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2012 Atlanta $10,000 Results

Tim Glover: Atlanta Dragway story on Atlanta 10000 event 

ATLANTA SPEED SHOP HOSTS TENTH EDITION OF ATLANTA $10,000                                  

(Commerce, GA – October 13) After a 40 year hiatus, Atlanta Speed Shop hosted the tenth edition of the popular Atlanta $10,000 Drag Races and Car Show at Atlanta Dragway on October 13, 2012. For the history buffs, the Atlanta $10,000 was one of the first “Big Money” races held in the country. The first nine were held at Atlanta Speed Shop Dragway in Covington, GA from 1964 to 1972. Nostalgia Top Fuel and Funny Cars from the 60s were featured, along with a Gasser Shootout class of vintage race cars racing in a Chicago style format that thrilled the fans, Nostalgia Super Stock cars and Nostalgia Comp, Nostalgia Gas and Hot Rod classes.

Thrilling the fans, the nitro burning Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars were loud and unpredictable. Richard Hartman’s Carolina Cruiser ’55 Chevy was the fastest car on the grounds, posting a best time of 6.262 at 223.06mph. Troy Ray brought his “Wild Side” ’69 Charger to the event, and gave fans a scare when the suspension broke during the burnout, forcing the car over to the wall. Randall Davis entered his restored 70-1/2 Camaro “Dixie Twister” that used to belong to Houston Platt. However, like Ray, he was unable to run when his “dry hop” broke a radius rod after the car came back down to the ground. Keith “Rooman” Burgin from Australia treated fans to a pass with his “Back Yard Guys” Top Fueler. Following that, Julius Hughes III debuted his ZOT VI Top Fuel dragster, which he and his crew had just finished building at 6:00 am Saturday morning. After a good launch, he eased off to a 10.88 at 81 mph.

A “Geezer Alley” exhibition was set up in the midway to allow people to meet and greet racing greats from the past, including Jim Erler who used to announce for Atlanta Speed Shop Dragway and Gene Cromer. The Car Show took up a large space in the pits, featuring dozens of examples of hot rods, ranging from “rat rods”, which were still plenty fast but a bit lacking in the appearance department, to full on customs, like the “Creamsicle” sherbet orange Camaro. The swap meet area also featured a plethora of vintage muscle car parts for sale.

Tom Pellete from Spartanburg, SC just finished building his version of a Nostalgia car and brought it to Atlanta for its racing debut. It is a 1937 Fiat Altered, featuring a flip-up body, a 239 Ford flathead V8 bored out to 267 cubic inches, a tube frame and many other old school items. As most do, he took it easy on its first time out, easing it to 13 second times in the quarter mile.

In addition to the posted purse, class winners (excluding bracket classes) were awarded custom made trophies made by Atlanta Speed Shop from former top fuel engine parts, which had seen extreme action. The racers raved about the trophies, and were as excited about them as the purse.

The final four Gasser Shootout competitors in competition were Ron Bloomquist (’51 Henry J – Mooresburg, TN), Greg Porter (’55 Chevrolet – Greenville, SC), Quain Stott (’41 Willys – Columbia, NC) and Steven McLeod (’67 Chevelle – Anderson, SC).

Andrew Wheeler from Loganville, GA ended his day in the number one spot of Nostalgia Super Stock with his ’74 Charger. Wheeler met Tim Stefina’s Auburn, GA based ’64 Mercury Comet in the final, and took the double breakout victory after Stefina went under his Index more than Wheeler. Wheeler’s times were 10.99 at 121.53mph (11.00 Index). Although he crossed the top end stripe 0.08 seconds in front of Wheeler, Stefina’s 11.47 at 116.78mph was 0.03 seconds under his 11.50 Index, handing the win to Wheeler. Stephen Moore (’73 Duster – Winder, GA) and Mike Davis (’66 GTO – Monroe, GA) earned the semi-finalist’s portion of the purse.

Nostalgia Comp featured a first time race winner, Jeff Sanford, Jr from Campobello, SC. Sanford met former Bracket Racing USA and Drag Racing USA editor “Double A” Dale Wilson’s Alpharetta, GA based front engine dragster in the Comp final, and got the win with his ’87 Spitzer roadster after Wilson’s machine started losing traction down track. Sanford’s time was 10.14 at 101.92mph (10.00 Index) and Wilson posted a 10.15 at 88.40mph (9.00 Index). “I’ve been third and fifth before, but this is the first time I have ever won. I can’t wait until next year,” added the happy Sanford. Richard Killian’s wild looking Canton, GA based ’28 Ford, powered by an 820 cubic inch former Kaase Pro Stock engine, placed in the semi-final round.

