BYRUM DOMINATES @ CAPROCK
The Tate Branch/Southwest Superchargers kicked off the 2015 racing season in grand style April 25 @ Caprock Motorplex. A full field (and then some) of 16 blown competitors made the trip to start the season.
Moderate winds and temps greeted our supercharger enthusiasts as the first round of qualifying commenced around 6:00 p.m. Newcomer Eddie Bell of the Odessa area pulled out of the lanes with Ray Stringers funny car in the opposite lane. Eddies pass was a soft 5.388/123.29 to Rays excellent 4.717/147.54 (4.70 index). What a way to start the new racing season! Next out was Sue Stringer and Buck Woolen Jr., both from Alamogordo. Bucks 5.286/137.61 outpaced Sues lazy 5.659/125.70. Ricky Esparza's front-engine dragster lined up vs. Buck Woolen Sr. next and Buck made a decent 4.815/146.10 to Ricky's fast but illegal 4.515/154.64. 2014 SWSC points champion Joe Navar squared off to run the local Eddy "Munster" Tidwell. Eddy's front motored car went a too-quick 4.597/153.06 to Joe's sweet 4.734/145.16. Andy Mears "Banzai" entry was next against Rodney Ferguson in Wayne Reinert's car from Hereford, Tx. Both cars were right on index, Mears 4.762/145.63 to Rodney's 4.687/151.01. Rickie Weeaks' Ford-powered altered met Gary Hill's dragster in the 6th pair. Rickie's car had a major mechanical gremlin (no time) as Hill made a nice 4.763/145.63. SWSC "jefe" Don David and past points champ Lyle Byrum were the next pair up. Both went under, Dons 4.670/147.06 closer than Lyles 4.658/150.00. Keith Mauldin next met Jacob Penner with Keith having the better numbers, his 4.945/143.31 to Jacobs 5.043/141.51.
Rd. 2 Qualifying got under way with Buck Woolen Jr. and Eddie Bell doing the ritual burnout routine. Buck developed a leak and was sent to the back of the line to repair and regroup. Eddie improved to a 4.975/136.78. Buck Woolen Sr. and Sue Stringer went off next . Sue could only muster a 5.359/123.63 to Bucks 5.149/144.23. Ray Stringer ran Andy Mears for the third pair. Andy made a great 4.724/147/06 to Rays ladder-topping 4.696/146.58. Great SWSC side-by-side heads-up racing! Gary Hill pulled out to race Don David and Don ran 4.871/144.23 to Gary's closer 4.648/147.54. Eddy Tidwell vs. Rodney Ferguson was next and Rodney made a nice 4.738/148.51 to Eddy's officially ignored 4.552/150.50. What a drag! Keith Mauldin met Jacob Penner in Q-2. Penner went 4.810/145.63 to Keith's 4.891/144.69. Two SWSC points champions, Joe Navar vs. Lyle Byrum. Joe came out with the better of the two passes, his 4.718/145.16 to Lyles 4.667/148.51. Buck Woolen Jr. fired again for Q-2 vs. Rickie Esparza. These two young guns (compared to their racing fathers) made a great side by side, Bucks 4.734/146.58 to Rickie's 4.607/146.10. Rickie Weeaks made a single and limped through to a 6.552/123.63. What a great qualifying session. The field tightened up seriously in Q-2.
So here is how the 8-car qualified ladder shook out. #1 Qualifier was Ray Stringer, only .004 seconds off the SWSC index. His opposite would be #8 Gary Hill in Rd 1 elims. Gary's best was only .052 off index. #2 Rodney Ferguson (.013 off) would meet #7 Buck Woolen Jr. (.034). #3 Joe Navar (.018) would race #6 Lyle Byrum (.033). And in the middle #4 Andy Mears would race #5 Don David (.030 off index). Notice a phenomena the SWSC is very proud of. The spread of the qualified field was just .052 seconds from the 4.70 index to the farthest from the index. Well less then one tenth of a second .What a group! #9 Rickie Esparza (.093), #10 Jacob Penner (.110), #11 Buck Woolen Sr. (.115), #12 Keith Mauldin (.191), #13 Eddie Bell (.275), #14 Sue Stringer (.652), #15 Rickie Weeaks (1.852), and #16 (two officially disqualified passes more than .10 under index).
Rd 1 SWSC Eliminations started with #4 Andy Mears and #5 Don David starting the monsters for a duel. Don went under index (4.664/145.16) as Andy took the win with a great 4.713/147.06. #1 Ray Stringer vs. #8 Gary Hill was next through the burnout box. Rays funny hiked the front end and tried to turn left. He lifted as Gary Hill went to the finish line for the win, 4.784/121.95 to Rays 7.787/76. #2 Rodney Ferguson met #7 Buck Woolen...but Bucks reluctant mount burned an ignition rotor and failed to fire. Quickly #9 qualifier Rickie Esparza was substituted. In a great challenge Rodney took the stripe with a great 4.725/149.01 vs. Rickie's red light-initiated 4.563/141.07. #3 Joe Navar met #6 Lyle Byrum in the final Pair. Lyle got the win light when his 4.745/147.06 won over Joes sub-index pass 4.689/145.16. WHEW!
Rd 2 began with #4 Andy Mears meeting #8 Gary Hill. Mears advance via his 4.746/145.63 vs. Gary's under pass of 4.698/145.63, just .002 seconds! #2 Rodney Ferguson and #6 Lyle Byrum were next. A nice close race was decided in Lyle s favor due to his 4.729/146.58 to Rodney's game 4.781/149.01.
The final was #4 Andy Mears r.e.d. from Lubbock and supported By Mears Mazda vs. #6 Lyle Byrum (funny car) with help from ATI Jet Charter of El Paso. These two are regulars and tough competitors always. But we have to have a winner and a runner-up. Andy red lighted by .077, ran a great 4/741/146.58 to Lyle winning 4.796/147.54. Excellent race! From Q-1 on.
Our Thanks to Caprock Motorplex. We'll see you again in October! Special Thanks to the Tate Branch family of dealerships of New Mexico. Your involvement is greatly appreciated! And to all the sponsors who contribute to the SWSC Bonus programs. ATI Jet, Mears Mazda, Drag Parts/Good Vibrations, Gary Hill, Gary Smith/SWSC, TR Chassis/Rick Esparza.
Winner of our Bonus Programs were:
Good Vibration Quick Light Bonus Lyle Byrum funny car .019
Gary Hill's #1 Qualifier Ray Stringer funny car .003 off index
Gary Smith/SWSC Best Pass Andy Mears dragster 4.713
ATI Jet Quick Qualifier Lyle Byrum funny car 4.667
TR Chassis/Rick Esparza Progressive Qualifier Gary Hill dragster #8
Mears Mazda Winner Bonus Lyle Byrum
Mears Mazda Runner-Up Bonus Andy Mears
The SWSC started a Bonus Program for Junior Dragster at this race. At all races we attend where junior dragsters are racing, the SWSC will sponsor a Winner and Runner-up Bonus Program. $75 to the Winner, $25 Runner-Up Bonus. Good Luck, Juniors!
Stay Tuned! We are still booking races for the 2015 season. El Paso Motorplex is next on our current schedule, June 6. We'll see you at the races!