The Tate Branch/Southwest Superchargers put on their patented race/show Saturday Aug 15 @ El Paso Motorplex in front of a huge crowd of fans and even the weather had a great time. Mother Nature was kind, with only gusty breezes and a couple light showers.
After a warm West Texas afternoon, time trials for the SWSC kicked off around 8:30. Eleven regulars lined up to qualify for the 8-car field. Track owner Lyle Byrum's Daytona Funny car went an officially unrecognized 7.4566 vs. Ray Stringer's Cutlass-bodied funny in the opposite lane, 9.8948 (shook, lifted). SWSC Points Champ Joe Navar made a sweet 7.6963. Sue Stringer made a sub-index pass of 7.4386. Looks like the wrench found the lean-out problem they've had. Keith Mauldin put up a 8.600 in Mike Aton's car. Buck Woolen Jr. went 7.9299. Dad Buck Sr. made a 8.3157. Still working out the new injector. Ricky Esparza's slingshot left clean and straight for a nice 7.8663. Gary Hill put up a close 7.7213. SWSC head honcho Don David topped the chart with his 7.6132 (7.60 index). Jacob Penner went way under, 7.2755.
Check this out. ESPN 2 standout and NHRA Sportsman TV announcer Alan Reinhart was on the property with camera man all night Saturday night for a piece about NHRA's newest track, El Paso Motorplex. And they came down to the pits and did a bit on the Southwest Superchargers! Your SWSC mouthpiece/announcer got to do an interview and sing the praises of our SWSC! We'll let everyone know when we hear the time/date it will be aired.
Round 2 Qualifying began late and everyone was up to improve. Gary Hill did just that, 7.6187. So did Don David, 7.5983. Likewise Jacob Penner, 7.6258. Joe Navar stepped up to a 7.5916. Ricky Esparza improved with his 7.7303. Lyle Byrum made the show with a 7.5967. Buck Woolen Jr. went a sweet 7.7526. Sue Stringer went faster/quicker, 7.3630. Ray Stringer went sub-, 74822. Buck Sr made a 7.9450. But the show of the round was Keith Mauldin who grew a monster wheelie, completely out of character for a rear engine dragster, something around 4-6 feet. Landed badly, broke a mount on the chassis, and broke a spindle. Repairable, but not tonight.
So, the SWSC staff set about doing the math to determine the racing ladder. #1 Qualifier Don David (.0017! off index) would race #8 Buck Woolen (.350). #2 Lyle Byrum (.0033) would race #7 Buck Woolen Jr (.1526). #3 Joe Navar was to meet #6 Ricky Esparza (.1303). And in the middle #4 Gary Hill (.0187) would get #5 Jacob Penner (.0258). #9 Keith Mauldin (1.00 off), #10 Ray Stringer (1 pass 2.19 off, 1 pass too quick), and #11 Sue Stringer (two passes too fast/quick). would miss the 8-car qualified field.
SWSC Eliminations started with #4 Gary Hill roaring to life to meet #5 Jacob Penner. Both drivers could be heard pedaling their respective machines, doing the balancing act between winning and running under index. Hill came out on top, his soft 7.93 taking the stripe just ahead of Penner's 7.94. Next up was #1 Don David vs. #8 Buck Woolen Sr. Don got the win with a 7.81 as Buck's car, hopped up for this first round, over-powered his tires about half-track and made a violent turn to the wall. Lift, steer, save, but Buck's race day was over. #2 Lyle Byrum met #7 Buck Woolen Jr next. Buck Jr moved to Rd 2 on a soft 8.400 when Lyle ran sub-index, 7.5783. Last pair in E-1 was #3 Joe Navar and #6 Ricky Esparza. Joe took the win at 7.82 as Ricky's slingshot got a little loose, 9.23.
Rd 2 got off as #1 Don David ran #4 Gary Hill. It ended early when Don drew a bright red light to Gary's perfect 7.60 on the SWSC 7.60 index! Excellent! #3 Joe Navar ran #7 Buck Woolen Jr. for the other half of the round. Joes near perfect 7.61 out-paced Buck Jr's close 7.67.
The Southwest Superchargers final round came down to 2014 Point Champ Joe Navar (#3 Qualifier) vs. Gary Hill (#4 Qualifier), who has been doing very well in the points in 2015. At the green light, Joe's big block car spun viciously, allowing Gary's Mopar Wedge to go on to a 7.72 e.t. for the win. Congratulations to Gary, Barb, and son Randy on the win. And to the Navar Family on another final round!
OK, SWSC fans, another program in the history books. Stay tuned as the SWSC next travels to Albuquerque September 26-27. We'll see YOU at the races!
The SWSC wishes to Thanks ALL of our annual Sponsors, including Tate Branch Family of Dealerships in New Mexico, Good Vibrations Motorsports, TR Chassis of Las Cruces, Gary Smith, Gary Hill, ATI Jet, and Mears Mazda/Volvo of Lubbock. We couldn't do it without you! Thanks!
Winner Gary Hill from T or C NM.
Runner Up Joe Navar.
Our Bonus Programs were awarded:
TR Chassis/ Esparza Race Cars Progressive Qualifier #6 Ricky Esparza
Good Vibrations Quick Light Bonus Buck Woolen Jr .4129 in Rd 1
Gary Hill #1 Qualifier Bonus Don David
Gary Smith/SWSC Best Pass Gary Hill 7.60 in Rd 2
ATI Jet Quick Qualifier Joe Navar 7.5916
Mears Mazda Winner Bonus Gary Hill
Mears Mazda Runner-Up Bonus Joe Navar
Our Thanks to the Tate Branch Family of Dealerships and track owner Lyle Byrum for making it possible to have a quarter mile event for the fans and racers. Keep our sponsors in mind, they support drag racing!
We next travel to Pueblo, Colo. July 11, another 1/4 mile track. C'mon, we'll see you at the races!