Nostalgia Gas was won by Tom Moran from Walhalla, SC. Moran, who began racing in 1995, slowed his ’72 Swinger to the winning time of 11.36 at 91.19mph (10.50 Index) after his opponent, Joe McLaughlin (’71 Nova – McDonough, GA) fell way off pace with an 11.69 at 83.46mph (9.50 Index). The semi-finalist pair was Erwin Aderhold (’51 Henry J – Woodstock, GA) and Lou Salemi (’65 Chevy II – Hoschton, GA). “I was just lucky. It was a fun day. I hope they do it again next year,” added Moran.

The Wagner family entered their cars in numerous classes, and by the end of the day, Steve Wagner was the number one man in Hot Rod. Wagner took control of the final with a 0.015 react, and then trimmed the speed of his Jefferson, GA based ’71 Duster a little on the top end to a 12.75 at 104.48mph (12.70 dial) against John Hobb’s beautiful ’55 Chevrolet, which had slowed a little more to an 11.89 at 112.01mph (11.82). Chad Brewer (’67 Camaro – Canton, GA) was the lone semi-finalist. “I give God the glory for the win. Also, I want to thank ABC paint and my family for their help. I also had a few lucky breaks,” added Wagner.

Mixing things up a bit, Hank Wilhelm of Commerce, GA jumped into the seat of Don Brown Jr’s ’03 Spitzer dragster, and enjoyed immediate success. He met Mark Milford (’71 Vega – Canon, GA) in the final, and although Milford had a small advantage in the reaction time department (.011 to Wilhelm’s .034), Wilhelm prevailed with a 4.76 at 139.17mph (4.74 dial). Milford’s car fell off pace to a 6.27 at 111.19mph (6.20 dial). Kevin Brown of Boiling Springs, SC was the sole Super Pro semi-finalist. Wilhelm is no stranger to the Super Pro winner’s circle, and has been in three finals just in 2012. “I did everything he told me. Thanks to Big Don for loaning all of the parts we needed, and thanks to Don Jr for the coaching,” added Wilhelm.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Loganville, GA Pro racer Rob Hogue had been out of racing for nearly two years. He began making rounds with his ’68 Camaro, earned the runner-up spot at the recent NOPI Nationals, and then won tonight’s Pro event against Eddie Chapman from McDonough, GA. Both racers were wired to the tree (Hogue’s react was .022 seconds and Chapman’s was .020) and neither gave up anything at the finish line. After the smoke cleared, and the numbers were tallied, Hogue scored the win with a 0.02 under 7.310 at 93.42mph on the 7.33 dial, and Chapman broke out a little more with a 0.027 under 5.993 at 112.54mph (6.02 dial). Brian Massingale (V8 powered ’68 VW Beetle – McDonough, GA) and Stephen Moore (’73 Duster – Winder, GA) ended their day in the semi-final round. “I had a great time. Now my wife Kim and her son Dalton are addicted,” added Hogue with a smile.

Mel Abney from Cumming, GA added another Sportsman win under his belt with his ’67 Camaro. Abney met another Wagner family member, Nick in the final round. Abney’s Camaro crossed the win stripe 0.027 seconds in front of Wagner’s Jefferson, GA based ’04 Neon, breaking out slightly with an 11.997 at 112.00mph (12.00 dial). However, Wagner broke out by a larger margin, posting a 12.799 at 106.54mph run (12.86 dial). Steve Wagner, who had already won Hot Rod, made it to the Sportsman semi-final round, along with Mike “Critter” Garland (’94 Infiniti G20T – Hoschton, GA). “I’m gonna get Wagner next time,” promised Garland. “This has been a fun day, with all the Nostalgia racers. I also got lucky in the semis,” Abney added.

