Storms surrounded the Lone Star RC Dragway Saturday, September 15 but the winds and rain didn’t stop our 10 different class winners at the Garca Motorsports Nationals from grabbing critical championship points as the Texas division gets closer to crowning their champions.
(Late Recap Report)
Big ups to the “JConcepts Hole-Shot Award” winner- Matthew Munson with a PERFECT .000 reaction time light during first round eliminations!
In Top Fuel, Mitch Vaughn picked up his second victory of the 2018 Top Fuel season by outlasting a field of 9 talented drivers. In round one, Vaughn took out Donnie Johnson. In round two, Vaughn got past points leader Robert St. Pierre to earn the bye-run in the semi-finals and advance to the final round. On the other side of the ladder, defending 2017 champion David Mares defeated his son Brandon Mares in round one and was awarded the bye-run in round two. In the semi-finals, Mares defeated Willie Thomas to advance to face Vaughn in the Top Fuel final. With both teams laying down great runs and personal best et’s all day, this was a final to watch. When the tree came down both cars launched hard. Mares got off the line first and was racing to victory but at about 100 feet out, Mares dragster started to drift over to the wall and barely touched it and was disqualified. The wall tap was a tough pill to swallow for Mares but he took it like a champ. None the less, Mares went an event low 1.225 and is starting to find his grove with his CordovaResearch.com Mares Boys Racing Top Fuel Dragster. With the win, Vaughn jumps to number three in the Countdown points championship standings. Mares holds in second place and closes in on points leader St. Pierre now only down by 58 points. (#4 Mitchal Vaughn ◦.114 RT · 1.307 ET DEF. #2 David Mares ◦ .051 RT · 1.225 ET DQ)
Top 10 Best Elapsed Time in Top Fuel during this event:
David Mares R4 1.225
David Mares R3 1.239
Mitchal Vaughn R1 1.240
Mitchal Vaughn R2 1.249
David Goldstein Q2 1.260
David Mares Q2 1.276
David Mares Q1 1.294
Mitchal Vaughn Q2 1.300
David Mares R1 1.304
Mitchal Vaughn R4 1.307
2016 Pro Mod Champion Ant Wren picked up his seventh win of the season by outlasting the 15 car field. In round one, #1 qualifier Wren was awarded the bye-run. In the next two rounds, Wren put Mitch Vaughn and Duwayne Cooley on the trailer to advance to the finals.
On the other side of the ladder, defending 2017 Champion Darvione Huddleston was pushing his way through the field. In the early rounds, he sidelined Davey Goff and Dewayne Shipman before facing off against new Texas resident Roland “RC Jack” Jackson in the semi-finals. At the hit, Jackson clicked on the red light – handing the win over to the defending champ, advancing him to meet Wren in the finals for the third time this season. It may have been a different day but the same result. Wren has his car dialed in and once again was too much for Huddleston. (#1 Ant Wren ➧ .023 RT / 1.445 ET defeated #2 Darvione Huddleston ➧ .052 RT / 1.473 ET) MOV: .057
In the Pro Stock class, Ronald Jackson made his new home track debut in style at the Garca Motorsports Nationals. Jackson in the early rounds outlasted the Summit Racing Equipment driver Robert St. Pierre in round one. In round two, “RC Jack” was faced off against the #2 qualifier driver and member of the Jac’D Up Racing Team, rookie driver – Jill Wydrinski Miller. Jill was lined up in the Rudis Motorsports right lane, Jackson staged up in the Denton Tattoo Company left lane. Both cars fully staged, “watch the lights” came across the PA system, and the tree dropped. Both cars launched good, Jill had the slight starting line advantage but got loose and lost control of her Hot Rod and slammed into “RC Jack’s” car sending it flying off the track. After finding his car just south of Denton Texas, RC Jack advanced to the finals. (On a side note… Jill asked me to go into extreme details of that run. We love you Jill! Lol!)
On the other side of the ladder, It was Miller-Time! For the third event in a row, Jeremy Miller of the Jac’D up Racing Team was on the hunt and on his way to another final round in his Garca Motorsports built Pro Stock rocket. In qualifying, Miller grabbed the number one spot with a solid 1.693. In the early eliminations rounds, Miller defeated Ant Wren in round one and received the bye-run in round two. In the semi-finals, Marcus Talamantez then fell victim to Miller in a great side by side race. By only .022 seconds, Miller advanced to his sixth final round appearance of the season and went on to his fifth win in Pro Stock by defeating Ronald “RC Jack” Jackson. (#1 Jeremy Miller ➧ -0.011 RT / 1.679 ET defeated #5 Ronald Jackson ➧ -0.033 RT / 4.410 ET.) With his third win in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Jeremy Miller has a commanding 167 point lead over second place Davey Goff.
