Ricky "Rocks" Amarillo
The Southwest Superchargers put on their latest race/show @ the New Amarillo Dragway June 16. Ten SWSC wheezer fanatics made the trek to this historical North Texas track.
Qualifying began with Ricky Esparza (Mesilla, NM) and our old bud Mike McCoy (Pueblo, CO) lighting up their respective rides to be the the first pair down the Amarillo eighth mile. Mikes first pass in a year netted him a soft 5.3540/140.53 vs. Rickys 4.9840/132.73. Next up was Lubbock neighbors Mike Jones and Andy Mears. A nice close drag race foretold of things to come, Andy's 4.8038/147.53 outpacing Mikes 4.8450/146.65. Pair 3 was Clay Cunningham (Dumas, TX) and Jacob Penner (Seminole, TX). Clays dragster went a decent 4.8750/142.40 against Jacobs 4.7849/149.00. Gary Smith (Lubbock, TX) met Lyle Byrum (El Paso, TX) and Lyles 4.8000/144.27 was a touch quicker than Gary's 4.9311/139.71. Finally an SWSC newcomer made his first pass with the group. Bill Ort (Lovington, NM) brought his sharp-looking fuel coupe to the track to get his racing feet wet, finish his licensing requirements, and see how close he was to the SWSC 4.70 eighth mile index. Bill first squirt down the Amarillo track yielded a soft-but-safe 6.4411/100.00.
Q-2 was the mirror image of Q-1 as McCoy and Esparza paired up but switched lanes in the first pair. Mike M. improved (Thanks to Mikes new Toyo drag slicks!) to a 5.2102/110.53 vs. Ricky's sub-index 4.6307/150.56. Next the Boys of Lubbock went off. Mike J. clicked off a 4.8331/145/17 against Andy's top shelf 4.7140/149.46. Clay Cunningham paired with Lyle Byrum for the next pair. Lyles 4.7681/145.63 looked pretty good, until we looked to the other scoreboard and saw Clay put up a spectacular 4.7048/149.13! On a 4.700 index! Nice! Gary Smith and Jacob were next through the box. Gary stepped up nicely with his 4.8369/142.88 but Jacob had a better 4.7140/150.50. Now wait. Haven't I seen that number somewhere recently? Yeah, Andy Mears had the same e.t., to the ten-thousandth of a second! We had to go to the m.p.h. to see who qualified better on the ladder (Jacob by 1.04 m.p.h.). Forget Pro Stock, these guys provide the tightest fields anywhere! Bill Ort's funny made the last run of the round and improved to a 5.9919/109.78 to complete his licensing requirements and his first qualifying attempt at the SWSC.
Awright Race fans, we went back and crunched numbers from the qualifying sheets and time slips and the pairings went like this:
#1 Qualifier Clay Cunningham (.0048 off index) would race #8 Mike McCoy (.510) in the first round of eliminations. #2 Jacob Penner (.0140) would meet #7 Gary Smith (.1369). #3 Andy Mears (.0140) would get #6 Mike Jones (.133) and #4 Lyle Byrum (.0681) would see #5 Ricky Esparza (.0700). Missing the field was #9 Bill Ort (best pass 1.292 off index) and the Blakelys (Brittny, Paul, Lisa) who had converter troubles right out of the trailer, no times.
By 10:00 p.m. our windmill racers were lined up and ready to rock! #1 Clay Cunningham was rarin’ to go and our soon-to-be-70 birthday boy Mike McCoy was right there. Mike gave up a first pass win light when his 4.9727/131.57 was not enough to out last Clays quicker 4.8551/138.52. Next the Lubbock neighbors of #3 Andy Mears and #6 Mike Jones pulled up to do battle. One of the closest races of the night came to pass as Mike surrendered a 4.7878/147.63 to Andy's 4.7603/135.47. #4 Lyle Byrum and and #5 Ricky Esparza. Again these two racers are almost neighbors (less than 40 miles neighbors). Lyles better reaction time (.464 vs Ricky's .5809) was for naught as Ricky's better e.t. took the stripe (4.7670/149.51 to Lyles under-index 4.6578/146.60). #2 Penner met #7 Smith in the last pair. Gary stepped up and made a nice pass of 4.9872/138.86 but Penner's 4.7798/142.51 got there first and advanced to Rd 2.
And then the rains came. It began to blow, and rain, and these poor ol' mountain folks worried about funnel clouds. Then the lady on the PA said "There's been a funnel cloud sighted at Happy, TX., so we’ll finish up tomorrow at 10:00 a.m." So we high tailed it outa there and headed for the relative safety of our hotel to wait it out. Of course no worse weather was ever sighted and the threat was minimal. We’d be glad to come back in the morning and finish up.
Round 2 SWSC Elims started the next morning when Andy "Quick Time" Mears, the #3 qualifier met Jacob "Pistachio" Penner, #2. Andy didn’t disappoint as he left with a .403 light (to Penners .481) and made a holeshot win out of the race when his 4.7748/145.25 out distanced Penner's quicker/faster 4.7381/150.06! Next Clay and Ricky had a de ja vous moment when their race went the same. Clays quicker/faster 4.7161/144.61 LOST to Ricky's 4.7218/130.92! Probably had to replace the Wilwoods after that pass! And what a race! Decided at the line by .0540 seconds.
Now we get to the SWSC Final. Mears has been KILLING the tree all night (.416, .412, .403) and Ricky has been winning with good r.t.s and solid times. Andy has been racing for umpteen years and this may be Ricky's first serious effort in a drag car. So... how did they do? Mears got to the loud pedal a little quicker than last pass and lit the dreaded red bulb to Ricky. The Amarillo clocks power quit right after that, but by that time the SWSC already had a winner, without numbers to judge by or a win light on the scoreboards. Andy defaulted by foul and Ricky Esparza got his first event win with the SWSC. Reaction times did show Andy had a .3512 to Rickys .4500 and 60’ times were Andys 1.0867 vs Rickys 1.0530. Great Show Guys!
Our Thanks to the Management and Staff of The New Amarillo Dragway for a great track and a great time. We hope to return in 2013!
The ATI Jet Quick Qualifier Bonus went to
Ricky Esparza for his 4.630 in Rd 2 Qual
Good Vibrations Quick Light for the best r.t. of elims went to Andy Mears .403 in Rd 2
Mears Mazda Winner Bonus to Ricky Esparza
Mears Mazda Runner Up Bonus to Andy Mears
SWSC Closest to Index Pass bonus went to Clay Cunningham for his 4.7161 in Rd 1
Follow us as we next go to Caprock Raceway in Odessa/Penwell, TX July 7! We’ll see you at the races!
140 m.p.h.+ 16
Spread of field .506 sec.