85 mph.
In the car with David Roemer:
“That round was real stiff competition,” Roemer said. “I went for the tree and it just didn’t work out … I went red. But I knew I had to do something special to get him. He made a spectacular run.”
Roemer, who will race in Martin, Mich., next weekend, said he got plenty of support from the local fans.
“It puts you in awe,” he said. “Looking around, seeing everyone cheering for you. We’ve gotten all kinds of emails — an avalanche.”
Force be with you
A drag racer would prefer to win due to a great car, a solid setup and a fantastic reaction time … but sometimes they’re just fine with a little luck.
That was the case for a pair of John Force Racing team members during first-round runs in the Funny Car class.
Robert Hight captured a win when top qualifier Johnny Gray’s parachutes deployed during his burnout, giving Hight a solo run down the track.
“We dodged a bullet,” Hight said. “You really don’t want to win like that.”
Courtney Force advanced to the quarterfinals when Todd Lesenko faltered on his run, allowing Force to bounce back from a .222 reaction time.
“I screwed up big-time as a driver,” she said. “I had a horrible light and I want to say sorry to my team.”
The luck was short-lived as both drivers were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
The Wally goes to …
- Walsh beat Troy Coughlin — Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s brother — with an ET of 5.893 to capture the Pro Mod championship.
- Bill Reichert defeated Dan Page with an ET of 5.334 to capture the Top Alcohol Dragster title.
- Paul Gill beat Cassie Simonton with an ET of 5.639 to win the Top Alcohol Funny Car title.
- David Rampy beat Bo Butner with an ET of 7.303 to win the Competition Eliminator title.
- Chad Taylor beat Jeff Dona with an ET of 10.414 to win the Super Stock title.
- Larry Hill beat Randy Wilkes with an ET of 10.538 to win the Stock Eliminator title.
- Alan Kenny defeated Brad Plourd with an ET of 8.911 to win the Super Comp title.
- Nathan Vrooman beat Columbus’ Steve Theodor with an ET of 9.952 to win the Super Gas title.
- l Strongsville’s Gary Wojnowski Sr. beat Jeff Sexton with an ET of 6.906 to win the Top Sportsman title.
- l Mike Laws beat Bob Mandell with an ET of 6.729 to win the Top Dragster title.
- Roemer wasn’t the only local driver competing Sunday in Norwalk. Avon’s Jerry Albert advanced to the Top Sportsman quarterfinals before his solid run came to a halt. Albert lost to eventual champion Wojnowski Sr. when he red-lighted by .116 of a second. Albert refused to comment after the run.
- Top Fuel driver Keith L. Murt picked up the first round win of his career when he beat Doug Kalitta in the first run of the day.
- Jason Line was 2-for-2 against Jeg Coughlin Jr. this weekend. Line beat Coughlin in the opening round of the K&N Horsepower Challenge on Saturday, then beat him again in the Pro Stock quarterfinals on Sunday.
1, Spencer Massey. 2, Steve Torrence. 3, Tony Schumacher. 4, David Grubnic. 5, Antron Brown. 6, Keith Murt. 7, T.J. Zizzo. 8, Hillary Will. 9, Shawn Langdon. 10, Doug Kalitta. 11, Clay Millican. 12, Cory McClenathan. 13, Bob Vandergriff. 14, Khalid alBalooshi. 15, Morgan Lucas. 16, Brandon Bernstein.
1, Mike Neff. 2, Tim Wilkerson. 3, Bob Tasca III. 4, Cruz Pedregon. 5, Courtney Force. 6, Jeff Arend. 7, Robert Hight. 8, Ron Capps. 9, Jack Beckman. 10, Daniel Wilkerson. 11, Matt Hagan. 12, Todd Lesenko. 13, Bob Bode. 14, Blake Alexander. 15, John Force. 16, Johnny Gray.
1, Vincent Nobile. 2, Jason Line. 3, Shane Gray. 4, Allen Johnson. 5, Jeg Coughlin. 6, Kurt Johnson. 7, Mike Edwards. 8, V. Gaines. 9, Greg Anderson. 10, Greg Stanfield. 11, Rodger Brogdon. 12, Ronnie Humphrey. 13, Ron Krisher. 14, Warren Johnson. 15, JR Carr. 16, Erica Enders.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1, Andrew Hines. 2, Hector Arana Jr. 3, Hector Arana. 4, Eddie Krawiec. 5, Steve Johnson. 6, Scotty Pollacheck. 7, John Hall. 8, Karen Stoffer. 9, Shawn Gann. 10, Michael Ray. 11, Matt Smith. 12, Jerry Savoie. 13, Chip Ellis. 14, LE Tonglet. 15, Mike Berry. 16, Angie Smith.
Top Fuel: Spencer Massey, 3.916 seconds, 312.50 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.894 seconds, 315.71 mph.
Funny Car: Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.217, 298.21 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.244, 296.96.
Pro Stock: Vincent Nobile, Dodge Avenger, 6.661, 208.01 def. Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.705, 207.88.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.929, 193.43 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.928, 191.84.
Top Alcohol Dragster: Bill Reichert, 5.334, 264.70 def. Dan Page, 5.436, 266.06.
Top Alcohol Funny Car: Paul Gill, Ford Mustang, 5.639, 255.92 def. Cassie Simonton, Chevy Monte Carlo, 12.598, 93.17.
Competition Eliminator: David Rampy, Bantam Roadster, 7.303, 178.85 def. Bo Butner, Chevy Cobalt, 8.541, 158.09.