LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway saluted its top performers of the 2018 season this past weekend with the annual awards banquets for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program and the X-Press Signs Stock Car Series.
The celebration of the Dragway season was held on Friday night at the Variety Club Banquet Hall in Lancaster. Dale Eckert of South Wales, N.Y. was crowned champ in Top ET for the second-straight year. Eckert now has 12 track championships over the last 13 seasons. In McGard Mod ET, Jeff Kerl of Cheektowaga, N.Y. claimed fourth career class championship, and first since 2009. Mike Peters of Angola, N.Y. took top honors in Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds for the third year in a row. Mason Fix of Amherst, N.Y., was honored as Tread City Tire Street ET champion as he also was a “three-peat” champion.
The Sportsman of the Year award went to competitor Dave Texido for his efforts behind the scenes at Lancaster Dragway. The second annual Libby Gayman Award went to Ann-Marie Nugent in honor of her support of Team Lancaster at the IHRA Summit Team Finals.
Passero, Banas, Puglia & Wischman take season finale wins
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Dragway put a wrap on its 2018 Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing season on Friday night. With the end of another successful season of straight-line racing, the track champions were crowned in all four weekly classes.
Dale Eckert of South Wales, N.Y. earned his second-straight Top ET track title. Eckert now has 12 track championships over the last 13 seasons with run of 10 Mod ET championships from 2006-2016. In McGard Mod ET, Jeff Kerl of Cheektowaga, N.Y. claimed fourth career class championship, and first since 2009. Mike Peters of Angola, N.Y. took top honors in Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds for the third year in a row. Second-generation driver, Mason Fix of Amherst, N.Y., had already sewn up his third Tread City Tire Street ET championship in a row heading into the final race of the season.
It was three-way race for the Top ET championship with Jan Winkowski leading both Eckert and Mike Swinarski by 10 points at the start of the event. Winkowski was eliminated in the first round paving the way for Eckert and Swinarski to take advantage. Swinarski did not get past the second round, while Eckert made it to the semi-finals to clinch his 13th championship.
Mason Fix clinches Street ET track title
LANCASTER, NY – Clay Ricketson of East Aurora, N.Y. scored two class victories on Friday night at Lancaster National Dragway. Ricketson grabbed the win in McGard Mod ET and then took top honors in the special Heads-Up 7.50 Index class presented by Slim Stang Racing.
It was the next-to-last night of the season for the Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing Program and drivers looking to go as many rounds as possible to score the maximum amount of points. Ricketson started the night second in McGard Mod ET points with teammate Dale Eckert as they trailed Jeff Kerl & Keith Banas by 50 points.
Ricketson’s final round matchup in Mod was almost a heads up race as he and his opponent Ben Haight had nearly identical dial-ins. He got a break when Haight broke out by one ten-thousandth (.0001) of a second to pick up his first win of the night.
The Heads-Up 7.50 Index class typically runs on Tuesday night, but was added to the Friday night program following the cancellation of the last Tuesday night program of the season. Ricketson met Keith Kraemer in the final, and once good fortune was on his side as Kraemer tripped the red light to hand the win to Ricketson.
Cleveland, Pepi, Kerl & Nearhoof score victories
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Dragway hosted its popular Big Rig Night on Friday. Over 45 semi trucks, dump trucks and pick-up trucks were part of the 200 vehicles in competition for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program.
Mason Fix of Amherst, N.Y. scored victories in both Tread City Street and the special Pick-Up Truck class sponsored by Halleen’s Automotive. Fix beat Scott Baron for his third win of the year in Street, and then defeated Meg Grzekiewicz in the Pick-Up Truck final for his second win of the evening. Fix had a chance to go for a hat trick in McGard Mod, but lost in the semifinals.
In Top 8 Eliminator, Wayne Cleveland of Williamsville, N.Y. went to victory lane for the second time in 2018. Cleveland got the win after Bill Bigham triggered the red light in the finals. Fran Pepi of Lancaster got his first win of the season Top ET. Pepi edged Tony Galuzzi in his final run of the night to pick up the win.
LANCASTER, NY – Lancaster National Dragway has canceled its Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing program for August 17. Afternoon rain showers combined with the significant threat of evening thunderstorms forced officials to pull the plug on racing for the first time in the 2018 season.
The X-Press Signs Stock Car Series event scheduled for tomorrow is still on as planned. Racing starts at 6:30 p.m. for the Tommy Druar/Tony Jankowiak Memorial 110 for the Race of Champions Modified Series.
Drag racing action continues Tuesday night with Advance Auto Parts Test & Tune, Amateur Drags, Junior Dragsters and 7.50 Index Heads-Up class. Wednesday night Grudge Racing resumes this week after a two week break as well.
Next Friday is Big Rig Night for the Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program. We will run special drag racing classes for big rigs, dump trucks and more. Time trials start at 5 p.m.
Alcohol Funny Cars thrill fans in exciting match races
LANCASTER, NY – Joe Skok of Lancaster wrapped up quite a week on Friday night at Lancaster National Dragway. Skok took the win in McGard Mod ET on Friday for his third victory and fourth final round appearance in the past six days.
Skok’s hot streak started during last weekend’s Sunday Nostalgia event where he won Comp Eliminator on both Saturday on Sunday. He then advanced to the final round of a special Tuesday night Box/No-Box Shootout, but could not get his third win in a row. Skok’s “Head Knocker” Chevrolet Nova was back in a final round during Franco’s Pizza Friday Night Drag Racing as he defeated Eddie Semlitsch in the Mod ET finals for his third class victory in six days.
Mike Swinarski of Orchard Park, N.Y. scored his second win of the year in Top 8 Eliminator and his third win overall at Lancaster in 2018. He picked up the win after Wayne Cleveland triggered the red light in the finals. Swinarski was recently named to the 2018 class of the Lancaster National Dragway Wall of Fame. He’ll be inducted during the season awards banquet in November.
In Top ET, Paul Cochi of Amherst, N.Y. earned his first win of the season after a red light by his opponent, Dale Eckert. The only final round that wasn’t decided by a red light was Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds as Vic Puglia of Tonawanda, N.Y. scored his third win of the season. Puglia beat Patrick Vaughan despite Vaughan having nearly two second head start on the starting tree.
Mallare & Maduri, Sr. win Dynabrade Top ET specials
LANCASTER, NY – Frank Malvaso of Rochester is always threat to win when he comes to Lancaster National Dragway. Malvaso’s 1933 “Rush” Willy’s has had success in a number of events in recent years, and this past Friday night Malvaso added another Lancaster win to his resume as he conquered the field of Supercharged Bountyhunters as part of Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing.
Malvaso defeated David Texido in the Supercharged Bountyhunters finals as Texido had to pedal the car down the strip to maintain traction. Malvaso ran 4.328 seconds at 169.15 mph in the 1/8-mile to pick up the win.
Dynabrade sponsored Top 8 Eliminator and Top ET on Friday to set up a special night for both classes. Jimmy Mallare of Lancaster defeated the Dynabrae-sponsored Chevrolet S-10 of Pete Maduri, Jr. to win Top 8 Eliminator. Maduri was making his first appearance at his home track since winning his first-ever NHRA National Event at the New England Nationals in Epping, N.H. on July 8. The final run was nearly a heads-up race with both drivers’ dial-ins separated but only .04 seconds. The slight advantage on the starting tree gave Mallare the margin he needed to pick up the win.