In Traxxas Pro Funny Car, Darvione Huddleston and Joshua Mercadel were on a final round collision course. The Bowman Performance powered pro funny driven by Huddleston qualified number two in the 8-car field. In round one, Crew Chief Eric Bowman gave Huddleston a tune that served notice to the rest of the field when he slapped an event low 2.152 on the board and drove past Kelli Garca. In round two, Huddleston clicked on the red-light temporary disqualifying himself from the event. Temporary because at about 115 feet down the Lone Star RC Dragway Michael Mercadel got loose and smacked the wall. By way of the “First or Worse” rule, Mercadel was disqualified and handed the win back over to Huddleston, advancing him to his first 2018 Pro Funny Car final.
On the other side, the 2017 defending champion Joshua Mercadel was on his way to three consecutive playoff final round appearances. In the early rounds, Mercadel took out the Bowman Performance driver Heather Bowman running a 2.190 to her 2.279. In the semi-finals Mercadel ran his event-best 2.155 to get past the number one qualifier, SDR driver Scott Davis to advance to the finals.
Darvione Huddleston knew if he was going to take out the champ that he would have to cut a good light and “drive it like he stole it.” IN the finals, Huddleston did just that cutting a brilliant .018 light to Mercadel’s .045 light. That proved to be the difference maker at the finish line, Mercadel went quicker but lost to the hole-shot laid down by Huddleston. (#2 Darvione Huddleston ◦ .018 RT · 2.241 ET defeated #4 Joshua Mercadel ◦ .045 RT · 2.227 ET)
In Traxxas Sportsman Funny Car, the reemerging Scott Davis was making his way through the field. Coming into the 2018 Countdown to the Championship in only the 9th position, Davis over the last two events have jumped to 4th in points. Davis advanced to the Sportsman Funny Car final by putting Zack Shivers, Carl Russell and number one qualifier Colby Taylor on the trailer during the early rounds.
On the other side of the ladder, it was TSFC points leader Eric Bowman serving notice that he has the car to beat. Coming in as the number three qualifier, Bowman parked the cars of Chris Markowski, Alex Garca and Annalisa Poddighe before advancing to his sixth final round of the season and third of this year’s championship playoffs.
In the TSFC final, Bowman had to drive around Davis to grab the win. Davis was off the line first but didn’t have enough to hold off the points leader. With his latest win, Bowman is just a few win lights away from winning his first Funny Car Championship. (#2 Eric Bowman ➧ .086 RT / 2.413 ET defeated #4 Scott Davis ➧ .057 RT / 2.494 ET) MOV: .052
TSFC Notable: Colby Taylor grabbed his second #1 qualifying spot in TSFC with a great 2.389. Eric Bowman is undefeated in the finals this year, a perfect 6 for 6.
Over in the Young Gunner bracket, rookie driver Zack Shivers continued to shine in his debut season. Shivers grabbed the number one qualifying spot with a .004 reaction time and with that was awarded the bye-run in round one eliminations. Shivers then went on to defeat Christain Russell, and Dallas Pfeil to advance to the finals.
Sarah Shipman flexed her muscles on the other side of the Young Gunner ladder. Shipman Jr. took out Jaxon Bowman, and Trace Faulkner in the early rounds. She was awarded the bye-run in the semi-finals to advance and meet Shivers in the finals. Zack Shivers cut a solid .041 light, while Shipman Jr. was caught sleeping on the starting line cutting a .348 light. Shivers went on to win the race and pocketed 114 points that go towards his quest at a 2018 Young Gunners Championship. (#1 Zack Shivers (R) ➧ .041 RT / 2.70 Dial ( .067 off ) / 2.767 ET defeated #8 Sarah Shipman ➧ .348 RT / 3.48 Dial ( .041 off ) / 3.521 ET)
Points leader and 2016 Quick 16 Bracket Champion Jeff Schmidt Jr. extended his points lead at the Garca Motorsports Nationals. By just .007 seconds at the finish line, he put Michael Mercadel on the trailer in round one. In round two Schmidt Jr. defeated Robert St. Pierre when St. Pierre clicked on the red light. In the semi-finals, Joel Shipman and Schmidt Jr. faced off in a points critical matchup. Shipman was sitting in third place in the Countdown and trying to gain ground on the points leader. Schmidt Jr. was off the line first cutting a good .047 light and was only .065 off his dial to take the win over Shipman. Schmidt Jr. advanced to his fifth final round of the season. #8 Jeff Schmidt Jr. ➧ .047 RT / 2.08 Dial ( .065 off ) / 2.145 ET defeated #4 Joel Shipman ➧ .091 RT / 1.95 Dial ( .165 off ) / 2.115 ET. On the other side of the ladder, it was Norris “YourBatteryBuddy.com” Graves going after his first championship. Graves started the day in the number four spot in the playoffs and was looking to go rounds. Graves in the early rounds outlasted, Willie Thomas, received a second round bye-run and defeated Joshua Mercadel in the semi’s to ear the rights to face Schmidt Jr. in a final round clash. This one was over on the starting line when Schmidt Jr. put a holeshot on Graves the size of Texas. Something distracted the YourBatteryBuddy.com driver causing him to cut a .371 light, and it cost him the race. Here is the tale of the tape: #8 Jeff Schmidt Jr. ➧ .024 RT / 2.10 Dial ( .071 off ) / 2.171 ET defeated #2 Norris Graves ➧ .371 RT / 1.75 Dial ( .135 off ) / 1.885 ET
Despite the loss for both Shipman and Graves, they both move up one spot in the Countdown to the Championship. Shipman now second, and Graves now sitting in third.