After several years away from the action, David Fletcher has been moving up the ladder in Pro ET Motorcycle. Tonight he made it back to the winner’s circle again. His final round opponent was Shawn Welch (’82 Suzuki – Waynesboro, GA). The round was over as soon as Welch left the starting line too soon, leaving the red light glowing. Rubbing it in further, his bike was close to the dial-in time, running 8.801 at 143.89mph (8.81 dial). Fletcher’s Lawrenceville, GA based ’84 Kawasaki also broke out with a 9.187 at 140.78mph (9.20 target). Paul Cavanaugh (’02 Hayabusa – Loganville, GA) and Brian Wilson (’95 Suzuki – Tallapoosa, GA) were the semi-finalists. Fletcher thanked Paul Cavanaugh and Scott Saemisch for all their help with the win. Move over Tim Sutton, Fletcher’s on his way!

Randy Barnett of Colbert, GA has been a Year One Fast Friday regular for quite a while, and made the jump into Atlanta Dragway competition today, doing quite well. His ’08 Suzuki was off a little bit in the final round, posting a 9.97 at 143.31 (9.70 dial), but it didn’t matter after Bill Benton from Cumming, GA lit up the dreaded cherry colored starting line bulb with his ’76 Honda. Benton’s bike went on to a breakout 12.18 at 110.75mph (12.26 dial). Steve Jackson from Bogart, GA and Michael Howard from Pelzer, SC made it all the way to the semi-final round.

The last cars on the track were old school nitro burning Top Fuel dragsters, there to show the fans how the racecars were push started by their tow vehicles, and then they idled the engines for a while in what is called a “Cacklefest” with several nitromethane burning engines all running at the same time.

After the event was complete, promoter Julius Hughes III added, “It was a booming success. We had great weather and great participation. This was a great start for bringing back the Atlanta $10,000.”

Win: Andrew Wheeler ’74 Charger Loganville, GA 10.99 121.53 (11.00)
R/U: Tim Stefina ’64 Comet Auburn, GA 11.47 116.78 (11.50)
Semi: Stephen Moore ’73 Duster Winder, GA
Semi: Mike Davis ’66 GTO Monroe, GA
Win: Jeff Sanford, Jr ’87 Roadster Campobello, SC 10.14 101.92 (10.00)
R/U: Dale Wilson ’97 Front engine Alpharetta, GA 10.15 88.40 (9.00)
Semi: Richard Killian ’28 Ford Canton, GA
Win: Tom Moran ’72 Swinger Walhalla, SC 11.36 91.19 (10.50)
R/U: Joe McLaughlin ’71 Nova McDonough, GA 11.69 83.46 (9.50)
Semi: Erwin Aderhold ’51 Henry J Woodstock, GA
Semi: Lou Salemi ’65 Chevy II Hoschton, GA
Win: Steve Wagner ’71 Duster Jefferson, GA 12.75 104.48 (12.70)
R/U: John Hobbs ’55 Chevrolet Conyers, GA 11.89 112.01 (11.82)
Semi: Chad Brewer ’67 Camaro Canton, GA
Win: Hank Wilhelm ’03 Spitzer dragster Commerce, GA 4.76 139.17 (4.74)
R/U: Mark Milford ’71 Vega Canon, GA 6.27 111.19 (6.20)
Semi: Kevin Brown ’00 dragster Boiling Springs, SC
Win: Rob Hogue ’68 Camaro Loganville, GA 7.31 93.43 (7.33)
R/U: Eddie Chapman ’69 Nova McDonough, GA 5.99 112.54 (6.02)
Semi: Stephen Moore ’73 Duster Winder, GA
Semi: Brian Massingale ’68 Beetle McDonough, GA
Win: Mel Abney ’67 Camaro Cumming, GA 11.997 112.00 (12.00)
R/U: Nick Wagner ’04 Neon Jefferson, GA 12.79 106.54 (12.86)
Semi: Steve Wagner ’71 Duster Jefferson, GA
Semi: Mike “Critter” Garland ’94 Infiniti G20T Hoschton, GA
Win: David Fletcher ’84 Kawasaki Lawrenceville, GA 9.18 140.78 (9.20)
R/U: Shawn Welch ’82 Suzuki Waynesboro, GA (foul) 8.801 143.89 (8.81)
Semi: Paul Cavanaugh ’02 Hayabusa Loganville, GA
Semi: Brian Wilson ’95 Suzuki Tallapoosa, GA
Win: Randy Barnett ’08 Suzuki Colbert, GA 9.97 143.31 (9.70)
R/U: Bill Benton ’76 Honda Cumming, GA (foul) 12.18 110.75 (12.26)
Semi: Steve Jackson ’00 motorcycle Bogart, GA
Semi: Michael Howard ’00 motorcycle Pelzer, SC
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