Ricky Esparza Caps the SWSC Class @ El Paso Motorplex
The Tate Branch Auto Group/Southwest Superchargers met for the fifth time in the 2015 race season to extoll the virtues of blown alcohol racing @ El Paso Motorplex October 10. Ten supercharged faithful attacked the concrete trying to qualify for the 8-car field.
Qualifying began promptly @ 5:00 p.m. as the funny car crowd within the SWSC roared to life to bring the crowd to it's collective feet. Track owner and former SWSC Points Champion Lyle Byrum met another former SWSC Points Champ, Ray Stringer. Both fabulous floppers didn't disappoint, a great out-of-the-box 4.7519/145.44 for Ray to Lyles better 4.7241/146.29 (4.70 1/8 mile index). What a way to start a race! Next through the "bleach box" was Sue Stringer and popular slingshot driver Ricky Esparza. Sues representative and welcome 4.7742/145.96 was just a tick behind Ricky's excellent 4.7126/148.03. SWSC Top Kick Don David met Jacob Penner in the third pair. Both went sub-index, Dons 4.6615/146.87 closer to index than Jacobs 4.6150/150.91. Points leader Gary Hill ran Buck Woolen Jr. and Buck made a 4.8058/144.93 to Gary's sub- 4.6964/145.54 to top the ladder in Q-1. Al Seelig from El Paso, who we haven't seen in a while, came out to drive for John Brown. John brought his beautiful nostalgia Bantam AA/FA. Iron Hemi, wide front axle, leaf spring, 4-hole Enderle injection, 10-spoke fronts, this car has everything. And on its maiden voyage for the SWSC, a respectable pass (but no time). And Al's burn-out had the fans cheering for more! Great car, John!
Q-2 for the SWSC started with Ricky Esparza going a softer 4.9016/124.41 to Lyle Byrum's quicker 4.6924/146.39. Now here is where it got really interesting, at least for one SWSC racing family. Ray Stringer was going to qualify beside "Mom" Sue Stringer. Sue got away first and made a nice 4.7247/ to son Rays oh-so-close 4.7293/145.54. Sue said "First time I beat him to the stripe in 20 years" That's a tell. Next up was Don David and Jacob Penner . These two must have a rivalry going or something. Jacob slowed to a 4.8902/142.63 to Dons 4.7222/146.15. 2014 Points Champion Joe Navar met current point leader Gary Hill and Joe made the best pass of the round, 4.7045/145.35 to Gary's 4.7557/143.72. Finally Buck Jr went off beside Al Seelig. Al made a nice straight pass in that Bantam of 5.1877/137.78 to Bucky's quicker/faster 4.7474/145.63. Nice round, People!
The El Paso Motorplex print-out revealed the SWSC qualifying ladder as: #1 Qualifier Gary Hill (.0036 under index) vs. #8 Buck Woolen Jr (.0474). #2 Joe Navar (.0045) would meet #7 Ray Stringer (.0293). #3 Lyle Byrum (.0076) got #6 Sue Stringer (.0247). And #4 Ricky Esparza (.0126) would go against #5 Don David (.0222). #9 Jacob Penner (.0850 under) and #10 Al Seelig would sit this one out.
Allow me to take the time to Thank El Paso Motorplex Management and Staff for their tireless effort and unending work to prep this piece of West Texas concrete to such magnificent condition. Flawless! And such conditions produce the quickest SWSC field this season, and the second tightest field of our entire history. From #1 to #8, a mere .047 of a second! That's in thousandths, Friends! We love it and the El Paso fans are the beneficiaries of such conditions! Thanks again!
Round 1 SWSC Eliminations kicked off as #3 Lyle Byrum's funny car fired to do battle vs. #6 Sue Stringers dragster. Sue went a spectacular .019 on the tree and took the win light, 4.7537/145.26 to Lyles close 4.7929/138.21. Next pair was #2 Joe Navar and #7 Ray Stringer. Rays .056 r.t. helped him advance, 4.7351/145.07 to Joes quicker/faster 4.7215/145.35. #1 Gary Hill pulled through to meet #8 Buck Woolen Jr. Bucky's .013 light was not necessary as Gary went under-index, 4.6798/145.73 to Buckys winning and legal 4.7345/146.34. Finally in Rd-1 #4 Ricky Esparza met #5 Don David. Dons dragster has a penchant for doing red-light producing wheelstands, so too here. Dons .347 light AND sub-index 4.6696/147.98 gave the right to advance to Ricky, who went 5.6324/93.
The semi-final round of SWSC eliminations started as #6 Sue Stringer again met #7 Ray Stringer. Despite Sues better r.t., Ray took the win, his 4.9183/128.02 over Sues crooked/pedaling pass of 7.8272/70. The other half of the round was the match between second gen racers #4 Ricky Esparza and #8 Buck Woolen Jr. Bucky turned on the dreaded red bulb, .342/4.7398/145.63 to Ricky's winning 4.7783/144.
The SWSC final matched two of the fan favorites, #4 Ricky Esparza's slingshot to #7 Ray Stringers funny car. The night got cold, the track got a little loose, (or the tuners poured the methanol and boost to 'em), and the results were predictable. Ray rattled the tires, (1.03 60ft a bit to aggressive) just before Ricky got loose, both drivers pedaled, and Ricky Esparza got his first win! I didn't get any times/ stats for that final, sorry. And Rays first SWSC Final in the funny, a great night for his team as well.
OK, what a great race. Hope all in attendance had as great a time as we in the SWSC did. We hope to see you again next year! Stat tuned for the last SWSC race of the 2015 season October 24 in San Antonio! We'll see you at the races!
Winner Ricky Esparza.
Runner Up Ray Stringer
The SWSC Bonus programs were awarded.
TR Chassis/ Esparza Race Cars Progressive Qualifier Lyle Byrum (#3)
Good Vibrations Quick Light Bonus Ricky Esparza (.002 Rd 1)
Gary Hill #1 Qualifier Bonus Gary Hill
Gary Smith/SWSC Best Pass Joe Navar (4.7215 Rd 2)
ATI Jet Quick Qualifier Lyle Byrum
Mears Mazda Winner Ricky Esparza
Mears Mazda Runner-Up Bonus Ray Stringer