In the very popular Street Eliminator class, Matthew Munson and Manuel Garca were on their own final round collision course. In the early rounds, Garca put Jonathan Waggoner, Jeff Chambers, and Mike Pfeil on the trailer to advance to his first SE final of the year. On the other side of the bracket, Munson took out Norris Graves and Jeff Schmidt Jr. in the early rounds. Munson was awarded the bye-run in the semi-final to advance to his second SE final of the year. The finals were over when the tree came down, Matthew was a little early on the tree and clicked on the red light and Manuel Garca drove on to victory! #3 Manuel Garca ➧ .111 RT / 2.88 Dial ( .015 off ) / 2.895 ET defeated #9 Matthew Munson ➧ -0.035 RT / 3.05 Dial ( .132 off ) / 3.182 ET
In the 2.50 Index class, Annalisa Poddighe was able to bring it all together at this event. She showed she had what it took to go rounds. Taking out Chris Markowski in round one is never an easy task, but she did just that. Then in round two, she faced the defending 2.50 Index champion- Eric Bowman. Poddighe cut an awesome .013 light to Bowman’s .119 light and she never looked back. (#5 Annalisa Poddighe ➧ .013 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .063 off ) / 2.563 ET defeated #2 Eric Bowman ➧ .119 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .081 off ) / 2.581 ET) Poddighe moved on to receive the bye-run in the semi-final to advance to the finals.
On the other side it was ProPfeil Racing driver… Paxton? Nope… Dallas?… Nope… Mike? … Nope! It was Tessa Pfeil going to her first RCDRL final! Mrs. Pfeil took out Jeff Schmidt Jr and Michael Mercadel in the early rounds. In the semi-finals, she took on Piper Munson. Tessa cut a PERFECT light .000 and was only .086 off her dial to advance to Index final. #9 Tessa Pfeil (R) ➧ .000 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .086 off ) / 2.586 ET defeated #6 Piper Munson ➧ .033 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .170 off ) / 2.670 ET. In the finals, Tessa was once again pushing the tree but this time she was bitten by the red light. -.012. Annalisa cut a solid .067 and drove on to victory. This would mark Annalisa’s second 2.50 Index event win of the season. #5 Annalisa Poddighe ➧ .067 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .086 off ) / 2.586 ET defeated #9 Tessa Pfeil (R) ➧ -0.012 RT / 2.50 Dial ( .093 off ) / 2.593 ET
The All Run Bracket class, defending Champion and current points leader Chris Markowski was on his way to another showdown with Matthew Munson but this time it would be in the finals. Markowski defeated Tessa Pfeil, Duncan Jones, Kelli Garca, and Joel Shipman to advance to the finals. Matthew Munson, he had a rough road to the finals also. Munson had to get past Norris Graves, Jayme Bates, and Jeff Schmidt Jr. before being awarded a bye-run in the semi-finals to advance to face Markowski in the ALL RUN BRACKET finals. In the finals, Munson cut a great light and was on his way to victory, but broke-out and was disqualified. With his latest win, Markowski puts a choke hold on the rest of the All Run field. He leads second-place Jeff Schmidt Jr. by 143 points. #3 Chris Markowski ➧ .106 RT / 4.00 Dial ( .056 off ) / 4.056 ET defeated #21 Matthew Munson ➧ .025 RT / 3.15 Dial ( -0.120 off ) / 3.030 ET